Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama Interview

On the Rooftop of The Academy of Sciences

One Hundred Books the BBC Thinks You Should Read

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad Day to Be a Turkey?

Watch this video on wild turkeys -- would you want to capture one for dinner?

Last year, President Obama pardon the White House turkey (see video) below. What is the likelihood of that happening again this year? This National Geographic article will help you find out.

Also, you may want to include holiday traditions of interest to Herald readers. Feel free to include information about what your family does.

Turkey Day Fun!

Student: Jennifer

Write about two fun activities for Turkey day: making a turkey pie and creating a holiday comic.

Read this article on National Geographics Kids about the pie, and then this one about comic.
Use the information as source material for your post. Also, if you would like, include information about what your family does for the holiday.

Remember to write an introduction for these festivities, as well as include images, links, and sources.

If you finish early, you may create an Animoto video about your story.

Letters to Lions

Students: Erion and Jay

Read this post on National Geographic Kids, and then write a story about how students at Hillwood can help these endangered animals. Also, read and watch the video on this page.

Remember to include lots of links and images in your post, as well as sources.

If you have time, create an Animoto video about your story.

Our Last Story on Adam and Judy

Students: Faryn and Camryn

This will be our last article, at least for now, on Judy and Adam. This week, you will be announcing and previewing the upcoming show on national TV.

Use the press release below, as well as information from the PBS Kids' DESIGN SQUAD website for writing your story. Remember to include links, photos, and source material. If you have time, make an Animoto video about their visit to Hillwood.

Design Squad Hits the Road with
Design Squad Nation, Premiering January 26,
2011 on PBS KIDS GO!

New Series Addresses the Need for Engineering Education by
Encouraging Kids to Dream it. Build it. Live it.
(Boston, MA, Tuesday, November 16, 2010) – Premiering Wednesday,
January 26, 2011 (check local listings), the producers of the Peabody and Emmy
Award-winning engineering and reality competition series Design Squad take their
show on the road with a new spin-off series for ‘tweens, teens, and family-viewing—
Design Squad Nation. Over 10 episodes, engineer co-hosts Judy Lee and Adam
Vollmer travel across the country and around the world, working side by side with
kids to turn their dreams into reality. Whether it is a red-carpet worthy gown for
Project Runway’s Christian Siriano, or a playground for kids in a rural village high in
Nicaragua’s northern mountains, Design Squad Nation shows that engineering isn’t
about hiding away in some lab; it’s about being active in the world, taking risks,
collaborating with interesting people, and using science, math, and technology to
solve real problems.

Design Squad Nation takes a kid’s passion, combines it with engineering, and shows
how to create an array of engineering feats—a cake that is part delicious, part
electronic, and part mad scientist for the cast party of Young Frankenstein: The
Musical; a pedal-powered bike organ; a human-powered flying machine, and more.
Wish you could help the world conserve water? Have a dream of an
invention that can improve someone’s life? Design Squad Nation shows kids
that if they can dream it, they can build it.

In the series premiere, “Apache Skateboarders,” Judy and Adam team up with
Ronnie—a 17-year-old skateboarder from the White Mountain Apache Reservation in
Whiteriver, Arizona to build a skateboarding street course. Engineered to be modular,
durable, and weather-resistant, the skate park includes a pyramid deck, hubbas
(ledges to grind on), and “The Wave” (an angled grind box). With the help of Design
Squad Nation, Ronnie and his friends create a skate park of their dreams.

“More than a TV show, and more than a website, Design Squad Nation is a growing
community built around the belief that with creative problem-solving and engineering,
any kid can make a difference,” says Executive Producer Marisa Wolsky. “Through a
network of more than 5,000 engineering and education partners around the country,
we are working to make this community bigger and stronger, inspiring a new
generation of engineers to dream big and change the world.”

“Kids will see Design Squad Nation and be absolutely amazed at all of the different
ways that engineering can be a part of their world,” says co-host Adam Vollmer. Adds
co-host Judy Lee, “We hope the show and website will get kids thinking about what
sorts of problems and challenges they would like to solve, and to see engineering as
a way to have fun while innovating for the future.”

Design Squad Nation builds on Design Squad’s mission to increase student’s
knowledge of engineering and to improve the public image of engineering, especially
among girls and minorities. The project is a direct response to the critical societal
need to attract more students to engineering and technology studies and careers.
From Design Squad to Design Squad Nation

A reality competition show that was launched in 2007 by the producers of Zoom and
FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman, Design Squad had the goal of getting viewers excited
about engineering. It worked. After researching the impact of the TV series, website,
and educator’s guide, an independent evaluator found a significant jump in young
people’s learning and a uniformly positive, enthusiastic response from viewers,
educators, and kids. Design Squad aired for three seasons and was hosted by Nate

Shifting away from the reality competition format of Design Squad, the Design Squad
Nation spin-off takes the engineering and building fun of the original series and
brings it directly to kids around the country and the globe. From conception to
finished product, Design Squad Nation combines engineering know-how with kids’
passions to create amazing things that improve people’s lives.
Design Squad Nation Online at
The Design Squad Nation website is a destination for creative ‘tweens and teens,
promoting the message: You are creative and can solve problems. You can make
things that help people. We want you to join the Design Squad Nation. Let's dream
big. Let's build something together.

