Monday, April 07, 2014
Today, I'm proud to count this competition among my clients!
I'm working with the folks from the challenge to spread the word about the competition. It's an easy entry only requiring a 1-2 minute video outlining out a problem they encounter in every day life and a solution to that problem; click for full details.
And don't delay! The entry deadline is April 22, 2014.
The Young Scientist Challenge is also sponsoring the April #STEMchat. Join in me, @DE3MYSC and a great group of Sci-friendly folks on Twitter on Tuesday evening, April 8 from 9-10 PM Eastern as we talk about "Raising America's Top Young Scientist." Share and learn tips for helping children develop their scientific sensibilities! Follow along with the hashtag or start off by following my stream; I'm @KimMolofsky.
Sunday, April 06, 2014
Yesterday after dropping one of my boys off at the Code Phreaks meeting, I headed into the library where I planned to write while my son participated in the meet-up. A small family captured my attention as I tried to settle and jot down a few notes. A mom trying to do some work on her computer, a dad trying to search the want ads (for a job? a car? who knows?), a fussy baby and an occasionally jittery preschooler.
Tempers weren't flaring, but tensions did seem to be rising as the parents struggled to do what they were trying to do while making sure the needs of their girls were met.
Perhaps it was my procrastination speaking, or maybe it was the desperate screams of my ovaries as they're shriveling up in my aging innards, but I thought, "Oh, I'd totally give that baby her bottle and they could do their thing."
Of course, not every baby is cool being whisked into the arms of a random stranger, so I'm not sure that would even work. At any rate, I sketched out ideas for my column as the kids squirmed as kids will while I sensed the parents resigning themselves to the fact that they were not going to accomplish much that morning.
Been there, done that.
So (and this is the kind of thing I like to imagine myself doing, but typically only manage to do so in my mind) I approached their table and offered to read with their preschooler. They looked at me like I was crazy. Did it matter that we're not the same race? Really, I think it was more the shock of a random person coming up and offering to spend time with their child.
"My son is in a program here for another hour. He's older and I never get to read stories to him anymore." I explained.
I still got kind of a quizzical look.
"We'll just sit right over there, so you can see us."
I'm not sure the mom so much agreed as simply looked at her girl and then I looked at the girl and said, "Do you want me to read books with you?"
She nodded and I said, "Let's go to the corner." She brought her books over and we plopped down on the floor, effectively destroying every Stranger Danger lesson she's ever had. (I didn't think about this until later. In retrospect, I'm not even sure if I had their full consent. I was just like- let's do this.)
At any rate, just a few feet away from her family, we read an alphabet book about Illinois, talking about Abe Lincoln and our state bird, the cardinal, and other fun facts. She told me that she's five and headed to kindergarten in the fall. When we got to the letter W, she surprised me by reading the sentences all by herself. When we opened the next alphabet book, this one with a music theme, we took turns reading and naming the instruments we saw.
Alas, her baby sister had reached her limit and broke into a full cry. They needed to leave before we even made it past K.
We hastily packed up the books and I returned her to her parents. The mom tried to clarify what I was doing as a lone adult* in the children's section, but in a friendly way. "How old is your son? What is he doing?"
"A computer club that meets here on Saturdays. He's a teenager. I never get to do this kind of thing anymore." I have to admit it was a lot of fun. Once I put out of my mind the awful, obnoxious tantrums my boys had as 3-year-olds, I have to say that 3-5, the preschool years, was my favorite time with them. Kids that age are cute and curious, they have good language skills, keen observations, and vivid imaginations that flow with uncensored ideas.
I told her mom what a good reader the girl was and that I was sure she would do well in kindergarten--but also cautioned her to make sure the girl's teachers challenge her and don't just ignore her because she's quiet type who can already read. I didn't think to ask if she's headed to a magnet school or anything.
In fact, I didn't even think to introduce myself! Maybe we'll run into each other again in a few weeks. In the meantime, perhaps I should sign on as a volunteer reading budding at our local library this summer.
*I was in the children's section looking up books for my article.
Posted by Kim Moldofsky at Sunday, April 06, 2014 ******
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
|Welcome to college! This sign was in just about every building.|
My son, a sophomore, has stepped foot on a handful of university and community college campuses thanks to events like Science Olympiad, but he's still pretty clueless about where and what type of school he'd like to attend. I don't think I had any ideas at that age, either. So I figure we'll take advantage of our location and plan some preliminary visits. We can see urban schools and suburban ones, small and medium-size schools, highly selective and not.
First up was a small school not that far from Chicago, but, in the middle of a small, quiet suburb. I believe the college has fewer students than my son's high school, so it was an interesting contrast for him. Instead of 1400 or so students packing into one building, this one had several dorms, a freestanding library, etc. and was spread out over dozens of acres.
