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Category: Articles Written for Kids

How Will You Spend Your Summer Vacation?

Wow! This is going to be an exciting summer. You’ve got so much fun waiting for you and the best part is that you get to make the fun happen. Here are five ideas you can read and think about. Pick out a couple and ask your parents to help get the fun rolling.

This list may help you think about ideas of your own.

1. Treasure Hunt! You can go online and read about the different ways that you can arrange the hunt. The best way to get all your friends together and ask a parent to hide the treasure. It could be a batch of cookies or a gift certificate for a pizza or each child could bring one small toy to make up the treasure. Or you could be the treasure master, stashing the prize and making up clues that you hide in advance.

Clues could be something like “Look for the tree with the home-made swing,” or “Find the big grey rock and take three steps south.” Each clue leads to another clue and at the very end, the treasure. Maybe each of your friends could pick a day and hold their own treasure hunt. The hunts can be as long or as short as you want.

2. Have a Box Sculpture Contest! This is easy. Just ask your parents to get empty boxes from a grocery or chain store. Make sure you have a lot of them in a lot of different sizes. Then you need strong tape, glue and markers to decorate what you make. You could even decide on a theme, like box spaceships, box forts or box cars.

3. Learn How to Fly a Kite! Kites are relatively cheap to buy, but many kids prefer to learn about kites online and make their own. This activity requires you to follow the weather and look for good places to catch the wind, usually a park or a hill. This takes those reflexes that help you play video games and uses them in the real world. And it’s fun.

4. Put on a Kids Clothing Swap! Ask your parents what they think about this. It would be a good way to clean out closets as well as encourage everyone to recycle. Just make sure that all clothes are clean and mended when they are brought to the swap.

5. Explore Your Local World! Get a guide book or go online to find out what you can do in your home town! What is the oldest building in your city? Where was the first school built? Was anyone famous born in your town? Is there a museum you can tour? What about a pond where you can sail a boat?

No matter where you live, you can enjoy a whole world of adventure. All you need to do is use your imagination.

Can you think of more ideas?
We want to hear about them on our Facebook Page.

Wow! This is going to be an exciting summer. You’ve got so much fun waiting for you and the best part is that you get to make the fun happen. Here are five ideas you can read and think about. Pick out a couple and ask your parents to help get the fun rolling.

This list may help you think about ideas of your own.

1. Treasure Hunt! You can go online and read about the different ways that you can arrange the hunt. The best way to get all your friends together and ask a parent to hide the treasure. It could be a batch of cookies or a gift certificate for a pizza or each child could bring one small toy to make up the treasure. Or you could be the treasure master, stashing the prize and making up clues that you hide in advance.

Clues could be something like “Look for the tree with the home-made swing,” or “Find the big grey rock and take three steps south.” Each clue leads to another clue and at the very end, the treasure. Maybe each of your friends could pick a day and hold their own treasure hunt. The hunts can be as long or as short as you want.

2. Have a Box Sculpture Contest! This is easy. Just ask your parents to get empty boxes from a grocery or chain store. Make sure you have a lot of them in a lot of different sizes. Then you need strong tape, glue and markers to decorate what you make. You could even decide on a theme, like box spaceships, box forts or box cars.

3. Learn How to Fly a Kite! Kites are relatively cheap to buy, but many kids prefer to learn about kites online and make their own. This activity requires you to follow the weather and look for good places to catch the wind, usually a park or a hill. This takes those reflexes that help you play video games and uses them in the real world. And it’s fun.

4. Put on a Kids Clothing Swap! Ask your parents what they think about this. It would be a good way to clean out closets as well as encourage everyone to recycle. Just make sure that all clothes are clean and mended when they are brought to the swap.

5. Explore Your Local World! Get a guide book or go online to find out what you can do in your home town! What is the oldest building in your city? Where was the first school built? Was anyone famous born in your town? Is there a museum you can tour? What about a pond where you can sail a boat?

No matter where you live, you can enjoy a whole world of adventure. All you need to do is use your imagination.

