Science Blog Archive

  • 7 Stress-Reducing Strategies for Teachers

    stress reduce

    7 Stress-Reducing Strategies for Teachers


    For a teacher, stress is almost guaranteed. There are always papers to grade, assignments to review and tough kids to deal with. With this certainty in mind, a teacher should always be prepared to respond to stressful situations … and how you routinely do that can make the difference between a long, happy and illustrious career or one that ends in frustration and burn out. Luckily, new research is leading the way to the development of new and innovative strategies to cope with stress. 7 of these strategies are listed below.


    1. Identify the cause

    Identiry StressYou can’t manage stress effectively if you haven’t figured out what is causing it in the first place. Development manager for the Teacher Support Network Sandra Taylor suggests making a list of the things responsible for your stress. Identify things that are within your control and start tackling them one by one. You should start with what will have the most significant impact on your stress levels.

    Obvious you say? Hmmm … try making the list and see just how hard that usually is.


    2. Breathe properly

    This strategy doesn’t sound groundbreaking at all. But the Navy Seals have taken this simple technique to new heights by adopting the 4×4 breathing technique. It involves breathing deeply for 4 seconds until you feel your stomach expanding out and then exhaling out evenly for 4 seconds. 2 or 3 minutes of this exercise during intense stress levels can help you regain control.


    3. Accept your imperfections
    Our desire for perfection stems from our feelings of inadequacy–the flawed thinking that we should be someone better than we already are. According to academic researcher Brene Brown, overly stressed individuals often exhibit this trait. Teachers often fall into this category of adults, who feel they haven’t achieved much in their lives and careers and, as a result, end up feeling overly stressed and unhappy. Perhaps you feel you could do better than just being a science tutor. If this is you, find a way to love yourself and what you do.


    4. Nip the problem in the bud

    Nip Stress In The Bud

    A vicious stress cycle usually begins as a single thought. When we make mistakes or experience failures, we often fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves and obsessing over our situations. Unfortunately, that only serves to worsen things. As Psychologists Guy Winch puts it, it would be like finding new ways to make a wound worse after getting a cut. When you find yourself ruminating on your failures or mistakes, try your best to get your mind off of them. Sometimes even a simple distraction will do the trick.


    5. Be realistic
    Sometimes we set very high targets for ourselves and end up disappointed when we don’t achieve them. When compiling a to-do list for the day, make sure you can handle the workload you intend to take on. Review your achievements at the end of the day. If you didn’t achieve a certain target, make sure you identify the reason why. If the reason is varied, don’t beat yourself up over it.


    6. A little help can go a long way. 
    Help is good!

    Sometimes we are too self-absorbed to admit we need help. No matter how skilled or experienced you are as a teacher, you will need help sometime. Asking for help doesn’t make you look weak; it means you are wise enough to know when you’re in over your head.


    7. Embrace the stress
    Why do you have to fight away the stress, why not just embrace it? This is the thinking Kelly McGonigal health psychologist wants teachers to adopt. According to McGonigal, viewing your stress positively will affect how your body chooses to respond and will, ultimately, reduce the physical damage effected on the body. Those who only see stress as a negative force suffer the same range of health complications experienced by smokers.


    By adopting the strategies above, a teacher can deal with stress before it becomes overbearing. But they require both time and commitment. You should adopt them into your lifestyle slowly and steadily. Failure to effectively deal with stress in its budding stage by utilizing the strategies above can lead you into the “coping” mode. When that happens, you can end up just reacting and focusing on damage control instead of responding and adapting as it comes.

    Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond …. and we at How Things Work Science Projects hope you will check out their services if you happen to be in Singapore!

  • Earthquake Compilation By NOAA


    Honest … I think the video on the below link speaks for itself.

    Simply awesome.  I had no idea there were this many earthquakes during that time frame.

    You really need to watch this one!  Earthquake Compilation … and be sure to watch it in full page mode!

  • How to Dry Parsley from the Garden Using a Microwave Oven


    A spoonful of dried parsley waiting to be added to your favorite dish.


