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Curtailing your Kid’s Phone Usage: Good or Bad?

children using phone

Have you ever had one of those discussions with your children: How as kids, you went around running, climbing trees, chasing your friends while playing catch-catch?

Right after which, you see your son spend his summer sitting on the phone or the iPad. And the generational gap hits you in the face like a dodgeball!?

The Phone-age

Much like the Stone-age, where stones were an active part of the lifestyle, if this current era that we lived in had to be given a name, it would certainly be the Phone-age.

You must have considered seizing your kid’s phone because he needs to experience the “real world” more often. However, would that necessarily be a good idea?

Let’s look at both sides of the argument.

The Shortcomings

Here are a few banes of your child having a phone:

1. May result in reduced Social Skills

The more time your kids spend on their phones, the less time they have to interact face-to-face. This is probably hindering their one-on-one social skills.

2. They are susceptible to higher levels of Anxiety and Depression

A study by science daily says that the pressure to be available on social media 24/7 leads to higher levels of depression and anxiety among teenagers these days.

3. May result in reduced sleeping time.

The compulsion to be on the phone, before going to bed, may slowly be infringing their sleeping time. As a result, these kids may actually be missing out on the crucial sleep necessary during their childhood.

Also, it so happens that the light emitted from phones, tablets and computers emit more from the blue region of the spectrum; this triggers the hormone serotonin (which helps us stay awake) and suppresses the hormone melatonin (which helps us sleep).

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This can have a detrimental effect on our child’s sleep pattern, especially if exposure is just prior to their sleep time

4. Increased problems with weight

When children choose to play virtual games on their phones over the rather more traditional games and sports that involve more physical activity, it leads to sedentary lifestyle patterns that hamper their health and can result in increasing their weight and childhood obesity.

5. Decreasing Attention Span

In a study by Boston College, it was found that when the students were kept in a room with both television and computers on, they switched their eyes back and forth every 14 seconds — 120 times in 27.5 minutes.

Clearly, from all of the above, now you would be pretty convinced to not put a phone in your kid’s hands EVER again!

But needless to say, having a phone also has its positive aspects. And, to jump to a rational conclusion, it would only be fair to take a look at the positive aspects of giving your son or daughter that small yet powerful machine.

The Strengths

1. Changing Social Habits

Yes, most of us reading this, value the importance of face-to-face interaction and wouldn’t want it to die. However, it is also true that society is always evolving and there is little that we can do to change that.

Interactions today are moving from real life to virtual interactions and would you really want to hinder your child’s evolution into this rapidly changing society?

2. Communication

Do you really want your son/daughter to miss out on an assignment that was communicated over WhatsApp on his class group? No, right?

As much as your children would use their phone for texting their friends, at the end of the day all they are doing is staying connected. Man is a social animal, after all!

3. Technological Evolution

As quick as it sounds, the world is getting ever closer to the futuristic picture shown in the movie Love Story 2050. And our kids are the vehicle for this digital evolution. By depriving them of a phone in their learning years, you are impeding their smooth landing into this digital era.

4. Infinite Knowledge

Yes, we all can agree that Google and YouTube have content that all the books in the world couldn’t cover! The kind of knowledge that the internet can provide us with, nothing else in the world can, so easily and ubiquitously. Wouldn’t you want your child to know things beyond the textbooks and the courses taught in school?

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5. SOS Scenario

Imagine you are unable to trach your child. In such situation, you can use the GPS tracking on the phone to know that your child is somewhere safe and sound. Hopefully, you’d never have to use this. But the facility is available, just in case. And the emergency dial feature on the phone would also come in handy if your child is in a threatened or dangerous situation.

The Decision

Okay, so now that we have seen a few boons and banes, here’s what we can conclude:

  1. Using the phone isn’t bad, abusing it is. You may want to restrict your kid’s phone use to a certain amount every day. (even the CEO of Snap does it!)
  2. Educating your child about the addictions and making them aware of the harm of overusing a phone would certainly help.
  3. It would help to show them a lot of educational platforms (like ThinkTac) the phone can provide while at the same time, ensuring they make use of it.

Curbing them from using a phone is only going to make them want to use it more than ever! In an article by Psychology Today it has been shown that Scarcity makes everything a lot more desirable.

