Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Google Contest for Young Inventive Scientists

Google Science Fair 2013

"We're looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers. We're looking for ideas that will change the world."


Today's, January 30th, Google Science Fair 2013 has launched online! The competition is focused on finding the brightest and most revolutionary teenagers. 

Google Science Fair is an international, online science and technology competition that encourages the next generation to be curious, ask questions, and perform science experiments to change the world.

In partnership with CERN, the Lego Group, National Geographic, and Scientific American, Google invites the students from around the world to post their science projects online so that they may compete for prizes, scholarships, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. 

Students have some time to register and submitt in-depth investigation of a question or engineering problem, using a sound scientific method or engineering process.

They can register through the Google Science Fair website, although they will also need the consent of a guardian (parents or guardians).


Teachers can play a crucial role as mentors and partners to young scientists, offering practical advice on their projects, but also inspiring them on their journeys of exploration and discovery.

As educators, we know how curious and creative are our students. So let us involved and start to work on it on our lessons. 

Ages: 13 to 18

Let's tell our students about the competition, and encourage them to enter a project. They can be inspired visiting Google Science Fair website and Google Science Fair on Google +

Google present some good ideas to offer support to our students:
  • Checking stories out of sicence heroes who changed the world at at young age here; Ada Lovelace is among these stories. Girls in Science, remember?

  • Watching videos from the previous competions here;
  • Guiding them through using scientific method to talk through and implement their ideas;
  • Helping them find information and any specialized equipment they might need. Visit Student Resources here;
  • Checking in regularly to make sure they're on track to meet the submission deadline (no procrastinating!). Visit Experiment Guidelines (what to and what to avoid) here;

You can help keep sutdents on track as they work on their projects by sending them to the Student Pack: a self-help guide that offers explanations of science terms (like hypothesis and variables), and some practice questions so they can work through important concepts and then check their answers at the end.

The youngest must have some tutoring on Student Pack.

If you need some guidelines, there are lesson plans that you can use to get your students started, and tips on getting them involved - and excited.

Parents also have a section help on the website here.

Deadline: April 30, 2013

In June, Google will select 90 regional finalists (30 from North and South America, 30 from Asia, and 30 from Europe/Africa). Out of those 90, 15 will emerge as finalists and will be jetted to Google HQ in Mountain View.
On September 23rd, a panel of judges will pick the winners (one in each age category) and an overall Grand Prize winner.
The best submission will be awarded the grand prize, which includes a 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands - Wow! - courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions.
Now, watch this increadible idea on the video below. At the age of 14, Jonah Kohn has made great progress in helping the hearing impaired experience music through his passion for Music. Beautiful!
Jonah was the winner of the 13-14 age group in the "2012 Google Science" for his project. 

Some conclusions:
Promoting the science interchange between young scientists and guiding them to a better world is a powerful learning strategy.
Contests are always important activities to include at the curriculum. Students are encouraged to demonstrate the inner creativity to develop their competences as innovators.
Of course an internationqal contest, in this case a world contest, is an opportunity for the young students to exchange new ideas, share common interests and gain experience from an event which involves some many teenagers scientists. 
"The great benefit of science is that it can make a tremendous contribution to the alleviation of suffering on a physical level, but it is only by cultivating the qualities of the human heart."
Dalai Lama
" It's your turn to change the world. Make sure you register."

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Credits: videos | image Google

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teaching the Holocaust

"The history of the genocide perpetrated during the Second World War does not belong to the past only. It is a ‘living history’ that concerns us all, regardless of our background, culture, or religion. Othergenocides have occurred after the Holocaust, on several continents. How can we draw better lessons from the past?"

Irina Bokova, 
Director-General of UNESCO

Every year around 27 January, since 2005, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. This date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi German Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Soviet troops in 1945.  

In 2013, the theme chosen by the United Nations for this International Day is “The Courage to Care: Rescue during the Holocaust”. 

It highlights the exceptional actions of individuals or groups that contrast to an indifferent majority. They took action despite tremendous danger. These stories of rescue are rare but provide strong evidence that action is always possible in the face of injustice and gross violations of human rights.

photo: Euronews 2012

The week’s events, began on 21 January 2013, provoking each participant’s own thoughts and beliefs about the moral values and courage that lie behind such daring acts of rescue. 

Each person who becomes aware of this history will no doubt reflect upon his or her own capacity to turn compassion for others into decisive and heroic action in their time of need.

photo: Children portraits

Before the ceremony, UNESCO organizes a conference entitled "From Holocaust Education to the Prevention of Genocide: What have we learnt from the Past?" in partnership with the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide. 

