Thursday, November 15, 2012

Innovative Investigations: Block and Tackle

DATE: 22 Zilhijjah 1433/8 Nov. 2012

Block and Tackle

To build a simple block and tackle and a pulley with hangers and investigate how they work and which is easiest.

load; plasticine
- 3 coat hangers
-  plasticine
- tape
- scissors
- pencil
- paper cups

cup holding load
First we used the paper cup and yarn to make a bucket to hold our load.

Then we made the Block and Tackle with two hangers, some yarn and tape; we tied one end of the yarn to one hanger and taped it in place. Then we wound the yarn around both hangers and held on the the other end of the yarn to pull. The bucket was attached to the lower hanger.

The second pulley was made by attaching the bucket to one end of the  yarn and looping the other end over the curve of the hanger.

Block and tackle in action

load up
simple system pulley using a hanger

1.Which pulley system worked better?
The simple pulley.

It could be pulled more easily.

3. Did both pulleys need the same amount of force to work?
No, the block and tackle needed more force to move (it was difficult to use too).

 4. Which needed more force?
The Block and Tackle.

5.Why did it need more force to lift the load?
The yarn had to move over more distance to work and had to the lower hanger as well.

(Design of Block and Tackle taken from :Wheels, Pulleys and Levers"  pulished by Pustak Mahal, India)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Masha'Allah Moments

Things are constantly changing around us; the weather gets cooler, the days get shorter, the children get taller or rounder- we take many of these changes for granted and some seem mundane, other things happen in a blink of an eye, so if your nodding off you'll miss it. As we keep plodding through our days, things will happen to give us a "heads up!" so here are a few more recent things from our home:

- IBAP (11 yrs) was doing math on Khan Academy - we're revising multiplication and division, when I found  him adding and subtracting negative numbers. This was a surprise because we haven't begun that topic yet and he was getting the answers right. I asked him if he had watched a tutorial on it, he explained he hadn't, and when he first attempted the set of questions he got them all wrong. So how did he figure them out now? He was forming a number-line in his mind and moving "left" and "right" on it ; 9- (-4) = 5!

-SBAP (4yrs) can now back flip onto the bed Subhan'Allah, he is now trying to land on his feet. He has also begun horse riding lessons, accompanying QBAP (13yrs).

-BBAP, our little Babujee (5 months) can not sit up, but he will rush across the bed, pushing himself forward with his feet and getting on his knees and then almost bouncing forward to reach for tempting books or cell phones placed beyond his reach Masha'Allah.

-ZBAP  (2yrs) has proved to be a natural story teller, Masha'Allah, his stories often incorporate our current events, lately his stories include cows and goats, other than his usual stories of "guy on a motorcylce", "falling down from the ladder', electric guy (electrician), "plumbber" and sharks and whales (after watching "Free Willy"). Though his stories border on violent and tragic, he himself does not like loud noises of scenes of violence in programs, he labels them as "noisy noisy, scary" and leaves the room.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Innovative Investigations: Measuring Distances

To find out which type of object will fall the furtherest distance and which type will fall the least distance.

1. ball
2. plastic spoon
3. metal spoon
4. paper
5. shirt
6. measuring tape
7. electric tape

tape marking standing place
A piece of electric tape was taped to the ground to mark the place from where the objects would be thrown. The objects were thrown one at a time. Then we measured how far it fell. We tried to exert the same force for each object. 

signalling all is ready and subject can now throw object

measuring the distance the object fell

measuring tape



1. Was force exerted the same?

2. Which object fell furtherest distance?
The ball.

3. Which object fell the least distance?

- Paper is light so it did not fall far and often spiralled to the ground.

We learned that the smaller an object is the further it goes. The distance an object falls is determined by velocity/ speed, shape and size of the object (Air Resistance.)  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Creative Characters (Bookworm Club Competition)

Our Bookworm Book Club is currently reading "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Once the first four lucky golden ticket winners were revealed in the book, our Book Worms were asked to write about a fictitious child who would fit in with the first four nasty winners and tells us how the child found the ticket. They were given a week to prepare for the competition.

HBAP (7yrs) was very excited, she brought out a white board and marker and asked Ummi to help write out her thoughts. She first considered writing about a child who played too much cricket and the following day changed her mind and thought out a story about a boy who didn't like to bathe. She then asked Ummi to write it out so that she could copy it on to paper. She then wrote it out twice to make it neat, still not satisfied with her own handwriting she asked Ummi to write it out.
This is HBAP's story in her own handwriting:


It continues-One day his parents said they would give him money to buy chocolate if he had a bath. He washed his hands and face with soap, and they gave him the money. Then he went to the chocolate shop and he bought a chocolate. He went home and he opened it and he saw a golden ticket inside.

