All American Breakfast Month and Breakfast Benefits for Students

“Cereal commercials, nutritionists and your mother all agree—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s why Congress has declared September to be “All American Breakfast Month!”

Dinosaur Dan’s Breakfast

Breakfast over the past few hundred years has changed drastically. The pilgrims used to break the fasting from dinner and sleeping all night by eating cornmeal mush and apple cider in the mornings. It wasn’t until 1906 when the concept of breakfast changed forever. That year was the defining moment for John Harvey and Will Keith Kellogg with their discovery of how to make the first Toasted Corn Flake cereal. With the invention of cereal, breakfast time turned into a matter of convenience. It was all about how to eat breakfast quicker. The first packaged hot cereal debuted in 1919 followed by packaged biscuit mixes by the 1930’s. It wasn’t until 1964 however, until the ultimate convenient breakfast food made its first introduction, the Pop-Tart.

Restaurants like Waffle House and Ihop, started to pick up on this quick breakfast trend and began offering breakfast any time of day; however, for most American’s that wasn’t a quick enough option before heading off to work for the day. Then, along came McDonald’s, who premiered their Egg McMuffin breakfast sandwich in 1972 with astonishing success. The average annual breakfast sales at that time were approximately $400,000 per store!

As time grew on, the nutritious content of American’s breakfast choices declined. The plain Toasted Corn Flake cereal was sweetened and eventually called Frosted Flakes. By the time Oreo O’s cereal first appeared in 1998, it seemed as if cereals were just simple sugary snacks for children.

“The American breakfast table has indeed changed in the nearly four hundred years since the Pilgrims landed. Many Americans eat no breakfast at all, while others have a quick breakfast cereal, coffee and perhaps fruit.” -OxfordUniversityPress

September is All-American Breakfast Month. This month-long event encourages individuals, especially school aged children, to avoid skipping this crucial meal and enjoy a healthy breakfast. There have been recent studies done that show the correlation between students eating a healthy breakfast and their performance in school. Check out this video for more information on these recent studies: It is said that eating a healthy breakfast has been linked to better test scores, higher grades and even better classroom behavior. Eating something healthy for breakfast also helps improve your concentration, memory and a student’s willingness to learn. Eating just anything in the morning is not enough, a quick sugary bowl of cereal will not help a student’s performance in school; however, a breakfast high in proteins and complex carbohydrates is more suitable choice. Are you a school administrator, teacher, or parent looking to implement a breakfast program into your school? Follow this link to learn how:

Let’s celebrate All-American Breakfast Month by teaching our families the importance of eating a healthy breakfast! Let’s try to be proactive in our schools and give students the option to have a free, healthy breakfast each day!


At High Touch High Tech of Western North Carolina our employees share with you what healthy breakfast options they have daily!

Dinosaur Dan: I am all about a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, fruit, nuts, and maple syrup

Terri-dactyl: Greek yogurt and an apple

Radioactive Rebecca: Gluten free oatmeal, blueberries, cinnamon and almond milk; cup of coffee

Atomic Aimee:

Asteroid Amber: A banana with peanut butter and a glass of orange juice

Lunar Leslie: Yogurt and a banana

Fun Facts About Breakfast

  • Breakfast tells your body to stop the fast and get your motor running. It gives you energy and gets your brain functioning.
  • People who eat breakfast are less likely to over eat at lunch time. Why? Because their body is not going through those stomach quivers that we get when we are hungry. Those quivers make us over eat.
  • People who eat breakfast usually do better at work and at school.
  • Instant coffee has been in existence since the middle of the eighteenth century.
  • More Really Interesting Breakfast Facts!

Think About It Thursday: Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

Leaf color comes from pigments. Pigments are natural substances produced by leaf cells. The three pigments that color leaves are:

  • chlorophyll (which produces the green color)
  • carotenoid(produces yellow, orange, and brown colors)
  • anthocyanin (produces a red color)

Chlorophyll is the most important of the three. Leaves contain chlorophyll in order to use the sunlight to produce its own food through the process of photosynthesis.

Carotenoids are organic pigments that are found in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants and some other photosynthetic organisms.  Carotenoids create bright yellows and oranges in familiar fruits and vegetables. For example, corn, carrots, and bananas to name a few.

