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Big Learning News 8-22-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:23 August 22, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Pet Care Time Commitment
Fun Stories: "Wrong-Way" Corrigan and Riegels
Book Review: While You're Waiting for the Food to Come

Where Have We Been?

It's been over a month since the last issue of Big Learning News - I guess you could say we had an unplanned vacation! In the press to develop and conduct two new workshops, I was just too busy to write the newsletter. And then there was a week of real vacation at the beach - no computers allowed or desired, but plenty of Big Learning.

Things have settled down and I hope we'll be back to sending out 3-4 issues of Big Learning News each month.

FYI, the two new workshops are:

Just-in-Time Science: This is for adults with curious kids who ask hard science questions, showing how to help your child find answers even if you don't have a strong science background.

Boats! A Big Learning Together workshop for families - build a model sailboat from wood and learn about sailing science and vocabulary in a fun-filled afternoon.

Contact me (reply to this e-mail) if you are interested in offering these or other Big Learning Workshops for your group or school.

Math Moment

Pet Care Time Commitment


This survey examines the relationship between the number of pets you have and the amount of time it takes to care for them. It turns out that the kids who have 8 pets don't spend as much time as the kids who have 6. Good graph reading and data interpretation practice for your kids.

Make sure you click through the arrows to see the whole thing. The Zoom folks who did the survey offer their own hypotheses about the reasons the data looks the way it does, and then analyze the survey data to see if they are right.


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

Fun Stories: "Wrong Way" Corrigan and Riegels

I remember "Wrong Way" Corrigan being kind of an icon when I was a kid - this aviator flew the wrong way and ended up in Ireland instead of California. I first found out about it in an episode of Gilligan's Island that first aired in 1964, in which aviator "Wrong Way Feldman" lands on the island. I remember my dad explaining about the real-life Corrigan on which the episode was based, and about a football player called "Wrong Way Riegels" who ran the wrong way and nearly scored a touchdown for the other team.

Kids will appreciate both stories. The Corrigan story is a little more interesting than just a wrong turn - it's actually about a spunky character who wouldn't take "no" for an answer when it came to meeting challenges. You can read the whole thing here:


Wrong Way Riegels, the football player, seems to have just, well, run the wrong way. Here are some stories about him:



And for the nostalgic TV viewer, here's the script from the Wrong Way Feldman episode of Gilligan's Island:




Book Review

While You're Waiting for the Food to Come: A Tabletop Science Activity Book : Experiments and Tricks That Can Be Done at a Restaurant, the Dining Room Table, or Wherever Food Is Served by Eric Muller, illustrated by Eldon Doty (Orchard Books, 1999)

Ages 10 and up, younger with adult help.

This book has over 30 science-related tricks and demonstrations you can do with materials available at typical restaurant tables. Some are cast as magic tricks, others as experiments, and others as just really cool gee-whiz demonstrations.

Whether you'd actually allow your child to do these at a real restaurant depends on your tolerance for dining hijinks. Many of the experiments create at least a small mess at the table, and a few can be noisy. Muller has thoughtfully rated each activity by level of attention you're likely to get from nearby tables.

The writing is cheerful, snappy, and clearly aimed at kids (as in, "Please remember to check with a parent first to make sure your chosen mealtime activity is appropriate."). Science is clearly more than an afterthought - Muller's science explanations are generous in length compared to many books of this type, and take kids beyond the activity to related phenomenon.

Buying Information

More Books for Kids at http://www.biglearning.org/books-nature-activities-for-kids.htm.


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