The event will include the participation of UN Special Envoy Assistant Secretary-General Adama Dieng and of several Holocaust and genocide scholars. 

Anne Frank timeline | Anne Frank House


"Freedom, goodness, giving, courage, happiness, humanity, usefulness…"

Anne Frank

Learning about this universal history can engage students in a critical reflection about the shared heritage of humanity, the roots of genocide, and the necessity to nurture peace and human rights to prevent such atrocities in the future.  

To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January 2013), UNESCO has published a new brochure, “Why teach about the Holocaust?” which provides an overview of Holocaust education. 

The brochure explains that:
  • The Holocaust was a defining historical moment; 
  • Genocide is not inevitable; 
  • States and citizens have responsibilities; 
  • Silence contributes to oppression;
  • Prejudice and racism have roots. 
In addition, it explores the challenges and opportunities of teaching about the Holocaust and provides educational resources on the Holocaust and other genocides. 

Last year a short film entitled “Hidden Children” by renown film maker Robert Bober was shown. The film brought to light moving letters of hidden children read by French actress Anouk Grinberg. 
  • How do schools worldwide handle the Holocaust as a subject? 
  • In what areas of the world does the Holocaust form part of classroom teaching?
Answers to these questions will be provided in late 2013 by a project conducted by UNESCO and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research.

For the first time it will be possible to compare representations of the Holocaust in school textbooks and national curricula. 
Holocaust Education exemplifies UNESCO’s vision of education as the starting point for building peace and nurturing the principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect of all men and women.


UNESCO "Why Teach the Holocaust", Brochure 2013 can be downloaded here .

Resources for Teaching the Holocaust And Other Genocides here

Anne Frank official website (Netherlands) has projects and activities that you can use at school, no matter the curriculum. Students can be involved in cross-curricula. 

Visit Education to inspire you and adapt the best resources to the level you teach.

Activities: Reading & Writing

It somehow surprises me that there are so many kids who don't know anything about the Holocaust or World War II or Anne Frank.  I don't know why, but I just assumed that they were a part of everyone's school experience, and as a teacher, I am always dismayed when I discover yet again that the students are not informed about this aspect of very recent world history. 

Thus, in 2012, a survey showed that a fifth of young Germans do not even knew Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp.

Diary of Anne Frank (manuscrit)

Tuesday, 7 March 1944

Think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy.

Anne Frank

Literature and Languages curriculum is the pefect curriculum. We can talk, read, write, and learn about every subject.

Reading and writing are two important skills that students must handle easily and digital literacy as well.

Diaries are an interesting part of the Narrative text. Students love to read diaries written from other young people.

How do diaries help us teach about this special narrative text ? 

Anne's diary is at once exceedingly special and totally normal. Her circumstances, her writing skill, and her insight make the diary extraordinary. 

What is it about diaries that make them such rich resources? Diarists are among the most honest writers you'll ever know!  Very few lies exist in a diary that carries the expectation of being private forever. 

Also, diaries are written in a way that is characteristic of an era.  One can learn about speech patterns, syntax, and changes in language from reading diaries.

The Diary of Anne Frank is part of my lessons when I teach the Narrative text.

Anne's diary should not be taught without context. Students must understand the circumstances surrounding the Franks' decision to go into hiding.

So, invite your students  to do a research work on the official website of Anne Frank (in the classroom and at home); on Anne Frank House | Facebook (up-to 13), to understand better all the events during the World War II, taking some notes to discuss in the classroom. 

Of course, you must prepare carefully your lessons, choosing the best resources for the level you are teaching, reviewing in detail each one.

Students love to read The Diary of Anne Frank, they discuss a lot about Anne's ideas shared on her diary. You can read (Portuguese language) some thoughts of my students on the Dia Internacional da Memória do Holocausto (blog for my students in Portuguese lessons).

She inspires them to write touching creative texts: pages of a diary; letters to Anne; storytelling; poetry. 

They always ask for other suggestions about books on the same or similar subject.

Note: If you're going to use the diary as a reading book, try to fit in the whole thing. 

Media Resources:
  • Elementary education (up-to 8-13 years)
Anne Frank The Whole Story,  Robert Dornhelm (2009) 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2009) based on the book by John Boyne
  • High Junior School | Secondary Education
Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg (1993)

Sophie's ChoiceAlan J. Pakula (1983) based on the book by William Styron

Aristides de Sousa Mendes, O Cônsul de Bordéus (2011), a true story of rescue, (English subtitles).