On the site, kids can work alongside co-hosts Judy Lee and Adam Vollmer, posting
real-life solutions to real-life problems and responding to challenges from the show
by sketching and building their own prototypes. The Design Squad Nation Blog
features inspiring engineering and DIY content from across the Web. The blog will
engage with the Design Squad Nation community directly by including calls to action,
how-to challenges, aspirational examples of kid-made content on the site, and firstperson
video and messages from Judy and Adam—sharing both the fun and the
failures that are a part of the design process. Already, more than 12,000 kids are
engaged, actively creating and sharing content in our online community. Design
Squad Nation invites the next generation of great thinkers to get involved at Viewers also can follow Design Squad Nation on
Facebook at and on Twitter at

About Co-Hosts Judy Lee and Adam Vollmer
Directing the action of Design Squad Nation are mechanical engineers Judy Lee and
Adam Vollmer.

As a child growing up in Cary, North Carolina, Judy loved taking things apart to see
how they work. With the support of her family (her dad is a civil engineer), that love
eventually led to a mechanical engineering degree at North Carolina State University.
After college, Judy harnessed her engineering skills on a wide range of projects—from
designing children’s toys to creating medical devices to providing clean water to
slums in Kenya to testing and destroying products to ensure their safety. Prior to her
work on Design Squad Nation, Judy was profiled on WGBH’s Engineer Your Life and
will appear in an upcoming segment of NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and
Engineers Web series. Judy now works at her dream job as a product designer at
IDEO, an international design and innovation firm in Palo Alto, CA. When she’s not onair
brainstorming and building, Judy can be found in San Francisco remodeling her
new home, growing fresh fruits and veggies in her garden, riding a big wheel down
the nation’s windiest street, or playing with her pug, Rosie.

Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Adam wanted to be an astronaut, a LEGO engineer
(before he knew what an engineer was), or…a dinosaur hunter. Thanks to a BS in
mechanical engineering at Stanford and a MS at MIT, Adam has been able to do
most of these things and more. “I played with LEGOs all the way up through grad
school. I worked with NASA during the filming of Design Squad Nation. But I’m still on
the lookout for dinosaurs. I hope to find one soon.” Adam is currently a mechanical
engineer at the international design and innovation firm IDEO in Palo Alto, CA. In
previous jobs, he’s worked in biotech, designed micro electro-mechanical devices,
programmed (and driven) semi-trucks, and built parts for the one of the world’s
biggest physics experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Outside of
work, you’re likely to find Adam on his own handmade bicycle, climbing up a
mountain (or skiing down one), or exploring new corners of the world.
Funding for Design Squad Nation

Design Squad Nation is produced by WGBH Boston. Major funding for Design Squad
Nation is provided by the National Science Foundation. Series funding is provided by
the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), Northrop Grumman
Foundation, and The Lemelson Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Noyce
Foundation, United Engineering Foundation (ASCE, ASME, AIChE, IEEE, AIME),
Motorola Foundation, and IEEE.

The Anatomy of a Film from Harry Potter's Latest Adventure

Student: Clara and Aylsen

Watch this video clip from the latest Harry Potter film on The New York Times. The director, David Yates, explains what his is trying to do -- both in terms of music, scene, and feel -- with this moment from the film. Write an article about what his says. Grab several screen grabs from the video clip, and caption them as part of your story. Each image should walk your reader through your story.

A Preview of Harry Potter

Student: Rubina

Write a preview of the latest Harry Potter film. Use The New York Times as your source for information. What are your predictions for the film? How do you think it will compare to the book? How old should a student be to see this film and why? And, finally, what do you think of the soundtrack?

Remember to include images about the film and/or book, as well as links to the Times and to a video clip from the film.

How Does a Cat Drinks? The Physics of Cat Lapping

Student: Anya

What's the biomechanics problem for a cat to drink milk? Watch the video and read this New York Times' article. Then, write a news story about this scientific study and high-speed imaging of the two MIT researchers behind the findings. Do their findings apply to all cats? Why? What about dogs? And, finally, how did they get the cats to cooperate with their tests? How did they use YouTube in their research.

Be sure to include images, sources and link to the video.

Now, That's a Guitar — from Centuries Ago

Student: Zach

According to VSL (Very Short List), James Kline and Kornel Mariusz Radwanski formed their neo-Celtic group, Bardou, in France in 2001, and now they're on YouTube.

Go to the musicians' website, where you can watch Radwanski playing a centuries-old Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa and Kline plays a harp guitar with 19 strings. Below you can see them playing an especially  "Greensleeves"—a song so old that Shakespeare referenced it in The Merry Wives of Windsor. ("Let the sky rain potatoes," Falstaff said as that play drew to its close. "Let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves.")

How do you think the song might have sounded six centuries ago? As a guitarist yourself, what do you think of playing such an instrument? Easy, hard? Use this information to frame your feature story about these musicians. Your article should be at least 200 words in length.

Note the all of the links in the second paragraph of this assignment? Make certain that your post has as many meaningful links. Also include images and video clips.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who's President of Brazil?

Student assignment: Alysen and Clara

Write a news story about who is president of Brazil. Include photos, links, and labels. Do not forget to include the five W's of a good news story.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Frogs and Disease

Student: Anya

Watch the video and read this article on The New York Times about disappearing frogs. Then, write a news article, remembering to include the five W's of a good news story. Be sure to include a link to the article, video, photos -- and a mention of the local tie-in for this story. In fact, include a map from The Times' article.

Write a Feature Story About Adam and Judy

Think back to last week. What were the highlights from The Hillwood Herald interview with Adam and Judy? What were the most memorable parts for you?

Write at least 15 sentences reporting on their visit to the classroom. Include photos, and remember to answer the five W's of a news story. You may also want to consult the PBS Kids DESIGN SQUAD website for background information.

We will be making a thank you video for Adam and Judy. Think about one aspect of their work or visit for which you would like to thank them.