Anthocyanins are pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH, they add the color red to plants, including cranberries, red apples, cherries, strawberries and others.

In the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible. Most anthocyanins are produced only in autumn, and only under certain conditions. Not all trees can make anthocyanin, but sugar maples seem to have the easiest time in doing so.


Resources: State of New York: College of Environmental Science and Forestry: Environmental Education for Kids:

The September Equinox of the Northern Hemisphere Approches


As the September Equinox approaches it is important to understand how the equinoxes were discovered and how to prepare for the astronomical event.

Our human ancestors spent much more time outdoors than humans now a days. They learned to track the patterns of the sun and eventually used it to tell time and the seasons. They built elaborate observatories in order to track the sun’s progress throughout the year.

Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but instead is tilted on its axis by 23 1/2 degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox in the spring and fall, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally now. Night and day are approximately equal in length.


So how do we prepare for this astronomical event, on the day of the autumnal equinox, at sunrise/sunset, go outside to your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky and you will be able to decipher the cardinal directions. The sun will rise at due East and set at due West! If it is a clear morning/evening, be prepared for some amazing views as well!

The 2014 September equinox occurs on September 22, at 9:29 p.m. in the central United States.

Students Should be Experimenting before Reading or Watching Videos


It was first believed that students learned better by first reading or watching videos about a new topic before jumping into hands-on learning in the classroom. But thanks to Stanford researchers, that may no longer be the case. The Stanford researchers used the BrainExplorer, a table-top tool that simulates how the human brain processes visual images, to debunk this old fashioned way of teaching students new topics.

“Our results suggest that students are better prepared to understand a theory after first exploring by themselves” said Bertrand Schneider, a GSE graduate student who led the research under the direction of Paulo Blikstein, an assistant professor of education.

The study performed by Stanford researchers involved 28 undergraduate and graduate students as participants, none of whom had studied neuroscience. After being given an initial test, half of the group only read about the neuroscience of vision, while the others worked with the BrainExplorer tool. When tested after those respective lessons, the performance of participants who used BrainExplorer increased significantly more – 30 percent – than those who had read the text.

The second test had the two groups switch and do the other learning activity. So the students who read first then used the BrainExplorer and the BrainExplorer students only read about the neuroscience of vision in the second test. The researchers revealed that there was  a 25-percent increase in performance when open-ended exploration came before text study rather than after it. (A follow-up study showed identical results for video classes instead of text.)

“We are showing that exploration, inquiry and problem solving are not just ‘nice to have’ things in classrooms. They are powerful learning mechanisms that increase performance by every measure we have.” – Blikstein

In conclusion:  The “exploration first” model is a better way to learn!

Incorporate a Science Night at your School this Year!

In September 2013, Sand Lake Elementary school in Orlando, Florida incorporated a Mystery Science Night for a few hours one evening after school. They invited teachers, parents and students to partake in a crime investigation and the students had to use what they have learned in science class to solve the crime.

The science concepts were kept to a broad level of understanding, so that all the children could participate equally. The goal for this event at Sand Lake Elementary was “for the families to explore the scientific method by conducting experiments, making observations, recording information, and predicting and outcome.” At this particular event at Sand Lake Elementary, students became crime scene investigators as they studied shoeprints, took fingerprints, and determined whether suspects’ alibis checked out.

According to the Sand Lake Elementary PTO, almost 250 people participated in their annual Mystery Science Night. Among those numbers were about 34 percent of the student body, 60 volunteers, parents, and teachers.  Mystery Science Night engages families in science and it shows students how to use science in a practical way.

Consider incorporating your own Mystery Science Night at your school this upcoming school year!


Learn how you can have Family Science Nights at your home or at your school by clicking here:

Real Time Reading for the Vision Impaired


Scientists at MIT have been working on developing a way for people with visual impairments to be able to read. This”FingerReader” goes on as a ring and has a small camera that will scan the text and then read it aloud for the user to hear. “Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script”, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab. According to scientists working on development, this FingerReader will be transportable. It will be able to scan restaurant menus, doctor forms, books and other materials used in daily living! 

The FingerReader will not replace Braille — the system of raised dots that form words, interpreted by touch. Instead, Shilkrot said, the new device would enable users to access a vast number of books and other materials that are not currently available in Braille.