MBAP (9yrs) decided not to write anything because he felt he couldn't possibly win, but was quick to suggest stories for others to write, with some persuasion he finally put together a story just before the club session began.  His story:


Jesse was an only child who did not know how to share. When his neighbors play cricket and their ball flies into his house he takes it and hides it in his sleeves and tells them it did not come there .When he plays with them and gets out he stops playing and goes whit his ball so no one else can play. When Jesse heard about the golden ticket he bullied small children to give him their chocolate .once he found a ticket he left the little children alone.           

IBAP (11yrs) eagerly put his story together and wrote it out without a fuss Masha'Allah!

IBAP's Story:


Peter Postopia loves his PSP. He plays on it all day long. Even when he wakes up he plays on his PSP while his mother feeds him breakfast. At school when his teacher is checking other children’s work, he uses it under his desk. Peter plays with it till he falls asleep so it stays in his hand while he is asleep. When he heard about the golden tickets he started eating chocolate while playing on his PSP, till one day he found a ticket. Peter then stopped eating chocolate to concentrate on his games.

After all the club members had presented their stories a secret ballot was carried out to ascertain the competition winner; Masha'Allah HBAP won! She received a Hajj activity book as a prize.

To read more about the competition and read the other children's entries visit:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mind your Mathemathics

Khan Academy is not a new resource for most homeschoolers and now many a school uses it too. Interestingly some teachers actually assign watching the videos it offers as homework to explain math concepts and later homework worksheets are worked out in class. 

For the younger BAPs watching the videos is fun and attempting the practice exercises online is exciting. Online stickers provide incentive to keep working at those concepts they are struggling with as well as attempt new concepts. IBAP and MBAP are reviewing old concepts and compete with one comparing each other's progress. Insha'Allah we hope they will continue progressing to new concepts of math using this program too.

Earlier I was worried that HBAP (7yrs) would find "place value" a confusing concept, but Alhumdulillah through Khan Academy she found it easy to understand and was eager to repeat the exercises several times even though she attained proficiency level at the exercises in her first attempt. She found the concept of adding two digit numbers simple too, after watching Salman Khan's simple explanation of it.

Alhumdulillah Khan Academy allows me to designate my children as my students and monitor their progress. It's flow charts guide us to which concepts to tackle once the current one is achieved and allow the children to evaluate their progress as well.

We plan to use it to revise Algebra concepts with our two teens (who are busy with Quran memorization and don't have enough time to spend on academic study) and then move on to other avenues of arithmetic as well Insha'Allah . 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Life with Fred

Fred is a five year old math genius who loves his doll and best friend Kingie; his life would seem ordinary - he loves apples, books and fizzy drinks- except that Fred is a professor at Kittens University, Kansas.

With a mind of a child and the thought processes of a mathematician Fred puzzles through life; trying to sip milk from a hand-crafted  straw which creates a soggy paper mess, observing the stars in the sky and looking for patterns in snowflakes.

These books aim at holistic learning; they teach children about Astronomy, Human relations, Physiology, Geography, English and even Arithmetic. Each chapter relates the story of Fred's life and ends with a few questions for the children to answer, so keep a paper and pen handy.

The books are also meant to encourage early readers and are written to be read out loud by the children themselves but we've found that even having a parent read it out can be fun.

Find out more about the books and how to order them at:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Shadow Puppet Show

Umm Uzair conducted a workshop on shadow puppetry for Hibakidz magazine. She invited some of the Book worm club members to be her assistants. IBAP (10), MBAP (8) and HBAP (5) were amongst them.
The following is a brief account of the occasion:

We went to Hafsa Aunty's house to help Laila Aunty with her work shop. She was conducting a work shop on Shadow puppets.
 32 participants were at the workshop. They were told to sit in 4 lines. Laila Aunty read the story of  the Prophet Yunus (AS), then she asked if we could make pictures of the Prophets? The children said, 'no'. Laila aunty said we are not making the Prophet Yunus (AS) but the puppets are going to tell us about Prophet Yunus (AS). Then we prepared for the shadow puppet show. Laila Aunty told 2 lines to clap for rain and the other 2 lines to make WOO sounds for storms and a boy named Musab to hit a patila (steel cooking pot) for lightning. I played the part of the whale in the show.
  After the puppet show we helped the participants make their puppets. They also did a puppet show. We were given a snack to take home.
It was a good experience. It was hot that day but i still enjoyed the experience.       

I volunteered to help at Laila Aunty's shadow puppet show workshop .There were lots of children. I monitored the children as they made their pupppets. After Laila Aunty read the story of Younus (AS) we played our puppet show about it.I was the puppeteer for a sailor and a boat. I had a lot of fun.

Monday, June 25, 2012

MBAP's week-end out!

