Learn something new everyday:

Tying the Knot on Anatomy—Knit Anatomy Creatures

Have you ever thought that sheep eyeballs and frogs were a bit much to sacrifice for the sake of 12-year-olds learning science? Don’t worry; we thought the same. That’s why we can skip the formaldehyde and get the experience of anatomy through a different medium—knitted dissections.

 

These fun toys can replace the gooey, uncomfortable mess of dissecting animals, especially when not all children have the stomach for it. Not only that, but younger children can experience and play around with anatomy at a younger age. Why inhibit your child’s ability to explore the human body until they are well into their schooling years?

Emily Stoneking is the creator of these kits that can be put together yourself, calling her kits aKNITomy. All of the pieces in the collection are completely knitted, safe from strange smells, things that ooze, and a sore sight on the eyes. Stoneking has taken a lot of time herself to research anatomical structures in the human body and in different animals’ bodies, in order to make her dissections more realistic. Even if you are not partial to your memories of dissecting the frog, she also creates an alien (human) dissection, which can all be found on her Etsy page.

 

The kits have been reviewed by science teachers as being very detailed, and very reliable—all the pieces mentioned were in the kits in order to make the knit anatomy masterpiece yourself. The initial dissection of a frog can shock many students, and turn them off to the idea of any biology-related career. Instead of pushing these students to get their hands dirty in something they would rather not participate in, these knit kits can be the perfect alternative to maintain positive feelings towards science and biology in high school.

 

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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3D Printing the Living

3D printing, with all of its new marvels and creations, has given us amazing wonders to keep our eye upon. Many 3D printers can make almost anything out of some metals or plastics. However, there is a new type of printer that is much more earth-friendly, for it can 3D print the earth itself, or, plants upon the earth.

 

The project that began the eco-friendly printer was Project PrintGREEN, which has aimed to create on-demand gardens by creating living prints. The “ink” of the machine is where the real magic happens; it is made by a combination of soil, seeds, and water, which can print in the shape of any form or letter. These forms then sprout the desired plants, flowers, or grasses from their shapes. PrintGREEN cleverly uses the slogan “Print, because it is green” as a counter remark to printing on excessive amounts of paper that are often wasted or not recycled properly.

 

Though this project is not entirely cloning and recreating plants, it is amazing that technology has come so far as to print living organisms. It does make one wonder if the future of 3D printing will have any connection with the technology advancements for cloning as well.

Students of the Faculty of Education Maribor, in the Department of the Fine Arts, worked and created this project. They described one of their projects in detail and the symbolism behind it from its combination of technology, art, and nature. The students shared their view on creating the living design of the “Grass Bowl.” This is a structure that was printed with soil, and turns green with time and the growing of grass. This gives new meaning to the idea of “watching the grass grow”, and pushes us to keep our minds jogging about the combination of technology and nature.

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Girl Invents a Tool To Communicate With Dog Away From Home

Sometimes, you make commitments in your life that are hard to keep up with as other demands in life take over! One of these may be the care and love of your pet at home, specifically, a dog. And though your fuzzy friend may be missing you, you may miss your time spent at home cuddling with your buddy.

 

This is exactly what thirteen-year-old Brooke Martin was thinking when she pushed herself to think of ICPooch. Martin, who resides in Spokane, Washington, started thinking of ways that she could video chat with her dog, Kayla, when she wasn’t home. Not only did she miss time spent with her dog, but the demands of growing up prevented her from spending as much time at home. This caused Kayla do develop symptoms of canine separation anxiety, characterized by depressed attitudes, being more destructive, and misbehavior.

Because of this, Martin invented ICPooch, a device that is connected to a smart phone or tablet for video chatting, and can also dispense dog treats to your dog. The video chat is automatically answered by ICPooch and is works through your at-home wifi. The dog can see you and hear you, and you can also see and hear your dog. The treats are dispensed by your choice to send a treat through an app.

 

The ICPooch is perfect for when you’re on the go and want to remind your dog that they are loved, even when you are on the go or away for a weekend. Martin reported that she saw great difference in Kayla’s activity and behavior after their practiced use of ICPooch when they were gone.

Brooke Martin’s simple yet clever invention is giving great headway for young adult inventions and use of science. Just from this project alone, Martin got to experience what it was like to build prototypes, manufacture and patent her product. She has since attended start-up events, given her pitch speech in under one minute, and selected for the 1st-runner-up in the national Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

 

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Intricate Cut Paper Windows by Eric Standley

Eric Standley’s cut paper windows, which are colored and cut in similar ways to stained glass, capture what the infinite must look like. These windows are carefully crafted with the sinewy laser cut pieces of paper, which are intricately weaved and laid, layer after layer, into a frame, forming beautiful and mesmerizing works.

You can tell from Standley’s work that he had to be greatly influenced by the geometry of gothic and Islamic architecture. Instead of the massive weights of glass and stone to make stained glass murals in windows, Standley has taken laser cut paper to replicate these marvels.

