Thursday, January 29, 2015

How do vaccines work? - Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut

The first ever vaccine was created when Edward Jenner, an English physician and scientist, successfully injected small amounts of a cowpox virus into a young boy to protect him from the related (and deadly) smallpox virus. But how does this seemingly counterintuitive process work? Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut details the science behind vaccines.

Lesson by Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut, animation by Cinematic.

Monday, January 26, 2015

When Is An Algebra Tutor Needed?

Algebra is one of those subjects that is capable of giving even the best students fits when they are first exposed to it. Algebra is one of the first advanced math classes that a student will come across in the course of his education and besides the usual problems posed by any new subject algebra poses additional difficulties because of the nature of math as a conceptual subject instead of one based solely on facts as most other subjects are.

But just exactly when does your child need an algebra tutor? Are there any warning signs that you should be looking for? A poor math grade in the previous school year, avoidance of algebra homework, behavioral changes, any signs that he is getting frustrated, or a recommendation from his teacher can all be good indicators for you to start searching out an algebra tutor for your child.

Math is a subject that is very cumulative in nature. Each new concept depends on the student understanding all of the concepts that came before it. If there is a lack of understanding at any point then everything that happens after that is just going to cause more confusion. If your child had a bad math grade for the last school year then he may not have an adequate foundation upon which to build his algebra skills. An algebra tutor will be able to help him shore up that foundation.

Does he avoid his algebra homework? Perhaps he leaves his algebra book at school and tells you that he forgot it. Or maybe he always does all of his other homework quickly but just sits there and stares at his algebra homework. An algebra tutor can help him with that homework.

Have there been any behavioral changes with your child, either in school or at home? Many times if a child is having difficulty with a class he will try to draw attention away from his academic problems by acting out. His goal is to distract parents and teachers with his behavior so that they do not focus on his failure in the classroom. It also allows him to tell his friends that he is getting bad grades in algebra because it is cool to do so rather than because he just doesn't understand it.

Is he showing any signs of frustration? Does he talk about being stupid or giving up? Does he seem to not feel well on those mornings when he has an algebra test? These can all be indicative of a student that is having issues in algebra class. An algebra tutor can spend the time necessary for your child to understand the concepts he is being taught and eliminate those feelings of frustration.

One warning sign that is very difficult to miss is when you get a note from his teacher. If his teacher suggests getting him a tutor then she has noticed either in class or with his homework assignments that he is having more difficulty understanding the material than most students. Take advantage of her advice and seek an algebra tutor for your child.

Do you need an Algebra tutor? Anton Lebedev is the director of Plus Plus Tutoring, a tutoring company that has many Algebra tutors available in numerous locations.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

What Triggers a Chemical Reaction? - Kareem Jarrah

Chemicals are in everything we see, and the reactions between them can look like anything from rust on a spoon to an explosion on your stovetop. But why do these reactions happen in the first place? Kareem Jarrah answers this question by examining the two underlying forces that drive both endothermic and exothermic chemical reactions: enthalpy and entropy.

Lesson by Kareem Jarrah, animation by Flaming Medusa Studios Inc.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How To Spot If Your Child Needs A Tutor

All parents want their kids to do well at school but when it comes to helping with their studies themselves, many don't have the knowledge or the time to help. And even if you do have the tools to the job, sometimes it can be hard to get your child to listen to you and your patience really can wear thin. If it's not working out then the next best thing you can do is hire a professional tutor. A tutoring service could mean the difference between success and failure for your child and their academic career; tutoring really can make a huge difference. If you decide to hire a professional tutoring service to help your child you will not only notice an improvement in their grades, but also in their self-esteem levels and their attitude towards learning.

Sometimes it can be hard to know whether your child needs a tutor but in general all children can benefit from the extra help. Here are some things to look out for if you think your child could need a tutor:

• They are hard-workers, but the results aren't that good. If you think your child is putting in the effort but not getting the sorts of results you would expect, something is going wrong. They may benefit going through the most effective ways to study and revise independently with a professional tutor who can guide and advise them. Things like how to take notes effectively and how to manage your time are all things that they will need to know later on in their academic life.

