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  • 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!

  • The Amazing Bouncing Egg

    Bouncing Egg Project

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    Fun Egg Bouncing Project

    The egg is the easiest symbol of fragility. You tend to handle it with so much care because they can break easily. If you are seeking a way to make an egg unbreakable and bounce about, this is the experiment for you.

    What You Need:

    • A glass jar
    • Plain white vinegar
    • A boiled egg

    Bouncing egg projectHow to Do It:

    1. Select your egg of choice. It can be a white egg or a brown egg.
    2. Get your glass jar and place your carefully selected egg in it.
    3. Take your plain white vinegar into the jar. Pour it until the egg is immersed completely in it.
    4. With the jar’s lid, cover the jar tightly.
    5. Set the setup aside. Make sure that you place it away from sunlight. Let it stand for an entire day.
    6. After a day, observe the egg.
    7. Leave the setup for a week before you take the egg out of vinegar immersion.
    8. Turn on your faucet and rinse the soaked egg.
    9. Dry the egg completely.

     

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    What happened to the egg after a day? What happened to the egg after a week?

    Bubbles formed around the egg as it stayed in the vinegar. This is a normal thing. The small bubbles become bigger. Then, they rise to the surface of the vinegar. Because of the forming bubbles around the egg, the egg eventually floats. Since vinegar is acetic acid, it reacts with calcium, which is the main ingredient of eggshells. The vinegar decomposes the shell of the egg. At a week’s end, the shell of the egg has degraded completely. The texture of the egg becomes leathery and it becomes bouncy.

    The process behind this transformation is the process of osmosis, which is the movement of liquid through a semi-permeable barrier or membrane. The said movement is from a less concentrated solution to a more concentrated solution. This is applicable to the gases or fluids.

     

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  • YOUR VERY OWN STETHOSCOPE

    Stethoscope

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    Build Your Own Stethoscope

    A stethoscope is an instrument that doctors use in examining sick people. They put the two ends of it in their ears, much like earphones. They place the other end of it on the body of their patients, so that they can check for any unusual sounds. Doctors use the stethoscope to listen to breathing, heartbeat, and bowel movement.

    Did you know that the first stethoscope was invented in 1816 by a French physician named Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe Laennec? He decided to create it when he observed children who were playing with long pieces of wood. The pieces of wood relayed sound from pins that scratch any surface. He then tried it for himself and decided to replace the wooden chunks with wooden cylinders. The name he gave his first stethoscope was “The Cylinder”. Why not create your very own stethoscope like Rene did?

    What You Need:

    • Non-toxic modelling clay
    • 2 funnels
    • A pair of scissors
    • An old garden hose
    • A notepad
    • Pencil or pen

     

     

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    How You Do It:

    *** It takes about 15 minutes to finish this experiment.
    1. Get your scissors and use it to cut a sixteen-inch piece of flexible cylinder from your old garden hose.
    2. Take the funnels and place each on both ends of the piece you cut off. If they do not fit, use your modelling clay to make them fit snugly into each hole.
    3. Place one end of the funnel cylinder on your ear and the other end on your chest. If you don’t hear anything, exercise for about five to ten minutes and try again. Write down what you observe.
    The stethoscope you made is a crude one, so you need to listen to a louder heartbeat. That is why you were told to exercise for a while before you test your stethoscope again.
    This experiment helps you understand how sound is transmitted through closed spaces, which the garden hose represents.

     

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  • Periodic Table

    Hey guys & gals …

    Here’s a periodic table that you can use for your classroom studies and homework assignments.

    Yes, I know there are a bunch out there, but this is one you can print out and use as you need.
    Just right click and save it to your desktop or, go to the top of your browser  and choose FILE and then PRINT in Firefox or in Chrome, choose the three small dots on the right hand side and then choose print.

    Have Fun!

  • Earthquake Compilation By NOAA

    Earthquakes!

    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.

     

    Conclusion

    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!

     

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    Science Dave Comment

    This was a guest post by Lucy, founder of GardenAmbition.com. 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!!!

     

     

  • Soil Erosion Science Project

    soil erosion

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    Soil erosion happens when wind or water carry soil away. This is a natural occurrence, but the process is sped up in areas where the land has been misused. Soil erosion occurs much faster in places where plant cover has been removed because of logging, burning pastures, too many animals, or bad farming practices. In addition to the loss of soil, any agricultural chemicals or other pollutants in the soil are carried into water sources causing damage there as well. The formation of soil from the breakdown of organic matter takes a long time, but that soil can be carried away by erosion in a relatively short amount of time.