    Adding a dash of herbs to our favorite dishes is a common practice in the kitchen. After all, who here isn’t eager to try out a new savory and aromatic dining experience– a fresh new take on otherwise bland and redundant food? Infusing our dishes with the right combination of herbs can easily transform them into a culinary work of art. However, this culinary method is not without a few struggles. We all know that herbs are best served fresh. That way, you can really take in its flavor and aroma. Whether you get your herbs from the grocery store or your own garden or grow tent, they don’t have a long shelf life. So, what exactly do you do to preserve your herb’s freshness? Let us count the ways.


    A bowl of vegetable soup with croutons and fresh parsley.


    Serve them immediately.

     If you do find yourself in this tricky situation, you may want to call up a few friends and turn a lonely dinner into a party! Find recipes on the internet or a cookbook that uses the herbs you have lying around.


    Parsley is blanched and frozen into ice cubes.


    Blanch them.

    [Grins, for the parents and teachers … ] Herbs can also be served in cocktails, in case you’re wondering. A good way to keep it fresh and ideal for cocktails and syrups would be by blanching.


    Dried parsley spills out from a glass container.


     Dry them.

     Perhaps the most common way of preserving herbs, especially in the Spring is by drying them and getting rid of any moisture that bacteria could thrive in. The only problem with drying herbs is that it loses its aroma, flavor, texture, and color. If you really have to dry your herbs, there are proper ways to get this done. How to dry parsley from the garden? Let’s learn more about it in the following sections.


    A microwave can be used to dry herbs and spices.


    Using a Microwave Oven to Dry Parsley

    Among all methods of drying parsley and other herbs, using the microwave generates the best results, producing the brightest color and freshest flavor. If you’re looking up on how to dry parsley from the garden, you may want to try out this technique first.


    How It Works

    The thing about microwaves is that they zero in on moisture while they’re heating. This emits long electromagnetic radiation waves that flip polar molecules trapped inside your food back and forth. Since water is the most profuse polar molecule in whatever food we eat, microwaves target these molecules most– not heating the food entirely, but the water it contains. Because of this interesting mechanism, the bright pigments and savory compounds get left behind, mostly unscathed.

    If you want to get the most out of your fresh produce and multi-purpose herbs, you must know one of the most basic storage culinary techniques: how to dry parsley from your garden using a microwave oven. We’re not only talking about parsley here. This can also be applied to herbs of any kind. Let us now proceed:

    1. Carefully lay out the parsley leaves on a clean paper towel.
    2. Cover with another clean paper towel.
    3. Pop into the microwave oven for 1 minute on high heat setting.
    4. Take the parsley out and check if these are still soft.
    5. Repeat the process until the parsley comes out completely dry. You’ll have to perform a little bit of experimentation for this process since power outputs in microwave ovens vary. Note your results for each herb for future use.
    6. When the parsley is completely dry, let it cool, and store in an airtight container, away from light, heat, and moisture. This should remain potent for several months.


    Dried powdered herbs are stored in separate airtight jars.


    Other Advantages of Drying Herbs Using a Microwave Oven

     Aside from retaining the herb’s lush color, potency, aroma, and flavor, here are some other reasons why you should go for a microwave oven to dry your precious herbs.


    It is very low-maintenance.

    The only things you need to master how to dry parsley from your garden using this technique are the following: a microwave oven, a couple of sheets of paper towels, and your fresh herbs. There’s nothing else to it, not even patience because it can be achieved in a few minutes or less.


    It is quick.

    If you’re a busy person, and you don’t really have much time to preserve some herbs, this is the quickest solution available. Unlike drying herbs using a traditional oven, you don’t have to preheat or treat the microwave to make a few batches of dried herbs, saving you lots of time and effort.


    Dried herbs can be ground into powder quickly.

    Since the microwave takes away the herb’s entire water content, it comes out very dry and brittle, but with almost the same aroma and flavor, making it easy to grind into powder. Powdered herbs make for some of the best seasonings and rubs there are.



    After reading this article, we bet you’re going for the kitchen to finally try out this super quick and easy technique to preserve your favorite herbs and spices. Share your experience with us by writing in the comments section below!





    Science Dave Comment

    This was a guest post by Lucy, founder of She has a wonderful site for just about anything you want to know about gardening … and as shown above, what to do with some of the things you grow there.

    Given this is a science project site, you can easily turn what Lucy wrote here into a “Drying Herbs” science project by gathering different types of herbs and following her microwave instructions above.  Be sure to take in-process photos, then write down your results and explain what just happened.  You should also look up at least one or two other drying techniques and report on those using the same herbs as you did in the microwave project.