• They lack motivation. If lack of motivation is the biggest barrier for your child, then the personal attention that a tutor could provide might just be the best thing for them. Personal tutoring isn't just about improving grades; it is also about building up a child's confidence.

• The lesson style doesn't work for them. Not everyone learns in the same way, this is what makes a teacher's job so difficult sometimes. Some children prefer more interaction-based learning and if they are in a class where the teacher is more of a lecturer then this could cause problems. With a tutor the learning style can be tailored to the individual.

• The teacher isn't good enough. Unfortunately you can't choose your teacher. Whilst most teachers are great, there are some who just don't live up to appropriate standards. A qualified tutor could help to fill in the gaps missed by an inadequate classroom teacher.

• They struggle with one subject specifically. Most of us have our strengths and weaknesses but if you are finding that your child constantly struggles with a certain subject would almost certainly benefit from specialized tuition in that area.

• They don't cope well with examinations. Some children can perform perfectly well in class but when it comes to exams and tests they get incredibly anxious and perform badly. A tutor can help coach your child on how to approach exams, how to revise and how to control nerves when in an exam.

• School just doesn't cut it. For some exceptionally gifted children, the school curriculum just isn't challenging enough. They need to be stretched in different ways so that their potential doesn't go to waste. Make sure you are encouraging and cultivating your child's intelligence by getting them a tutor.

A tutoring service can be beneficial for people of all ages, no matter where they are in their education. Jason Kay recommends reading tutoring service reviews to learn more about tutoring services in your area.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Evolution of the Human Eye - Joshua Harvey

The human eye is an amazing mechanism, able to detect anywhere from a few photons to a few quadrillion, or switch focus from the screen in front of you to the distant horizon in a third of a second. How did these complex structures evolve? Joshua Harvey details the 500 million year story of the human eye.

Lesson by Joshua Harvey, animation by Artrake Studio.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Make It Big!

At The Academy of 21st Century Learning's STEAM/STEM After- School Enrichment class, this month's topic is Natural Disasters.

This group of five to seven year old students are exploring advanced scientific concepts such as atmospheric pressure and cloud formation using simple hands-on activities.

This activity demonstrates the use of our Cloud Chamber.

Make it big, indeed!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Extraordinary Team : David Morgan

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, UC Berkeley 2012

As a recent graduate from the UC Berkeley Chemistry Department, David mainly tutors math and science at The Academy of 21st Century Learning. At UC Berkeley, David acquired a breadth of knowledge while working as an undergraduate researcher; he studied bacterial genetics in a lab in the Plant and Microbiology Department and atmospheric chemistry with a professor in the Geography Department.
David hopes to go back to graduate school and earn his PhD in Physical Chemistry and from there pursue a career in academia. His passion for science and academics is infectious; students with an interest in chemistry and math quickly see his excitement over things like molecular shapes and tough word problems, and his greatest hope is that he can pass on some of that enthusiasm to the next generation of minds.

What is on my nightstand?

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep - Shai Marcu

It’s 4am, and the big test is in 8 hours. You’ve been studying for days, but you still don’t feel ready. Should you drink another cup of coffee and spend the next few hours cramming? Or should you go to sleep? Shai Marcu defends the latter option, showing how sleep restructures your brain in a way that’s crucial for how our memory works.

Lesson by Shai Marcu, animation by Javier SaldeƱa.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What Makes a Good Tutor?

Due to the increasing importance of education, many parents and schools choose to hire tutors. Parents hire freelancer tutors and work with private tutoring services. Parents hire instructors for tasks such as math tutoring, and SAT prep. However, many parents do not exactly understand what makes a good tutor.

Tutors often think that they are well qualified because they possess adequate understanding of the subject matter. Many people say that one possesses adequate knowledge of a subject when he can lecture in the subject. However, there are many other aspects to being a good tutor and having adequate knowledge in the subject will not necessarily make the tutor a good tutor.

