Science Fair Success in the Making

Our school science fair is just around the corner. It’s a fun and exciting time for everyone, and gives us as parents and teachers a chance to really see the creativity of our children.  Much time is spent in teaching skills for success – skills that apply not only to this event, but to many other real-life circumstances in the future.

If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of the free ebook, 10 Insider Secrets to Science Fair Success, go to classroomkeys.com, fill in your name and email address and it will be sent to you immediately.   It will show you step by step what judges are looking for, and how to give a project a leading edge.   You’ll learn about how to take a common idea and make it into a winning one, and what’s important to include in a project’s presentation. You’ll find things here that definitely don’t show up in regular science fair project books.  And, for those students who will be representing our school at the regional fair, these tips are a must.

Check back here soon to meet our Science Fair winners and see a few pictures of their outstanding projects.  We’ll give you an update about them in a few days.

And if you have the chance, come visit our fair live and in person.  It will take place this coming Thursday, March 12 throughout the school day.  You may just be amazed at what you see!

Free Islamic Books for Kids

“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)” Holy Qur’an 96:1 (Al-Alaq:1)

Reading is an important part of our lives.  It opens the doors to knowledge and allows us to experience things that, in some cases, cannot not be experienced any other way.

Finding books that are rooted in Islam and that are well-written and interesting for our Muslim children can sometimes be a challenge.  But Harun Yahya has produced many that not only provide an Islamic foundation, but a scientific one as well.

If you haven’t explored his material before, you have a chance right now to do so.  He has made several of his books available for free download online at Truths for Kids. These are full-length, illustrated books that are wonderful for sharing with your children.

These books can be downloaded as text or pdf files, whichever format suits you best.  And, if that’s not enough, they’re available in many languages including Arabic, Farsi, Albanian, Dutch, Indonesian, Turkish, Spanish, Polish, Malay, French, Bosnian, Russian and Swahili!

Here are some of the titles you’ll find:

Stories for Thinking Children 1

Stories for Thinking Children 2

Miracles in Our Bodies

Wonderful Creatures

Wonders of Allah’s Creation

The Glory in the Heavens

Enjoy!

By Sonia Dabboussi

World’s Top 10 Most Polluted Places

Pollution and Children Dont Mix

Pollution and Children Don't Mix

Where toxic pollution and human habitation collide with devastating effects

1. Sumqayit, Azerbaijan—This area gained the dubious distinction of landing atop the Blacksmith Institute’s list of the world’s most polluted sites. Yet another heir to the toxic legacy of Soviet industry, this city of 275,000 bears heavy metal, oil and chemical contamination from its days as a center of chemical production. As a result, locals suffer cancer rates 22 to 51 percent higher than their countrymen, and their children suffer from a host of genetic defects, ranging from mental retardation to bone disease.

“As much as 120,000 tons of harmful emissions were released on an annual basis, including mercury,” says Richard Fuller, founder of Blacksmith, an environmental health organization based in New York City. “There are huge untreated dumps of industrial sludge.”

2. Chernobyl, Ukraine—The fallout from the world’s worst nuclear power accident continues to accumulate, affecting as many as 5.5 million people and leading to a sharp rise in thyroid cancer. The incident has also blighted the economic prospects of surrounding areas and nations.

3. DzerzHinsk, Russia—The 300,000 residents of this center of cold war chemical manufacturing have one of the lowest life expectancies in the world thanks to waste injected directly into the ground. “Average life expectancy is roughly 45 years,” says Stephan Robinson, a director at Green Cross Switzerland, an environmental group that collaborated on the report. “Fifteen to 20 years less than the Russian average and about half a Westerner’s.”

4. Kabwe, Zambia—The second largest city in this southern African country was home to one of the world’s largest lead smelters until 1994. As a result of that industry, the entire city is contaminated with the heavy metal, which can cause brain and nerve damage in children and fetuses.

5. La Oroya, Peru—Although this is one of the smallest communities on the list (population 35,000), it is also one of the most heavily polluted because of extensive lead, copper and zinc mining by the U.S.–based Doe Run mining company.

6. Linfen, China—A city in the heart of China’s coal region in Shanxi Province, Linfen is home to three million inhabitants, who choke on dust and air pollution and drink arsenic that leaches from the fossil fuel.

7. Norilsk, Russia—This city above the Arctic Circle contains the world’s largest metal-smelting complex and some of the planet’s worst smog. “There is no living piece of grass or shrub within 30 kilometers of the city,” Fuller says. “Contamination [with heavy metals] has been found as much as 60 kilometers away.”

8. Sukinda, India—Home to one of the world’s biggest chromite mines—chromite makes steel stainless, among other uses—and 2.6 million people. The waters of this valley contain carcinogenic hexavalent chromium compounds courtesy of 30 million tons of waste rock lining the Brahmani River.

