Children and Kids articles catalog
 

 

Preparing Your Child for a High-Tech Future - By Sue Sato

Every day we?re preparing our children for their future. Every day we?re teaching them lessons on topics ranging from personal relationships to bank accounts. But when it comes to their future professional lives, are we giving them the skills they need to succeed? With ever-changing technologies and business ideas that come and go, it can be a daunting task.

We know that critical thinking, leadership, and communication skills will serve our children well regardless of the path they choose. But how do we foster these skills from an early age?

Struggling through

No matter the age of your child, it can be difficult to watch him or her struggle through a problem without interfering. Unfortunately, this is one of the best ways to foster problem-solving skills. Whether it?s a two-year-old trying to get into her toy box or a teenager organizing a carpool, important problem-solving techniques are applied and confidence is gained with success.

Let?s take the example of the toy box dilemma. The two-year-old is trying to get into her toy box, but it?s covered with stuffed animals and books. At first she?ll try pulling on the lid and become frustrated when it won?t immediately open. But if she stops to analyze the problem, she?ll see that she has to remove what?s on top of the box. This exercise in self-sufficiency will make her proud and confident.

Home activities

At the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, Calif., we?ve developed programs for visiting groups of students that foster critical thinking, problem-solving and communication. One of our activities asks the students to write instructions on how to put together a 3-D puzzle ball. This exercise can easily be replicated at home. Here?s how.

Puzzle your way to problem-solving

Begin by using a 3-D or brainteaser puzzle for older children (fifth grade level or above) or a jigsaw puzzle for younger children.

The object is to write exact directions for putting the puzzle together. Emphasize that every step must be captured in the directions. It is best to start with the 3-D puzzle intact and have the children observe and write down directions as they take it apart. Directions for a jigsaw puzzle might start with, ?Turn over all the pieces with the picture side up. Sort the corner and edge pieces and then sort those pieces by the colors red and blue. Try connecting the different blue pieces with the flat edge at the top.?

An online jigsaw puzzle such as one on the Intel Museum Web site at www.intel.com/intel/intelis/museum/teach_learn/puzzles/puzzles.htm may also be used for this problem-solving task. In this case, the children?s directions might include instructions like, ?Point to a puzzle piece with your computer mouse, press and hold down the left button on the mouse, and ?drag? the piece to its proper place.?

When your child is done creating instructions for his or her puzzle, follow the directions exactly yourself and try to put the puzzle together. Note where you are confused or where you feel details are missing.

Explain to your child that computers work because someone wrote directions for them to follow. Computers don?t ?think? or make assumptions like humans; they can only follow the directions.

Become your child?s robot

It may be your worst fear to have to do exactly what your child tells you, but in the following case, it will teach him or her about precision and communicating instructions.

Have your child write down the instructions a robot would follow to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your kitchen. The directions should include how to find the contents and what to do with them. Emphasize that every movement must be detailed or else the robot won?t make the sandwich correctly. When they are done, you become the ?robot? and follow the directions word-for-word, even if it means you never take the lid off the peanut butter.

Introducing technology

These activities help children identify relationships among objects, distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, and sequence and prioritize information. In addition, they introduce the basic concepts of computers and the chips that power them. Technology is an excellent way to teach problem-solving and critical thinking, as they are necessary components for technological advancements. Inventions come from , analysis and problem-solving.

Take Advantage of Outside Resources

As parents look for resources and activities to keep children stimulated and learning, they should consider the various outside resources such as museums, state parks and libraries. Many of these organizations offer free programs designed specifically for child development.

For instance, at the Intel Museum, we foster critical thinking skills by introducing complex concepts of science and technology in fun and entertaining ways. The museum?s brightly colored, interactive exhibits explain how microprocessors have evolved, how they work and what they do, creating, what we hope will be an unending curiosity about technology.

You can bring the learning home through high-tech gifts and gadgets, including the 3-D puzzle ball mentioned above, sold in the Intel Museum Store. Best of all, admission and parking are free. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, excluding holidays. More information can be found at www.intel.com/go/museum or by calling (408) 765-0503.

Parents are constantly teaching lessons that contribute to their children?s future success. Focusing on problem-solving, technology and critical thinking will serve them in many aspects of their lives as they face an increasingly high-tech future.


Sue Sato conducts school programs at the Intel Museum and is a mother of two children.

It Is Here - By Punkerslut

 

It Is Here

By Punkerslut

Dedicated to Jacob Emptypockets, a good friend if there ever was one

[Author`s Note: Written Monday, March 17, 2003.]

