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Big Learning News 3-02-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:8 March 2, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment- Flying around the world
Activity: Make a Boomerang
Book Review: What do Illustrators Do?
Web Site: The Gates


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Math Moment

Flying around the world

March 3 is the day that Steve Fossett, always referred to as "millionaire Steve Fossett" in the news, is set to complete the first ever round-the-world-without-stopping flight. Lots of math to enjoy in this milestone, including:

  • the distance flown (large numbers, conversion from miles to kilometers)
  • the altitude (large numbers)
  • the speed of the plane (ratio of distance per unit of time)
  • fuel measured in pounds instead of gallons or liters
  • the geometry of defining what it means to fly around the sphere we call Earth

Here is the official mission site, but today it's hard to connect to it because everyone is checking up on Steve to see if he landed yet. You can find much of same information by searching for news about the mission.




Make a Boomerang

Here's a template for a boomerang that really works (you throw it up in the air and it comes back to you). My 6-year old especially loves throwing it - over and over again.

To make it, you just print the template, cut it out, trace it onto the back of an empty cereal box or similar cardboard, and cut the cardboard shape. It's ready to fly.

Here is the link for the template:


Here are throwing tips from the same site:


Book Review

What do Illustrators Do? by Eileen Christelow (Clarion Books, 1999)

Ages 6-12

Budding artists will love this smart behind-the-scenes look at the illustrator's process, from concept to completion. It chronicles two illustrators as they work to illustrate the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Told comic-book style, the book brings out important points about illustration:

  • Different illustrators can illustrate a given story in very different ways
  • Each illustration is a problem to be solved - how to make something look big or scary, for example.
  • Using different tools changes the look and feel of the illustrations
  • Illustrators sometimes use live models or make faces in the mirror to help them draw realistically
  • Illustrators revise their illustrations again and again
  • Illustrators work with editors and designers to improve the illustrations the book as a whole

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Web Site

The Gates by Christo and Jeanne-Claude

This past weekend my family and I took a trip to New York City to see The Gates, the latest work from artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Consisting of 7,500 saffron-colored gates winding along pathways through New York's Central Park, the installation was as much an event as a work of art. Great crowds of happy people passed beneath the gates as they meandered through the snow-covered park, climbing to the top of every hill to get a birds-eye view of the spectacle. The Gates were up for 16 days through February 27, 2005.

You and your kids may enjoy seeing photos of The Gates and learning all about the installation at the official site:


Here is a picture my husband took:

christo - The Gates - christo jeanne claude





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Big Learning News 2005 Karen Cole
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