The benefits of keeping a journal – advice for Language and Literature students

In the new guide for self-taught students in literature, there are three properties defining what a global issue is: It has significance on a wide or large scale It is transnational Its impact is felt in everyday, local contexts Keep a journal as you read and watch each text, focus on the four suggested fields of inquiry. This will set up your thinking for perceptive understanding in each of your assessments. These fields of inquiry are defined by the writers of the IB Language: ...

Mass extinction of insects

Up to 50% of all insects may have been lost since 1970 as a result of habitat removal, the increased use of pesticides, invasive species, climate change and light pollution. As many as 40% of the known insect species may be at risk of extinction. In the UK alone, the use of pesticides has doubled since 1995, and 23 species of wasps and bees became extinct between 1900 and 2000. The value of bees as pollinators in the UK is ...

She lit up the stage

The last month or so I have been working at my local theatre helping with the lighting for 'The Railway Children' by Edith Nesbit. It is a community theatre that puts on 4-5 plays a year and I try to help out with lights at least once a year. This blog will look at what challenges we had in terms of lighting, what we wanted to achieve and how we achieved the desired effects.  Once I had committed to being a ...

William Ramsey

On Wednesday 2nd October you may have seen the Google doodle with Sir William Ramsey (it was published to celebrate his 167th birthday): Image credit / copyright Google.com – if there is a problem post this image, please let me know and I will remove it. You may also have inferred from the doodle that William Ramsey had something to do with the noble gases (group 18)… more on this later. William Ramsey was Scottish and was born in Glasgow on the 2nd ...

E/Z cis / trans – geometric isomers

The E/Z or cis / trans system can be used to name geometric isomers. Geometric isomers are molecules that have groups above and below the plane of a ring or double bond. It is important to consider and be aware of these isomers as even though the structural formula is the same, the molecules will have different physical properties and can have different chemical properties. So to make life easier, we have two systems for distinguishing between them. The cis trans ...

Great Mathematicians 7 – Pythagoras

Statue of Pythagoras on Samos (image from visitgreece.com) Much of what we know about Pythagoras is conjecture. We do know that he was born on the Greek island of Samos in about 570 BC and died in about 495 BC. Around about 530 BC he founded what can only be called a rather bizarre sect in Croton, in Italy: it was semi-mystical, and Pythagoras imposed strict vegetarianism, communal living, secret rites and strange rules - such as instructions to his ...

Documenting temporary artworks

Fire, Water and Decay Emma - one of my 2nd year visual arts students -  is interested in the process of decomposition and destruction by fire. She’s interested in the way things change as they end their existence, the visual qualities and the nature of change. She has been burning things and watching/filming natural objects decay and decompose as time passes. She has also been filming ripples in water, (” the impact of a splash”) as well using ‘ripple’ photos as the ...

Trafficking in Britain

It is not known how many illegal migrants there are in Britain. Some estimates put them at around 650,000 +/- 200,000! What is clear, however is that people will take huge risks to enter the UK in search of work. What is also clear is that security has been tightened at the main ports and that smugglers have switched to other ports. For example, at Dover lorries may be searched with the use of x-rays, dogs, carbon dioxide sniffers and ...

Researching a world theatre tradition

For the last 12 years I have been researching Kathakali, and as time goes on I see more and more ways to find out about the history of a tradition. Also, as time goes on I come across more and more conflicting pieces of information. It is therefore essential to cross reference all your information, find a range of sources to refer to and also check, double check and triple check you understand what you are reading before you choose ...

Understanding the Factor Theorem

You have probably learnt how to factorise a quadratic expression: for example, x2 - 2x - 8 factorises to give (x - 4)(x + 2). This is useful because it enables us to solve the equation x2 - 2x - 8 = 0. How? Because if we use the factorised form we get (x - 4)(x + 2) = 0, and if two numbers multiply to give zero then one of the number must be zero. So either x - 4 = 0, ...