And what will they find when they excavate into our experiences, our memories, the result of our inspiration, manifesting itself in our art and literature, our culture and the tone in which we approach everything. Beneath the bedrock of our personalities, as anarchists and revolutionaries -- writers and painters -- creatures and beings -- when they dig beneath the philosophy imbedded in our books and published in our independent presses, and they want to know. When they do this, they will find every reason that we are who we are, that we oppose the things we do, that we stand in defense of those we do. Reason is a powerful thing, and every authority will oppose it -- they will offer as many obstacles to it as much as they love their power. While their ability to imprison, torture, and kill is constantly used as a means to their end, they will forever be envious that the pen can incite a thousand swords, that humane philosophy can conquer the vicious beast of cruelty.

The reasons, as many as there, as simple as they foundation they are implanted upon, are there. For centuries they have struggled under the shadow of authority. Secretly, a few have found them, and desired to bring them to the light. Anarchy is a wheat-pasted poster on an abandoned building, calling to arms every worker with the slogan, "What time is it? Time to organize!" It`s in the sweat of every protestor who suffered the malignities of police brutality; it`s in the blood of every worker who was dismissed from his job because of work with independent unions; it`s in the tears of every individual, feeling more and more helpless and this world seemingly grows more arrogant and more inhumane. Anarchy is in the dreams of those who have wished to escape the slavery of the clock. It is imbedded in every just cause, the sole principle of every liberation movement. It is the belief that those who live in a society ought to be the ones who guide it, that those who work in the factories ought to be the ones who own and run them.

What will they call it, when the seething emotions of despair and hopelessness rise to the top, and individuals start doing what they want, refusing and resisting at every cost? What will it be called, when workers start to share a fair share of income, when whatever laws that are passed are passed by the public? What will this be called? When every tyrant has been deprived of every resource, when the angel of mercy is left holding a broken chain, when the exploiters of society must move on because their ventures have become too troublesome, where no children must suffer from debilitating disease because they are afflicted with malnutrition When community means something more than a shopping center, and education means something more than a high school, and government means something no more When the star we have all wished upon finally flickers back, when the sighs whispering for a fair life finally go in unison, when we finally see something more than a reflection when looking into the pond of the fu ture, when life is not just a travelling through the forest at night alone, when the oppressive regimes have been dismantled with the tool of the people When true Democracy reigns, on principle and not on outcome, what will they call it? Anarchy.

I am an Anarchist, because I believe that no man has any intrinsic right over any other man. I am an Anarchist, because I believe that every man should be given the right to govern themselves, and that if a man is incapable of governing themselves, that they must be equally incapable of choosing another person to govern them, as they would be without ability to know what would be required or needed. I am an Anarchist, because giving authority to one person has always been at the sacrifice of everyone else. I am an Anarchist, and I can count as many reasons as I can count those who are capable of suffering. For every conscious being, there is another black mark against the regime of tyrants. For every individual struggling for air under the net of consumer society, there is another reason why my heart secretly cries -- another inspiration for every word I have given to literature on revolution. The reasons why I am an Anarchist are spread throughout the world, in every oppressed society, in every nation where authority lies within a small amount of people and not with all people.

One day, there will be more of us than them. One day, the workers who have been treated with less regard than the machinery they operate, will revolt. One day, the children of the children of the children of the children, who have been born to do the same as their ancestors: work in gruelling conditions under inhuman supervision and cruelty; one day, these men will read the books leaders have burned, and their soul will drink from the spring of vitality. One day, we will all try to understand before we try to act. Marked on the calendar as today for every Anarchist, this day is a revolution, where the minds of men finally are consistent with their heart`s yearnings -- when the lash and whip are no longer enough sustenance for the individual, when toil and monotony are no longer enough to keep the blood flowing, when obtaining material possessions can no longer deliver happiness

This day is coming, and for some of us, it is already here. The historians of the bourgeoise elite will struggle to understand why we do what we do. The reasons are purely human, purely mammalian, purely animal. Beliefs are the guiding cause behind every action. Liberty. Community. Peace. Justice. Love. These are the causes of why we do what we do. The sincerity of the revolution of our heart must be confirmed by our actions.

The pen that writes the history of our liberation shall be guided by our reasons. If your life in contemporary Capitalism doesn`t satisfy you, then you already have a reason.

Express yourself.

Act. Organize. Protest. Shoplift. Unionize.

For Life,

Punkerslut


Punkerslut (or Andy Carloff) has been writing essays and poetry on social issues which have caught his attention for several years. His website www.punkerslut.com provides a complete list of all of these writings. He is a high school dropout and was homeless and living on the streets of New Orleans for three months, where he served a week in Orleans Parish Prison for the charge of Criminal Trespassing.

Children articles index