 

How he does it, you ask? For starters, Standley will sometimes use over 100 layered sheets of paper, proving how time-consuming the process is. There are usually months of drawing, planning, and assembly involved. Drawing each layer individually in vectors, Eric then cuts each piece of paper with a high resolution CNC laser to create the stained glass paper. This allows for the cutting to happen with precise detail.

 

The drawing process is usually finished up on the computer with the use of vectors, allowing Eric to see his focal point and negative space clearer, therefore giving him insight on how it can be filled.

 

Eric is an associate professor of studio art at Virginia Tech. His artwork is currently being displayed at CODA Paper Art 2015 and at MOCA through August.

 

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Repurposed Doors Make an Entrance on Belgium Streets

On the streets of Belgium, there is a new take on street art that has not before been seen. Instead of spray-painted signs, jokes, and people playfully splattered throughout the city, like in the works of Banksy, artist Stefaan de Croock used wooden doors! Croock is a Belgian painter and sculptor who began working with repurposed wood panels, including doors, in his work to add a new touch to his wooden street art sculptures.

 

What is unique about this style of street art is it repurposed form, its three-dimensionality, and the warmth and respect it may bring as a piece of street art with more acceptance. As compared before, most of the works of Banksy were questioned whether they were considered street art because of the graffiti-looking nature of them. However, Croock’s wooden door work has broken the barrier of confusing street art and sculpture by creating a beautiful accepted piece.

Croock’s series is entitled “Elsewhere”, and he partnered with with his 69-year-old father Mechelen Muurt.

 

The mural renders geometric shapes that are pieced together like a puzzle, forming various silhouettes and figures of people. The wooden doors have their original scuffs, paint, and texture. Croock mentioned that he likes to work with the repurposed wooden doors because “it’s like a footprint of time.” Each character and piece of artwork speaks for itself through the textures and colors of each door used in the piece; these work together to inspire emotion and draw forth a character and meaning for each silhouette.

 

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

 

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Comic Cups--A Fun Way to Dine

We have all used a small paper Dixie cup from time to drink for a quick drink, but what if you took a paper cup with style? Perhaps a teacup and saucer combination out of eggshell-thin pieces of century-old comic books paper is more your cup of tea! If so, you’re looking at the right creations!

 

Cecilia Levy has crafted just that—teacup and saucer combinations made out of old comic strips, such as Spiderman. Not only does she make teacups and saucers, but also bowls and plates, transforming two-dimensional materials into a nostalgic three-dimensional experience. Levy describes her process, saying that she starts with tearing out the pages and then re-forming them together in the shapes she chooses. As she puts it: “The story lives on, but in a different shape.” These fun kitchenware pieces are a great piece for a collection, or a fun gift for some old comic strip lovers or superhero fans.

 

Levy’s main comic strip series focuses on Spiderman for the most part, telling the story of the web-slinging hero through sips of tea and bites of a snack off of her upcycled kitchenware. Levy’s creations started out at papier-maché in 2009, which a new experimentation for her since she has a background in graphic design and book-binding. She was commissioned to make the Spiderman series for the children of the Uppsala preschool and library, which were fun, more layered, and more colorful than some of her other pieces. The captivation and interest of a comic book series is not lost through these new pieces of art, but rather draw in people for their new three-dimensional form and new unique way of telling a story.

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Adult Artists

Between the craze of new books spanning from Go Set a Watchman to Paper Towns (before the movie comes out), there is still one book—with much less writing—that is still hitting Amazon’s top-selling charts. And this book has nothing to do with reading; rather, it is the adult coloring book rendering beautiful intricate creations of The Secret Garden.

Johanna Basford, the creator of this coloring book, is slaying book preferences from her hand-drawn pictures of flowers, garden scenes, and other peaceful nature settings, selling 1.4 millions copies worldwide so far. Basford’s idea of a coloring book just for adults is hitting home with some other creators too, such as Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom and Richard Merritt’s Art Therapy Colouring Book.

 

Part of the desire to jump back into coloring books as a grown adult is the meditation and therapy aspect that art can provide for many people. In these books, someone does not have to become frustrated with their lack of talent in an art therapy session. Rather, the drawing comes to life through their careful color choice and creativity for each piece. In some of these books, the backgrounds are already colored in, and it is left to the creativity of the drawer to fill in the rest in books such as Creative Therapy. When Basford was questioned about why the coloring books were so successful, she said, “a blank sheet of paper or an empty canvas can be daunting, but a colouring book acts as a bit of a buffer in this situation.”

The relaxation and therapeutic aspect to these coloring books has revived a new importance and appreciation of drawing or coloring, for its creativity, zen, and anti-stress abilities are needed in adults and in children together. These drawings encourage colorers to focus on the whole photo instead of individual pieces and parts of each drawing, inspiring us to think of our lives in much the same way.

 

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Girls, Meet Jewelbots

“Girls love expressing themselves through customization,” says Sara Chipps, co-found and CEO of Jewelbots. This company has the incredible goal in mind to finally begin to break barriers between the STEM career path and girls, starting their interests with science, technology, and engineering at a young age. How they plan on achieving this? Jewelbots!

