Wednesday, July 30, 2014

National Geographic Kids 2015 Almanac

National Geographic Kids 2015 almanac
As a National Geographic Kids Insider I get a sneak peek at their new products. Along those lines I recently received a copy of the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2015. The subtitle says it all, "Everything you always wanted to know about everything!".

The colorful book is filled with bold graphics and, as one expect from National Geographic, loads of great photographs of animals and other subjects. It's divided into 10 sections:

  1. Your World 2015
  2. Amazing Animals
  3. Going Green
  4. Awesome Adventure
  5. Super Science
  6. Fun and Games
  7. Culture Connection
  8. Wonders of Nature
  9. History Happens
  10. Geography Rocks
The book is full of fun facts, interesting information, and perplexing puzzles. This soft cover book is not to be confused with an encyclopedia. It runs a mile wide and an inch deep, so to speak. The Almanac covers many topics with brief explanations and hard and fast facts (or factoids). Hopefully this broad exposure leaves kids wanting more. One of my primary roles as the parent of young kids was to expose them to a wide range of things and see what resonated, so we could dive into that.

The bold graphics and mash-up of facts make this book great to read in short bursts, but might be visually overwhelming at first. Whether it's reading about one or two facts a day (would you like to know the list of planned 2015 hurricane names?) or sharing trivia on road trips (or trips to the bathroom), this is a book kids and their parents can pick up again and again.

The book includes 10 free digital extras. That can be accessed via an NG Kids Almanac App for iOS and Android. The bonus content will be available online, too.

I'm going to randomly open it to a couple of pages and share one of the bits from the page I land on.

Page 69, Amazing Animals, "...dolphins can recognize themselves in a mirror and heard sounds underwater that are 15 miles away."

Page 141, Super Science, "Named for the Greek word meaning 'from fire,' igneous rock forms when hot, molten liquid called magma cools. Pools of magma form deep underground and slowly work their way to the Earth's surface."

Page 250, History Happens, "New Zealand granted national voting rights to women in 1893." Key events in US women's history follow on the next page.

There's a little something for everyone in the 2015 Kids Almanac. The book retails for $14.99.

Win a Copy!

My friend Sommer, a fellow NG Kids Insider is giving away a copy of the book. Head over to Green and Clean Mom before August 8 to enter.


I was provided with this book for review. All opinions are my own.


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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What if Special Education Students got Gifted Education Treatment?

When I first saw this post, What if Special Education Students got Gifted Education Treatment, in my Facebook feed I thought, "They're asking the wrong question." After reading it, I see what they did. It's a must-read for parents of gifted kids. Bonus if you can convince teachers or school administrators to read it.

I'm so very glad to have the K-8 years behind us. I will assure you as I was once assured, it gets better in high school. This is not to say it's all smooth running, but it's so much better.

At any rate, go read that article over at Rochester SAGE, Supporting Advanced and Gifted Education. You can also look through the archives at the dozens of posts I've written about parenting gifted children. Local folks should check out the Chicago Gifted Community Center for articles, resources and local gatherings.



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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2014 Finalists Announced

Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2014 finalists
In April I partnered with the Discovery 3M Young Scientist Challenge to promote the competition. We also joined forces for a #STEMchat to share ideas for raising America's next top young scientist. We had such a lively chat that the summary was broken into two parts.

The Young Scientist finalists were announced a earlier in July and, wow, are they an impressive lot! Click through to learn more about their impressive projects. You don't even have to read. Just watch the video summaries.

The students are now meeting with scientist mentors at 3M, tweaking their projects and possibly coming up with new ones in preparation for the final round of competition this fall. Check out their student blog to learn more about life as a young scientist.


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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Meet the Miss Possible Founders. It's STEM Girl Friday!

Meet the founders of Miss Possible Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves
Founded by University of Illinois Engineering students Supriya Hobbs and Janna Eaves, Miss Possible strives to give young girls strong role models and valuable experiences through play. They are currently running an IndieGogo campaign to bring a line of dolls and apps for 5-10 year olds to fruition. The Miss Possible line will feature famous women in STEM with the first doll representing Marie Curie. They plan to add dolls for Bessie Coleman, Ada Lovelace before the end of 2015.

Supriya is a recent graduate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois, and a long-time STEM advocate, especially for women. Janna is a rising senior in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois and has engineering work experience at two major aerospace companies.


On your IndieGogo page you quote Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project as part of your inspiration for Miss Possible Dolls, "You can't be what you can't see,." she said. What role models or mentors inspired you two to study engineering?