Of course, understanding the subject matter is critical to being a good tutor. No tutor is able to adequately explain material to a struggling student if he does not understand it well enough himself. That does not mean that the tutor has to have every single minor aspect of the subject memorize. But the tutor should be able to understand the subject matter after a short review before the session.

Simple knowledge of a subject is generally insufficient to be a good tutor. A tutor has to have true understanding of a subject. For example, an inexperienced math tutor may know the Quadratic formula but a great tutor can also derive it. A decent Literature tutor understands the plot and themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. But a great tutor also understands the history behind the novel.

A good tutor should be an experienced tutor. The more experienced the tutor is, the more likely he will address the student's issues. Inexperienced tutors should first consider volunteering and tutoring family and friends before charging for their services.

Another important aspect of tutoring is having good communication skills. A tutor has to not only know the subject matter but also be able to adequately explain it. Someone may be able to solve any math problem but he will not necessarily make his solution understandable to the student.

A good tutor is a good evaluator of the student's performance. Often, students do not understand exactly what their problems in a course are. They often just know that they are struggling or that they are getting bad grades. A good tutor can understand what gaps and misunderstandings the student has and can provide review of these particular subject areas.

Another characteristic of a good tutor is the ability to understand the student's situation. Students who work with tutors generally are frustrated and a tutor should not never make the situation worse. Also, students can often have learning disabilities so a tutor may need to explain certain aspects differently or use a slower tutoring pace. They should also be forgiving of minor misbehavior by a student as the misbehavior may be caused by stress.

Anton Lebedev is the director of Plus Plus Tutoring, a private in-home tutoring service. Plus Plus Tutoring offers professional K-12 subject tutoring, test and exam preparation, college planning, and study skills training services. Plus Plus Tutoring has professional tutors in Charlotte, tutors in Raleigh, and tutors in many other locations in the United States.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

Our Extraordinary Team : Janine Felzer-Boone


Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, UC Davis, 1986
Two years Post Graduate work UCSB and SFSU Spanish Linguistics and Literature 1986-1988
Certificate of Court and Medical Interpretation Monterey Institute of International Studies 1989

Janine is a Vacaville local who lives with her loving husband, Alan, and 10 year old black Labrador. She loves to spend time with them both, especially during their 5-mile weekend walks. Janine has a bright personality, which is evident the moment she steps into a room. She is an attentive listener, and believes that she may have been a good counselor in another life.

Janine knew from a young age that she wanted to teach. She spent many hours of her childhood teaching her nephew, Jason, about geography. He eventually went on to get his own teaching credential. Janine tutored more formally in high school, working with classmates on algebra and Spanish. She later attended UC Davis, where she followed her passion for language and tutored students of all levels in their Spanish courses. She then spent some time at UCSB and SFSU for graduate studies in Spanish Linguistics and Literature. She has worked as a TA and an instructor at local senior centers.

Janine is passionate about helping others and providing service to her community.  She became certified in Court and Medical Interpretation through the acclaimed Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1989.  She has focused on this work for the majority of her career, but recently found her way back into teaching. She is looking forward to continuing her educational journey with The Academy’s Spanish students. She has a fun, unique teaching style and wants to help all of her students feel, taste, smell, and embrace another language. Janine says that she feels at home at The Academy and is thrilled to be able to spend some of her time sharing her love of Spanish with students of all ages.

What is one surprising fact about you?
For most of my life, I have followed convention and worked with my natural hair, which is dirty blonde, fuzzy, and out of control.  I thought that this was the only way to get secure work. A few years ago, I decided to let go of convention and do something unexpected- I dyed my hair red with blonde highlights and style it straight with a spikey appearance. This style is much more aligned with my personality, and I am glad that I have opened myself to change and overcome fears of others’ opinions.

What’s on your nightstand?
I have a leopard print lamp with frill and amber colored beads, and a simple and dependable alarm clock from my high school years that always keeps me on time for work and morning exercise. Also, there is lots of dust because, with my schedule, dusting isn’t a top priority.