Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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