Alhumdulillah thanks to an invitation from the family of Muhammed, MBAP had a chance to visit Burban. It was his first visit unaccompanied by family and he realized how much he was attached to them -  he was "missing you guys" initially but managed to overcome his homesickness and enjoy the hospitality and warmth of his hosts Alhumdulillah. He enjoyed activities such as table tennis,  a treasure hunt, nightly walks and observed ladybugs.

 Jazakullah Khair Dr. Khalid, Zaitoon Aunty and Muhammed for your hospitality!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BAP update;

A quick BAP update.....ABAP has completed his 15th juz and will now revise the previous juz memorized before continuing further Insha'Allah. May Allah SWT make it easy for him. Aameen.

Also both ABAP and QBAP were on the same team in last month's RMI cricket match and their team won, Alhumdulillah, needless t o say the boys were excited and proud of their team achievement.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

IBAP's Northern trip highlights

This March IBAP (10yrs) was invited to join the family of his friend Muhammed for a trip up north of Pakistan. Muhammed's father, Dr. Khalid is an eye surgeon and was making the trip to Islamabad  participate in an eye camp (at a village) where he would be preforming cataract operations. The family also planned to visit Muzaffarabad and the Kewrah Salt Mines.

IBAP had a lovely time stay at the Cadet College hostel and playing basket ball with Muhammed. He also got to see some snow, visit a boarding school at lunch time, take a trip to the Kewrah Mines and stay at the Pearl Continental in Muzaffarabad, but the most exciting thing was when Dr. Khalid had the two children stand by him as he preformed one of the eye surgeries at the camp, Subhan'Allah.

Jazakullah Khair to Dr. Kahlid, Umm Muhammed and Muhammed for hosting IBAP and providing him with this wonderful opportunity of learning and fun, Masha'Allah.

the two friends
Umm Muhammed put a small questionnaire for IBAP to answer about the trip, and here it is:

Q1.Write the names of at least 5 new places that you recited or passed by during your travel?
An1. We passed Rawalpindi,Islamabad And Islamabad's Highway.

Q2,What did you have for breakfast everyday?
An2. I had egg for breakfast everyday

Q3.Name at least 5 dishes that you had for dinner/lunch? Which was your favourite?
An3. I had biryani,rice and chicken tikka. I liked the chicken tikka the best.

Q4. how many Prayers did you miss during your travel?
An4. I did not miss any prayers.

Q5.What games did you play?Which one did you enjoy most?
An5. I played table tennis and basketball. I liked table tennis the most.

Q6.What things did you see at the Cadet college?
An6. I saw how the children ate their food,There was a well and we saw so many class rooms.We saw a river too.

Q7.What things did you see at the eye camp?
An7. We saw many patients waiting to get their eyes checked.I watched Dr.Khalid change a person's eye  lens.     

Q8.What did you see at PC Muzaffarbad. 
An8.I saw clocks which showed every country's time. I saw the game rooms too. 

Q9.What did you see at the Khewra salt mines
souvenir made of mined salt, bought from outside the Khewra mines 
An9.There were no signs so it was hard to find the place. There was a black out at the mine so we  couldn't go in. They should have a generator so the people could go in.   

Q10.What did you enjoy most in your trip?
An10.I had fun watching the eye operation and playing table tennis.  

Q11.What did you learn during your trip.
An11.I learnt how to do a eye operation.

slumber party!

Cadet College basketball court

chillin in the lawn

basket ball frenzy

at the hostel

football ground

a boarding schools's cafeteria

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HBAP's Snowy Sights

Early in the month of February HBAP (6yrs) had the opportunity to visit the snowy hill station of Burbhan. Abbi had a conference to attend and HBAP accompanied him. She was excited to be able to travel in an aeroplane with only Abbi by her side  and the prospect of  seeing SNOW! None of her siblings have had a chance to do so yet. There was also the promise of a bonfire dinner to attend, so all bundled up in Latvian warm clothes (borrowed from a friend) off she went. Abbi was impressed by how HBAP moved around independently, taking care of her needs while Abbi conducted a workshop, Masha'Allah. The following are her impressions of her winter holiday:


"There was snow outside the hotel on the ground and on the cars, and on the trees.In our balcony there was snow, Abbi's friend came and said that you can't go into the balcony because there is so much snow.He picked up some snow and kept it in my hand.It felt cold. I saw a bonfire and I sat in front of the fire, I was feeling cold, the fire made me warm, but my back was still cold. I was wearing gloves. I saw rabbit, Abbi saw a fox. I went in a park and walked on snow. I saw a swimming pool in the park, it had water in it (it wasn't frozen.) I watched Abbi give his talk (Abbi was conducting a workshop).I had lots of soft mints. "