Science, Nature and Tech

Get Cracking With Computer Coding for Kids

Kids computing – there’s a lot of talk going on about it right now.  What do you learn about computing in your school?  Are they teaching you how to make cool video games?  How to come up with a story that makes sense, how to make sure that it’s engaging, that there are challenges at each level, and that there’s a reward at the end?  How to build that? 

How to make the bird you toss flop realistically into a pile of whatever you choose – making sure that gravity works the way you would expect it to (or not).  How to craft the graphics you need to tell your story?  How to publish that to your own smartphone and to share it (or sell it!) to friends and strangers? 

Hmmm, I didn’t think so.  “ I’d rather just do some Power Point and Word exercises, “ said no kid, ever.

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Language & Literature

Calling All (Reluctant) Bookworms

Em is a reader. A bookworm. She always has been, and always will be. Some people love to read, but some people don’t. Which are you? Maybe you are nagged by your parents and teachers for not reading enough. Perhaps reading is a chore, part of your homework assignment that you rush through, without enjoying because it has to be done. Would you like to learn to love reading? Em has some tips for you.

I really love reading. I mean, I really love reading. I learned to read when I was 4 years old, and I’ve never really stopped since. I used to amaze adults with my reading – I read classic Greek literature (translated, obviously) when I was 9 years old.

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School & Career

Vet Against The Odds

Hello! My name is Lauren, I’m 22 and I’m at university training to be a vet. Like most vet students I like science and animals, what makes me a bit different is that I am partially deaf in both ears. I wanted to write about what it’s like to go to university and move away from home when you can’t hear properly.

My parents found out I was deaf when I was 5 years old, just after I started school. My sister is also hearing impaired and Mum had inadvertently taught us both to speak properly, which meant that doctors didn’t realize there was anything wrong. When I got older mum told me that she was really worried at the time that being deaf would affect what I was able to do in life, but so far it hasn’t.

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Art & History

What is the Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)?

On  1st and 2nd of November, Mexico celebrates its Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). This is a festival that begins on 28th October and ends on a public holiday on 2nd November. During this time, Mexicans believe that the deceased have permission from God to visit friends and relatives on earth, and once again enjoy the pleasures of life. It isn’t seen as a time of sadness and mourning but as a celebration of life.

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Art & History

Falconry and the Tudors

Falconry and the Tudors

When you write a book that is set in a particular period of history, it is important to get the details correct. This means that writers of historical fiction have to do a lot of research.
The first scene of Katharine Edgar’s novel, Five Wounds takes place on a hillside in sixteenth century England, where her heroine, Nan, is hoping to see her young merlin falcon make its first kill. Katharine had find out all about falconry and the Tudors – the keeping and training of falcons, and other birds of prey.

When I showed the first scene of Five Wounds to some writing friends, some of them asked a question I wasn’t expecting. ‘How rich is Nan’s family? They live in a big house so why does she need to hunt for food?’

Good question!

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