Can you think of more ideas?
We want to hear about them on our Facebook Page.

Using the Internet for Learning

Tips for Learning on the Internet

The days of relying on the rows and rows of public library books for school projects are long gone. Nowadays, the internet is a one-stop shop for gaining any and all resources necessary for learning. While it’s amazing that knowledge is so readily available at our fingertips, it’s increasingly important to differentiate valuable learning resources from spam and other junk.

Whether you’re a student or a parent, here are tips to help you embark on this journey to find the perfect resource.  

What Types of Resources Are Out There?

Whether you’re looking for some extracurricular activities to sharpen your skills in a certain subject or a fully inclusive tutoring service, the internet has it all. The key to finding the perfect online program is understanding the area(s) that you wish to improve. Are you at risk of being held back a year or do you just want to get a jump on highschool algebra? For help with a single subject or opportunities for extra learning, check out your school’s and/or school district’s resources. Often times schools will have a webpage for these types of learning activities. For example, one school in Indiana offers resources on learning to read and learning important math skills.

If you are in need of a full tutoring service, the search process can become a little more complex. Refining your search to be as specific as possible can make a huge difference. Instead of searching “online tutoring services” and getting a massive list of just about every tutoring service on the planet, try searching “5th grade math online tutoring services.” This list should be full of relevant sources. Picking the perfect one will then come down to a little extra research on the specific service. Make sure to look into customer reviews, as well as prices and scheduling, in order to find the service that fits your needs. Your search will come back with big names that you may recognize, such as Sylvan and Chegg. It may also come back with local tutoring services. Be certain to check the local programs as well—local teachers often teach these programs and can relate them to specific school requirements.

How Do You Discover Your Learning Needs?

Picking whether you want an organized tutoring service or just some additional activities is a conversation that needs to happen between child, parent, and teacher. This is a critical point for students to communicate their needs. Even if you sign your child up for the best tutoring service, they might not show the improvement you hope for if they don’t want to be there and participate. Maybe it would be better to provide them with fun activities that could capture their imagination while teaching them valuable lessons. Whichever route you choose, just be sure that everyone is on the same page. Communication is so important in this step, for both parents and students.  

Where to Start Searching?

When you first begin looking for information online, the results can be daunting. A simple google search comes back with billions of results in fractions of a second. If you’ve ever searched for something as broad as “learning resources,” then you know how difficult it can be to find what you’re actually searching for. By utilizing Google’s advanced search queries, you can get rid of the non credible sites with one easy trick. Add site:.edu or site:.gov to your search query and you should end up with only credible sites, such as “5th grade math resources site:.edu”. These .edu and .gov sites are normally some of the most reliable resources on the web, but make sure to double-check the content and sources on the site just to be sure.

A caveat to this strategy is if you are looking for full-service tutoring, then you may want to include .com and .org websites, as these are often private companies that specialize in tutoring. Just be sure to check the website for credibility before you give them any personal information.

If you’re looking for a fun activity on searching for credible sources, you can find lesson plans online to help teach your students.

Picking the Perfect Program and Beyond

Once you’ve discovered the programs or resources that you want to use, set up guidelines for using the new learning program. These guidelines should include expectations on how the student will utilize the program, how they will communicate their learning to their parents or teachers, and how they will stay safe while using the internet. Since the student in this scenario will be spending more time online, it’s crucial to set up a plan for cybersecurity. Spam and other non credible websites could lead to viruses and false learning. Follow these simple practices and you’re sure to maximize learning while minimizing risk. Stay up-to-date with your child’s learning and always encourage clear paths of communication. This simple step will help the student feel like they have a support system and make you both feel more secure in the digital world.

Author Bio

Chandler Clayton is a freelance writer, specializing in education and safety. He draws upon his years of teaching environmental education to empower learning in children and adults of all backgrounds. He has been featured on sites such as SafeWise and Newsday.