So, it’s your call to make. Whether you would want your child to be deprived of a phone in their early years and binge on their phone usage later or to have them accustomed to the Dos and Don’ts of a phone from early in their childhood!

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts and inputs in the comments below!

The Science Behind Transpiration: Do plants sweat?

Transpiration in plants

Transpiration in Plants

Transpiration is the loss of water from plants in the form of water vapour.

Imagine, during your summer vacations, you go to play football outside. The Sun is scorching hot. One thing you need right now, more than scoring a goal, is a bottle of water! Any living being for that matter needs the same. Do you think plants also need the same?

Yes, they do.

 

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In fact, the water does not magically disappear from a plant. Plants lose water from them through a process called transpiration. 

Transpiration happens in part because plants need to breathe. Plants need to take in carbon dioxide and to do this, they need to open their stomata. When this happens, water comes out

 

Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from the roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it evapourates to vapour and is released to the atmosphere.

Transpiration Water Cycle

This release of water vapour into the atmosphere, through transpiration, creates a water cycle. It is called the transpiration water cycle. It occurs when:

 

  • The water from the nearby soil is absorbed into the roots due to the hydraulic conductivity of the soil and the magnitude of the pressure gradient through the soil.
  • The water flows from the roots to the leaves. This is driven by capillary action (Capillary action occurs when the adhesion to the walls is stronger than the cohesive forces between the liquid molecules).
  • The water from the leaves enters the atmosphere. The water potential in the surrounding air is lower than the water potential in the leaf airspace of the stomatal pore. Due to this, water vapour from the cells in the leaves enters the atmosphere as water vapuor. This process is known as transpiration.
  • The water vapour in the atmosphere now forms clouds through the process of condensation. 
  • And these clouds of water vapour turn into water droplets and fall back on earth through the process of precipitation
  • This water that falls on the land, is then absorbed by the soil and is used to nourish the plants. 

This cycle keeps repeating and hence, is called the transpiration water cycle.

Tactivity

You will hardly need anything for this tactivity. If you have a broad leaved plant in your garden, then it is well and good, otherwise you can always head to the nearest park and look for the same.

All you need to do is wrap a plastic sheet around the leaf and close it tightly. Wait for a few hours and you will see water droplets inside the plastic sheet, as though the leaf has “sweat” – or  TRANSPIRED – as  shown in the video below:

To learn more about the applications and important concepts, enroll for your course on ThinkTac, where you can get to do live experiments using the materials that come with your package, to understand the concepts better.


We All Have a Puppeteer

Before I disclose who your puppeteer is, I want you to play a game.

No, it’s not you. 😉

You have to stare into your friend’s eyes and whoever blinks first will lose.

With this, one thing is clear,you are not the puppeteer of your own body because you have to try so hard to not blink, despite being the master of your voluntary movements!

Who is the master?

It’s your brain!!

Yes, you have to be grateful to your brain for making you remember where your best friend lives or the dreams that you have when you are asleep, or not being in charge of how often you blink.

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Isn’t it amazing that your brain knows when you are asleep and doesn’t disturb you by making you constantly blink your eyes; or know when you are awake, hence not bothering you to start dreaming?

To sum it up, intelligence, creativity, emotion, and memory are a few of the many things governed by the brain.

Of course, the main factor to be thankful for is that we are alive because of it.

Strings Attached

Now we are going to make a brain model of our own.

The model will make it fun for you to understand the main parts-or-strings- that make us puppets, think innovative things and function in our day to day lives.

Protected within the skull,the brain is composed of the cerebrum,cerebellum, and brainstem.

The brain receives information through our five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. 

Fun Fact: The adult brain weighs 1.5 kilograms(3.3 lbs), on average.

