Science Games to Teach Environmental Awareness

When you think science games, it is often physics games that come to mind. After all, any game that is built with a physics engine serves as a great physics game. They’re fun to play, and they help students understand concepts such as acceleration and conservation of energy. Angry Birds and Portal are great examples of fun games that are used to teach physics to students.

However, science games are about a lot more than physics. There are great science games that teach nearly every science topic, from how the body fights cancer to how pollution forms in the environment. That’s right, you can teach your child to look after nature without even sending them outdoors. Here are three great science games to teach environmental awareness to kids.

Sim City Zoningsim city 4 Zoning and Roads” by haljackey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

  1. SimCity EDU: Pollution Challenge

In this game, kids take on the role of a mayor along with all the city-planning and decision-making that comes with the position. The focus is on keeping pollution levels to a minimum while also ensuring that all other aspects of city life function smoothly. While SimCity may not be a science game, kids who play it come to realize how various factors contribute to the pollution level of a city. They understand how pollution-control measures can be put to effect in a practical way to reduce negative impact on the population. This game is a great way to take environmental issues out of textbooks and show kids how they affect everyday life. Playing this game is likely to make kids more conscious about how simple decisions can make a difference to the health of the environment.

  1. Citizen Science

This science game was conceptualized by Kurt Squire when he realized that there were lakes in downtown Madison that people couldn’t swim in. In Citizen Science, players try to find out why the local lake is so polluted by traveling through time and collecting evidence. They meet various characters responsible for the pollution of the lake and build strong arguments to convince them to change their behaviour. They use various scientific tools to conduct research about the pollution in the lake, and learn a great deal about lake ecosystems. They also understand the long-term effects of pollution on the environment. Eventually players must change the course of history and prevent the lake from becoming as polluted as it was before the quest.

  1. Web Earth Online

This is a great science game that lets kids understand what life is like for animals living in the wild. Players choose what animal they would like to play as, and then go about their life trying to survive in the natural environment. They must deal with natural climatic conditions as well as the threat posed by predators. Web Earth Online is a multiplayer game – players interact with each other as friends or foes depending on which species they belong to. Players are sensitized to the struggles faced by animals and are likely to be more thoughtful towards animals in real life after playing this game.

Outdoor Science Experiments Perfect for Summer

Rainbows peeping between two baubles of clouds, bright, wild flowers adding a splash of colors to the backyard, slushy strawberry sauces dripping from tall glasses of vanilla ice cream – that pretty much sums up summers! It’s the ideal time to set up science work stations outdoors and experiment with the wonders of summers! Carry out these fun science experiments and amidst the warmth of summer, in your backyard, garden, community park, or elsewhere!

6807424348_d6916a33f3_zImage Source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevensnodgrass/6807424348/

Homemade water sprinkler

Summers are synonymous with cool drinks but it’s not very cool to dispose off the plastics in which the drinks come, so we’ve devised this fun science experiment with the not-so-cool plastic bottles.

You will need:

  • A plastic soda bottle
  • Pins
  • Water

Directions

  • Head out, it’s summer.
  • Fill the plastic bottle with water and screw on the cap.
  • Using a pin, make 5 evenly spaced holes on the side of the bottle, towards the bottom.
  • Run your finger along the streams of water that are gushing from the bottle.
  • Do you notice the five streams forming one wider stream? What forms when you run your fingers through the stream of water is called cohesion. The water molecules get stuck to each other and form one single stream while oozing out from the bottle.

DIY rock candy

How about spending the idle summer holidays doing something that you would not just like to see but eat too! Head out to make a rock candy because it may get messy indoors!

You will need:

  • Cane sugar
  • Drinking water
  • Mason jar
  • Pencil string

Directions

  • Fill the mason jar with water.
  • Add 3 cups of cane sugar to the water and stir well.
  • Place the sugar solution in the microwave and heat on high for two minutes.
  • Use oven gloves to remove the mason jar from the microwave and stir another time.
  • Place it back in the microwave and heat for another two minutes. Remove again and stir.
  • Tie a length of string to a chopstick and gently dip it into the mixture. Pull out the string gently again and allow it to dry.
  • Once dry, dip the string again into the mixture and then allow it a week’s time to dry.
  • Your rock candy will be ready in a week’s time!
  • You created a super saturated solution when you heated the water-sugar solution in the microwave. When you dipped a string into the solution, the sugar granules crystallized and formed a rock candy!

