Thursday, 12 February 2015

C14 robotics team now have a fundraising site!

C14 Robotics, First Lego League UK & Ireland champions, now have a C14 fundraising site to help get the team to the World Festival, USA, 22-25 April 2015.

The team have a lot to raise and a long way to go. I don't like to ask for money, but please give if you can, however little.

For more information about C14 and First Lego League check out the C14 website

Stay updated on their progress on their Facebook page. Every message they've got from you guys has given them a boost, so please do wish them luck!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

C14 Robotics team are UK & Ireland First LEGO League champions!!!

C14 Robotics, a team of home ed teens from Berkshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, have won the UK & Ireland First LEGO League championship! 

From their press release:

"...The nine young budding engineers, now have to raise £10,000 to be able to compete in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) World Festival in April 2015, alongside more than 100 other teams from all over the world. The event is being held in the St Louis, MO, at the Edward Jones Dome, seating more than 70,000 people.
The team comes from Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire and compete as the team C14 Roboticsin FLL, a worldwide competition building and programming a Lego Mindstorms robot to complete a course of obstacles and tasks.

The teenage engineers won their place after being crowned the UK & Ireland Champions at Loughborough University on the 1st February, presented by Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education. C14 intends to follow in the footsteps of the last two UK teams to attend the World Festival, and once again bring back the winners trophy..."

More information about the team and First LEGO League on the C14 webpage . Follow their progress on their Facebook page  

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas is coming! (Apparently)

After weeks of nagging from dd I concede and get the Christmas tree out of the loft. The boys dont care either way. No, correction, ds2 is a willing participant once the 20 year old tree is assembled, but neither of my boys are quite the magpies us girls of the house are.

" Ooo shiny thing!"
" Ooo, another shiny thing!"

 It's no wonder three sets of our 'christmas lights' have remained hung in our house all year round for the past 4 or 5 years.

The shock of being removed from the box is, as usual, evident in the tree's response. I'm always surprised to find it still has needles each year I unbox it.

The gearbox on the van fails and I make Christmas decorations with dd. (There is probably some denial psychology going on there. )

Frugality (is that a word?) rules. Free fabric (from sample books thrown out of shops), buttons from our button jar, stuffing from an old pillow, ribbon from a tat shop at £1 a roll. Looking cute, even if I do say so myself.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Suli Breaks "I will not let an exam result decide my fate"

This was sent out on Facebook and struck a chord with me. So much so that I wanted to archive it here, on my blog, so I wouldn't forget it. If you search on YouTube for Suli Breaks 'I will not let an exam result decide my fate' you'll find several versions. But I love the graphic quality of this one :) Anyhow...I'll let you judge for yourself.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Biology: Eyewitness Science - Experiments on bones

We've been working through the Eyewitness Science Guide: How the Body Works by Steve Parker (Ours is  this edition from 1994). Like many of the Eyewitness guides it's heavy on the pictures and text-boxes, but we like that. 

Some of the suggested experiments in the book are ridiculously involved. I don't mind a trip to Wilkinsons to buy balloons, but I don't want to have to have to learn carpentry. At least not now. It's stuff like this that makes me balk at the more interesting books on my shelves. Was there ever a time when I might have attempted an experiment that required lengths of dowel and marine plyboard sawn to precise measurements?

Right now anything that takes a lot of prep, requires hard-to-obtain materials or requires a huge amount of parental input or time, is unlikely to get done. Sad, but we have slipped into the open-and-go-just-get-'er-done stage.  

We haven't done deliberate, intentional science for ages...For a science-focused household this is a bad state to be in. It needs to be rectified. 

To make the book more manageable I have scanned through, chosen one or more 'do-able' activities from each chapter for the first half of the book. I did draw out a rough schedule, but most importantly I put all the materials necessary for each session/activity in a zip-lock bag, labelled with the session number. Eight sessions' worth of labelled bags and a ready-to-go book with small text-boxes with lots of pictures has meant that for the first time in ages we actually get around to science.

 These are the photos of our 'bones' experiment, looking at how the tightly-packed, stratified inner of the bone adds to its strength.

When the inners (straws) of the bone are splayed, they are weak:

When they are tightly packed and linear, they are much stronger:

Friday, 19 September 2014

East Head Spit: Checking out the geography of the South Coast, August 2014

A few weeks back we took a field trip to the south coast to check out some seaside geographical features. Ds2 will be taking IGCSE Geography next year, so I took him to the same place we took ds1. East Head spit is a great place to see firsthand, a sand and shingle spit, salt marsh and sand dunes.

I confess it was nice to grab my old camera back from ds1 for a while and play with the black and white feature.