  1. Cerebrum: largest part of the brain. It allows you to move, touch, feel and see.
  2. Cerebellum: coordinates you to maintain postures, muscle movements and balance. It is behind all the amazing yogis and gymnasts that represent our country.
  3. Brainstem: includes the midbrain, pons, and medulla. It acts as a relay centre connecting the cerebrum and cerebellum to the spinal cord. It performs many automatic functions such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature, wake and sleep cycles, digestion, sneezing,coughing, vomiting, and swallowing.
  4. The 4 Lobes of the brain: frontal,temporal,parietal and occipital. Each lobe may be divided,once again, into areas that serve very specific functions.

i) Frontal Lobe

  • Personality,behaviour, emotions
  • Judgement, problem solving
  • Speech
  • Body movement
  • Intelligence, concentration, self-awareness

ii) Temporal Lobe

  • Memory
  • Hearing
  • Understanding language

iii) Parietal Lobe

  • Interprets words
  • languages
  • sense of touch
  • pain
  • Interprets signals from vision
  • hearing, sensory and memory

iv) Occipital Lobe

  • Interprets vision (colour, light, movement)

The brain is an organ that serves as the centre of the nervous system and is the most complex organ in the human body.  The brain is located in the head, close to the sensory organs, such as the eyes.

Now that we are coming towards the end, you may feel happy to realise that the process of understanding this blog was an example of yet another successful puppet show!

1 Tool Away from Improving Your Cognitive Skills

Wonder why some of your friends are faster at grasping concepts in class? 

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Earlier we shared 5 ways to improve your critical thinking.

Likewise, we will share the secret of being the fastest learner in class.

Time to put your ThinkTacap  on.

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Now you must have figured that cognition is merely a reference to memory-ability to comprehend new information, speech and written notes. 

What builds your cognitive skills?

We are constantly in touch with our surroundings,physically and mentally. 

When you are sitting in class distracted, it’s because the learning experience is not able to grab your attention, instead wanting to figure out what the other student outside your classroom is doing seems more fun. 

You may notice that I highlighted learning experience;simply to help you understand why being distracted seemed like a better idea.

For instance, the other kid standing outside your class filling his water bottle and then ending up spilling it all over him by mistake, made you laugh. 

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He grabbed your attention by the activity he was performing. You may have observed how the water was filling up the bottle and the process of mishandling the object (water bottle). 

Now you are willing to share that with your friend,right? You tell your friend in detail what happened and how silly or embarrassing it must have been for that kid. 

Fun Fact: If you recall such an incident, you do have a great cognitive memory. 

Learning The Important 

Wouldn’t your class been more fun if you had an experiential tool to  practically show you what magnetic forces do? 

They can definitely make a frog jump. Yes, try it for yourself and be the whiz kid of class that you are.

Don’t forget to share the cool trick with your friends and teacher too. After all, interacting with people and remembering their face is part of improving your cognitive skills. 


Therefore,  choosing any one experiential tool that can help you understand a concept will not only improve your cognitive skills but also enhance your knowledge and passion for Science. 

Don’t forget to share your innovations with us at bit.ly/2ElCHxj.

The One True Way To Make Learning Fun For Your Child

Fun? What’s that?

After a  long day at work, you come back home exhausted and you just want to sleep. But then you remember that your little one has his homework to do.

With the diminishing energy that you have, you sit with him to do his homework, only to see him apathetic and unresponsive to your attempts at making him study!

Well, if this is the case, then I can assure you, you’re not alone.

The Plague

Education in India is continually found guilty of being mundane and pro-rote methods. We can definitely empathise with our kids on this one, as we ourselves have been victims of this education system. 

Children Studies
Make learning fun for children

The one thing our kids focus on while they sit there “ardently” studying is, when they can go back to play

We have always categorised School and games as mutually exclusive. But, can there be a fun way to integrate the two and give our children the fun they seek, whilst giving them the knowledge that they require? 

The Trick

Yes, the very scarce, yet obvious solution to this would be to integrate the polar opposites of fun and education.

According to a report by Jessica Sanders in her Market Analysis blog, 70% of teachers have seen that implementing games in their teaching aids increases the response they get from students, yet only 18% of them are implementing them.

This is the reason why ThinkTac has come up with a range of fun and games to redefine how schools teach in India.

studying for kids

Benefits of the Integration

I can assure you that the benefits to this integration are endless but here are my top few:

  1. Deep-rooted understanding: When youngsters play a game, they tend to go through the instructions and technicalities more carefully. As they are aware that these need to be recalled at a point later in the game. The perks of knowing the terms and complex jargon are more exciting in a game vs. a mundane Monday morning lesson.
  2. Dealing with Failure:  Games transform the discomfort and mental hurdle that ‘failure’ can create and turns it into an opportunity to master the task at hand.
  3. Increasing the attention span: With the advent of smartphones, the attention span of the younger generation has been on a big decline. With the focus needed in video games, your kid can now have a platform to work on the dearth of his concentration. 
  4. Less to worry: Going back to the point of you coming back exhausted from work, you can now be rest assured that your child is studying wisely and you can finally sleep peacefully!