DIY vanilla ice cream

What’s summer without a scoop of our favorite vanilla ice cream? Make ice cream while you’re out running after the butterflies in your backyard and enjoying the summer!

You will need:

  • Two sandwich bags, one bigger than the other
  • A cup of full cream
  • Half a cup of milk
  • A teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • One fourth a cup of sugar
  • 3 cups full of ice cubes
  • 3 cups salt

Directions

  • Mix the cream, milk, vanilla essence, and sugar in the smaller sandwich bag. Seal it well.
  • Slip in the smaller bag into the larger and fill up the larger sandwich bag with the ice cubes and salt.
  • Seal the larger bag (with the smaller bag intact) and head out to enjoy the summers. Just make sure you keep shaking the bags for a good five minutes.
  • Come back in and carefully take out the small bag from the large one and pour its contents in a bowl.
  • Don’t you have a bowl gooey vanilla ice cream in front of you!

Top 4 movies to look forward to this December

The last 2 months of 2014 seem to be really promising. The movies that are lined up to release in the U.S.A. this winter will have many of us queuing up at the movie halls! Here are a few movies that America is looking forward to towards the end of 2014!

Penguins of Madagascar

Here’s an adorable spy team heating up the sub-zero part of the world! The flightless four consisting of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are on their mission to save penguins the world over! As they are forced to collaborate with The North Wind, an undercover task force led by the handsome Agent Classified, the four penguins go undercover and do what they do best – plan to save the day. They must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from destroying the world as we know it. The first four minutes of the movie released by DreamWorks symbol a good time this Thanksgiving. We have a strong feeling that the penguins will entertain us as much as Alex and his troop from Madagascar did!

Touch the Wall

“Touch the Wall” follows the lives of two Olympic swimmers – Gold-Medalist Missy Franklin and Silver-Medalist Kara Lynn Joyce – and their journey to the 2012 London Olympics.  When the veteran Joyce joins teenager Franklin and her age-group swim club, everything changes. While Missy finds a hero and idol in Joyce, the veteran Joyce finds a new start to life and a training partner in Missy. They form a team and Joyce starts training Missy. Together they start winning tournaments and soon realize that they can make the world’s best winning combination. Thrown apart by coach and circumstances, they reunite at Olympic Trials only to win the prestigious medals and titles.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Mockingjay is a 2010 science fiction novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is the last installment of The Hunger Games, following 2008’s The Hunger Games and 2009’s Catching Fire. The book continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, who agrees to unify the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.

After Katnis (Jennifer Lawrence) is rescued from the devastating Qaurter Quell, she awakes in the complex beneath that was presumed to be destroyed long time ago called District 13. District 12 used to be her home which has also been reduced to rubble and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is now the brainwashed captive of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Learning about a secret rebellion rising in Panem, Katnis jumps back to life to defeat the evil Snow.

Imitation Game

This was Benedict Cumberbatch’s first release this year, prior to “Penguins of Madagascar” where he is lending voice. Though it released in August in the U.K., it’s left to see how it actually fares in the U.S.A. when it releases in November.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who cracks the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Though Alan exhibited his genius by cracking the German code as well as assisting with the development of computers at the University of Manchester, he was later prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. It will be interesting to see how the U.S.A. reacts to this biopic which received great reviews in the U.K.

Have a movie-filled November and December with a little dose of fun, sci-fi, motivation and thrill!

Coming Up with a Winning Science Fair Project Idea

So your child is participating in the school science fair, and you’re now trying to help come up with science fair project ideas. Irrespective of whether your child was forced to take part in the science fair or even if science is a much-disliked subject, you can turn the situation around with a winning science fair project idea. Here are six tips to share with your child to ensure (s)he enjoys working on the project, learns a lot in the process and maybe even ends up with a prize!

