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Big Learning News 10-19-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:30 October 19, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Latitude and Longitude
Activity: Make a scary (or not) sculpture
Book Review: Babe and Me
Web Site: Chess for Kids

Math Moment

Latitude and Longitude


Just as studying dollars and cents is a great way to learn about decimal numbers, studying latitude and longitude is a great way to learn about grids and angular measurement. This short animated movie explains how to use latitude and longitude to specify a location on Earth.



Make a scary(or not) sculpture


There are tons of good art projects on this Art Attack page, but check out the "creepy hand" project. Your kids can make a cool Halloween decoration, and the techniques are really useful for all kinds of sculpture projects You crumple or roll newspaper to form the skeleton of the sculpture, tape the pieces in place, create a "skin" from glue and paper towels, and paint it after it dries. The project calls for PVA glue, which is just regular white glue.

For more on paper sculpture for kids, see these articles on BigLearning.org:

Paper sculpture: http://www.biglearning.org/article-paper-sculpture-for-kids.htm

Paper boxes and geometric solids: http://www.biglearning.org/news031209.htm#article


Book Review

Babe and Me (A Baseball Card Adventure) by Dan Gutman (HarperTrophy, 2000).

Ages 11-15

In Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures, young Joe Shostack has a unique "gift" - when he holds a vintage baseball card, he's transported back in time to a scene involving the player on the card. In Babe and Me he goes to 1932 to spend time around Babe Ruth during the 1932 World Series.

Like all the baseball card adventures, Babe and Me is rich in historical content. In this book Joe witnesses scenes related to the Great Depression, the election of Franklin Roosevelt, and the ascent of Hitler to power.

Gutman packs a lot into his books. In addition to the history, he also tries to give an up-close-and-personal view of Babe Ruth's personality, while sustaining subplots related to Joe's modern-times life - his divorced parents, his relationship with his n'ere-do-well father, and even his Little-League exploits. Gutman really develops his characters. The books are a lot grittier, with more mature themes, than, say, Magic Tree House books. This makes them much more interesting than Tree House but parents might want to check them out first if they're concerned about the mature themes. In Babe and Me, there's some swearing represented by odd punctuation (#@!%), and a subplot related to family members lost in the Holocaust.

Buying Information


Web Site

Chess for Kids


If your kids are interested in chess, they'll love this collection of kid-friendly interactive tutorials. Kids can also play online chess or do a (pretty lame, in my opinion) chess adventure - which inexplicably requires them to say that they are smart but violent. The site also has information for adults on the benefits of chess for kids and how to start children's chess clubs.


See You in a Couple of Weeks

Big Learning News is taking a short break next week and possibly the following week - after that we'll be back with more great family learning so stay tuned!

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