Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Encourage Learning In The Great Outdoors

Outdoor learning is an integral part of a child's development and is a vital part of their ability to develop new skills and core competencies. In an age of electronic diversions, where media rich games abound on every platform, from tablet computers, to smart phones and handheld gaming devices, it is not easy to encourage children to develop their learning skills outdoors. This is especially the case now that parents are ever more anxious about external threats from strangers and traffic, along with the limited resources available to those who live in a city centre. But it is important to realise that outdoor learning does something that cannot be replicated indoors, no matter how sophisticated the technical wizardry on offer.

By letting children develop their imagination and natural tendency to play without being provided with someone else's framing narrative, they can strengthen their literacy and communication skills, as well as supporting their ability to mediate between conceptual and literal issues. Outdoor learning is also the key to starting a healthy relationship between exercise and your child, showing them the fun that can be had from outdoor games away from the type of potentially competitive activities that might be found in school.

Children learn best when they are having fun, so it is important that any outdoor activities engage them imaginatively. If they enjoy hands-on tasks such as building, then use alphabet blocks to explore shapes and numbers, whilst getting them to think about how different forms of building affect strength. If you child is really interested in the natural world, you'll have a wealth of opportunities to examine lots of topics from physics and biology, to the weather and maths. Similarly, taking the chance to splash about in water is a great way of introducing them to ideas surrounding subjects as diverse as gravity, the colour spectrum and chemistry.

If you are looking to buy educational resources, it is a good idea to check prices online as you can find some fantastic deals and offers. With a wide range of toys, games and learning resources, you will be spoilt for choice. But just remember that anything you buy is worthless without the time and attention to ensure that your child is really engaging with the item. Nothing can equal a parent's attention and taking the time to explain concepts and provide a starting place for play and imagination is vital. Whatever you do choose to buy, make sure that the shop (whether online or no the High Street) has a returns policy in case you find that an item is not suitable after all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Steps To Creating A Rare Earth Magnet

The rare earth magnets so important to current and future technologies are produced in a five step process. It begins with getting the raw materials out of the ground and end with manufacture of magnets designed for some particular use. All five steps are currently concentrated in Asia, particularly in China.

Mining and concentration

Mining rare earths is often carried out either by an open-pit process or by in-situ leaching. Once the ore-bearing material is out of the ground, it is run through a crusher or mill to break it into small particles, and then the actual ore is separated out in a process called concentration. This usually involves gravity separation, froth flotation or magnetic separation.

Getting oxides from ore

The result of separation is ore, the raw, unprocessed rock that contains rare earth metals. The actual metal is present in the form of oxides, which are made up of one or more atoms of rare earth elements chemically bonded to one or more oxygen atoms. The process of separating oxide from ore is a chemical one, and may involve roasting, acid leaching, salt or caustic fusion or high temperature sulphation. A second step in the process is the separation of the rare earth oxides from one another, which requires myriad steps of sequential solvent extraction or ion exchange.

From oxides to metals

Elemental rare earth metals may be recovered from their oxides in three primary ways: electrolysis, precipitation and gaseous reduction. Metallothermic reduction employs sodium in a calcium chloride bath to extract metal from rare earth oxides. Calcination, in contrast, uses only heat; the oxide's temperature is raised in an over or furnace to extract metal. Other processes, such as vacuum distillation, sorption or oxidation-reduction employing mercury amalgamate, are useful in certain circumstances.

Producing magnet alloy powders

Commercial magnets are not made from pure rare earth metals. Neodymium-iron-boron magnets, for instance, are made of an alloy of these three elements. To produce the alloy, the elements are added, in powder form, to a vacuum induction furnace in specific ratios and then heated. The resulting alloy is cooled and then broken down by chemical and physical means into powder.

Making magnets

Magnets are made in two main ways. The classical process involves heating and compressing the magnet powder until it coalesces into a mass. The bonded magnet process, also called rapid solidification, requires melt-spinning a thread of neodymium-iron-boron alloy containing nano-scale grains in random magnetic orientation, which is pulverized, combined with a polymer and molded into magnets.