  • App "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank: ipad (all levels)

To coincide with "Holocaust Memorial Day", Penguin Books launched an app of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank available on iTunes
The app has a wealth of embedded content: video footage of Frank's only living relative Buddy Elias, audio extracts of the diary read by Helena Bonham Carter and translated facsimile pages from the original diary. There are also "Story Trails" with titles such as "Fear" and "Life in Hiding".

ipad screenshot | Anne Frank app

ipad screenshot | Anne Frank app
The diary has been translated into dozens of languages, is read by millions of people and is on the curriculum of so many schools around the world.

Anne Frank’s diary has inspired children’s authors to write books that continue the importance of telling the stories. There are some good books for young people that we can include in the curriculum.

Books (ebooks) | Authors - Literature & ICT

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (students blog)

O Mundo em que vivi by Ilse Losa (German-Portuguese children's writer)

Let Me Whisper You My Story by Moya Simons

Trilogy Then | Once ! Now by Morris Glietzman

The Reader by Stephen Daldry

BD | Mangas

Anne Frank au pays du manga

Anne Frank au pays du manga est une BD documentaire interactive. Un voyage en BD documentaire interactive "pour comprendre ce qui, de la Shoah et d'Hiroshima, peut - ou non - constituer une expérience commune au Japon et à l'Europe."

Web | Social media

Anne Frank official website

Anne Frank House | Facebook

Official Anne Frank Channel | YouTube

Ilse Losa: uma escritora luso-alemã

The Anne Frank Center US

USC Shoah Foundation | Teacher Education

The Insurbodinate Consul of Portugal

Sousa Mendes Foundation, vidéo (French language, English subtitles)

Aristides de Sousa Mendes, O Cônsul de Bordéus (2011) Portuguese language, English subtitles

Sousa Mendes saved more lives than Schindler | The Independent

I'm sure you will develop wonderful projects with your students. They love History  and Literature. Love biographies of other young people.

You don't have to finish in a week. Give some time of your lessons to really help your students to understand the values of a young girl who died tragically but never lost her faith in a better world.

"Transmitting the memory of the Holocaust is a vital part of the struggle to combat ignorance and prejudice through education in humanist values, the sharing of cultures and knowledge of history,”

Irina Bokova, 
Director-General of UNESCO


update 27.2013
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Forest Photo Contest : UNFF

"Look deep into nature, 
and then you will understand everything better." 

Albert Einstein

Everbody knows that I am for Environmental education as a cross-curricula activity. There are so many post about the theme on this blog!

Now, here another interesting contest! The UNFF Forest Photo contest invites everyone, in every part of the world, to share photos that visually capture their relationship to forests.

See! Don't you agree that it could be exciting to invite your students to take a photo from a forest near you?


Environmental education and outdoor play is important for our children’s personal and academic growth. With students now spending 90% of their time indoors, “nature deficit disorder” is on the rise. 

Getting kids outside teaches them about the world around them and gives them an appreciation for nature while providing an opportunity for sunshine and exercise.

Portuguese forest

Not so difficult! I am sure that your students have beautiful photos from holiday time if they don't have a forest near school. If there is a forest near school, that's perfect!

You and your students take a lesson outdoor, and I am sure that will be a very interesting learning activity.

Let's do it! And how?

Download and fill out the entry form (pdf) here

Email the entry form and the Forest photo submission to


1 February 2013

Curriculum: cross-curricula Geopgraphy, Arts (Photography), Sciences, Languages, other.

Level(s): Elementary and Secondary education; Vocational Education.


After the deadline on 1 February 2013, an international jury will select 15 semi-finalists and 5 finalists.

Prize: Finalists

The 5 finalists will be awarded at the United Nations Forum on Forests meeting in Istambul, with travel support to be provided.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” 

 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi


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Friday, January 18, 2013

Parlons de genre... au féminin à l'école

Le film d’animation Brave (rebaptisé Rebelle pour le public français) de Pixar est reparit de la soirée de remise des Golden Globes la récompense du Meilleur Film d'Animation. 

Brave/ Rebelle

Un excellent début pour le premier film du studio Pixar centré sur un 'personnage féminin'.

Le nouveau Pixar s'inspire de la mythologie celtique et suit donc Merida"une jeune princesse écossaise intrépide et experte en tir à l’arc, bien décidée à suivre son propre chemin dans la vie". 

