Friday, March 14, 2014

Holidays and Observances for March 14 2014

International Ask a Question Day

March 14th is International Ask a Question Day.  The goal of this day is to help people understand the benefits of asking more questions and how to ask better questions.
There are 12 main reasons to ask questions, they include:

1) to gather information
2) to maintain relationships
3) to learn and to teach
4) to build awareness
5) to think clearly, critically and strategically
6) to solve problems and to make decisions
7) to challenge assumptions
8) to set and accomplish goals
9) to clarify and confirm in listening sitautions
10)  to resolve conflicts
11) to engage in production conversations
12) to create and innovate new possibilities

To ask effective questions we need to practice our questioning skills.  Here are a few ideas that can help you work on your questioning skills.

Look at the 12 reasons to ask questions and pick one to work on each day or each week.  Then practicing asking questions in that category.  Try asking these questions to different people in different situations.  When you use these skills in different situations it helps you become more efficient, more adept at the skill in question.  You can also try to ask yourself these questions to help you practice.

Keep a daily journal of things that happen in your life and the world around you.  A good observer has many things to ask questions about as they are engaged and thinking critically about the world around them and things occurring in their daily lives.  Writing down these observations may spark a question you can ask someone else or research for yourself.

Remember that questioning is the way we learn new things.  We have all been around the three-year-old who constantly asks “why?”  They are not trying to frustrate anyone they are merely trying to learn more about their environment and the actions of the people around them.  This curiosity is a valuable tool that should be nurtured as it will help them  throughout their educational career.

Some children struggle with asking questions both in how to formulate the question and asking appropriate questions.  Children often ask questions that don’t give them the answer or information they were looking for which leaves them feeling frustrated.  Children may ask questions that do not fit in with the current conversation they may ask questions in a manner which confuses the listener so they are unsure of what information the child is trying to obtain.

We should also look at the flip side of this and mention answering questions.  Answering questions is also challenging to many children.  They may not understand what information the asker is looking for thus they do not appropriately answer the question.  They may answer the first part of the question but not second part, etc.

Speech therapy can help children learn how ask meaningful, appropriate questions that get them the information the want or need.  a child who is skilled at asking questions is more likely to ask questions when they are confused or when they missed some information or to check to ensure they understood what had been said.  Speech therapy also helps children learn how to listen to the question so they are able to effectively answer the posed question.  This is a skill children need to succeed in school as children are graded on their ability to answer questions on written and oral examinations.

National Pi Day

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (or 3/14 in the U.S. month/day date format), since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.

In the year 2015, Pi Day will have special significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of pi.

Pi Approximation Day is observed on July 22 (or 22/7 in the day/month date format), since the fraction 22⁄7 is a common approximation of π.

The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.

On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224), recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day.

For Pi Day 2010, Google presented a Google Doodle celebrating the holiday, with the word Google laid over images of circles and pi symbols.

National Potato Chip Day

Today is National Potato Chip Day! Did you know that Americans consume 1.2 billion pounds of potato chips each year? It’s the nation’s favorite snack food!

An Irish chef named George Crum invented potato chips in Saratoga Springs in 1853. One day, a picky customer kept sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were too thick and soggy. Crum responded by slicing the potatoes so thin that they couldn’t be eaten with a fork. The customer was so pleased with Crum's crispy creation that they became a regular item on the restaurant's menu!

To celebrate National Potato Chip Day, enjoy some of your favorite potato chips with your lunch or dinner!

Moth-er Day

In a world with so much natural beauty, there’s one creature that is often overlooked: the moth. While butterflies seem to get all the attention, moths are often feared, disliked or ignored, but Moth-er Day was set up to change all that.

Moth-er Day is a great opportunity to learn about moths and even get involved with their conservation. It’s an ideal study opportunity for children, who will be fascinated to learn more about the life cycle of egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and moth.

Some ways you can get involved with Moth-er day are to spend some time moth spotting and trying to identify and record the species you find. Moths, like butterflies, have suffered from dwindling numbers and difficult years in the past, so you can help them by planting caterpillar friendly plants in your garden. For Moth-er Day, you could research plants that caterpillars like and grow them yourself.

World Sleep Day

March 14 has been declared World Sleep Day, a time to recognize and celebrate the value of sleep. Many sleep experts hope it will be a wake-up call.

According to a 2013 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 4 in 5 Americans don't get as much sleep as they should during the workweek. On average, adults are thought to need at least eight hours of sleep a night, although some can get by with less and some won't do well without more. But the survey found that, on workdays, only 21% of Americans actually get a full eight hours of sleep, and another 21% get less than six.

To many of us, the thought of spending more time sleeping is, well, a big yawn. On the other hand, the thought of being smarter, thinner, healthier and more cheerful — that has a certain appeal. And those are just a few of the advantages that researchers say can be ours if we consistently get enough sleep. Also on the plus side: We're likely to have better skin, better memories, better judgment, livelier libidos and, oh, yes, longer lives.

"When you lose even one hour of sleep for any reason, it impacts your performance the next day," says Dr. Alon Avidan, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology last year found the same to be true even for children. When kids ages 8 to 12 slept for just one hour less for four nights, they didn't function as well — either cognitively or emotionally — during the day.

