What Could You Learn Today?

I want to share some fun sites with everyone today. I found some magazines and news sites, and others full of games and activities for kids. I believe in life-long learning; if I wasn’t always learning new things, I would be bored silly. Science and similar disciplines constantly evolve; languages are living things which change over time. Some of the things I learned in school about geography and genetics are already obsolete, and I like seeing where research and innovation are taking us.

Since I have kids in school, I also like keeping an eye out for great sites that encourage kids to be curious about science, engineering and other fascinating subjects. Games and videos are fun ways for kids to get extra study-time in. It’s been shown that it can be extremely beneficial to study in different ways and in different places to improve memory retention and recall. ( NY Times Article: Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits )

Here are reviews of five sites covering Math, Science, Engineering and Language Arts/Reading:

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eGFI (Engineering, Go For It!)

eGFI

This interactive magazine showcases careers like Engineering, Computer Science and Chemistry for middle and high school students. The site is creatively designed and fun to explore. It shows kids how the things they study can grow into incredible careers designing new products and materials. They can meet real students and engineers and read about the things they are creating. There are lots of links to help plan their education and find scholarship support as well.

I’m adding a link to one particular article I found on this site. It’s about 3-D printing, one of my current favorite subjects. My hubby recently became a certified technician for one of these printers, and my inner geek is über-excited about this kind of technology. I even have a copy of the gargoyle shown in this article sitting by my computer right now; it was a gift he brought home from his training seminar. Read more about 3-D printing here: http://students.egfi-k12.org/printing-in-3d-from-toys-to-organs/

The Discovery Channel & Discovery Kids

Discovery News is one of my favorite sites to check for info about animals, science and the world. Their site is full of articles and photos for all ages about things like space, technology, history, animals and more. Discovery Kids has lots of games and fun activities. They even have a section of videos and games devoted to yucky science, which can be a fun way to introduce science to reluctant kids.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy

This site is a powerful resource for studying Math from basic Arithmetic to Calculus, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. They have over 1800 video lectures available for all kinds of different subjects. While Math is the primary focus, there are also lessons about Science, History, Finance and more. This is all free to use and community supported. Khan Academy was founded as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization by MIT alum Salman Khan, who started recording his lessons as a way to help his cousins with their studies. His philanthropy is inspiring and I love the way he uses digital media to distribute his knowledge globally. They are adding self-paced testing for the subject matter designed by their users. I highly recommend this site to any student who feels they need extra help with their Math studies.

National Geographic & National Geographic for Kids

National Geographic has been full of fascinating articles and gorgeous photographs for as long as I can remember. I know as a kid I loved looking though them any time I was at the doctor’s office! Their online sites are just as much fun to visit. They are full of beautiful images and great information for adults and children. Their kids’ site features games, videos, stories and activities to encourage young explorers.

Scholastic & The Stacks (Scholastic for Kids)

The Stacks @ Scholastic

Reading was one of my first loves, and there’s little I enjoy more than losing myself in a new book. My family and my husband’s family are full of voracious readers. Books have a special place in my heart and I had to share at least one site about books in this list. The Stacks is packed with tons of great books and games based on popular children’s series like Deltora Quest and Goosebumps, even Captain Underpants. A person who enjoys reading can learn anything in the world. There’s information about everything available, almost all for free and online; but if you can’t read, you can’t benefit from it.

I hope you enjoy exploring some of these sites, and I look forward to hearing about fun places you’ve found online. Do you know a good museum site, or a site devoted to a special branch of study? Maybe one of your kids showed you some fun games they heard about at school? Share your links in our comments section, and have fun learning something new!

Geargoyle

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Figment: a Web Community for Teen Writers

Figment.com | Write Yourself In

I want to share a new site I learned about through a New York Times article. The site is called Figment, and it was officially announced yesterday. Figment is a community for teens who enjoy writing and reading. It provides a social environment to encourage sharing whatever they are creating. There is poetry, non-fiction, fiction and serial works from just about any genre you can imagine. The site is well designed and easy to navigate. Figment does not gain the rights to your works when you post them and you can remove your postings if you so desire.

I have always loved reading and started writing my own stories when I was young. I wish I could have had a community like this to share my writing with others. I think sites like these could really help teens find friends and supporters. It can be difficult for creative teens in school; I remember how other kids would often tease me for my writing and art, and I know finding a community of like-minded souls to share my troubles with would have made a huge difference in how isolated I felt as a kid. The Internet can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together, and I love seeing how different groups of people create these shared spaces on the Net.

I hope you enjoy checking Figment out, and feel free to share any other great writing or teen communities you may enjoy in the comments below.

Geargoyle

Saturday Share: Things 90s Kids Realize

Things 90s Kids Realize

Things 90s Kids Realize

For the weekends I may not write as much, so I thought I’d just share something quick and entertaining for a cold cloudy Saturday. A good friend linked this blog full of wonderful memories called Things 90s Kids Realize. I am not a child of the 90s, but two of my kids are, and I found a lot of laughs and memories flipping through the posts here. It’s full of great shows, books, movies and more. There’s some great observations and surprises to learn, and now there’s a ton of great old stuff I want to track down to watch again. Thanks Netflix and Hulu, I’m thinking I just might kick my cable to the curb soon, it really doesn’t entertain me half as well.

Enjoy the LOLs,

Geargoyle

Characters of Fiction

A friend tagged me with this on FB and I thought for fun I’d share my answers here. I might move this sort of thing into an ‘about me’ section later. It was kind of hard to stop after 15, I’m sure I could keep going for days with all the characters that have inspired me over the years. Feel free to join in posting this as a note on your FB or on your blog.

Rules:
Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what characters my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.)

1. Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview With a Vampire, etc.)
2. Vanyel Ashkeveron (The Last Herald Mage Trilogy)
3. Dr. Who
4. Darth Maul (Star Wars)
5. Richard B. Riddick (Pitch Black, etc.)
6. Dracula
7. Richard Cypher (Sword of Truth series)
8. Grendel – all incarnations (Grendel comics)
9. Q (Star Trek)
10. Ayla (Earth’s Children series)
11. Major Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell)
12. Animal (The Muppets)
13. Nightcrawler (X-Men comics)
14. Jarod (The Pretender)
15. River Tam (Firefly)

Geargoyle