What does an 8-year old girl think about robots? A very short story about “The Smallest Robot” – “De allerkleinste robot”

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As followers of this blog may have already noticed, I’ve been giving introductory programming classes to children and nowadays I have a student who is 12 years old. During our lessons, her sister (8 years old) is always very curious about what we talk about and she is generally surprised at what her elder sister can do with Scratch. A few weeks ago, with the help of a robotics book, I gave a lesson about robotics and prepared an assignment to create a very simple robotics simulator in which a hand-drawn robot should go around an obstacle and reach the treasure box. Next week, to my astonishment, not only did I receive a simple and interesting Scratch program from my student, but also a short story on robots from her little sister. The story is titled “De allerkleinste robot” and it is about very little robots, witches and wizards. I have to admit that I’m totally speechless when it comes to the imagination of a child:

De allerkleinste robot - The smallest robot

De allerkleinste robot - The smallest robot

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How to raise your children bilingually: The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents

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The Bilingual Family

The Bilingual Family

Whether you moved to a different country and your child faces linguistic challenges, or there is more than one language spoken at home due to different origins of you and your partner, and you are curious (or anxious) about the proper language methods to apply when raising your child, The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents, Second Edition is definitely a very rich source of information and guidance. Particularly in my case, I really want my son to have a native level command of both of the languages spoken by me and my wife. As a person who experienced a lack of communication with his grandmother and grandfather (on his mother’s side), I wish that my child does not experience the same.

I’m happy to read a very humane account of bilingualism that puts the concerns of parents and children at the center, yet being based on solid scientific research and written by specialist linguists who have also raised bilingual children. The book does not only serve as a guide, but also is an antidote against a lot of myths surrounding bilingualism.

The 18 different case studies that draw from the experience of very different families and languages, each with different combinations and attitudes regarding language use is one of the most lively parts of the book; the actual conversations of children will certainly make you smile (sometimes laugh out loudly). Moreover, the last section, where many important and critical concepts are listed alphabetically and discussed in detail will serve as a brief but very valuable guide, at least for me and our family.

Want to continue the space adventure with your kids? Time for a visit to Cosmodrome @ Genk

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Well, after this and this, I have discovered yet another space related activity for kids in Belgium, particulary in Genk: Cosmodrome. According to De Redactie, “Cosmodrome has opened in the Europlanetarium in the easterly city of Genk (Limburg) in 2010. The Cosmodrome is a dome measuring 250 square metres covered with monitors on the inside. This makes it possible to do 360° projections.

Cosmodrome at Genk, Belgium

Cosmodrome at Genk, Belgium

Two full high definition projectors create a three dimensional experience. The dome will be used to create projections of the heavens showing the different star constellations. Special software will allow visitors to get the impression that they are hurtling through space or are visiting the International Space Station.

Animation films and documentaries will also be projected. The animation films include “The Enchanted Reef” for children and the documentary “Ice Worlds” that focuses on the delicate balance between ice, water and life on earth.

Visitors are seated in the middle of the dome. The dome has a capacity of 100.”

Ready for the adventure with your kids? Time for a Space Odyssey at Belgium!

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Thanks to a recent article by Emma Beddington at The Bulletin (“A Space Odyssey“), I learned about the European Space Centre at Belgium. A place for the whole family to spend the weekend and explore space related activities and get a taste of the training that astronauts undergo.

European Space Center @ Belgium

And if you are looking to continue the adventure, but in a bigger place, do not forget other options, too. 😉

What to do with your kids on a weekend? Visit the European Astronaut Centre on German Aerospace Day

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There is an excellent opportunity for parents living in Belgium (or anywhere that is not far from Cologne, Germany) that presents itself every two years: German Aerospace Day. The latest event took place last year, and unfortunately our son was just a few months old then. Thus I decided to take a field trip and get familiar with the environment, so that maybe next time (or four years later) I can take him to this wonderfully exciting event in which a child can ask questions directly to the astronauts or walk inside the 1:1 scaled of International Space Station‘s Columbus module. And then maybe go through the initial procedures of applying for being an astronaut. On the more adventurous side, he can join the other children and build rockets, and then test them in real-time 😉 (Well, I’m sure some parents will have at least as much as their children, if not more.)

German Aerospace Day

German Aerospace Day

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