But sleeping has an image problem. "We see napping or sleeping as lazy," says Jennifer Vriend, a clinical psychologist in Ottawa, Canada, and lead author of the study with children. "We put so much emphasis on diet, nutrition, exercise. Sleep is in the back seat." In fact, she adds, no matter how much we work out, no matter how well we eat, we can't be in top physical shape unless we also get plenty of sleep.

And what if we don't sometimes? Take this weekend, for example. We're all going to lose an hour, and for many of us it's likely to come out of our sleep. In fact, research has shown, our sleep is likely to go into deficit for several days. What to do?

The first rule, Avidan says, would have been to get plenty of sleep before now. OK. Moving on. Today, he says, we can still follow the general p's and q's for catching zzz's: avoid caffeine after noon; avoid alcohol and technology (TV, computer, texting, etc.) too close to bedtime. And when we get up tomorrow, we can make a point of getting plenty of light right away. That will encourage our biological clocks to reset themselves. A nap could help too, as long is it's short (15 to 20 minutes) and carefully timed (at 2 or 3 in the afternoon).

Unfortunately, though, there are no quick fixes. "Sleep is not like a bank account," Avidan says. "For one hour of sleep loss, you need 24 hours to recover."

National Learn About Butterflies Day

Learn About Butterflies Day is celebrated on March 14th of each year.
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly’s life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths. The earliest known butterfly fossils date to the mid Eocene epoch, between 40–50 million years ago.

Butterflies exhibit polymorphism, mimicry and aposematism. Some, like the Monarch, will migrate over long distances. Some butterflies have evolved symbiotic and parasitic relationships with social insects such as ants. Some species are pests because in their larval stages they can damage domestic crops or trees; however, some species are agents of pollination of some plants, and caterpillars of a few butterflies (e.g., Harvesters) eat harmful insects. Culturally, butterflies are a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

National Save a Spider Day

National Save a Spider Day is celebrated on March 14th of each year.
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, at least 43,678 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists; however, there has been confusion within the scientific community as to how all these families should be classified, as evidenced by the over 20 different classifications that have been proposed since 1900.

Anatomically, spiders differ from other arthropods in that the usual body segments are fused into two tagmata, the cephalothorax and abdomen, and joined by a small, cylindrical pedicel. Unlike insects, spiders do not have antennae. In all except the most primitive group, the Mesothelae, spiders have the most centralized nervous systems of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax. Unlike most arthropods, spiders have no extensor muscles in their limbs and instead extend them by hydraulic pressure.
Their abdomens bear appendages that have been modified into spinnerets that extrude silk from up to six types of silk glands within their abdomen. Spider webs vary widely in size, shape and the amount of sticky thread used. It now appears that the spiral orb web may be one of the earliest forms, and spiders that produce tangled cobwebs are more abundant and diverse than orb-web spiders. Spider-like arachnids with silk-producing spigots appeared in the Devonian period about 386 million years ago, but these animals apparently lacked spinnerets. True spiders have been found in Carboniferous rocks from 318 to 299 million years ago, and are very similar to the most primitive surviving order, the Mesothelae. The main groups of modern spiders, Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, first appeared in the Triassic period, before 200 million years ago.

A herbivorous species, Bagheera kiplingi, was described in 2008, but all other known species are predators, mostly preying on insects and on other spiders, although a few large species also take birds and lizards. Spiders use a wide range of strategies to capture prey: trapping it in sticky webs, lassoing it with sticky bolas, mimicking the prey to avoid detection, or running it down. Most detect prey mainly by sensing vibrations, but the active hunters have acute vision, and hunters of the genus Portia show signs of intelligence in their choice of tactics and ability to develop new ones. Spiders’ guts are too narrow to take solids, and they liquidize their food by flooding it with digestive enzymes and grinding it with the bases of their pedipalps, as they do not have true jaws.

Male spiders identify themselves by a variety of complex courtship rituals to avoid being eaten by the females. Males of most species survive a few matings, limited mainly by their short life spans. Females weave silk egg-cases, each of which may contain hundreds of eggs. Females of many species care for their young, for example by carrying them around or by sharing food with them. A minority of species are social, building communal webs that may house anywhere from a few to 50,000 individuals. Social behavior ranges from precarious toleration, as in the widow spiders, to co-operative hunting and food-sharing. Although most spiders live for at most two years, tarantulas and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity.

While the venom of a few species is dangerous to humans, scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting pesticides. Spider silk provides a combination of lightness, strength and elasticity that is superior to that of synthetic materials, and spider silk genes have been inserted into mammals and plants to see if these can be used as silk factories. As a result of their wide range of behaviors, spiders have become common symbols in art and mythology symbolizing various combinations of patience, cruelty and creative powers.

National Children's Craft Day

Celebrated each year on March 14th, it is National Children’s Craft Day.  This day is an attempt to bring awareness of crafting to children, to open their eyes to the wide world of crafts and have them see what their imagination can do within that world and the endless possibilities that there are.  National Children’s Craft Day is part of National Craft Month.

Crafting can give children a sense of accomplishment as well as help build their self esteem.  As with adults, in children, crafting is also a stress reducer.

Craft stores hold special classes throughout the month of March so there are opportunities for children to get involved, interact with others, learn something new, get away from the television and other electronics, move around and have fun.  When using their creativity, the opportunities for children in the crafting world are endless.