Do your own science tricks

Just because National Science Week is now finished it does not mean that you have to put science out of your mind until next year. Remember, science is all around us all the time and it is very cool. Without it, we’d be living in the dark ages.

Thought I’d share some interesting tricks that I found in a little booklet that was distributed by SAASTA many years ago. Can you believe that you can wow your friends by making fireworks with a naartjie?

All you need is the skin of a nartjie, a candle (in a holder), matches or a lighter – and maybe you should keep some water close by too – in case somebody gets so excited that they set fire to something.

Remember – whenever you do a science experiment, no matter how simple it seems, you still need to be careful.

Light the candle. Take a piece of naartjie skin and fold it in half while holding the orange (outer) side of the skin a few centimetres from the candle flame.

See what happens… cool hey!

What does happen?

There are many little “bags” containing oil in a naartjie skin. The oil, which is responsible for the specific naartjie smell, is flammable. When you fold the skin, the little bags burst and spray the oil into the candle flame. The end result is a little sparkling mini firework show!

If you don’t have any naartjies you could try this experiment with a lemon or an orange and see what the result is.

Or you could make a flower bloom. All you need is some paper, pencil, scissors and a bowl of water.

Draw a flower on a piece of paper. Cut it out and fold the petals up. Lay the flower on the water in the bowl and watch it open up and bloom.

What happens? The paper gets soaked with water and expands. The petals open and the flower appears to bloom.

You could make all sorts of flowers – for everybody! Try it out.

Science really is fun!

Sibo

Science is Seriously Super!

It is time to celebrate National Science Week again!  This is an initiative that is run nationally and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology. The programmes are managed and co-ordinated by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Awareness (SAASTA) but it is actually implemented by many different service providers.

If you want to find out more about this, please do go and visit the SAASTA webpage .

The theme this year is “Advancing Science Tourism”. There are all sorts of exciting demonstrations, activities and exhibitions happening all over the country.

On the 5th of August – in the Springs Mall – there is an expo on The Science of Paint! It is on from 10am to 5pm and is open to the general public – you don’t have to book or anything – you can just rock up.

This is what you can expect…

Take a walk through the history of paint and learn how the processes have changed overthe years. We will start with Rock Art move on to natural dyes and pigments then oils and water colours and finally on to synthetic paint.

During the activity you will get an opportunity to test the methods of making paint with the end goal of making art. Engaging, fun, and messy – come join us!

For more info you can contact Anthea Moys (info@thecolouredcube.co.za) Tel: 011 021 1177

Sounds like a lot of fun to me – and best of all – it’s free!

Of course, although National Science Week starts on the 5th August and runs for a week – the world is full of science that is all around us, and can be seen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year…. you get what I mean!

We’ve done little science experiments in this blog before – but if you are keen on having some serious fun at home go and visit Arvind Gupta’s website . He is Ginny’s friend and shows you how to make fabulously fun toys from trash (so you don’t need any fancy stuff) that all work on scientific principles.

Of course you can always visit a science centre too. Those are tremendous fun and are open all year round. Not only during National Science Week.

Lastly – if you want to be a space tourist – you can visit our website and read Sibo in Space free for the next week or so.

Science is super!

Sibo

Holiday Fun – Short Story Writing

It’s school holidays again and whilst it is great not to have to get up early on cold winter mornings, I bet some of us are going to get a bit bored somewhere along the line. Especially if we are staying home and our friends have gone away.

When I get bored I like to read. It’s hard to stay miserable if you have a great story to get lost in. If you don’t have any nice books to read you could maybe swop with a friend or even ask your parental agent to take you to the closest library. Libraries are awesome places, full of fabulous things to read and some of them even run holiday programmes that don’t involve only reading but doing lots of fun stuff too.

If you do get fed up and have nothing to do, think about writing your own short story. It could be about anything – your life, your pets, your family or even something crazy that you just thought up in your head.

Remember though, stories have a structure. They have a beginning, a middle bit and an end!

Before starting to write a story, think about the stuff you like to read… probably most people are not that fond of boring old blah blah blah stuff that puts one to sleep. Mostly we find that something that‘s exciting and makes us wonder what is going to happen next is much more interesting. The ones that have us turning the pages in a hurry to get to the end to find out what happens.