The days of relying on the rows and rows of public library books for school projects are long gone. Nowadays, the internet is a one-stop shop for gaining any and all resources necessary for learning. While it’s amazing that knowledge is so readily available at our fingertips, it’s increasingly important to differentiate valuable learning resources from spam and other junk.

Whether you’re a student or a parent, here are tips to help you embark on this journey to find the perfect resource.  

What Types of Resources Are Out There?

Whether you’re looking for some extracurricular activities to sharpen your skills in a certain subject or a fully inclusive tutoring service, the internet has it all. The key to finding the perfect online program is understanding the area(s) that you wish to improve. Are you at risk of being held back a year or do you just want to get a jump on highschool algebra? For help with a single subject or opportunities for extra learning, check out your school’s and/or school district’s resources. Often times schools will have a webpage for these types of learning activities. For example, one school in Indiana offers resources on learning to read and learning important math skills.

If you are in need of a full tutoring service, the search process can become a little more complex. Refining your search to be as specific as possible can make a huge difference. Instead of searching “online tutoring services” and getting a massive list of just about every tutoring service on the planet, try searching “5th grade math online tutoring services.” This list should be full of relevant sources. Picking the perfect one will then come down to a little extra research on the specific service. Make sure to look into customer reviews, as well as prices and scheduling, in order to find the service that fits your needs. Your search will come back with big names that you may recognize, such as Sylvan and Chegg. It may also come back with local tutoring services. Be certain to check the local programs as well—local teachers often teach these programs and can relate them to specific school requirements.

How Do You Discover Your Learning Needs?

Picking whether you want an organized tutoring service or just some additional activities is a conversation that needs to happen between child, parent, and teacher. This is a critical point for students to communicate their needs. Even if you sign your child up for the best tutoring service, they might not show the improvement you hope for if they don’t want to be there and participate. Maybe it would be better to provide them with fun activities that could capture their imagination while teaching them valuable lessons. Whichever route you choose, just be sure that everyone is on the same page. Communication is so important in this step, for both parents and students.  

Where to Start Searching?

When you first begin looking for information online, the results can be daunting. A simple google search comes back with billions of results in fractions of a second. If you’ve ever searched for something as broad as “learning resources,” then you know how difficult it can be to find what you’re actually searching for. By utilizing Google’s advanced search queries, you can get rid of the non credible sites with one easy trick. Add site:.edu or site:.gov to your search query and you should end up with only credible sites, such as “5th grade math resources site:.edu”. These .edu and .gov sites are normally some of the most reliable resources on the web, but make sure to double-check the content and sources on the site just to be sure.

A caveat to this strategy is if you are looking for full-service tutoring, then you may want to include .com and .org websites, as these are often private companies that specialize in tutoring. Just be sure to check the website for credibility before you give them any personal information.

If you’re looking for a fun activity on searching for credible sources, you can find lesson plans online to help teach your students.

Picking the Perfect Program and Beyond

Once you’ve discovered the programs or resources that you want to use, set up guidelines for using the new learning program. These guidelines should include expectations on how the student will utilize the program, how they will communicate their learning to their parents or teachers, and how they will stay safe while using the internet. Since the student in this scenario will be spending more time online, it’s crucial to set up a plan for cybersecurity. Spam and other non credible websites could lead to viruses and false learning. Follow these simple practices and you’re sure to maximize learning while minimizing risk. Stay up-to-date with your child’s learning and always encourage clear paths of communication. This simple step will help the student feel like they have a support system and make you both feel more secure in the digital world.

Author Bio

Chandler Clayton is a freelance writer, specializing in education and safety. He draws upon his years of teaching environmental education to empower learning in children and adults of all backgrounds. He has been featured on sites such as SafeWise and Newsday.

How to Know What to Trust Online

Finding fun games, learning cool new things, and talking to your friends is what the internet is for. But just like in real life, you have to be smart and safe. It might seem silly to think about safety when you’re on the web alone in your room, but it’s important to make sure you’re trusting the right sites and people.

