Carpooling, Recycling and Planting Trees, Samin A., 8th grade, Karachi, Pakistan

A wonderful thing to do in life is to take care of your environment. Carpooling, recycling, and planting trees are all activities that are good for the environment. Carpooling would not only save money on gas, but it would also lower the pollution in the air. Recycling is good for the environment by redirecting waste to serve as raw materials for industry, recycling provides a number of important benefits. Planting trees in your neighborhood really is one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet.

The Many Faces of Insanity, Emilie J., 8th grade, Birkerød, Denmark

We hear it every day. Mostly. We hear it at school, at home, in the TV, at the psychiatrist’s. The word “insane.” I don’t know any other word with so many entertaining synonyms. Some of the more inventive ones are “cuckoo” and “gaga.” Then we have “batty,” “loony,” “loopy” and “nutty,” even going as far as “yumpy,” definitely one of my favorites. Some are longer, more strange, like “having a screw loose,” “having lost your marbles,” “being mad as a hatter” or being a “space cadet” or “wacko.”

But I can honestly say with no doubt in my mind that “bonkers” is the best of them all. When you say it with a thick British accent, it somehow seems to sound like exactly what it describes. “Bonkers” is just so satisfying to say, and it’s definitely one of my favorite words of all time in English.

Thank you to my friends, to my English teacher Helle, and to Peeves and Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter for these examples. You really helped a lot, guys.

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An iPhone 5 Projector? Zoe N., 7th grade, Raleigh, NC

Can you imagine a smartphone with a projector?

Recently, a rumor has been circulating that Apple’s iPhone 5 may contain a touch-screen projector. Surprisingly, this rumor could be true.

In 2010, Samsung introduced a smartphone, called the Galaxy Beam, that contained a projector. This projector displayed videos, pictures and other images through a small “pico” (pocket) projector. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Beam was poor quality and not successful.

Now it appears that Apple has found a possible way to include the projector in iOS devices such as the iPhone 5, the iPad 3 and MacBook. The pico projector will enable iOS devices to display power points, movies, slide shows and many other options–and control it all with the touch of your finger! These devices will become very successful if they are high quality and function correctly.

This recent development inspires and encourages me to be a scientist involved in technology and someday create some similar wondrous invention!

An End to Homework! Alec I., 9th grade, Stamford, CT

Is it right for teachers to assign students homework?

If you ask me, homework takes too much away from a student’s life outside of school. For this reason, schools shouldn’t require homework. It should become optional, and if it’s completed the student would earn extra credit. Often a student will completely understand a concept but won’t do the homework because of how repetitive the work has become. The only thing this does for a student is lower a grade that deserves to be much higher. If students who did homework received extra credit, however, grades would ultimately go up. Students who know the material would either do the extra credit or keep their grades constant. Students who didn’t know the material would do the extra credit, thus improving their grades and understanding of the concepts.

A college looks for teacher recommendations, a good GPA and extra activities that students have done in school. If a high school student is given between two and three hours of homework everyday, where is the student’s free time? And what if the student plays sports and has to practice everyday for a couple of hours?

Now, what about the weekend? What about holiday breaks? What about summer vacation? Aren’t those good enough times to relax? Not anymore. Most schools nowadays give weekend homework, break homework and summer homework. That’s like a place of work giving a woman on maternity leave work that she must complete at home, rather than spend time with her new baby. Everybody needs a break once in awhile, but with schools assigning all this homework, they are robbing students of their childhoods.

For these reasons, the amount of homework needs to be decreased, or it shouldn’t exist at all.