Here’s another idea… think about writing a story from a funny point of view.  Just imagine if you were a bath plug… you could write a seriously wacky tale. Or maybe a tree – a tall skinny one that can see incredibly far and has odd wavy branches that point all over the place. Think what fun a person could have writing a story involving all the creatures that live in that tree.

Go nuts and use your imagination. You could illustrate your story too.

Email your stories to sibo@sibo.co.za (or click on the email icon above) and we’ll publish the best ones on Sibo’s website so that other people can also read them. (Keep your story between 400 and 1000 words please. Remember to include your name and age.)

Happy holidays everybody – get your creative writing hats on!

Sibo

Creative Holiday Doodles

Yay! It is holiday time again. If you are looking for something cool to do – try this out. It’s really easy and lots of fun. Plus for once you can do it on your own and you don’t need parental agents to supervise anything.

All you need are: wax crayons, paper and a toothpick.

Start out small first just to see how it works and then work your way up to doing something bigger.

Fold a piece of A4 paper into half and then into half again so you have four little sections. (You can even cut along the folded lines so that you have four pieces of paper.)  If you don’t have any paper you can always use the back of a used envelope or something similar.

Draw up a pattern in the middle of one of your bits of paper. You could draw a diamond within a diamond within a diamond or use circles or squares or flowers or anything you fancy.

Then colour-in the different sections in using nice bright wax colours. Make sure you colour in the whole section of paper. (Have a look at the picture provided.)

When you have finished, grab the black crayon and colour over your already coloured in pattern.

No! Don’t worry – I have not gone mad – it’s part of the process.

Once you have a nice big black blob your sneaky canvas is ready…

Use your toothpick, to doodle little pattern. Or draw a picture… or even better you could draw an Easter egg and decorate it with doodles.

Then you could cut that out and stick it on another piece of paper or cardboard to make a pretty Easter egg card for your parental agents or somebody else.  You could even email a picture to me and I’d put it on my website. I always love hearing from people.

Remember – the 7th April is also World Health Day. I don’t know about you but I hate being sick – so it’s important to stay healthy.  It’s not hard if you get enough exercise, plenty of sleep and you can always nibble on fruit, raisins or carrot sticks instead of sweets and chips if you are looking for a more healthy option for snacks.

Happy holiday’s people!

Sibo

Beautiful beasties – big and small.

Remember at the beginning of the year we posted a calendar – one that had all sorts of interesting days on it?

Well  on Friday the 3rd of March we celebrate World Wildlife Day.

Living in South Africa we are rather lucky because we have a wide range of furry creatures that are available for us to see – if we can get to a game park that is. Otherwise there is always the zoo. Of course, it’s not the same to see animals in cages – even if our zoos have nice big cages. Not like some of those horrendous places I have read about overseas.

We are also fortunate in the way that there are lots of bushy areas that contain smaller beasties like snakes, mongoose, dassies and other little critters that you would not see if you lived in a concrete jungle of a city. Not sure I would really appreciate seeing a snake too much though.

My friend Ginny lives near the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve in Pretoria and they have things like Zebra and other types of large buck roaming freely around – right in the middle of suburbia.  She gets to go hiking around the reserve most Sundays and says it keeps her sane.

In the East Rand area there is the Marievale Bird Sanctuary. I know that birds are perhaps not as exciting as big animals but they are still very pretty to look at. Many kids are not so fond of bird watching because we’re supposed to be quiet otherwise the birds get scared and fly away. What’s nice about Marievale is that it does not cost anything to visit, and apart from the picnic area, there is also a nice walk around the wetlands to bird hides. They say there are 267 different types of birds there. Sjoe! That’s a lot! I have also heard that there are otters in the rivers – but sadly I’ve never seen one. In the summer it is open from 05h30 in the morning and only closes at 19h30.

Then there is the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in Heidelberg which is a bit further away. You can spot the following critters in there… zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest mountain reedbuck, common duiker, steenbok, grey duiker, baboon, oribi, blesbok, springbok and kudu. It’s not that expensive either – R22 per person and R11 per car.

Have a fabulous week!

Sibo

Start saving… NOW!

Hands up who saves?