"Science Fair, 09" by Rich Bowen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Science Fair, 09” by Rich Bowen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1. Begin Early

The science fair is a long way away, and you figure you have more than enough time to come up with a good science fair project idea and see it through to the end. Great! That’s no reason to put off starting on the project. You never know what complications may arise once you actually begin. Even the seemingly simple task of coming up with a good idea may take a lot more time than expected. The last thing you want is to find out that you have only one week left for the project, and an understandably limited choice of ideas to choose from. With more time in hand, you have the liberty of choosing a topic that truly interests you, spending enough time to do research and understand the topic in detail, and collecting the necessary information in a well thought-out and organized manner. And if you’ve got your eyes on the prize, each of these factors will help differentiate your project from the other good ones on display. Believe me, the judges can tell.

2. Choose a topic that really interests you

The right way to go about finding a good science fair project idea is to begin with your interests. Don’t read through a list of ideas and see whether any of them appeal to you. Rather, take some time to think about what kind of topics get you excited. It doesn’t even have to have a direct link to science. What things make you sit up and pay attention? Sports? Cats? Building things with your own hands? Narrow your list down to a few of your favorite topics and spend some time thinking about them. Most probably you will have to do some additional reading on the topic to come up with a question that interests you. The Google Idea Springboard is a great tool to help you out in this area. You’re likely to spend a few weeks if not months working on your project, so having a topic that you love will keep you interested till the end.

3. Come up with a good question that you can work with

A good science fair project idea begins with a good question. How do you define a good question? Firstly, it should not be a question that has already been answered by someone else. If you design a science fair project around the question ‘Which color light do plants grow best in?’, it is unlikely that you or anyone else will learn anything new from it. The experimental procedure and results for such a project can easily be found on the internet. Even if you do decide to do a project based on a science fair project idea you found online, make sure to change the question and ask something new so that you are experimenting and doing research on a slightly different area. Secondly, the question should truly interest you. Don’t adopt a question that someone else finds interesting or exciting. Use your ‘favorite topics’ list, spend time playing with different ideas in your head and only settle for a question that you would genuinely like to know the answer to. This interest will completely change the way you approach the project.

4. Consider the experimental procedure involved

Remember, while trying to settle on your science fair project idea, that you have to come up with a fool proof method for collecting data to answer your question. Consider the kind of time, energy and resources required to set up your experiment, and realistically evaluate whether it can be accomplished with what is available to you. Also check your experiment for any flaws. Is the data that you are collecting quantifiable? Is there any subjectivity involved? Have you considered and taken care of external factors that may affect your results? If you do not know the right answers to these questions, or how to design your experiment accordingly, you will need to spend some time understanding how to set up a scientific experiment.

5. Feel free to change your question based on your background research

It is entirely possible that as you go about collecting the information you need for your project, you realize that your question isn’t a very good one, or that you think of a better and more interesting one. Feel free to change your question according to your findings. This is where point #1 becomes even more important.

6. Make sure you understand all the concepts involved

Don’t worry about finding a topic that sounds highly complicated or scientific. In fact, the more simple your topic, the better you will be able to work with it. Nobody is expecting Ph.D. level research from you. More importantly, you will find the research and data collection far more difficult if you haven’t fully understood the topic yourself. Feel free to ask for help from an adult or the internet in order to learn more about the topic, but when it comes to the project, do all the thinking and analysis yourself. This will help you immensely when it comes to answering the judges’ questions about your project, and your in-depth understanding will show.

As long as you keep these tips in mind, you can be sure to come up with a science fair project idea that will win you over, impress your audience and maybe even tip the judges’ scales in your favor.

Dear Madam Alien

I love your car. I wish that we had that kind of transport. Google maps could have a UFO option just next to its car, bus, train and stick man options. How cool would that be? Then we can holiday whenever we feel like it instead of only once or twice a year. I bet you have seen planets we haven’t discovered yet. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be allowed to. I heard Pluto was a planet again. Were you happy about that?

I wonder if you look down on Earth and find us weird. I know I would. So many people wearing different types of clothes, working different kinds of jobs, talking different languages, believing different things. We fight all the time and we love all the time. If you watch us long enough, I know that you will love us. As strange as we are, we will grow on you.

For example, if you look down this month you will find us all wearing different costumes. You might wonder why people are walking around like skeletons and animals. You may wonder why little humans dressed as monsters go from door to door collecting sweeties that are obviously bad for them. When you come to visit, I will give you my collection of Mars and Galaxy Bars. I bet you will find that funny. I wonder if you have a Halloween in your planet. If they do, wouldn’t it be nice if they dressed up as humans?