Conte de fées moderne, Brave/ Rebelle raconte l’histoire de Merida, princesse écossaise, intérpride qui aimerait devenir archère. Elle est la seule fille au monde à ne pas vouloir devenir princesse !  À voir la version en anglais ici


Maniant l’arc comme personne, Merida refuse de se plier aux règles de la cour et défie une tradition millénaire sacrée  décidée à suivre son propre chemin dans la vie. Et sa décision va provoquer de graves conséquences dans le royaume et la jeune fille va devoir braver tous les dangers pour remettre les choses à leur place. Le danger va forcer Mérida à découvrir le vrai sens du mot bravoure afin de déjouer la terrible malédiction qui se profile... On y découvre le caractère bien trempé de la princesse Merida, qui n'a décidément rien à envier à Robin des Bois !

Hunger Games 2012
Après Harry Potter et TwilightHunger Games est la nouvelle franchise adaptée d’une série de livres pour adolescents.

Il est assez intéressant d'assister aux promotions simultanées d'Hunger Games et de Rebelle : 

Les deux héroïnes sont des jeunes filles au caractère fort, qui s'opposent à la conduite qui leur est dictée, et elles sont championnes de tir à l'arc, outil qui sert à leur rébellion.

La première épate le jury des Jeux de la Faim avec ses flèches (on n'en dira pas plus) tandis que la seconde se sert de son talent pour désobéir à sa mère. 


Katniss vit dans une époque triste et sombre. Le pouvoir en place contrôle les 12 districts qui composent le pays et impose un régime de terreur. Tous les ans, un jeu télévisé est organisé. 12 garçons et 12 filles sont tirés au sort pour participer à ce jeu sordide et violent : 24 combattants entreront dans l’arène, seul le gagnant survivra. 

Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins


Une nouvelle dimension féminine au moment où 'genre et parité' est à l'ordre du jour un peu partout?

Des heroïnes fortes, indépendantes et qui réussissent à se battre contre les barrières sexistes? Dans les livres et dans les films.

Les 6 objectifs de l'Education Pour Tous à atteindre pour 2015:

Acceptés par plus de 180 pays lors des Forums mondiaux de l'éducation à Jomtien et Dakar en 1990 et 2000, 6 objectifs doivent être atteints en 2015:

  • Développer la protection et l'éducation de la petite enfance
  • Fournir une éducation primaire gratuite et obligatoire pour tous
  • Offrir aux jeunes et aux adultes des programmes d'apprentissage et d'acquisition des compétences liées à la vie courante
  • Augmenter de 50% l'alphabétisation des adultes

Réaliser la parité des sexes en 2005 et l'égalité des sexes en 2015

  • Améliorer la qualité de l'éducation.

Si on lit bien, on voit que "réaliser la parité des sexes en 2005 et l'égalité des sexes en 2005" vient placé en 5e.

On s’attend quand même en 2013 à ce qu’il y ait une infrastructure pour que les garçons et les filles développent et démontrent leur talent, pour les faire progresser.

Gayle Rubin

Dimension féminine:

La notion de "genre" vient d'une anthropologue féministe américaine, Gayle Rubin, qui l’a évoquée pour la première fois en 1975. 

Les Nations Unies considèrent l'équilibre entre les sexes comme essentiel pour assurer l'égalité, le développement et la paix.

"Admis, mais pas toujours bien compris. Pour certains, l'obstacle consiste dans le concept même de "genre", relativement récent en sciences sociales. Le "genre" ne renvoie pas aux garçons et aux filles, mais à masculin et féminin– c'est-à-dire aux qualités ou caractéristiques que la société attribue à chaque sexe. 

Les êtres humains naissent de sexe féminin ou masculin, mais apprennent à devenir des femmes et des hommes. Les perceptions de "genre" sont profondément ancrées, varient considérablement au sein et entre les cultures, et évoluent au fil du temps. Mais dans toutes les cultures, le « genre » détermine les pouvoirs et les ressources dont disposent les femmes et les hommes."

Nations Unies

Mes pensées:

Bien que dans les écoles, l'infrastructure soit parfaite pour que les filles et les garçons développent et démontrent leur talent, et puissent progresser, il y a souvent des petits qui pro quo quand les filles choisissent des études ou des métiers qu'on lient plutôt aux garçons: les sciences, la technologie, éducation physique.