    When finished with the last drying technique, you should write your conclusions.  Which method was the easiest?  Which took the least time and which provided the best tasting herbs after the dried ones were soaked in water to make them soft again?  How did they smell, how did they look, how did they taste, etc.  Be as descriptive as you can.

    Then take a look at the dehydrated potato project we did earlier.  How is that dehydration project different than what you did here?

    Have Fun!!!



  • 5 Reasons Science Projects Are More Fun Than Reading A Book

    5 Reasons Science Projects Are More Fun Than Reading A Book

    If you are thinking of something to keep your kids occupied with on a rainy day, a science project is definitely more fun than reading books and watching TV! If you wonder why, read on!

    1. Most science projects are conducted using household things. As there’s no need of rushing to the store to buy anything special, you don’t have to spend much money on the project, only time!
    2. Science projects are better for kids as it fosters interaction in your children and helps them remember techniques and information which they may be able to relate with, and find useful in the future. As different children remember different things differently, science projects help your children learn.
    3. Science projects are a better proposition for rainy days as it keeps your child active. They get involved with different things and grow curious to learn more things. Just look for a challenging project where they have to find relevant tools and information to get solutions.
    4. Science projects needn’t be completed overnight. You can start a project and carry it to the next day. Your child will discuss the outcome of the project with friends, and this stimulates their brains and keeps them wanting more!
    5. Science projects also encourage interaction between you and your children. As you are their first teacher, they understand and remember things you teach much better than anything taught by anyone else! So look for a stimulating project which intrigues them to learn more about science and the working of things.

    Getting your child interested in science projects and helping them with its research helps them get a clear picture. It’s also better if you ask them questions like what they had learnt and observed during the project once you are done with it, to ensure they understand the concept and whatever the project offers!

  • 4 Ways To Make Weekly Science Projects Part Of Your Routine




    4 Ways To Make Weekly Science Projects Part Of Your Routine

    One of the best ways to spend quality time with your child is by incorporating weekly science projects as part of your daily routine. This helps build their interest in science, and also improve their analytical skills. Don’t think that you don’t have the time for all this, as these 4 tips will show you how you can easily make time in your busy schedule.

    1.     Decide on a topic each week

    Add variety by covering a different topic every week. You could perhaps hang an idea board so that your child can write suggestions and ideas for science projects that week. Not only will this make your child interested in the project, it also makes them look forward to the time you set aside for science projects. Choose a project which you understand, and which your child will want to learn.

    2.     Make it feel like homework

    Don’t stress on the fact that you are doing a science project. Make it something fun to look forward to. Do it with their homework so that you know what your child is doing at school, and can choose a project that goes along their lessons. This fosters better understanding and intrigue for the topic.

    3.     Set a fixed day every week

    Decide on a specific day of the week where you can spend enough time to go through the science project and explain everything related to it. Make sure you have sufficient time so that your child doesn’t feel that you are too busy for them. You could perhaps set aside one to two hours a week, as it’s more than enough time to work on the project and even get other things done.

    4.     Involve the family

    Why not make the science project a family affair by discussing about it over dinner? This gives you quality time with your family where you have a reason to sit down for a family dinner every week. You also have a topic to start a conversation and have some fun over dinner!

    See? It’s not so difficult making weekly science projects a part of your routine!  Just follow these 4 tips, and you will soon be making quite a few projects with your child!




  • Welcome to the new site!

    I know all the old bookmarks, and even new attempts to reach us probably didn’t work for about a week or so.  And that’s one of the reasons changing things was put off for so long.  But I just couldn’t wrestle with the old format any longer.

    So here we go … on a new journey with a new platform and lots of new help to keep it fresh and up to date for you all.

    In fact, I would like to invite you to participate.  In the upper right hand corner you’ll see a “Contact Us” menu item.  You can click on that and say hi if you like, but if you hover on that you’ll also see you can request a topic for us to write about (or an experiment to do) …  or you can actually write about a science topic, project you did or an experiment you performed yourself and submit it to us for review and posting on the site!

    And I welcome your comments, questions and participation every step of the way with blog comments, by contact form or with written content you would like to see published.

    Again … we’re glad you’re here and welcome to Science!

    We’ll do our best to show “how things work” …