Janna: I come from a family of engineers and entrepreneurs. I grew up in an environment where problem solving, experimentation, and creativity were valued.

Supriya: With two chemists for parents, I grew up surrounded by science. I don’t remember a time when I aspired to be anything outside of STEM fields, because that was much of what I saw. My greatest role model growing up was my mother. She has been my biggest mentor, supporter, and cheerleader throughout my life and was a big part of my decision to study engineering.


A doll is great and an app is great. Why did you decide to blend real and virtual with Miss Possible?

Supriya: We thought this was a great way to join imaginative play and education. The doll brings a very human element to the toy, making it easier for girls to connect to the role models. We want them to recognize that this woman was once just like them, and that they could grow up to be just like her. The app takes the connection a step farther. Now that girls recognize these career paths as options, we want to give help them build the skills and confidence necessary to pursue them.




On your Indiegogo page you mention Innovation, LLC,a special dorm for would-be entrepreneurs. What's it like living there? What kind of formal and informal assistance do you receive?

Supriya: Living in Innovation, LLC was great! The best part was being surrounded by other students with similar goals and passions. That meant that engaging conversations could come up in the lounge at midnight or while you were brushing your teeth. The programming was excellent, too. One of the highlights was a series called “How I Failed,” in which successful entrepreneurs would come and talk to us about a time when they failed and how they reacted to it. It took away some of the fear associated with failing as an entrepreneur and showed us that failure isn't necessarily final.

We had access to lots of resources -- books, building materials, 3D printers, etc. -- and the advice and mentoring of Jennifer Bechtel, the program coordinator for the community. She has been one of our greatest advisers and advocates through the process of developing our idea and launching our company. We likely wouldn't have made it this far without her! I hadn't considered entrepreneurship as an option for me until I reached that community, so it made a big difference in my life and career goals.

Janna: My favorite part of Innovation, LLC was the culture. It cultivated an attitude of solving problems rather than just identifying them, and helped connect us with the tools to get started.


Engineering is a pretty tough major as it is. How do you find time to stay involved in your studies and build a business from the ground up?

Janna: We don't find the time. We make the time. You have to do what you love and define your priorities accordingly, which sometimes means giving up a movie night or a few hours of sleep. Supriya and I both pursued engineering because we wanted to make an impact on the world. We could devote all of our energy to academics and really excel in just that area, or we could take some of that energy and throw it into solving a major problem. Which of those is going to get us closer to our goals? It's clear what we chose.



As of this interview, you have 439 contributors and are 38% of the way to your $75,000 goal. What have you learned from your campaign so far?

Janna: This occurred to me today when I was discussing the campaign with a friend. I was lamenting over how far we still have to go, and he, flabbergasted, said, "You convinced more than 400 strangers to give you money. That’s a big deal!" What I’ve personally learned is that a crowdfunding campaign unites strangers in favor of a common goal. For contributors, this isn't just about funding a start-up. This is about inspiring girls to dream bigger, and we have a responsibility to be open and honest about how we are doing it.

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects. A Book Review

making and crafting with duct tape TheMakerMom.com
I received a review copy of the DIY Duct Tape Project Book, Sticky Fingers. Author Sophie Maletsky provides dozens of DIY duct tape projects along with advice on how to make them.

The book starts off with an introduction to making things, or crafting, with duct tape. She's pretty clear on the three basics: a place to work, tape and a good pair of scissors, but she rounds off what would otherwise be a very short chapter with loads of helpful tips. For example, don't use cardboard or a plastic tablecloth as you work surface. She also provides a breakdown of the different brands of duct tape, along with their pros and cons.

Learn to make things with duct tape or duck tape with the book Sticky Fingers

After sharing a few tips on creating a workstation, Maletsky guides the reader through basics, like how to create "duct tape fabric," sticky strips and more, that serve as the foundation for later projects.

Those later projects are broken down by chapters: quick crafts (bows and flowers), wallets, purses and cases, wearables, items for school, and items for home. Fittingly, the book closes with tips on how to use those end bits of tape and even the core of the roll itself.

Speaking of projects, my friend Mary Anne came over while our boys were at the pool. While my younger son was in the process of making plans with his buddy, I told him to relay a message that I wanted the boy's mom to come over for a playdate. "Adults don't have playdates," he replied rolling his eyes.


Oh yes, they do. I had to call her myself, but she came over and made lanyard, a belt and a collar for her dog (alas, it was too small for Tesla to model), while I made us ice cream sundaes and experimented with a (non duct-tape) glow in the dark Frisbee project (coming in another post).




See what else is on The Maker Mom's bookshelf.



Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

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