Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Writing Process

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Writing process starts with reading. Reading stories to little babies ignites imagination within them. Reading is a pre-requisite to writing well.

When my boys were at an age where they can speak but can’t write, I used to ask them to dictate a story. I’ll be their transcriber. I’ll ask questions such as why is this happening or how did this work, etc. so that the story makes sense and is complete. All these stories were bound in a folder, which is kept in our living room and whenever they want they can read it. They are amused and feel a sense of pride whenever they revisit these stories even at this age.

When they were older and were ready to write their own stories, the quality of the story deteriorated because they had to do their own writing. So, the solution for us was using computer. I let them make notes on paper and then I will type their story on word processor while they dictate. Gradually, they could type their own story on word processor. Using word processor took away the laziness of editing and rewriting the story. So, the stories were complete and sensible. The other element that really helped them was introducing a third person – an English teacher. So, they will sit with this teacher and edit all the stories when completed. The key is to take most of their compositions to a stage where it is complete and has been edited at least 2-3 times.

Again, all good stories that they have written so far are bound in a folder and it stays in our living room so that they can read them whenever they want. It serves as a source of inspiration and self-esteem.

How to Make Your Own Illustration from Children of the Sun

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Have you ever used salt in an art project? I have, and it was very fun. Read on, and you can make your own!

After I wrote Children of the Sun, my family and I thought it would be even better if we could get bold, colorful, vivid illustrations made for the book. We wanted these to be good illustrations, not just amateur drawings, but we also hoped it could be drawn by the hand of a child. Then, we were able to find the solution—our art teacher, Mrs. Vicki Farmer, would help us—that is, my younger brother Arjun and myself—make the illustrations. Thanks to her, this book has become enriched with these illustrations.

I had a lot fun making these illustrations. It was hard work sometimes, but the end results were very rewarding. Here, I’m going to describe how I made two of the illustrations in our book. You can easily make them, too, with common household items (except for the SpinArt machine, which you would have to find at a store).

My favorite illustrations were the Angry Sun and the Calm Sun. These were both made in a very similar manner. We had to make the sun and its background separately. I made the Angry Sun and my brother made its background, while he made the Calm Sun and I made its background. That way, both illustrations were a combined effort of both of us.

Here’s how:

1) In order to make the suns themselves, we each took a piece of 8.5x11 cardstock and placed it onto a SpinArt machine. When you turn on this machine, it spins in a circle around and around. You can adjust the speed, too. Once the paper was on the machine and it was spinning, we could take a paint bottle and just squeeze it onto the paper. Because the paper was spinning and our paint bottle squeezing paint down on top of it was stationary, the paint would end up on the paper in a circle. The design or color pattern that comes out cannot be predetermined, but since I used warm colors—oranges, reds, and yellows—in my spin art, the result is a blend that portrays a feeling of the hot sun.

2) Then, we waited for all the paint to dry before using scissors to cut the spin art into a sun shape, with pointed edges.

3) Next, we had to paint a face onto the spin art sun shape. First we sketched (with a pencil) a round face with eyebrows, eyes, a nose, and a mouth onto the sun, and then we went over it with metallic bronze paint. For the Angry Sun, we also colored in the iris (that is, all of the eye except the pupil, which was colored bronze already), nose, and wrinkles with silver paint.

4) Now that our suns were ready and the paint was drying, we set to work making the backgrounds. We each took an 8.5x11 sheet of watercolor paper and some shades of blue, black, and purple watercolor paints. We painted most of the edges of the sheets with these colors. We used much more of the black for the Angry Sun, and more light blues and purples for the Calm Sun. We didn’t have to paint in the center of the sheet, because we knew the suns would cover anything that was there once we glued them on. After we had finished painting the papers, we each took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it all over the freshly painted papers. Then we waited for the papers to dry.

The salt caused all the watercolor to spread and form a very pretty design that you may notice on the finished artwork, especially that of the Calm Sun. After everything had dried, we brushed all the remaining salt off so that only the design made by the watercolor paint stayed.