Mum makes us give her ideas of family Halloween costumes at the end of September. I told her she and dad should be bread and the three of us can be bacon, lettuce and tomato. Have you had a sandwich? It’s one of the things that makes Earth special.

Robbie says aliens are actual super intelligent, time travelling humans. If that’s true, you already know why Earth is so great. But here it is, just in case you’ve forgotten.

Hope you will visit soon.

This is the post my DD wrote up for the blog. She has a journal where she practices her writing. One day when she was stuck for ideas, I told her to write a letter, as a prompt. She now writes letters to random people and the results are amazing, even if I am a bit biased myself! Hope you’ve enjoyed this experimental first post!

Eco Friendly Ways to Use Water in your Preschool Activities

Preschool activities are a great way to have fun while imparting important skills to preschoolers. Because of their age and developmental stage, there are a wide variety of fun activities that are counted as educational for the young kids. Even simple games like playing catch or building with wooden blocks count as important preschool activities as they help develop fine and gross motor skills. This gives parents and teachers a great deal of freedom in choosing activities that they think their preschoolers would enjoy. Some activities seem to be a universal hit among preschoolers. A good example would be preschool activities involving water. Kids love playing with water, and there are many educational activities that let kids do just that. However, in all the fun and excitement of hosing things down and getting wet, it’s easy to lose track of how much water is getting wasted.

 

 

Also, many parents feel that the little water that goes down the drain in their own homes couldn’t possibly affect the world’s supply of water. However, it’s important to remember that it’s never a question of one house – the same preschool activities are repeated in hundreds of homes across the country, and together the water that gets wasted can indeed impact the water table. Further, people do not need to wait for a drought to start getting serious about water conservation. While Californians are tearing out their lawns to reduce their levels of water consumption, those of us in more blessed locations would still do well to keep tabs on how much water gets wasted at home.

On that note, here are four simple eco-friendly ways to use water in your preschool activities:

Use a container to control spills – Various preschool activities involve transferring water from one container to another. This may be done using a dropper, a sponge, by pouring the water directly from one container to another, or in any other way. When done by five and six year olds, spills are inevitable. Instead of just letting the spilt water go to waste, you can use a larger container to hold the smaller containers in. That way, the water that gets spilt can just be poured back into the smaller containers again.

Play with sprinklers rather than water guns – When playing with water guns, a lot of the sprayed water goes to waste. Even if the kids are playing over a lawn, the water distribution is uneven and doesn’t really substitute for actually watering the lawn. A simple way to work around this issue is to use water sprinklers in your preschool activities. The kids can have a great time jumping over, ducking under or running through the water, and your lawn gets watered at the same time!

Use food coloring to color water – Colored water is pretty cool. It makes simple preschool activities seem more exciting. Kids can pretend to run their own lemonade stand, or have fun mixing the colors to make new ones. But no matter what you do with the colored water, once the preschool activity is over, you need to dispose of it. As long as you’re using food coloring or some other dye that is safe for plants, you can dispose of the water in an eco-friendly manner by using all of it to water the plants.

Choose activities that involve minimum wastage – The next time you search for preschool activities involving water, remember to use one more criterion for shortlisting – how much water is getting wasted. Sure your kids may enjoy hosing down letters or numbers written on the sidewalk according to the questions you call out, but is there absolutely no other way you can revise the numbers with him? It may take a little more effort to find the right activities, and maybe even some creative changes of your own, but if means wasting less water, why not?

As you make these small and simple changes to your preschool activities, you have a great opportunity to discuss water conservation with your kids. By being more environmentally conscious in the way you carry out the activities, you are giving them a valuable lesson in water conservation, and being a great role model that they can emulate as they grow older.

Fairy Tales Learning Games and Activities for Kids

All it takes to entertain a three-year-old is an illustrated book of fairy tales. But fairy tales are more than simple entertainment – they are learning opportunities to impart a variety of skills to their young audience – language, math, creativity, cultural awareness and even cooking! Here are some interesting learning games and activities based on some of the most beloved fairy tales of our times.

Hint – Remember to adapt them to the age and attention span of your child!

Three Bears Dinnerware

In the tale, Goldilocks enters the Three Bears home, eats off their china and sleeps in their beds. You can use this simple story to teach your child sorting and classification skills. Place dishes, glasses and silverware in three different sizes on the table and invite him to sort them by size – small, medium and large. He could also sort them by category or material used. This entertaining learning activity is suitable for four to six year olds.