Our visit included an official campus tour, as well as a meeting with a professor and an admissions officer. Everyone was very nice and I think he did great during the meetings, which were fortunately laid-back.
#ProTip: before you head off on this kind of visit, help your child prepare an elevator speech to explain who they are, their talents and educational/career ambitions. I totally did not think to do this. He still did fine, but lacked the confidence of an experienced interviewee.
I was welcome to sit in on the meetings, so I did, but I suppose when he's older and interviewing more seriously he'll go on his own. Yes?
But like I said, it all went well and we both got a sense of what to expect on these types of college visits.
My college visits involved heading down to a few schools with friends and staying with people we knew (or friends of friends) from high school. I only recall one formal interview (which did not go well) and, hmm, no official tours. No parents were involved! Nowadays, at least what I gather from the high school and my friends, parents are expected to be highly involved with the college search. When you're looking at a 4-year degree costing $60 - $150 thousand dollars, I guess it makes sense.
Looking for more information on the college selection and college admissions process? Watch or listen to this archived conversation I had with my friend Jen Hajer and admissions consultant Susan Goodkin about getting into highly selective schools.
We had so much fun we're doing it again. During our next chat on April 10 we'll talk the SAT, twice-exceptional students, and whatever else we can fit into about 30 minutes. To follow along live, "circle" me on Google+ or find an archived version on my YouTube channel.
Friday, March 21, 2014
This will be the fist time the Houston Ballet will present a show at the Auditorium Theatre. Additionally, it will be my first time seeing the ballet version of what is now "a Disney Classic." I received an invitation to attend the show and will be joined by my husband, but its an ideal ballet for families, too.
Before Disney did it's thing Aladdin was best know as one of the stories of the Arabian Nights. It's the tale of a young boy tricked into retrieving a magic lamp from a hidden cave. He soon realizes that the lamp is the home of a magical genie, and it grants the boy riches beyond his imagination. The now-wealthy boy falls in love with the emperor's daughter, but then is exposed by the emperor's assistant. Calamity and magic carpet rides ensue.
I look forward to seeing a classic tale retold in a non-Disney, not to mention ballet, form. I don't think I've seen a dance performance featuring dancers over the age of 10 in as many years.
The show is this Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00. Tickets $32 -$92 are available online at ticketmaster or by calling 1-800-982-ARTS.
Click to read a full schedule of the Auditorium Theatre's performances. (Hey, I just realized Amy Schumer will be there Friday March 28. She's really funny. Off to check my calendar...)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Three Food Trends that are Going To Make It Big1. Probiotics
Some might argue that this is already a thing, but I think Americans are only at the beginning of our love affair with probiotics. As science reveals more about microbes and the importance the little bugs in our gut (and on our skin, etc.), this category will explode.
2. Kefir for Dogs
Yes, kefir is a probiotic food, but no, I'm not cheating. People can and do give their dogs yogurt and kefir, but according to Google no one is marketing a kefir (or yogurt) just for dogs yet. This could be big, but perhaps not for the first one to market. It makes the most sense as an offshoot of the brand(s) that already have refrigerated products in the pet store. I suspect these cool sections will grow in size and number over time.
3. Actual Bugs
The thought of eating creepy crawly critters may give the average American jitters, but within 20 years, we'll join the rest of the world* and incorporate insect proteins into our diet (people with shellfish allergies beware). Compared to our typical sources of animal protein- chickens, cows, and pigs- insects are easy to farm and are less damaging to the earth. Now, I think we're more than 20 years away from sitting down to eat a big old bowl of earthworms, but people will warm to flours and other forms that make the insects less obvious, ahem. Chocolate chirp ice cream and bugelach for dessert, anyone?
*Just one of the fun facts I've learned as this year's Entomology coach for Science Olympiad.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Skokie's Spring Greening is one of those things I heard about through a well-timed Facebook update. DH and stopped over with a few of our difficult-to-recycle items and bid them adieu in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. This green event provides area residents with a chance to safely dispose of tires, batteries, electronic waste, and more. We been piling up those items since last May ready for this year's event on April 6. Alas, I just read they won't take old paint, so now I need to figure out what to do with that...
Friday, February 14, 2014
With an eye toward finding solutions to the year's challenge, teams also make virtual models with SimCity software, complete a research paper and create a narrative "sell sheet" on their cities. They also prepare a presentation. That's a whole lotta technical and soft skills wrapped up in one competition. (And in even more STEAM, I'm told some teams make costumes for their presentations.)
Follow along with me this weekend and who knows? Maybe you'll be in line when registration opens in March for the 2014-15 competition year.