I can hear you all saying – don’t be silly you usually have lots of month left over after your money and that there is none left to save. Or that you don’t have enough to live on, let alone save.

It might not be as hard as you think.

Here are some tips on how to start saving.

Write down everything that you spend. Record how much you spend – yes – every single last thing that you spend money on. Use credit card statements, bank statements etc to help you figure out what you do with your money. Once you have all your information – organise it into categories such as: rent, medical, food, clothing, car payments/petrol, entertainment etc.

Make a budget.  Now you know what you are spending, it is much easier to make a budget for all your monthly expenses. Do remember to budget in for things that don’t happen all the time – like getting your car fixed. If you are spending way more than you earn – then it’s time to figure out which are the non-essentials and start to trim them down a bit.

Plan on saving. The aim is to spend less than you earn.  You should try and plan on saving between 10 – 15% of what you earn each month.

Choose something to save for.  This is the fun part – you could be saving for short-term stuff – like having a holiday or a new car. Or things like a computer, cell phone, new handbag or a fancy matric dance dress. Then there is long-term saving – like for your education, your retirement or a deposit for your own home.

Decide on your priorities. No point saving for a holiday if you know you are going to need a new car soon. Of course, you can always save for more than one thing at once – you just have to be even more careful and clever with your money.

Pick the right tools to save.  Do some research and find out which place is going to safely look after your savings and make them grow. Most banks offer automated transfers – this way your money can zoot straight into your savings account at the beginning of each month and you won’t be tempted to skip a month.

Then sit back and watch those savings grow!

Sibo

A lucky girl

Mum and I got home the other day and our little neighbour dashed up to chat to me. She’s such a cute kid and always has funny things to say.

That particular day I noticed that her toe was all smooshed.

“Khanyi” I exclaimed, “Whatever did you do to your toe?”

She shrugged and answered that she had fallen and hurt it. I told her that she should be more careful with her little toes in future – they were not big enough to mess with.

“But I’m always unlucky!” she sighed. “I am forever falling and hurting myself.”

Mum and I looked at each other.

“Noooo…. You can’t say things like that! You have to think of yourself as being a lucky girl. If you think about being unlucky then that just attracts bad luck. Tomorrow you are going to have a good luck day. No more bad luck!”

But she just shrugged and said… “I’ll try – but I’ll probably have another bad luck day.”

We went inside and I felt sad that she is so little and yet she already has such a negative attitude.

Dad is always telling us about the law of attraction. Our minds are the most powerful things that we have. If we decide that we are going to have a good day – then we probably will.

But you, yourself, really have to believe this one hundred percent.

You can’t think in wishy-washy terms. You have to tell yourself that you are going to have a good day. Then you have to envision having a good day. The power of thought!

Of course, in my case it’s pretty simple. I envision eating a nice cold ice-cream at school. Then I take some of my pocket money to school and buy one. It’s a simple as that. The ice-cream man is there, the weather is good for eating ice-cream and I don’t lose my money. Everything works.

Or I see my maths paper in my mind’s eye with a nice big A+ on it. Or course I know that I’d put in a lot of work beforehand and could reasonably expect an A+.

Nothing worth having ever comes free or easy. We probably would not appreciate it if it did.

And on the odd occasions when you do fail, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and try again.

Hope you all have a simply fabulous day! (Go on – imagine yourself having a fabulous day.)

Sibo

Letters… and not the alphabet ones either!

Sibo gets a letter

When last did you get a letter? A real letter! Not a window envelope from the bank or an bill that needs to be paid.

Unless you received some Christmas cards in the post, I bet you can’t even begin to remember.

The art of letter writing has gotten lost in this modern day society. Very few people write letters these days. Email is so much quicker and easier. More environmentally friendly too I suppose.

Kids don’t even write notes to each other and pass them under the desk anymore because they rather WhatsApp each other or use some other form of social media.

People would get love letters. They were things that you could read and re-read even when they got so crumpled that you could hardly read the writing anymore and the paper was falling to pieces. My gran still has letters that my grandpa wrote her a million years ago.

Of course, once you write something you can’t take it back. No matter how badly you want to. Although that still applies today – if you write a message on your cell phone or on some other social medial – you cannot take it back. Sure, you can delete things, but once you have read something – you cannot un-read it… so be nice with your words people!