Act it Out

This fun game puts the “act” in “act”ivity! Just create a variety of cards featuring popular fairy tale characters and invite the kids to perform an action. For instance, one card could say “You’re Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf is chasing you. Run as fast as you can!” Or, “You’re Karen and you’ve put the magical red shoes. At a word from the old soldier, you must dance.” Apart from building your child’s literacy skills and gross motor skills, this fun learning game also allows them to give free rein to their imagination.

Make Your own Fairy Tale

Place small objects and pictures in a bag and invite your child to make his own fairy tale, using the contents of the bag. For instance, he could start off with “Once upon a time, there was a gnome who loved to dance in the rain. One day (pulling out a picture of the sun) it was bright and sunny and the poor gnome couldn’t dance. So he (pulling out a toy car) went for a ride in his car instead.” The story goes on until he has incorporated all the objects into his story and brought it to a conclusion. Your little story teller is sure to enjoy this creative learning game!

Cook up a Tale

Here’s a great learning game to keep your child engaged on a rainy day! Read a fairy tale together and do a cooking project based upon the story. For instance,

  • Make porridge after reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Make gingerbread cookies after reading The Gingerbread Man
  • Make apple pie or apple strudel after reading Snow White
  • Bake a cake after reading The Little Red Cap

As adults, we relive our childhoods by reading fairy tales to our kids. Now it’s time to make your child an active learner rather than a passive listener. If you have more ideas for turning fairy tales into learning games and activities, I’d love to hear them!

Subtraction game ideas to teach the concepts of ‘difference’ and ‘take away’

Before I start, I’d like to apologize for my blog silence. I tried to schedule as many posts as I could but some of them got lost in the maze that is the internet. I was away on vacation with the family to England (Photos up soon I promise!). What I have learnt in the past few weeks is that clichés are clichés for a reason. You know when people say they need a vacation to recover from a vacation? Oh boy is it true! Meanwhile, I have been able to write this post on Math because homeschooling doesn’t have terms. It’s an ongoing process! :) Hope you are all well. I will catch up with all your blogs soon! 

Experiencing difficulty in learning subtraction is a very common problem early in schools because students fail to move beyond the not-so-foolproof counting strategies of subtraction taught at kindergarten level. A simple solution lies in explaining the concept of subtraction to kids as both ‘take away’ and ‘difference’, helping them to understand the concept clearly. ‘Difference’ can be explained as comparing two numbers while ‘taking away’ can be explained as ‘removing numbers from a larger series of numbers’. M&M candies, cookies, chocolate squares, buttons, cookies, Lego blocks, cheerios, and marshmallows have always been very efficient tools in teaching kids the ‘difference’ and ‘taking away’ concepts. However, when I am not time bound and the kids are eager to learn, I play a few subtraction games with them in order to help them master the concept.

Flip flop math explaining ‘difference’

I stumbled upon this cool subtraction game on Pinterest when I was researching for general math game ideas for my 2 1st graders at home. I improvised on the game suggested by The Teacher’s Cauldron and came up with my own! This is a subtraction game that will help them understand the idea of ‘difference’. You will need a fair collection of sea shells, card stock, plastic laces, glue, scissors, markers, and 2 large sheets of construction paper. Distribute the shells unevenly among the kids and make multiple teams of 2 children each. The idea is to compare the number of sea shells and make a flip flop craft out of their ‘analysis’. If two girls in a team got 6 and 1 shells respectively, they cut out two flip flop bases and write their names on them. Next, have them write the number of shells they got on the flip flop next to their name. Paste the flip flops on the large construction paper and write the ‘difference’ in the space between their flip flops. Follow the image and replace the names with the answers and the addition problems with the number of shells each girl/boy got. Make several such pairs of flip flops for each team. Help them make the straps with the plastic laces and their flip flop craft is ready to go on the soft board.

Burning game explaining ‘take away’

This is a magic math game for kids of 2nd grade. It’s a twist to regular boring games, but must only be tried with necessary precautions in place!

