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Big Learning News 1-05-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:1 January 5, 2005

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Table of Contents

Family Travel Destination and web site: The Exploratorium in San Francisco
Book Review : The Man who Walked Between the Towers



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Family Travel Destination and Web Site

The Exploratorium (San Francisco, California, US)

Ages 4 to Adult

We've been to plenty of science museums in our family travels. To us, they're all pale immitations of the Exploratorium. Sure, most science museums have a good exhibit or two, but none match the consistent cleverness, scientific depth, religious dedication to hands-on learning, and sheer gee-whiz that the Exploratorium offers. Where else can you see live mutated fruit flies crawl about under a microscope, watch yourself floating in mid air, and train yourself to sing on pitch, all in one day? The Exploratorium has it all - electricity and magnetism, science of vision and sound, life science, and lots more, plus a really terrific museum shop.

Even if you're not going to be in San Francisco any time soon, don't miss their totally cool web site at


Young kids will like the illusions pages, especially this one:


The step-dancing page lets you construct your own rhythmic dance. Don't miss the "What's Going On" link that shows a step-dance video clip and explains the music/science.



Your teenage physics student and skateboarder will love the skateboarding science page



Here's the index for all the online activities on the site:




Book Review

The Man who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Book Press, 2003)

Ages 6-11

On August 6, 1974, Philippe Petit snuck up the stairs at the top of the nearly-complete south tower of the World Trade Center, and with help from friends, strung a cable between the two towers. As August 7th dawned, he began his hour long high-wire walk between the two towers, a quarter mile above street level without a net. This book is the story of his walk, told in beautiful language and vivid illustrations. It's funny, astonishing, and a touching tribute to one day in the life of the towers that are no longer there.

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