Alors, je crois que Brave/ Rebelle et Hunger Games/ Jeux de la Faim peuvent bien  être des outils pédagogiques intéressants à introduire dans des différentes disciplines pour parler de "genre et parité" à l'école.


Probablement pour la première fois dans l’histoire des films de princesses à la Disney, il n’y a pas de prince à Rebelle.

Plus qu’un film sur le destin, c’est aussi d’un point de vue différent de celui de Raiponce, une histoire de famille. L’histoire d’une adolescente en quête d’identité et comme le titre original le laisse entendre “Brave” de courage ! Et Merida, elle, n’attend pas le salue d’un homme fusse-t-il un prince !

Hunger Games

Hunger Games : livres

Les Jeux de la Faim : c’est le titre d’une fiction, basée sur le best-seller de Suzanne Collins et dans lequel des jeunes doivent s’affronter dans une lutte à mort afin d’obtenir la victoire, c’est-à-dire de la nourriture, des biens et des cadeaux pour le restant de leurs vies. 

La réalité n’est parfois pas très éloignée de la fiction. On distingue la forte dimension sociale. Panem est le lieu des disparités économiques que le jeu vient accentuer. 

Mais ça nous emmenerait à um autre sujet sur lequel j'ai déjà écrit sur ce blog

Revenons alors à Hunger Gamesla saga pour adolescents - adaptée du premier volet à succès de Suzanne Collins - n'a rien de la bluette façon Twilight bien que Belle se révèle déjà une heroïne assez forte et indépendante dans Chapitre 5 : Révélation (2e partie), le dernier film de la saga. La scène ici-bas serait impensable de voir dans un film d'adolescents il y a quelques années. Pas vrai? 

Twilight | Révélation 2e partie
Crédits: SND

Hunger Games mêle avec virtuosité une vision 'orwellienne' de l'avenir de l'humanité et une critique acerbe de la société contemporaine du spectacle.

Katniss épate le jury des "Jeux de la Faim" avec ses flèches (on n'en dira pas plus) tandis que Merida se sert de son talent pour désobéir à sa mère. 

Lire | Voir (curricula : les livres, les films)

De nos jours, il est difficile de plaire aux jeunes en ce qui concerne la lecture dans les cours du collège ou lycée.

En effet, avec l’accessibilité croissante d’Internet et les jeux vidéo en constante évolution,  - je suis pour l'utilisation à l'école - la lecture passe souvent au dernier rang parmi les loisirs des adolescents.
Un roman doit donc se coller à leur réalité ou posséder des attraits particuliers afin de les accrocher. C'est le cas des romans de Suzanne Collins avec sa trilogie Hunger Games.
Gary Ross, qui s’atèle déjà au deuxième opus de la trilogie (sortie prévue en novembre 2013), a réussi à redonner un peu d’éclat à la science-fiction jeunesse. Et ça, c'est formidable. On en profite dans nos leçons.

Merida est rafraîchissante, plus émancipée que Belle, Pocahontas, Jasmine et même que les plus récentes Raiponce aux cheveux interminablement longs et Tiana, de La princesse et la grenouille.

Je crois que ces deux films ainsi que la trilogie et les contes traditionnels sont d'excellentes ressouces à exploiter dans les différentes disciplines (dans la classe et sur le net). 

Les étudiants, selon le niveau d'apprentissage, seront donc conviés à échanger des idées sur ce qu'ils apprennent et s'entraider sur les points qui leur posent problème.

Je suis sûre qu'un bonne discussion va se suivre et des activités et des documents pédagogiques créés et organisés, avant les cours par les enseignants, pourront enrichir le côté social et humain des jeunes. 

Les jeunes devront être fortement encouragés à concevoir eux-mêmes des documents pédagogiques dans leur classeur. 

Activités :

À vous les professeurs, d'être créatifs et de contribuer au contenu de vos leçons en développant des activités intéressantes, ayant comme thème(s) ces deux ressources - les livres et les films - qui enrichisseront certainement votre discipline et feront les délices de vos élèves.

À ne pas oublier les outils multimédia et les réseaux sociaux. 

Voilà une façon originale et moderne d'aborder l'enseignement et l'éducation dans et hors des murs de l'école.

Disciplines: Langues et Littérature; Arts ; Histoire-Géo ; Sports.
Niveau apprentissage: primaire ; collège ; lycée ; orientation scolaire . Choisir le film et le livre selon le niveau d'apprentissage).

"Ignite. Incite. Inspire."


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