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Big Learning News 2-23-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:7 February 23, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment- Average Temperatures in Hawaii
Web Site: Koalas for Kids
Book Review: Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
Web Site: Dive! Undersea Exploration


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Math Moment

Average Temperatures in Hawaii


Those of us in the midst of winter often find our thoughts straying to images of warmer climates. The above page has links to average temperature graphs for four different places in Hawaii. As you and your kids enjoy thinking about the warm temperatures, you can note the warmest and coolest months, compare temperatures in different parts of Hawaii, or compare average temperatures to the temperature today, which you can find at the link below or on any weather site.


You can also turn this into a geography moment with this map of Hawaii:


Mathematically, this is an opportunity to learn and practice reading a graph, talk about averages, and develop number sense (as in, how hot is "97 degrees?").


Web Site

Koalas for Kids


Awwww they're so cute! This site has fun facts, koala photos, and you can even click to hear the sound a koala makes. The site has maps showing the Koala's range, pictures of a Koala skeleton, and a photo of a tiny koala "joey" in the palm of a hand.

New on BigLearning.org

Our Bird Watching for Kids page has new links for children's bird sites.



Book Review

Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson, illustrated by Laurie Keller (Henry Holt and Company, 2000)

Ages 9 - 14

This is a great book for kids interested in history, engineering, business, or invention - it all comes together in the stories behind 25 classic toys. There are surprises in nearly every chapter. The original Parcheesi game, for example, was invented by a weaving-factory worker in India in the 1570s. The first documented see-saw was part of a Roman circus ritual involving a hungry lion. Many toys began as something else - Play-doh as wallpaper cleaner, Lionel trains as a store-window eye-catcher to sell other toys.

The writing is lively and the humor gentle. Keller's cartoon illustrations add a wacky boldness to the presentation.

Wulffson does a great job showing the interweaving of great idea, savvy marketing, and hard work in the evolution of a successful product. Kids will be inspired by the images of toy inventors starting their businesses on a shoestring, with nothing more than fanatical belief in their idea and the commitment to see it to fruition.

Buying Information

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Web Site

Dive! Undersea Exploration


This site lets you explore an active undersea volcano with an underwater robotic camera. You can choose among dives and sites and, once a dive is in progress, you can view video of weird sea animals that colonize the warm water around the volcano. You can even see a weird underwater "flame" that is actually an optical illusion.

This site currently requires a very fast internet connection, though other versions are promised. If you have a slower connection, you can learn about the expedition, view photos and expedition daily logs, and more at the site home:




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Big Learning News 2005 Karen Cole
All Rights Reserved.


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