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Big Learning News 6-15-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:18 June 15, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Ocean pollution
Toy Review: Bug Vacuum
Book Review: Imaginative Inventions
Web Site : History of words
Big Learning Workshops in June

Math Moment

Oil spill pollution

Ages 7 and up


This page has a bar graph showing how much oil gets into the ocean from various sources, in millions of gallons. If your kids are interested in pollution, here's a chance for them to put their graph reading skills to use and practice dealing with large numbers

Also try this page:


This is a list of all the big oil spills. One thing you learn is how the number of gallons spilled can relate to the size of the affected area of ocean. For example, a 19 million gallon spill created an oil slick that extended over 100 square miles of ocean. That would be a good chance to review square measurement and map out a 100-square mile space on your globe or, more impressively, on an atlas page (thereby also reviewing drawing to scale!).


More math resources and our Math Moments archives on our Fun Math for Kids page on BigLearning.org - http://www.biglearning.org/big-learning-math-activities.htm

Toy Review: Edu Science Bug Vacuum

Ages 5-10

My son got a Bug Vacuum for his birthday, and I have to say it's a clever design. Pulling a trigger sucks the bug into a removable see-thru chamber with a magnifiers on one end. You can take the chamber off and look at the bug from all angles, and then flip the magnifier to release the bug.

The vacuum power isn't, well, all that powerful (don't get me started on things that do everything except perform their main functions - I've had toasters that do everything but toast bread, full-featured hair dryers that don't dry hair, etc.). You can't suck a flying insect out of the air and sometimes it takes some jiggling just to get one off the ground.

But the toy does work, and it's fun to go bug hunting - you feel very adventurous and you never have to touch the bug.

bug vacuum


Book Review

Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper (Little Brown and Company, 2001)

Ages 6-10

We parents are forever explaining to our kids that they are lucky - we didn't have VCRs when we were kids and we just had to watch whatever was on and we didn't have microwaves either and TV dinners took 45 minutes. So most kids know that technology has changed. But kids may not have stopped to think that low-tech things like wheelbarrows, marbles, and even pie were, at some time, new inventions too.

Imaginative Inventions is a fun way to let kids in on these beginnings. Illustrated with wacky cartoons and told in verse form, Imaginative Inventions provides historical accounts of the invention gum, potato chips, eyeglasses, roller skates, and more. Fun facts about each invention round out the presentation - did you know a roller skater once skated backward at a speed of 46.69 miles per hour?

Buying Information


Web Site

History of Words: Etymology online


I always have trouble keeping it straight: entomology is the study of bugs, and etymology is the study of the origins of words. Entomology, from the Greek word entomon, meaning"insect." Etymology, from Greek etymon , meaning "true sense." I learned all that on etymonline.com, a site that lets you look up word derivations.

If you or your child have a question about how a word came to be, this is a fun site. To look up a word, type it in the box and select "find any item" from the pull-down menu.

To understand the information, it helps to read the introductions and abbreviations page http://www.etymonline.com/abbr.php.


Workshop Fun for June

Do you live the Washington, D.C. metro area? You can attend one of my very-fun Big Learning workshops. Here is the June schedule.

Gardening Together: A Big Learning Workshop for Families
Saturday, June 18, 1:30-3:30 pm Garrett Park Town Hall

$25.00 for one adult and one child, $8.00 for additional family members 5 and up.
Grow your child's math, science, and literacy skills along with the carrots. You and your kids will get your hands dirty while learning about seeds, soil, and even bugs. This is an afternoon of Big Learning fun for parents and kids 5-12, plus a summerful of garden learning to take home.

Sign up or get more information at http://www.biglearning.org/workshops/ .

Contact me about doing a workshop in your area.

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Big Learning News 2005 Karen Cole
All Rights Reserved.


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