At this note, I shall leave you with some food for thought. 

When we make play the foundation of learning, we teach the Whole Child.

Vince Gowmon

We also have a really cool competition for your innovative little genius, check it out here.

Theoretical Learning vs Experiential Learning

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TACtivity To Understand Simplicity 

Nowadays, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the kid’s attitude towards Science. 

You might think that it is boring or you simply don’t understand it. 

However, you may realise that declaring Science to be tough is simpler than trying to understand why!

Textbooks earlier said, ‘Man needs air, water, food and shelter for survival.’ Today they might as well say, ‘Man needs air, water, food, shelter and machines for survival.’

We, at ThinkTac,understand this and realise that classrooms need to bring the hands-on experiential tools approach to help you understand better and not fear it.

After all, we like what we understand.

Let’s Understand 

Okay, Junior Einsteins ! To invent, you need imagination and a pile
of junk. 

Yes, that’s how simple it is. 

TACtivity 1

We all are aware of the DIY experiments that we go through every now and then, especially when we have a science project submission to do.  

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However, we are going to move beyond the “memorising without understanding” approach.Y

Don’t run after the A grade, make it run after you. 

If you are in love with music and want to be reminded of your limits every time you play your favourite jam out loud,then making a SPEAKER is what you are going to love. 

TACtivity 2

Yes, we have more!! 

You know how people pull water from tube wells? There was a genius like you behind making it convenient for the people. 

You know what it’s called ? Yes, it’s called a pulley and you can make it on your own now. Also, understand better the process integrated in executing a pulley. 

All you need to do is to be a witness to your surroundings and practise the 3Rs at the same time- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

Do you have innovative ideas of your own? 

Don’t shy away from contributing to the growth of Science.

  Register now for your biggest breakthrough. 

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Road To Innovation

The young India needs to adopt the same approach and enthusiasm like they did for #HumFitTohIndiaFit Challenge, by supporting our country’s “Future Ready” vision. 

You may be wondering that the Fitness challenge was endorsed by A-list celebrities and personalities, in order to successfully spread the message. 

Then how can YOU make a difference?

Let’s not forget that you have the eye as you are the reason why the Influencers are able to influence us, in the first place. 

Be the Influencer

There may be no shortcuts to success, however walking on the footsteps of the renowned Scientist, Albert Einstein, may certainly lead you to your destination.

“The true sign of intelligence is not

knowledge but imagination.”

-Albert Einstein

Final Destination

Don’t worry, it’s not as stressful as the movie. 

Raman Search Institute Trust and ISPF (Innovation and Science Promotion Fund) institutes Raman Young Science Innovator (RYSI) award year after year because we can’t get enough of the young minds taking over the world. 

Today’s science is tomorrow’s technology.

If you think your child has it in you to contribute to his/her Nation and receive the much awaited recognition in the field of Science. Sign them up, now.

Your child’s imagination, can be India’s biggest innovation.

Last time we embraced 8500 registrations from all over India (including rural areas), and 1700 submissions.

There were 114 finalists contributing to the success of these events and motivating us to serve as stepping stones for a developed passion for Science. 

Walk this path with your child and see the sparkle in their eyes when they realize that sky is the limit.

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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Abilities

Remember as a kid when the biggest decision you made was whether to buy that Dairy Milk or that packet of Lays’ with your ten-rupee budget?

From childhood to adulthood – and even right now – we continually create descriptive plans of how to optimum use of the limited money or the precious time that we have.

Did you know that the basic act of doing this is the process of critical thinking?

To break down the Jenga, critical thinking is simply the aggregate of those skills that empower you to think, observe and interpret anything that you sense (see, hear, smell, feel or taste).

Like for instance, when you push off your copy-writing assignment till an hour before the deadline (we do not advise this!), makes you utilise your critical thinking skills to get it done within that time constraint. 

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a single day, for you to foster these skills, you need to be in a steady tortoise race. 