 

Jewelbots are a newer invention that is designed to teach girls how to code. It is a fashionable friendship bracelet that can be activated with an iPhone. Once activated, the jewelbot can vibrate in Morse code to send messages to your friends, light up when your other friends are near, or other customized signals. They are open source, meaning that they can use the Arduino ID to change their messages and alerts to what they want, ranging from buzzing when they get a new Instagram follower, or being notified of when their dad is going to pick them up from school.

 

The founders of Jewelbots have pointed out that many kids are beginning to teach themselves how to code for other games, but they wanted to create something specifically for girls to be excited about coding. Jewelbots stand for the idea that girls can be girly, and like STEM career paths too.

 

Based on studies done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field of careers is rapidly growing, and if girls don’t join in on the craze soon, there could be too many job positions and not enough graduates to fill them. There is an estimated 1.4 million computer science positions alone that will be available in 2020. And of these jobs, it would be great to see more women in the field! Jewelbots can be a great way to start infiltrating more coding techniques into young girls, and get them more situated with science and computer related interests.

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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Em-VARK on Discovering Learning Styles

As important as education for a child may be, it is first and foremost helpful to know a child’s learning style. There are four different learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Read & Write, and Kinesthetic, often formed into the acronym VARK. Knowing a child’s style of learning, or even your own, can help one prepare for studying and comprehension in ways that are more useful to you or your child, and therefore save you some time and frustration with learning!

Here are some descriptions of the different learning styles, followed by helpful tips of ways to implement each style:

 

Visual: Visual learners use their eyes and their perception of what they see to guide their learning. They prefer diagrams, images, maps, videos, and demonstrations. These children like to have things shown to them or demonstrated, or can do well with written directions. Organized learning with colors and shapes can enhance memory skills, and eye contact is important for these learners.

            Tips:

            Highlight or color code notes and study materials when possible.

            Use maps, flow charts, or draw pictures of concepts

            Show the visual patterns with grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation

 

Auditory: The best way to exchange information with these students is simply by speaking or conversing. These students don’t mind long lectures or explanations of how problems are solved. Often, these students do better by reading out loud to themselves, hearing directions several times, or by explaining concepts in their own words. Some may excel in music or performing arts, but struggle with reading or writing.

            Tips:

            Use rhythms, jingles, and songs to learn information

            Allow the child to give oral reports

            Tape record the child reading information out loud and replay it

 

Reading & Writing: This has been a newer learning style that has been added. These students learn best through written word, such as writing out concepts over and over, taking thorough notes, and reading novels, articles, and other scholarly work. The prefer word-for-word information that is written out in addition to diagrams or pictures.

            Tips:

            Rewrite notes in the child’s own words from what they remember on their own

            Explain graphs, math problems, and other data with verbal/written explanation

 

Kinesthetic: These students prefer tactile representations of information and hands-on learning. These kids love to move around and are eager to jump in and try to accomplish tasks on their own doing. These children can often be mistaken for having ADHD, but in reality, they just have a different way that they learn. These children are usually very coordinated, enjoy the outdoors, and express their feelings physically.

            Tips:

            Provide an array of hands on learning tools, like clay, crayons, an abacus, blocks, etc.

            Allow the child to play while moving around instead of sitting in a desk

            Use role play to dramatize ideas or have the child pretend they are in the situation

            Use textured paper and different sized pencils/pens/crayons when writing

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

           

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4 New Learning Tools You’ve Got to Get Your Kids Into!

We know that technology has expanded our levels of learning and given us a reach to so many new ways of teaching our kids; however, the expansion of the Internet has also made good learning sites hard to reach—and find! My compiled list includes not only online tools for learning, but products as well, since a balance of online and hands-on activity is essential for a good learning environment. Check out these learning tools!

 

  1. Mindomo—This is an online site that offers subject mapping, or rather, it helps kids lay out their ideas, topics, and subtopics to go along with it. They can also hold different media types, such as YouTube videos, photos, and additional notes. These “mind maps” can be collapsed, expanded, focus on one section only, and shared with friends via email. These flowcharts get the creative juices moving and inspire kids to look deeper into their topics they have interest in!
  2. Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Smart Screen LaptopThis toy gives way to playful use of electronics and the “internet” before the age of one! With this faux computer, children can press buttons that will show shapes, letters, numbers, colors, or object names, based on the setting. The baby computer is bilingual as well, so you can begin to teach your child English and Spanish from a young age!
  3. Brainbox STEAM Games: Set of 4—This collection of boxed games have just what you need to get your child interested in subjects such as science and nature, math and inventions, art, and technology! Each game is a memory booster on facts about each subject. Players study the cards with the facts and then try to remember them to answer the same blank questions on the back of the cards.
  1. TILCO’s Educational Shower Curtains—Spice up your bathroom with some learning tools in regular household places! These shower curtains have a range of learning topics from SAT vocabulary, several different languages, and math equations. The shower curtain is a fun, subconscious learning addition to your home space.

 

--Jessalyn Kieta

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