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Bryan and Jean's Blog - from Bryan Lee and Jean Higaki
Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Knowledge Mouse - Fun Learning Activities

Have you ever wanted to learn something - a new language, or a new skill - but avoided it because the process of learning is so difficult and painful?

Learning becomes much easier if there are activities that make it fun.  And that is the goal of my latest project, Knowledge Mouse.  It will be a place for various activities and games, for kids and for grownups, from learning a foreign language to math to science. All designed to make it so fun and easy that you learn without even trying.

And to start off, the first activity is a free printable word search puzzle creator, great for parents or teachers or anyone.  You can enter your own words, or choose from pre-defined lists, and customize the puzzles with different colors, fonts, and background images.

You can also make a question-and-answer or "quiz"-style word search, where instead of listing the words in the puzzle, you list questions or hints.  The puzzle solver then needs to answer the question to figure out what word to look for in the puzzle.  This is great for quizzes or for foreign language translations / ESL learning.

Enjoy, and as always, please let me know what you'd like to see on the site.  You can use the feedback form at the bottom of each page.

Here are some free printable word find puzzles already created.


And on an unrelated note, if you are renting your house and you see an email response to your Craigslist posting coming from a James Paige from the UK, you probably want to ignore it.  From some google-ing it looks like it's probably a Craigslist scam.  Several people have received email with the exact same text as I did: from James and Sarah Paige (his "wonderful wife"), how he's a Civil Engineer with Chubb Fire and Security Company in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and how he'll be working with United States Environmental Services and the contact is Lee Wiley at Helena Chemical.  I checked out the last two and they don't seem to have any offices near the San Francisco Bay Area where we are, and the phone number listed seems to be a New York number.  Oh yes and a request for pictures viewing the living room and bedrooms.

It's quite well done and even had me searching on the web for how to do a credit check on someone from the UK.  It wasn't until I saw other people had received the exact same message that I noticed the "required informations" with the "s" at the end.  There's always a typo, misspelling, or grammatical error in these things.

I also got an email from someone claiming to be Réka Kovács which may also be a scam.  They claim to be a "young international couple" employed as "NASA Research Consultants".  Now it is possible this one is real - I did find someone on linkedin by that name listing NASA Ames Research Center and that location is in the Bay Area.  The suspicious part is that the email talks about a "flat" and "apartment" whereas the Craigslist ad clearly states that it is a house for rent, and the pictures show that as well.  Doesn't quite seem like the sort of mistake a NASA Research Consultant would make, but who knows?

Posted by bryanandjean at 10:50 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2012 9:52 PM PDT

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