So the question now arises, how do you develop your critical thinking skills?

Five Point Guide to enhancing your critical thinking:

1. All you got is 24 hours

Whether it be Bill Gates, Narendra Modi, Stephen Hawking or You, all of us have the same 24 hours a day. It is essential to channelise your day and decide how and what you will address every day. 

“Time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing.”

– Miles Davis

Along with making you more productive, this also improves your decision-making skills as you’d have to prioritise one activity over another or decide how to fit both into your tight schedule. 

2. Get more Inquisitive

Increasing your curiosity and questioning things around you not only gives you more information but also gives you a lot of perspectives you couldn’t have imagined earlier. 

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A simple trick is to find a statement and cover at least the 4 W’s and an H (How, What, Why When, Who)

For instance, while watching an American TV show, it says “Its 125 degrees outside; we’re burning!”.  You can ask:

  • How can the temperature be 125 degrees?!
  • Why does America still follow the Imperial system?
  • What other countries use Fahrenheit to measure temperature? And so on…

3. Experiment and Experience

Let’s say back in the fifth grade you had to learn the concept of volume and pressure. Would you understand better if you read: a monochrome text print or conducted an activity blowing a balloon?

Experiential learning taps into zones that theoretical or rote learning fails to. It gives the untapped potentials of the mind a chance to shine.

 It is a pot pourri of cognitive, critical-thinking and academic skills. 

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Subscribing to ThinkTac’s Activities is a really good way to hone your experiential learning abilities. And if you think you got it in you to create crazy experiments, get yourself enrolled on this Raman Young Student Innovator Award!

By doing so, you learn and experience something new every day. And in today’s world experience is money.

4. Just One Case a Day

Recently, I was reading this debate about why we study history still, and one of the reasons is so that we learn from it and do not make the same mistakes our predecessors did.

Case Study is one of the best ways to do that. The best way to study cases is – 

  • Step 1: Read up the problems in the cases.
  • Step 2: Think of how you would overcome those problems
  • Step 3: Tally your solutions with what solutions were really made
  • Step 4: Repeat and get better. 

5. Keep Changing Your Shoes

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All of our judgements are impaired by a lot of biases. However, the one way to make the best considered decision would be to think about it from another person’s shoes. 

This gives you a perspective different from your own. And now you can weigh the pros and cons of both and conclude what the best logical decision will be.

I will now leave you with this Ted-Ed video by Samantha Agoos. Do watch it. 

See you on the other side of critical thinking!

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The Secret to Unleash Your Inner Science Maestro!

Can You Master Science Like Never Before?

“Curvilinear motion is defined as a motion that occurs when a particle travels along a curved path, which can be in two dimensions (in a plane), or in three dimensions. This type of motion is more complex than rectilinear (straight-line) motion”

Source

Clueless? Me too.

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Is science giving you a hard time? Well, what if I told you that you could fall in love with this incomprehensible subject?

Back in fourth grade, remember when we were learning about how sound waves are transmitted and we made that device with two cups and a string?

Not only did that make me feel like Graham Bell; but that experiment, it stuck with me. In fact every time I backed up a theory with a practical experiment it really got ingrained in my system.

But then, what did I do differently?


The Big Revelation

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Presenting to you, experiential learning. The practice of learning something by actively doing it and then reflecting upon it. The reason experiential learning is so implementable in scientific study is that it imparts qualities onto its learners.

Qualities like logical thinking, critical reasoning and making keen observations. It helps students unlearn and reorder the conception of any topic, leaving no room for dull, lifeless and rote learning approaches.

Hands-on examples, further benefit traditional science learning as they provide an industry relatable experience.

Once the learning outcomes of any topic are established, they can be implemented through various experiential disciplines. 

Take it Home

Remember the first paragraph on Curvilinear Motion that needed Alan-Turing-like deciphering skills? Well, it can be broken down into the simplest way – using household items like binding wire and springs through experiential learning. 

This video by ThinkTac shows you how:

So, are you ready to get your hands dirty and redefine the phrase “rocket science”?

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If yes, you might want to subscribe to ThinkTac. Not only does it have the best experiential learning DIY kits and tools but it also has videos that teach you the how-to-dos. 

You think you got it in you to create experiments like these? Well enrolling into

this competition is what You need to do then!

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