9. Tianying, China—The center of Chinese lead production, this town of 160,000 has lead concentrations in its air and soil that are 8.5 to 10 times those of the national health standards. The concentrations of lead dusting the local crops are 24 times too high.

10. Vapi, India—This town at the end of India’s industrial belt in the state of Gujarat houses the dumped remnant waste of more than 1,000 manufacturers, including petrochemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. “The companies treat wastewater and get most of the muck out,” says David Hanrahan, Blacksmith’s London-based director of global operations. “But there’s nowhere to put the muck, so it ends up getting dumped.”

Shahnaz Zafar

Science Fair Secrets

Youll want to read to the end...

You'll want to read to the end...

Glue.  Paint.  Sticks.  Cardboard.  Tape.  Aluminum foil.  Wires.  Hot glue.  Batteries.  Lemons.  Paper.  Wood.  Wood glue.  Markers.  Tubing.  Water.  Syringes.  Crazy glue.  Or, by this point is it just plain crazy?

One of the most challenging things for both parents and teachers is getting children to do excellent projects.  Not just put-a-bunch-of-stuff-together-and-use-four-kinds-of-glue-to-get-it-to-stick kinds of projects, but the ones that really allow them to learn something and stretch their thinking skills and imaginations.  Which ones accomplish this goal, but usually with a lot of stress, an expanding expense, and time that extends into the wee hours of the morning?  The king of all assignments – the Science Fair Project.

An exciting letter goes home with the children outlining the judging criteria and explaining when you can see all of the great things the students have done.  It sounds wonderful, but you know what’s coming.   No one can fool you.

As soon as someone mentions the dreaded words “Science Fair” a rock somewhat the size of Tennessee begins developing in the pit of your stomach.  (Is it igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic, I wonder?  Hmm… a project in the making perhaps?)  You automatically start thinking of items you can cut from your grocery list so that you’ll still be able to afford to feed your family while the masterpiece is in progress.  And you start wondering when you’ll be able to fit in a few afternoon naps so that you don’t fall asleep on your desk at work.

In all honesty though, Science Fair projects can really be quite astonishing.  As a former science teacher and an avid Science Fair coordinator and fan, it always amazes me what young children can do when they set their minds to it.  Did you know that there are actually people from big companies and organizations who scout out the projects at local Science Fairs to gather ideas for improving their own businesses?  That’s the power of creative thought in existence there.

But for those of you whose hands shake nonetheless as they read the school letter, or who have committed to the colossal task of helping their children become better people, or even who just love taking pictures of their children holding awards and wearing gold medals, there’s something coming for you.

As with anything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.  There is an easy way and a hard way, an effective way and a not-so-effective way. I’m guessing that if you had the choice you’d pick the right, easy, effective way, correct?

Now’s your chance.  There are secrets that the Science Fair insiders likely don’t want you to know because it makes their judges jobs ever so much more difficult.  But if you come back soon I’ll tell you them anyway.

Just keep your eyes peeled and check back often on this site.  You will definitely want to have this…

By Sonia Dabboussi

How to Fix a Scratched CD………..

Don’t throw out that scratched disc yet!

Try fixing it with a small dab of………..CAR WAX or COLGATE Toothpaste (the white one not the Gel)!!!!

That’s right, and here’s how to do it :

1. Spread a cloth on a flat surface and place the CD on it.
2. Then, hold the disc with one hand, use the other to wipe the polish onto the affected area with a soft cloth.
3. Wait for it to dry and buff using short, brisk strokes along the scratch, not across it.
4. A cloth sold to wipe spectacles or camera lenses will work well.
5. When you can no longer see the scratch, wash the disc with water and let it dry before playing.

By Shahnaz Zafar

Ibn Al-Haytham: The Father of Optical Science

Optical Science

Optical Science

Ibn Al-Haytham is a very religious Muslim scholar and a physicist who created theories as well as many discoveries in the field of optics. He was extremely intelligent and very advanced for his age, and his discoveries have allowed us to advance in physics today.


By Ammal El Assar

Exciting Facts for Science and Social Studies Teachers – Part 2

In Part 1 we explored many innovations brought to us by Muslim scientists and inventors of the past.  Here are a few more items that I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about.

11 Windmill:
The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12 Vaccination:
The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13 Fountain Pen:
The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14 Numerical Numbering:
The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematiciansal-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al- Khwarizmi’s book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah , much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15 Soup:
Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas – see No 4).

16 Carpets:
Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam’s non-representational art. In contrast, Europe’s floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were “covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned”.
Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17 Pay Cheques:
The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18 Earth is in a spherical shape?
By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40, 253.4km – less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19 Rocket and Torpedo:
Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting and a torpedo – a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20 Gardens:
Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

By Zafar Momin