You will need a mix of 3 portions of lemon juice and 1 portion of water, cotton swabs, a candle, a matchbox, papers, and markers to play the subtraction game in the class. Write an addition problem, like in the image, on strips of construction paper.  The only thing that you need to do differently here is write the number that’s hidden under the orange paper with cotton swabs dipped in the lemon juice and water mix. Ask the kids to calculate the number by ‘taking away’ the first digit from the answer, ‘taking away’ 7 from 10 in this case.

Hold the paper over a lit candle for the missing number to gradually reveal itself! The kids will be thrilled to bits to see their prediction appear magically on the paper! Please make necessary precaution and follow safety rules in the class while lighting the candle and holding the paper over it.

New Obsessions – Healthy Diets

I have a Pinterest addiction. Everyone who knows me know that once you show me even one pin, you’re not likely to get me to anything else for the rest of the day. Having said that, Pinterest has helped change our lives somewhat. For example, my latest obsession is Bento Lunch Boxes.

The Japanese are a health conscious race – some of the oldest people in the world are from there and it is due in large to how healthily they eat. I started experimenting with them a while back and realized that it is possibly the best way to get your kids to eat their veggies and fruits. I’m no artist and my lunch boxes look nothing like this but it has worked for me.

The drawback is that it’s not something a homeschooler can make everyday. Still, maybe a weekly treat isn’t too much to add to the timetable? I’ve already pinned a few Bento Lunch Box ideas on my Pinterest page. I’m going to, hopefully, start ticking them off as done.

Have any of you tried Bento lunches? Has it worked for you? Would you give it a try?

Hiccup and Toothless: The Book Versus the Movie

For those of you who know me, you know what a huge How to Train your Dragon fan I am. I love the movie and the books even more than my kids and for a while, I had to hide how into a “kids” movie I was. In order to expand my style of writing, I thought I’d start doing little review pieces about movies I love, their connections to books, character descriptions, things that stood out in my mind etc. Here’s the first of what will hopefully be a regular series! 

DreamWorks’ blockbusting animated movie ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ is loosely based on the book of the same name by Cressida Cowell. Apart from a few of the main characters and basic elements of the story, there are numerous differences between the book and the movie. A mere look at the main characters Hiccup and Toothless in the book versus their portrayal in the movie reveals the extent to which the movie deviates from the story in the book.

Hiccup and Toothless as Individual Characters

The character and appearance of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III in the movie closely resembles his description in the novel. He is a scrawny Viking from the Hairy Hooligans tribe, unusual because of his physical appearance as well as his intelligence. He is commonly teased and looked down upon by the other Vikings, just as in the beginning of the first movie. However, he owns two dragons, one named Toothless and the other Windwalker.

Toothless the dragon is drastically different in the book and the movie. While the film portrays him as a huge black Night Fury, the rarest and the most intelligent of the dragon species, in the book he is a tiny green and red dragon, believed to be a Common or Garden Dragon. Later on, he is found to be a young Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus. As his name suggests, he does not have teeth.

The Relationship Between Hiccup and Toothless

In the book, Cressida describes Toothless as a disobedient, selfish and ungrateful dragon, but very attached to Hiccup. The film portrays Hiccup and Toothless as best friends, sharing a great rapport and being in tune with each other’s needs and wishes. Toothless is very obedient in the movie, except when he thinks he has a better plan than Hiccup. While Toothless is small enough to sit on Hiccup’s arm in the book, he is a huge dragon that Hiccup loves flying on in the film.

Another important difference is the way that Hiccup and Toothless’ relationship evolves. In the book, the villagers of Berk have a tradition of capturing and training dragons, and Hiccup captures Toothless in order to train him in accordance with the rite of passage. However, Toothless’ disobedience gives Hiccup much trouble, and he finally figures out his own way to train the dragon.

The story of the film is entirely different, as the Vikings of Berk consider the dragons to be their enemies. Hiccup, in an attempt to prove his worth to the village, tries to shoot down a dragon. He successfully manages to strike a Night Fury, and goes looking for the injured creature in order to finish it off. However, when he finally finds the dragon, he is unable to bring himself to kill it. Finally, he sets the dragon free and even designs a makeshift tail for him when he realizes it cannot fly on its own. As Hiccup spends time with the dragon and helps it take to the skies once more, the two become good friends. Eventually, Hiccup manages to convince the rest of the village that Vikings and dragons can co-exist peacefully, and even teaches the others how to befriend and train dragons.