Fri12192014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Camps provide tech opportunities for students


Photo By: Courtesy of Bronwyn o”malley
Photo Courtesy Of Bronwyn O”Malley

Students in Ameeta Mukherjee and Shezadi Merchant’s camps have opportunities to explore science and technology in ways that promote learning by doing.

Two Los Altos residents have partnered to present four weeks of summer Science & Technology camps for children entering grades 2-6. Sessions are scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5-9 and Aug. 12-16.

Ameeta Mukherjee of Science Matters and Shezadi Merchant of Tech Kids Fun said they are passionate about science, technology and children, and want to encourage children to be passionate about those things as well.

After Mukherjee left the workforce in October to stay home with her children, she supplemented her sons’ science curriculum and thought some of their friends might be interested in joining them.

In February, after spreading the word with friends and posting on her neighborhood’s online site, she began teaching a series of science classes Monday and Friday afternoons.

The success of the endeavor inspired Mukherjee to organize a science camp over spring break. The camp, which attracted children from public, private and charter schools, met five hours a day, complete with an Advancement Via Individual Determination volunteer from Los Altos High School.

She also began teaching science after school one day a week to grades K-2 at Almond.

After the spring-break camp, Mukherjee enlisted Merchant to teach coding to the children. Mukherjee said she read in Wired magazine that Estonia started a pilot project to teach coding to first-graders.

“This is the future,” Mukherjee said. “My pestering paid off, and Shezadi said, ‘Let’s do a STEM camp.”

An important component of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is learning by doing, according to Mukherjee.

For the summer camps, Mukherjee and Merchant will swap groups of children for three hours each. Merchant, a computer scientist, will use a program called Scratch, a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, to animate different objects and will teach campers how to create a website.

“The kids want to do stuff on the computer – they just don’t know what to do,” Mukherjee said.

Both sessions will feature new vocabulary words, experiments and unstructured time “to really mess around in a safe manner,” said Mukherjee, adding that “goggles are used a lot.”

Mukherjee emphasizes the scientific method and ensures that the children understand how their outcomes relate to their initial hypotheses. She said the camps will be abuzz, participatory and full of inquiry and conversation, with time for snacks, games, play, exercise and taking walks.

Los Altos resident Julie Watson enrolled her 7-year-old in Mukherjee’s Science Matters classes.

“He learned things I never would have thought to introduce at this age, and had so much fun doing it,” Watson said. “What I didn’t expect was that he would also tell me about the scientific principles involved.”

Mukherjee said she hopes to spark girls’ interest in science, noting that many don’t see it as fun.

“But it is,” she said. “You get started and you think, ‘I just want to keep doing stuff.’ What class can you not make a mistake in?”

For now, Mukherjee and Merchant are conducting the camps in Mukherjee’s north Los Altos garage.

“It’s nice for the children to come to a home,” Mukherjee said. “People are relaxed. I love the idea of pop-up labs in people’s homes teaching children a new skill such as knitting, cooking and building.”

Camps cost $400 per session, $100 per day. The location will be revealed upon enrollment.

For a schedule of sessions and registration information, visit www.sciencemattershq.com or www.techkidsfun.com.

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