Have you heard of the Great Kindness Challenge? I hadn’t, until today.
The Great Kindness Challenge is put on by Kids For Peace, and I learned about it while I walked this morning through the International Non-Profits Fair in Balboa Park. (I’ll blog a little about this inspiring event shortly.) I was really struck by a thoughtful Kids For Peace poster challenging school students to engage in acts of kindness.
What an excellent idea! It seems this reminder to be compassionate, helpful and polite might apply to people of all ages. Sometimes we adults, during our hectic, numbing day-to-day routines, might benefit from a little lesson about the importance of having a warm heart and positive outlook!
Here are just a few of the 50 challenges. These are appropriate for both young and old…
Here are 14 different simple science and engineering projects that kids are sure to love! I’ve included lots of instructions and photographs–courtesy of many exhibitors at this year’s San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo, held yesterday at Petco Park. I also blogged about the event last year.
Check out this fun stuff! Feel free to share! First up . . . how to make slime!
HOW TO MAKE SLIME
Who doesn’t love slime? Slime is fun! And making it is easy! These instructions are courtesy of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who had a fascinating exhibit at the big STEM education event held at Petco Park.
Just click the image with easy directions to enlarge it! You can enlarge the other images on my blog in the same way, if you want a closer look. Feel free to share these useful how-to photos on Pinterest or with your friends, if you’d like!
HOW TO MAKE A FUN PAPER ROCKET
Follow the diagram to cut and fold a simple paper rocket with paper clip! These instructions are courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. Kids love the world-class museum. It’s one of the coolest places in San Diego!
HOW TO FOLD AN ORIGAMI BOAT
Look at these instructions on how to fold your very own origami boat! My friends at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park provided this information! I even once made one! (And if I can succeed, believe me–anyone can do it!)
HOW TO MAKE MATCHBOX ROCKETS THAT REALLY WORK!
Here’s how you can make a tiny rocket that actually works in much the same way as a real solid-fuel rocket. Wrap a single matchstick in a small strip of tin foil, then crimp one end. Look at my photos to get an idea of what to do. Be careful! You know what they say about playing with matches! Have an adult help out!
Oh, I forgot to mention. This cool experiment is courtesy of the Magnolia Science Academy!
HOW TO MAKE AN “AIRZOOKA” THAT SHOOTS CO2 RINGS!
Here’s another cool project I discovered at the Magnolia Science Academy booth. A student had created a simple “Airzooka” that shoots perfect white cloudy rings of carbon dioxide!
The trashcan with a hole part looks easy. To create the membrane that launches the CO2 rings, you’ll need to use a somewhat flexible material, like a plastic sheet. Once the can is filled with gas, just slap it with your hand and out comes a “smoke ring”!
HOW TO CRAFT A FUN PAPER BAG HAT
What can you do with a paper grocery bag? Crumple it up a bit and form a Mad Hatter hat! Use your imagination and maybe a bit of glue!
This crafty idea is provided by the San Diego County Fair. This summer’s fair will have an Alice in Wonderland theme! I can’t wait!
HOW TO MAKE A TINY PARACHUTE
I remember creating one of these when I was a kid. I made my parachute for a toy action figure! Just look at the picture and go to work! Pretty simple!
This parachute was put together by to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The Fleet, located in Balboa Park, is a super cool place with loads and loads of fun hands-on science exhibits for kids, plus an awesome IMAX theater and planetarium!
HOW TO MAKE A SUPER COOL STAR WARS COSTUME!
Okay. No instructions here. Just imagination. That cool costume is actually made of all sorts of Star Wars toys! Incredible. I’m guessing that wicked-looking dude is on the Dark Side.
I believe this guy was part of the STAR WARS Steampunk Recycled Fashion and Engineering Challenge.
HOW TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO BUILD ANYTHING!
What are we building here? Absolutely anything! It just takes some imagination!
Just look at some of the common household items one can use to invent cool things. I’ll bet you have some of this stuff in your own home.
I took this pic at a fun table display in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab tent.
HOW TO MIX UP SOME SNAIL GOOP
Slime…snail goop…boogers…it’s all the same good stuff. At least it’s the same mixture of borax powder, water and white glue. A truly yucky and wonderful substance. Science rocks!
Thanks (maybe) to the Steam Maker Workshop for this gloppy sight.
HOW TO CREATE A 3-D OPTICAL ILLUSION WITH STRING
Here’s a cool experiment that demonstrates concepts in math and spatial geometry. Perhaps imagine that the string is a ray of light. From the “tower”, stretch the string so that it touches each of the four top corners of your cube, and plot where the string finally reaches your piece of paper. Connect those points with lines the way my photographs show, then look at the image from the end of the string! It looks like some sort of weird optical illusion, but you’ll see the result actually makes sense!
This exhibit was provided by San Diego State University’s InforMath Collaborative.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A COOL TENSEGRITY CONSTRUCT
Oh, man! I think you could construct most of this cool stuff with Tinkertoys. Look at the diagrams and go wild! You’ll need lots of rubber bands!
Tensegrity is another science concept that was being demonstrated at the STEM education event. A friendly gentleman explained that the sticks are like bones and the rubber bands are like muscles. So human beings and other critters are examples of tensegrity!
Oops. I apologize for not knowing who put on this exhibit.
HOW TO MAKE A VORTEX CANNON
Here’s a pic that has exact instructions on how to build a vortex air cannon. Looks really easy! (As usual, click the image to enlarge it.)
Uh, oh. I don’t know who created this exhibit, either. I forgot to take a picture with their name. My research got a bit sloppy. Sorry about that. Whoever had this table–very cool!