5) Finally, when both the suns and their backgrounds had dried, we used glue to paste each sun onto its background. Also, when we had cut our spin arts into sun shapes, we had saved the scraps that were left behind. We now glued those scraps onto the background papers, as well, to add to the effect of the suns.

I really hope you enjoy this illustration and everything else in our book. Maybe you could even try making a spin art with the salt effect yourself. And if you do, have fun!

— Kabir Blake Gupta, Author/Co-Illustrator

Science Fair 2018

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Boys participated in MSEF Region VII Lower Science Fair at Ole Miss.  Arjun won 2nd place in the category of Physics and Astronomy and Kabir won 1st place in the category of Engineering.  Also, Kabir’s project has been nominated for Broadcom Masters.

Arjun’s project was “Morse Code: Is it Still Useful in the Modern World?

The abstract of his project was:
Morse code is a form of communication made up of dots and dashes that grew popular in the 1800s. I wanted to know if Morse code was still useful in the modern world. I hypothesized that Morse code could still be used as a tool of communication. I created a telegraph and sent the same message to seven different people. I observed the time taken to send and understand the messages, and the accuracy of the sent and recieved messages. The original message was the word “AMERICA.” After performing this experiment and analyzing the results, I concluded that Morse code can still be used as an effective tool of communication, although text messaging is much faster and more accurate. However, Morse code can still be used by hobbyists and for fun (like sending secret messages to friends). Also, if people find themselves in an emergency situation and they don’t have modern means of communication, they will still be able to communicate using Morse code.


Kabir’s project was “Which Air Foil Creates the most Lift?

The abstract of his project was:
I asked a question: Which airfoil, or wing design, creates the most lift? I experimented with the shape of the airfoil, changing the upper and lower cambers, or curves, for six different wing designs. This was the only variable I tested. I hypothesized that the Thin Deep Camber airfoil would create the most lift. The Thick Deep Camber would be second, and the Low Camber would be third. The GA(W)-1 airfoil would be fourth, and the Symmetrical airfoil would be fifth. The Low Lift would be next. The plain block would create no or very little lift, putting it as the least. I researched and learnt about the forces of flight (lift, weight, thrust, and drag), the Bernoulli Principle and the Coand? effect, wing shapes and airfoil designs, and more. Then, I gathered my materials and conducted my experiment, which involved making airfoil templates, tracing airfoil designs onto styrofoam blocks, and using an electric foam cutting pen to cut out the airfoil. I repeated this for the other five designs on the remaining blocks. I used a fixed wind source and a weighing scale to find the lift (in grams) created by each airfoil design. My results showed that the Symmetrical airfoil created the most lift, followed by the Thin Deep Camber. Therefore, I concluded that my hypothesis was incorrect. However, there were several technical limitations to my experiment that may have affected the final results.


Oil Exploration with Arjun

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

After having read about oil exploration, we repeated the experiment that we had done with Kabir in 2014.  We filled a shoebox with sand and small stones and somewhere in between, I hid a small plastic box with green and blue colored dishwashing liquid to represent oil.  We taped a graph paper on top of the shoebox.  We marked the directions for North, South, East and West.  Then Arjun started exploring for oil by digging into our pretend earth with skewers.  When he hit the spot, we used a pipette to suck out the oil.  He had fun doing this.

Pied Piper Players

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Pied Piper Players is the local children’s theater.  My boys feel at home with this group.  So far, Arjun has participated in 6 plays produced by Pied Piper Players and Kabir has participated in 7 plays.  Both of them have participated in 1 Tupelo Community Theater – off-Broadway show.

In Fall 2017, Arjun took part as Alex in the play: “The Magic Wishing Ring.”  His performance was outstanding!

In Fall 2017, Kabir took part in the following play: “It’s an Okie Dokie Life!”  He was the main character, Joe.  He really enjoyed being a cowboy and we were very impressed with his performance.  One of the scenes required Kabir to be on stage and looking at himself in the past.  Arjun played the role of Joe in the past.  As part of Pied Piper Players, boys took part in the annual Christmas Parade in Tupelo.

In Spring 2018, boys participated in the production of Alice in Wonderland. Kabir was the March Hare and Arjun was the Frog Footman. Here’s a Daily Journal newspaper article about the play.