Scientists have not given a date in time as to when the FingerReader will be available to the open market. It still has some software kinks to work out. But I’m sure any help with reading printed materials will be much appreciated by the visually impaired!

To see how the FingerReader works and to learn more watch this video:


Create New Back-to-School Family Traditions


In a recent article written in Jump In! magazine produced by School, the article describes 6 ways to create new Back-to-School family traditions.

 “Establishing fun back-to-school traditions can help your kids feel more secure as they advance to the next grade. Traditions also strengthen family bonds and create fun memories.”

Creating new traditions with your family does not have to cost a ton, be overly time consuming or complicated! Here are some of the ideas for creating some new back-to-school traditions:

1. Capture a picture of your children on the first day of school and the last day. Then on their last day of high school, show them the pictures of how much they changed and grew up over the years!


2. Do a “last supper of summer” meal. Let them choose what will be for dinner, with an anything goes type of menu! Make it memorable and fun!


3. Read an inspiring book together and encourage your child that they will do well in the next new grade that they are moving on to!


4. Write a letter to give to your child to read on the bus or during lunch. Offer encouragement or point out specific moments where they made you proud. Save a copy of each letter and give them to your child the day they graduate high school.


5. After the first day of school is over, leave your children with a “first-day surprise” on their beds. Something small, like a stuffed animal, gift card, or fun game!

6. Lastly, some families have traditions of baking cookies for their children and having them just out of the warm oven when they get off the school bus! It gives them time to sit and enjoy and also allows for conversation about their first day back to school!

Whatever your family tradition is, cherish it and create lasting memories!

HTHT of Vietnam Brings Hands-On Science to Orphanages and Low Income Families

High Touch High Tech of Hanoi, Vietnam is undertaking a large project where they will deliver hands-on and fun science programs to students from orphanages and low income families. This project will offer numerous science classes and camps to more than 1000 children in Hanoi and 4 nearby provinces. The purpose of such a project is to awaken kids’ passion and interest for science and enrich their personal development.

High Touch High Tech of Chicago “Gets Buggy” with Beacon House

At the end of July High Touch High Tech of Chicago had the pleasure of teaching the students of Beacon House the difference between a bug and a spider. The students got to learn and have FUN while examining real bugs and even making a bug that they could eat!


Barb Karacic of Beacon House loved the program just as much as her students! Read her testimonial below.

“I just wanted to let you know how perfect this class was for our students.  They were engaged and very excited.  I am so glad we finally touched bases and you were able to schedule a class for us.  I hope to have more classes this fall with our after school homework club.  THANK YOU!”  -Barb Karacic
For more information about programming for your school, organization, or birthday party please visit our website or call us at 630.227.4848!

Here We Grow Again! HTHT is Pleased to Announce Another Franchise Addition!

High Touch High Tech is happy to announce a new addition to our ever-growing, global science family. The new HTHT franchise location will soon be opening its doors in Santa Clara County and the South Bay, CA. The franchise owner is Shalini Wadwani. Franchise training was completed the week of July 14th at the World Headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. Shalini is very excited about this new venture and is currently launching her new operation. As Shalini gets up and running, we appreciate any support, best practices and recommendations you can share to assist in building the High Touch High Tech brand in Santa Clara County, CA.

Please join us in welcoming our newest addition, High Touch High Tech of Santa Clara County and the South Bay, to the HTHT Family!

As you can see in the picture above, Shalini had a blast learning the bag stab technique from the afterschool program Water Works!

Four million kids annually participate in High Touch High Tech programs. Every day, every hour, somewhere in the world, there is a High Touch High Tech program currently happening.  As the leader in innovative, hands-on science & nature experiences, we have created a community of young learners keen on rolling up their sleeves, fueling their imagination, sparking their curiosity, and doing REAL science.

To learn more about High Touch High Tech of Santa Clara County & the South Bay area

visit us online at

We are thrilled to be expanding into Santa Clara County and the South Bay Area & are looking forward to bringing our signature hands-on science experiences to children.  From the corners of Western North Carolina to the California coastline, the new HTHT of Santa Clara County and South Bay joins our outstanding family of existing franchises across the globe!

Shalini, welcome to the High Touch High Tech Family!

Visit us online at