Unfortunately, some bad people on the internet may try to scam you out of money or your personal identity, which can cause a lot of problems. You might also pick up viruses or malware, which will load your computer with advertisements or misleading links.

(This article is directed at kids, but parents can pick up some knowledge too).

Ask your parents what’s safe

If you and your parents discuss ahead of time which sites and activities are okay, you’ll run into far fewer problems. For an easy way to stay on the right sites, ask your parents to make a folder with links to all your favorite websites saved inside. That way, you won’t accidentally go somewhere else.

This applies when you’re at school too. Just because your parents approve of something doesn’t mean your teachers will. Schools are usually a little more watchful of websites and may even have blockers for specific sites or searches.

Social media and apps

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites can be a great way to connect with friends and people with similar interests, but it’s also where a lot of trolls set up camp. Keep your profile private and your circle small.

When it comes to apps, you can usually spot a bad one by how it’s advertised and how often ads pop up. Sometimes you can make in-app purchases and upgrade to remove ads, but you should get these approved by your parents.

Don’t talk to strangers

You’ve probably heard this before, but the easiest way to stay safe online is by only friending, following, and talking with people you know in real life. Although you can stay mostly anonymous in chat rooms, it’s important to remember that others can, too, and a stranger can easily pretend to be someone they’re not. With this in mind, it’s worth it to approach every chat with caution.

Sometimes a stranger will seem friendly, but then they’ll ask for something in return. Don’t click any links they send, and don’t give out any of your personal information. What counts as personal information? Things like your name, family, address, school, or anything else that can help them identify you.

If you do plan to visit stranger-filled sites, make sure to check with your parents and ask them if anything seems fishy.

Don’t reply to people with weird usernames

A friendly “Hi” with a heart emoji might seem harmless, but when it comes from a username like puppycutie88398, it’s probably a sign that it’s spam (messages meant to scam people). You can tell a username is fishy because it has random numbers, usually combined with two common words or names.

Strange usernames and strangely-phrased messages are a good indicator of spam. These spammers could be trying to sell you something (and perhaps steal your money by selling a fake product), steal and misuse your personal information, or build a friendship initially order to scam you later.

Either way, sometimes simply responding gives these people (or sometimes robots) a sign that they might be able to hack into your information, and that could lead to more requests. Ignore these messages altogether and avoid future problems.

Set up privacy settings

When you take the time to make sure your online profiles are private, strangers are less likely to bug you. Sometimes it might not even seem like a big deal to post a picture online of you and your friends, but an online predator might catch on to what schools or parks you hang out at.

Parental controls are less about taking away your freedom and more about protecting you. If something that’s blocked seems fine to you, ask your parents if they approve of it and they can remove the block.

Turn off location settings

One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re not being tracked, or that a post won’t reveal where you are, is to turn off location settings. Most of the time, apps and social media will ask for permission to share this info first, but it’s always good to double-check your settings.

Additional tips:

  • Popular apps are usually safer by nature, but with more people comes more potential for problems. Even if an app itself is safe, the users may not be, so use caution no matter which app you’re using.
  • Any time you have to put in personal information beyond a username or email for an account, get a parent involved. You should avoid putting in your address, payment information, or any other personal info on your own.
  • Make sure to turn on safe search filters for Google and other search engines, especially when looking for images. Some questionable content may come up just because it has a similar name to what you’re searching for, so safe search filters can help weed out things you don’t want to see.

Finding fun games, learning cool new things, and talking to your friends is what the internet is for. But just like in real life, you have to be smart and safe. It might seem silly to think about safety when you’re on the web alone in your room, but it’s important to make sure you’re trusting the right sites and people.

Unfortunately, some bad people on the internet may try to scam you out of money or your personal identity, which can cause a lot of problems. You might also pick up viruses or malware, which will load your computer with advertisements or misleading links.

(This article is directed at kids, but parents can pick up some knowledge too).

Ask your parents what’s safe

If you and your parents discuss ahead of time which sites and activities are okay, you’ll run into far fewer problems. For an easy way to stay on the right sites, ask your parents to make a folder with links to all your favorite websites saved inside. That way, you won’t accidentally go somewhere else.