Current production of rare earth oxides is almost totally confined to China. 97 per cent of mining, concentration and separation takes place in China, as does almost all refining. 75 to 80 per cent of magnet powder production and magnet manufacture also take place in China. Up to 25 per cent of these processes also occurs in Japan, with most of the rest occurring in Europe.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tutoring Is Essential for Every Student

Millions of students across the nation need additional help both in and outside of normal school hours in an array of subjects. Students who are struggling in math, science, social studies, history, or reading and writing require tutoring services so that they may have a chance to continue on to the next grade. For those who do not receive these services, continuing their education can be a massive challenge and burden to the state public school system.

Many tutoring services are available in mid to large cities across the nation. These services can often sit down with students as a class or one-on-one in order to enhance their understanding in an array of subjects and disciplines. For students who are struggling in a specific area, tutors can help those overcome challenges and hurdles by focusing on their weaknesses in cognitive interpretation. Those students who require this type of help often experience a dramatic increase in understand of their subject areas, approaches, and handling of a given class.

There are many tutoring services that exist for an array of services. Many college students are often available to help those in lower courses, while other companies establish places within the marketplace to help younger students in dire need of math and reading assistance. As such, many companies who provide these services are experiencing an increase in demand as public schools are strained to allocate additional resources to struggling students. As parents and guardians are also strained, often working longer hours for less money, those companies able to assist these students at a reasonable rate are being used more and more during afterschool hours and on weekends.

Those who are servicing this need are indirectly helping the cause of public education. Those students with special needs in subjects such as math, reading, and social science are being helped by supplemental services provided by individuals and companies that make themselves available for this demand. Nevertheless, as long as school systems do not efficiently allocate resources to its student base, there will be a need for this form of educational help that will often be serviced by private entities.

Despite this, students should always approach help if they find that they need assistance with their studies. While those resources may be funded by the public educational entity or through a private business, those students with educational needs should be serviced by whatever resource is available. As such, parents and schools should take particular consideration to those entities willing to step up and provide students with additional educational help. If students require the additional help and resources to pass a given class or subject, those resources should be incentivized to help students when teachers and parents are not available. If these are taken into consideration, it may be possible to supplement a child's education with the resources to help he or she with problems they may be experiencing with a specific subject area.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hotel Forecasting Strengthens Future Business Gains

Investors, owners, and managers are tied together in attempting to maximize a hotel's revenue and minimize costs. In order to do so, all three need to have sound hotel forecasting skills in order to adjust selling strategies and manage investments. Hotel financial analysis is based on the ability to forecast cash flow, taking into account all aspects of the hotel business. Hospitality managers, general managers, revenue managers and any other hospitality professional responsible for financial performance would benefit from learning the intricacies of hotel forecasting.

Forecasting is not perfect, nor should managers rely solely upon the calculations of future earnings. Forecasts are only as effective as the preliminary assumptions. Managers must learn to develop and gather data in order to develop strong forecasting that will accurately project demand and control room availability. That includes quantifying both existing and latent demands. The latent demand is dependent upon selling strategies as well as the dynamic micro and macro environment that exists. The manager must take into account the impact of all new properties, from shops to competing hotels. Accurate forecasting is difficult and requires complex hotel financial analysis. When done correctly, it will benefit every aspect of the hotel business.

Appropriate hotel forecasts utilize many different tools to interpret all of the hotel's data. Managers need to learn how to build booking curves, account for "pick-up," segment demand by market, group, and channel, calculate error, and account for its impact. A booking curve provides a visual reference for the pace at which people will reserve rooms. Keeping this data helps a manager analyze rate changes and trends that result in more or less bookings. Forecasting occupancy helps housekeeping and the restaurant accurately forecast their costs, thus preventing overspending on inventory. This data is also useful to the sales department to focus their effort on different times of the year based on projected occupancy. Collecting this data helps managers run hotels more efficiently, improving the business' bottom line and helping it expand.

A hotel needs to continue to invest in order to grow assets, but a hotel investment opportunity cannot be correctly appraised without accurate hotel forecasting of revenue and expenses that the property will produce. Owners ask that extensive hotel financial analysis take place to estimate the value of individual hotels. Proper forecasting allows managers to evaluate refinancing options in order to reduce debt costs and ultimately free up capital for investments. With the available capital, management needs to have thorough data on every aspect of the business to develop a strategic vision for where to invest. Information on the customers and their motivations for utilizing the hotel are crucial. This type of information empowers management to benchmark a property's revenue and expense performance against the market. Management with a firm grasp on future occupancy, average rate, cash flows and real estate value will be a much more valuable to the success of a hotel business. Forecasting the future in a business is not easy, but it is necessary.