    In this experiment, we will discover how the shape of the terrain affects erosion as well as how plants and trees help to prevent it.

    Materials Required

    • 3 foil or plastic pans (at least 8×8)
    • A pitcher of water
    • 6 cups of play sand
    • 16 oz. Styrofoam cup
    • Pencil or pen
    • Paper towels
    • Journal (to record findings)

    Procedure

    Set your 3 pans side by side 6 to 8 inches apart.

    Place 2 cups of sand into each pan.

    Shape 2 of the sand piles into mountains in the middle of their pan. Flatten out the 3rd pile so that the bottom of the pan is entirely covered.

    Make a prediction of what you think might happen if rain were to fall on the mountains and what your think might happen if rain fell on the flattened out sand.
    Write your predictions down in the journal.

    Use the pencil or pen to puncture the bottom of the Styrofoam cup. Cover the hole with your finger and then fill the cup half full of water from your pitcher.

    Holding the cup around 12 inches above the pan with the flattened sand, move your finger and allow the water to trickle out onto the sand. When the cup is empty, examine the sand and record your findings in your journal.

    Repeat the procedure explained in step 6, but this time trickle the water onto one of the pans with the mounded up pile of sand. Remember that the experiment must be conducted exactly the same on all of the pans for accurate results so be sure to fill the cup half full and hold it the same distance above the sand. Watch what happens when the water trickles onto the mountain of sand and record what happens in your journal.

    Take your paper towel and lay it over top of the last mountain of sand. The paper towel represents the brush, grass, and other plants that would grow on a real mountain. Again, fill your cup half full of water and hold it 12 inches above the mountain and let the water trickle out onto the towel covered mountain until it is empty. Record what happened to the mountain that was covered with simulated plant life.

     

    Review your Findings

    Did you correctly predict what would happen with each pile? How did the shape of the sand influence how much erosion occurred? Of your three pans, which one had the most erosion and which had the least?

    You’ll probably notice that the paper towel covered mountain had the least amount of erosion. This demonstrates how the roots of plants help to hold the soil in place and protect it. The roots act almost like glue to hold the soil together so that wind and rain cannot carry the soil away as easily. Without plants, the soil will be carried away much more rapidly.

    Wind, rain and rivers can wear away topsoil quickly as can be seen by the below photos.  And when you finished this project, try some of the others in the Earth Science Category …

     

    River Erosion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wind Erosion

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • How do Temperature and Wind affect Evaporation?

    Evaporation

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    How do Temperature and Wind affect Evaporation?

     

    The water cycle

     

    Clouds form in low pressure zones because as hot air rises it carries moisture with it. This moisture is called water vapor and as it cools it forms droplets of water that join together and cause clouds. Most of the water vapor comes from water on earth evaporating and rising with the air. What are some of the things that cause evaporation? How do wind and heat affect how fast water evaporates? This experiment explores the effects of wind and heat on evaporation.

    Materials

    • 4 kitchen sponges (all the same size)
    • Desk lamp or trouble light with an incandescent light bulb (or any bulb that produces heat)
    • Water
    • An electric fan
    • Measuring cup
    • A journal to record your findings

    Procedure

    1. Write down your predictions about which sponges will dry faster and why you think so.
    2. Take two of the kitchen sponges and pour exactly the same amount of water on each (make sure that you use enough to completely soak the sponges).
    3. Place one of your sponges directly under the desk light (or trouble light) and turn it on with the light source around 8 to 10 inches above the sponge.
    4. Place the other sponge somewhere nearby, but away from the heat source.
    5. Take the other two sponges and repeat step 1.
    6. Place one sponge in front of an electric fan and turn it on.
    7. Place the other sponge away from the fan at room temperature.
    8. Check on your sponges periodically and record how they are drying. When a sponge is dry, record which sponge dried first and how long it took. Keep checking on the other sponges and record your findings as they dry.

    Which sponge dried first? How long did it take? Did heat or wind cause the sponge to dry more quickly? Were your predictions right?

     

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  • Make your own Stalactites and Stalagmites

    Stalagmites and Stalagtites

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    Make your own Stalactites and Stalagmites

    Stalactites and stalagmites are both mineral formations that develop in limestone caves. One comes down from the ceiling and the other comes up from the floor; which is which? A good way to remember is their spelling. Stalactite has a “C”, for ceiling and stalagmite has a “G”, for ground. The stalagmite comes up from the ground and the stalactite comes down from the ceiling. They are both formed when water dripping from the ceiling leaves traces of calcite and as the water evaporates, the calcite is left behind to form a stalactite. When the water hits the floor, the same thing happens and the stalagmite begins to grow up. Over time, the stalactite and stalagmite often grow to meet each other and form a stone column in the cave.