This applies when you’re at school too. Just because your parents approve of something doesn’t mean your teachers will. Schools are usually a little more watchful of websites and may even have blockers for specific sites or searches.

Social media and apps

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites can be a great way to connect with friends and people with similar interests, but it’s also where a lot of trolls set up camp. Keep your profile private and your circle small.

When it comes to apps, you can usually spot a bad one by how it’s advertised and how often ads pop up. Sometimes you can make in-app purchases and upgrade to remove ads, but you should get these approved by your parents.

Don’t talk to strangers

You’ve probably heard this before, but the easiest way to stay safe online is by only friending, following, and talking with people you know in real life. Although you can stay mostly anonymous in chat rooms, it’s important to remember that others can, too, and a stranger can easily pretend to be someone they’re not. With this in mind, it’s worth it to approach every chat with caution.

Sometimes a stranger will seem friendly, but then they’ll ask for something in return. Don’t click any links they send, and don’t give out any of your personal information. What counts as personal information? Things like your name, family, address, school, or anything else that can help them identify you.

If you do plan to visit stranger-filled sites, make sure to check with your parents and ask them if anything seems fishy.

Don’t reply to people with weird usernames

A friendly “Hi” with a heart emoji might seem harmless, but when it comes from a username like puppycutie88398, it’s probably a sign that it’s spam (messages meant to scam people). You can tell a username is fishy because it has random numbers, usually combined with two common words or names.

Strange usernames and strangely-phrased messages are a good indicator of spam. These spammers could be trying to sell you something (and perhaps steal your money by selling a fake product), steal and misuse your personal information, or build a friendship initially order to scam you later.

Either way, sometimes simply responding gives these people (or sometimes robots) a sign that they might be able to hack into your information, and that could lead to more requests. Ignore these messages altogether and avoid future problems.

Set up privacy settings

When you take the time to make sure your online profiles are private, strangers are less likely to bug you. Sometimes it might not even seem like a big deal to post a picture online of you and your friends, but an online predator might catch on to what schools or parks you hang out at.

Parental controls are less about taking away your freedom and more about protecting you. If something that’s blocked seems fine to you, ask your parents if they approve of it and they can remove the block.

Turn off location settings

One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re not being tracked, or that a post won’t reveal where you are, is to turn off location settings. Most of the time, apps and social media will ask for permission to share this info first, but it’s always good to double-check your settings.

Additional tips:

  • Popular apps are usually safer by nature, but with more people comes more potential for problems. Even if an app itself is safe, the users may not be, so use caution no matter which app you’re using.
  • Any time you have to put in personal information beyond a username or email for an account, get a parent involved. You should avoid putting in your address, payment information, or any other personal info on your own.
  • Make sure to turn on safe search filters for Google and other search engines, especially when looking for images. Some questionable content may come up just because it has a similar name to what you’re searching for, so safe search filters can help weed out things you don’t want to see.

What a Black Hole Discovery Can Teach Us

First Ever Black Hole Pic

As long as we walk this earth, one thing we should all discover is this. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. That’s a quote from Aristotle, the Greek philosopher who lived over 2300 years ago. It basically means that no matter how much we learn in school as kids and later in life as adults, we’ll find there’s always more to learn about everything.

If we decide that we know everything there is to know and stop being opening to learning, we become ignorant and miss out so much that our wonderful world has to teach us.

As smart as Aristotle was, many things have been discovered in the hundreds of years since he lived. Many great philosophers and scientists have followed, and each one as built upon the knowledge of people who have gone before them.

The First Image of a Black Hole

Recently, the world’s greatest scientists of our day were finally able to create a real picture of a block hole. It was an amazing achievement and incredible discovery.  It confirmed many theories about the existence of black holes and how they work. It also proved that Albert Einstein was right about his Theory of General Relativity regarding the relationship between space and time.