HOW TO STIR UP LAVA IN A CUP
Finally, I’ve heard of java in a cup. But lava in a cup? Why not?
Adding salt to the floating oil makes the blob sink. It has become more dense than water. When the salt dissolves, the oil rises again!
Those instructions look super simple!
That’s it! You now have a whole bunch of cool and creative science projects to try out! Have a blast!
Hey! Are you a kid? (Or even a boring old adult?) Try starting a blog like Cool San Diego Sights! You can blog about anything in the whole wide world. It’s free and fun! And it’s pretty easy, too!
I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!
Students belonging to Mt. Carmel High School’s very cool Helping Hand Club would like you to help Build a Miracle!
Today I came across a bake sale in Balboa Park. Two very generous MCHS students had a table full of brownies and other treats; they were raising donations for Build a Miracle, a charity that constructs and furnishes homes for needy families in Mexico. Between 1999 and 2014, Build a Miracle has built 185 homes and 3 community centers. They have touched literally thousands of lives, offering hope and a pathway to a brighter future.
Should you wander through Balboa Park and see smiling members of the Helping Hand Club, perhaps you could offer your own hand! Or check out the Build a Miracle website and see if you’d like to help!
I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy more Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!
The Mason Street School was San Diego’s very first schoolhouse. It was built in 1865. In 2015, 150 years later, it’s one of the most interesting sights in Old Town San Diego Historic State Park.
The one room schoolhouse museum isn’t always open to the public. So whenever I walk through Old Town, I eagerly wander past to see if the front door is swung wide. If it is, I amble inside and look about, trying to absorb what life was like in the early days of San Diego.
I remember how the Mason Street School used to contain numerous desks. But they’ve been replaced by plain benches, to more accurately portray where a small number of students from Spanish, American and other diverse backgrounds, grade one to eight, sat together and learned how to read, write and do arithmetic.
Back in the early years of San Diego, school was held twelve months a year. Hours were 9 to 4, but many students would skip school to watch bull fights, fiestas and other exciting town doings. Many children were held out of school by their parents to help on a ranch or farm, or to work in a family store.
San Diego in 1865 was a small, isolated, somewhat ramshackle town. Mary Chase Walker, Mason Street School’s first teacher, wrote when she arrived in San Diego by steamship: “I arrived in the bay of San Diego on the morning of July 5, 1865. It was a most desolate looking landscape. The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen. Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen, this was the worst. The buildings were nearly all of adobe, one story in height, with no chimneys. Some of the roofs were covered with tile and some with earth…”
Mary Chase Walker originally traveled from Massachusetts to California, in search of greater opportunity. While in San Francisco, she learned of a teaching opening in San Diego. After less than a year at the Mason Street School, however, she became embroiled in a local controversy. One day she made a kind gesture to a lady who was part African-American, but many early San Diegans had arrived from the Confederate South and voiced their disapproval. A number of students were removed from the small school in anger. To allow the scandal to pass over, Mary quit teaching and married the president of the school board, early San Diego settler and prominent merchant Ephraim Morse.
It’s hard in modern times to imagine the life and culture of San Diego long ago. But one can get a flavor of that fascinating history by stepping inside the old Mason Street School.
The nearby plaque reads:
MASON STREET SCHOOL
FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOLHOUSE IN THIS COUNTY.
ERECTED AT THIS SITE IN 1865 AND KNOWN AS
“MASON STREET SCHOOL – – DISTRICT NO. 1”
WHEN SAN DIEGO COUNTY COVERED AN AREA
LARGER THAN THREE NEW ENGLAND STATES.
RESTORED BY POPULAR SUBSCRIPTION IN 1955.
STATE REGISTERED LANDMARK NO. 538
MARKER PLACED BY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF
SUPERVISORS AND THE HISTORICAL MARKERS COMMITTEE
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The San Diego Book Project promotes literacy both locally and worldwide. It’s an effort I strongly support. So when I happened to see these folks with a table full of books at TwainFest this weekend, I instantly decided to provide a hand with my blog.
The San Diego Book Project has given away nearly a million donated books! They’re sent to teachers, schools, classrooms and students who might not have the resources to buy their own material. Beyond San Diego’s more disadvantaged neighborhoods, schools in South Africa, India, Peru and the Philippines have also received free books. Life-changing books are also sent to hospitals and prisons, and any not-for-profit organization that actively encourages literacy.
Do you need some free books? Would you like to donate or volunteer? Check out their website.
I wasn’t expecting to write this blog. But I have to.
During this morning’s Ocean Beach Street Fair, I took a few photos of a smiling lady in a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hat. My senses were so dazzled by all the cool sights and activity round about me that I didn’t really notice the important purpose of her booth.
As I left the festival, I popped into the local library to use the restroom. And there, standing behind the front counter, was the Cat in the Hat hat lady! She greeted me–she was a librarian! She had noticed me taking photos.
They’re for a blog, I said. Help us raise a million dollars, she said. I laughed, promised I’d try!
It wasn’t until this afternoon, as I looked closely at my photographs, that I realized she wasn’t kidding! The Ocean Beach branch of the San Diego Public Library really does need to raise money! Check out the poster which I enlarged!
So now I have to keep a promise.
Please help the Ocean Beach public library raise funds for much needed improvements!
While wandering about San Diego taking photos for my blog, I’ve often been privileged to see school students doing really amazing things. From the very young to the college-aged, youth in San Diego are accomplishing more than just learning. They’re creating public art, publishing amazing work, beautifying the community, becoming champions, serving neighbors and people around the world, and working to build a brighter future.
Here are some past blog posts that provide inspiration.