Monday, March 9, 2009

World Thinking Day -- India!

Our Girl Scout Service Unit celebrated World Thinking Day yesterday with a Passport Adventure. Several troops hosted tables featuring individual countries and attending Girl Scouts participated in a whirlwind tour, reading displays, tasting ethnic food and making crafts or playing games.

Our troop chose to learn about India. Hayley was sick the day we were supposed to put our display together but the girls did a wonderful job of researching on their own and bringing items (and knowledge) to share with the other girls.

Some things the girls found particularly interesting:

  • More than 80% of the people living in India are Hindu. They worship many gods and goddesses.
  • The cow is sacred -- not because the people have an affinity for cows, but because they believe their gods and goddesses often take the form of animals when they visit their people...and the cow is the form most often chosen.
  • The Ganges River is a sacred river and is actually considered a goddess. People who bathe in its waters are washed free of their sins.
  • The peacock is the national bird.
  • The Taj Mahal was built as a memorial for an emperor's dead wife. It took 20 years and 20,000 workers to complete this massive, beautiful structure.
  • The average worker in India brings home an annual salary of $884. The average U.S. worker brings home $45,000.

Building A Suspension Bridge

This was such a neat activity -- the kids learned the science behind suspension bridges -- and then tried their hand at making one of their own! First, they built the supports from PVC piping, then used heavy-duty twine to create the suspension cords that are anchored to the ground.

After recruiting some of the kids to hold these anchors (this is what Hayley is doing in the above picture!), the other kids started looping string around the wooden plank and the twine suspension cord....and guess what? It worked!

We are surrounded by bridges in Minnesota thanks to our many lakes and rivers, but none are suspension bridges. This is because suspension bridges are used to span long distances across relatively deep water....not something we have here. Still, it was very interesting to learn the engineering behind these beautiful, magnificent bridges.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Earth Hour -- March 28, 2009

Mark your calendars for this year's Earth Hour. On Saturday, March 28th from 8:30-9:30, join an estimated 1 billion people around the world in turning off the light switches in your home.

As clarification, I am not on the global warming bandwagon; I think there is just as much scientific evidence out there to disprove the notion as there is evidence that supports it. However, I am in favor of conserving our natural resources and creating a more sustainable future. These are the reasons I support and will participate in this year's Earth Hour.

Check it out and see what you think!

Zeus on the Loose

I bought the game Zeus on the Loose a while ago but we finally opened it up last night -- Nick could not get enough of it!

The object of the game is simple -- create a discard pile (called Mt. Olympus) that totals 100 so that you can "steal" Zeus and earn a point (points are tallied by spelling out Zeus' name so, each time Mt. Olympus reaches 100 and you are in possession of the statue, you earn the next letter in his name -- the first person to spell Z-E-U-S wins!)>

However, there are plenty of "god" cards mixed in with the simple number cards to make this a game of both skill and luck. Some god cards allow you to steal Zeus and be in possession of the statue before Mt. Olympus reaches 100; other god cards change the total of Mt. Olympus (Hera, for example changes the total to 99 and allows you to steal Zeus, almost guaranteeing a win).

It may sound complicated but we learned the rules in a matter of five minutes and Nick was literally bouncing in his chair, he was having so much fun. He went to bed begging to play it in the morning -- I don't know how much more stellar of a review a kid can give!

I like that it is a relatively fast game and it relies on math skills to play; Nick was adding in his head, reversing two digit even has the potential to introduce negative numbers!

Out of 5 stars, we give this a definite 5. Another winning game by Gamewright (and, no I do not work for them or hold any of their stock!).