Most people claim that the Post Office does not work very well anymore – but honestly – that isn’t exactly true. They do actually get pieces of post from A to B. My friend Ginny uses the Post Office all the time. Last year she posted her mum a birthday card – from Pretoria to Cape Town – regular mail. It was a really fancy one that she had specially made and was quite thick. She wondered if maybe somebody might think there was something interesting inside the envelope and if it would reach its destination or not.

But guess what. It did. Just a few days after she posted it too!

Sometimes it is a bit frustrating to stand in line at the Post Office to buy stamps (and then find that they don’t have any) but they will always be able to put a sticker with the right amount on your envelope if you have the letter with you.

Go on people – write a letter to somebody. I can guarantee that you will make their day!

Sibo

It’s a wrap

Well! This year took forever to get finished.

That’s what I think – but my mum says it whooshed passed so fast that her head is reeling and she cannot believe it is finished already. She’s muttering ridiculous things like she wishes she could cancel Christmas. Did you ever?

I’ve heard that the older you get the faster time goes. Seems silly to me – it should go fast when you are young and impatient and then slow down a bit when you have less time left.

I’ve started making some of my Christmas pressies – sneakily – because I don’t want Mum and Dad to see what I’m making them.

Then I started thinking about gift wrapping.

Sjoe! Wrapping paper is rather expensive when you don’t have lots of money. Seems a huge waste to spend money on something that is just going to get ripped off and thrown away – or hopefully – recycled.

Decided I’m going to get creative with wrapping paper too.

If it’s a small gift you can use a pretty picture from a magazine. You better check with your parentals first before you start chopping up a magazine.

You can also use newspaper – the comic sections are very cool. Spice it up with paint, glitter or interesting stuff from the garden.  Use your imagination and get creative. You can also wrap up a very small present in a lot of newspaper (a bit like pass the parcel) and have fun watching the person unwrap it.

One of my friends has a nice system going. She wraps up a present for her sister in a pretty piece of material – it started out as a scarf but then it got too tatty to wear.  Then her sister wraps up my friend’s present the next year in the same material. They have used the same material for birthdays and Christmas for years, but they would always wrap it up differently and add interesting touches. I thought that was an awesome idea.

Of course you could also use old cereal boxes or other containers that would usually get thrown away or recycled. The inside of a toilet roll also makes a brilliant container – you can make the present look like a cracker!

Don’t forget to recycle or reuse all the wrappings once the presents have been opened.

Have a fabulous festive season everybody!

See you in 2017!

Sibo

Habit Making

Was reading something really interesting the other day… about turning something into a habit.

A good thing – like playing an instrument or exercising or learning something new. To do this you have to do it every single day for 66 days – and then it becomes a habit.

Sounds like an incredibly long time to have to do something – but actually it’s really only two months. And it’s not like you have to do it all day every day either.

This is what he suggested.

Make a calendar – a real one on some paper – draw 66 blocks and number each block.

Schedule a time each day to do your stuff – say from 2.30 in the afternoon to 3pm. You can plan for whenever it suits you and for as long or as short as you like.

Each day, when you have worked on your project for the allocated amount of time, you put a nice big X in the appropriate block. After a while, when you see all those X’s you start feeling even more motivated.

I’ve decided that I am going to try this system. I want to learn to code.

Code? I hear you say… What’s that?  Can kids really code?

YES! Kids can code. All over the world, children are learning to code.

All those computer games that get played and the animations that you watch on the computer are done using coding.

Coding is the language that gets used to instruct things to do something on the computer.

A simple example… you want a cartoon of a dog to move forward to the middle of the screen, hop up and down and bark. There’s a sequence of instructions that need to be attached to that particular picture to make it do this. This is called coding.

Years ago it used to be rather hard to do this and you needed to have the right aptitude and mind-set to be able to code. Nowadays things are simpler.

There is a program called “Scratch” (developed by MIT Media Lab) which makes it really easy. It’s called “visual programming” and once you’ve got the hang of how it works – it’s fun galore!

Best of all – it’s FREE. People all over the world are using it, so you can interact with them and get help if you need it.

Here’s the website address – https://scratch.met.edu

Go crack some coding!

Sibo