The image also proved that recent scientific calculations about black holes were correct. This discovery, however, is more than a story about the advancement of technology that allowed humans to see an actual black hole for the first time. It’s also a story of how many scientists from all over the world worked together for many years to achieve this great feat.

For one, just to make the now famous black hole photograph took many observatories from all over the world working together to create one virtual telescope the size of our earth.

How Far Away is the Photographed Black Hole?

The black hole is located in the center of galaxy M87, which is about 55 million light years from earth. This means that light traveling from that point in space takes 55 million years to be seen on earth.

Think about it. The image we see of the block hole is like looking into the past. It’s light that started a journey to planet earth millions of years ago. Light from our sun takes an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

The black hole has been named Powehi, which means ‘adorned fathomless dark creation’. Black holes have always fascinated scientists and students of astronomy because a black hole actually isn’t a hole. It’s a place in space containing a lot of matter closely packed together. It has accumulated so much gravity, that not even light can escape it. Therefore, it’s always black, even if it sucked our sun into it. And the black hole Powehi could easily do that because it’s about the same size as our entire solar system.

More Discoveries Yet to Come

While the first image of a real black hole confirms many theories that were calculated using mathematics, (see NASA Education’s Black Hole Math the Students), scientists are the first to point out that this great discovery is the beginning of many more discoveries yet to come.

Producing the black hole image took over 200 scientists working together from all over the world. They all would be the first to tell you that as much as we know about the Universe, there is so much more we don’t know.

The lessons we learn from the first image of a black hole are many. One important lesson is to always keep learning. You never know what amazing discovery you will find.

As long as we walk this earth, one thing we should all discover is this. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. That’s a quote from Aristotle, the Greek philosopher who lived over 2300 years ago. It basically means that no matter how much we learn in school as kids and later in life as adults, we’ll find there’s always more to learn about everything.

If we decide that we know everything there is to know and stop being opening to learning, we become ignorant and miss out so much that our wonderful world has to teach us.

As smart as Aristotle was, many things have been discovered in the hundreds of years since he lived. Many great philosophers and scientists have followed, and each one as built upon the knowledge of people who have gone before them.

The First Image of a Black Hole

Recently, the world’s greatest scientists of our day were finally able to create a real picture of a block hole. It was an amazing achievement and incredible discovery.  It confirmed many theories about the existence of black holes and how they work. It also proved that Albert Einstein was right about his Theory of General Relativity regarding the relationship between space and time.

The image also proved that recent scientific calculations about black holes were correct. This discovery, however, is more than a story about the advancement of technology that allowed humans to see an actual black hole for the first time. It’s also a story of how many scientists from all over the world worked together for many years to achieve this great feat.

For one, just to make the now famous black hole photograph took many observatories from all over the world working together to create one virtual telescope the size of our earth.

How Far Away is the Photographed Black Hole?

The black hole is located in the center of galaxy M87, which is about 55 million light years from earth. This means that light traveling from that point in space takes 55 million years to be seen on earth.

Think about it. The image we see of the block hole is like looking into the past. It’s light that started a journey to planet earth millions of years ago. Light from our sun takes an average of 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

The black hole has been named Powehi, which means ‘adorned fathomless dark creation’. Black holes have always fascinated scientists and students of astronomy because a black hole actually isn’t a hole. It’s a place in space containing a lot of matter closely packed together. It has accumulated so much gravity, that not even light can escape it. Therefore, it’s always black, even if it sucked our sun into it. And the black hole Powehi could easily do that because it’s about the same size as our entire solar system.

More Discoveries Yet to Come

While the first image of a real black hole confirms many theories that were calculated using mathematics, (see NASA Education’s Black Hole Math the Students), scientists are the first to point out that this great discovery is the beginning of many more discoveries yet to come.

Producing the black hole image took over 200 scientists working together from all over the world. They all would be the first to tell you that as much as we know about the Universe, there is so much more we don’t know.

The lessons we learn from the first image of a black hole are many. One important lesson is to always keep learning. You never know what amazing discovery you will find.