When Pigs Fly!

There use to be an old saying people would use to express how certain they were that something would never ever happen.  They would say “when pigs fly”.  After all, who ever heard of a pig that could fly?  Only birds can fly, right?  And why is that?  Well, we heard a story about a little pig who started asking himself that very question.  He was relaxing one day enjoying the sunshine, and saw an airplane fly over.  He asked himself why some things can fly and some can’t.  He thought maybe it was the wings, airplanes had wings and birds had wings.  But the chickens on the farm had wings, and he had never seen one of them fly away.

He started thinking a lot about it, and one day the farmer dropped his phone on the ground and the little pig used it to google “how to fly”.  He saw a lot of webpages that talked about something called “lift”.  They explained that if he could make a wing that had the right shape and attach it the right way to his airplane, he could create this “lift” he needed to fly.  But they explained the lift would have to be bigger than the weight of his airplane.  So, the little pig got to work on making plans for his airplane.

He waited until the farmer and his wife went away for a week for their first vacation in years, and he started to work building his airplane.  He “borrowed” the wood from the back wall of the farmer’s barn to build the airplane, and the engine out of the farmer’s tractor to use to power it.  His friend the bull pulled on the chain and lifted the engine up to the airplane and his friend the billy goat gave it a good kick to push it into place.  While his friends the cows pushed open the barn doors, he used a stack of hay to climb up into the plane.  He put on his helmet and goggles and pushed the start button.  The propeller started to spin faster and faster, and the plane started to move forward.  It slowly picked up speed as it went down the farmer’s field.  The little pig pulled back on the stick and suddenly the plane leapt from the ground into the air, and before he knew it the little pig was flying.

And if you find our story hard to believe, consider this.  One of the Wright brothers, the men who are credited with achieving the first successful powered flight in what could be considered a modern airplane design, was named Wilbur Wright.  And the name of the little pig in the story Charlotte’s Web was also Wilbur.  Coincidence?  Maybe, maybe not.

Hello World!

Ever wonder how websites like Facebook or other sites you love to use get made?  Ever wish you could make one of those cool apps you seen on your phone?  Well you can.  And it all starts with learning how to say hello, “Hello World!” to be exact.  When programmers have tried to learn to use a new computer programming language, the first thing they have traditionally learned to do is to get the computer to say hello.  They would write a short program to display “Hello World!” on the computer screen.

CH, LL, Ñ, RR are not weirdos

Once upon a time there were four friendly letters that felt very weird. They could not be friendly with the other letters of the alphabet. Some consonants tried to form words with them, but they could not do.

Until suddenly, the vowels felt sad for them and began to stand beside each of the letters when they did this they begin to form words and even sentences.

The Ñ was very happy, she exclaimed “How can this be? How have we formed words and even sentences?,”
“You see! In Spanish we need all of you, without you many words would not exist, that’s why we offer you our friendship,” The E said.

The LL answered anxiously “What words will we make?,”
Come to Spanish class and we will show you!

Newton was an apple fan

It all started with an apple.  A falling apple to be exact.  There was once this guy named Newton who really liked apples, the kind you eat not that kind you use to update your Facebook status.

One day Newton got bored and was sitting taking it easy staring at some apple trees.  They didn’t have TV back then, so people did weird things for fun.  And he saw an apple fall from a tree.  This got him to thinking and asking himself big questions, like what causes things to fall and why the Moon goes around the Earth the way it does.  Actually, some versions of the story say that he was sitting under the tree and the apple feel and hit him on the head, which kind of makes sense considering the effect it had on him.  But anyway, he got to thinking about this question.

So, after a lot of thinking he came to an interesting conclusion.  He thought, what if the same thing that causes the apple to fall from the tree is also the thing which causes the Moon to orbit the Earth.  And after a lot of thinking, Newton came up with what is now called Newton’s Law of Gravitation.  Not the kind of law that congress votes on.  This is the kind of Law that scientists agree on after they believe a theory has been proven.

And the moral of this story is, that not only are apples good for you, if you sit around all day watching them fall from trees, you just might come up with an idea that makes you world famous.  But, that will mean you’ll have to turn off the TV for a while.  Oh well, being famous isn’t everything right.

Is a Number a Number?

Did you know that not all numbers are alike?  It turns out there are types of numbers.  Who knew.  So, what determines the type of a number?  Well, it has a lot to do with how they are used.  If the numbers are being used for counting, they must be positive integers and they are called natural numbers.  Oh, by the way, an integer is a number that is a whole number like 1 or 2 and does not have a decimal part or does not have to be represented as a fraction.  Speaking of fractions, if you do have to use a fraction to represent a number, that number is a real number.  These types of numbers come up a lot when you are trying to measure real physical things such as how much something weighs.  I don’t weight 160 lbs, I weigh 159.99 lbs, which is way different.  And believe it or not, not even all real numbers are alike.  Some can be represented as the ratio of two integers such as 2/3, and some cannot.  The ones that can are called rational and the ones that can’t are called irrational.  So, the next time someone you know starts talking about numbers, ask them what kind of number and see if they give you a funny look.

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