    You can re-create this occurrence in your own home with just a few household products and some patience.

    Materials

    • Two glass jars (pint canning jars work well)
    • A saucer or glass plate
    • Natural fiber yarn or twine (cotton or wool will both work)
    • Epsom salts or baking soda
    • 2 medium sized fishing sinkers or something similar to weigh the ends of the string down

    Procedure

    1. Fill both of the jars with very hot tap water.
    2. Dissolve as much baking soda or Epsom salts as you can into each jar (it may take a lot) until the liquid is completely saturated (won’t hold any more).
    3. Twist two or three strands of your natural fiber together and attach your fishing sinkers or other weight to each end of the string.
    4. In a warm place, set the two jars side by side about 6 inches apart and place the saucer or plate in between them.
    5. Place one end of each string into a jar making sure that at least two inches of the string is submerged and that the string hangs down in between the jars rather than being stretched tight. The lowest part of the string should only be a few inches above the saucer. After some time, the solution from each jar should soak into the string and drip from the lowest section of string onto the saucer.
    6. Check on the jars periodically during the next few days and see what happens.

    What will Happen?

    Over a period of days, the dripping solution will leave behind traces of soda or Epsom salts as the water evaporates and you’ll notice a tiny stalagmite and stalactite beginning to grow. With time, the two may come together to form a single column the way it would in a cave. Your stalagmite and stalactite will be much more fragile than those that form in caves however.

    If you have time, a very similar project is growing your own crystals, and making sugar candy.

     

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  • Demonstration of How Osmosis Works

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    Osmosis is a process in which different concentrations of solutions move through semi-permeable membranes. The transfer occurs from the highest concentration to the lowest. Osmotic pressure is a term used to explain the force with which the molecules transfer from the solution of higher concentration into the solution of lower concentration. Osmosis occurs throughout nature and one example is plants absorbing nutrients through their roots.

    This experiment will demonstrate how the process of osmosis works by using distilled water and a water/sugar solution. The experiment will require about 10 minutes of set-up time and 3 to 4 hours to observe the results.

    Materials Required

    A beaker or a transparent bowl (glass or plastic)
    Concentrated sugar solution (Fill a bowl with 2 cups of warm water and add as much sugar as will easily dissolve)
    Distilled water
    A thistle funnel (a glass funnel which has a calibrated, long tube). Any transparent funnel will work
    Some form of semi-permeable membrane (parchment paper works well)
    Twine or a twist tie (from a bread bag) to secure the membrane to the funnel
    A small clamp to hold the funnel in place
    Food coloring (optional). The food coloring will make it easier to see when the transfer begins to take place
    Journal to record your findings

    Procedure

    Fit a piece of the semi-permeable membrane around the bottom of the funnel and use the twine or twist tie to secure it firmly.
    Fill the beaker ¾ of the way with the distilled water. If you chose to use food coloring, add a few drops to the beaker and stir.
    Turn the funnel so that the covered portion is at the bottom and then fill the funnel about half way with the sugar solution
    Immerse the covered end of the funnel in the beaker of sugar solution making sure to leave a gap between the covered portion of the funnel and the bottom of the beaker.
    Clamp the thistle funnel in an upright position so that it isn’t resting against the bottom of the beaker.
    Use a marker to mark the level of the liquid in the thistle funnel’s tube and allow your experiment to sit for a few hours.

    When filling the beaker and funnel, the beaker can be filled as far as ¾ full, but enough room must be left in the funnel for the liquid level to rise during the course of the experiments.

    Check on the experiment every hour or so and record any difference in the liquid level of the funnel.

    You should notice that the liquid level in the funnel is slowly rising and that the membrane covering the bottom looks as if it is being sucked into the tube of the funnel. The rising level of liquid in the funnel is due to the movement of the distilled water (lower concentration) into the tube of the beaker filled with sugar water (higher concentration).

    A simpler form of this experiment is to slice a potato about into ½ inch thick slices and add a slice to a cup of very strong salt water and another to a cup of plain, distilled water. The potato slice in the salt water will become limp and wilted after a few hours while the slice in the plain water will remain crisp. This is because the liquid from the potato slice in salt water gradually transfers to the area of higher concentration while the potato slice in plain water gradually absorbs water from the cup into itself.

     

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