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Big Learning News 12-14-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:34 December 14, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Folding
Activity: Winter nature activities
Book Review: Starry Messenger
News to Share: Giganto: The Real "King Kong"
News for Grownups - Concern about children's creativity
Web Sites: Winter Holidays

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Math Moment

Into the Fold

Converting between two dimensions and three - that's one of those things that comes up in math all the time. Kids have to understand diagrams and drawings of geometric solids, and often mentally fold, rotate, and otherwise transform them. That's why I like to give kids chances to fold flat paper into three-dimensional objects - I think it's easier for them to do it in their heads if they've done it in real life.

So, here are a couple of fun folding ideas. This page, http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/cardbox.shtml,

explains how to fold used greeting cards into charming little gift boxes. It's an easy project for young kids.

This page, http://members.cox.net/crandall11/money/ has cool origami projects kids can do with money (hopefully play money would work too!). Older or wealthier kids will like this one.

You can find more folding fun on this page:

Box folding and Geometric Solids: http://www.biglearning.org/article-box-folding.htm



Winter Nature Activity Ideas


The cold snap continues here at Big Learning Central. So I was happy to find this page of ideas for connecting with nature during the winter - and many of them can be done indoors! These include forcing bulbs, visiting a local greenhouse, and my personal favorite winter nature project, backyard bird feeding.

If backyard bird feeding catches your interest, you'll find lots of resources on this page:



Book Review

Starry Messenger by Peter Sis ( Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996).

Ages 9 and up

Starry Messenger tells the story of Galileo, his astronomy discoveries, and his conflict with the Church. It's a beautiful and important book for kids interested in science. This is despite the flaws - reviewers have rightly criticized the book for formatting (much of the information is handwritten, sometimes in sideways or circular patterns - very hard to read) and for inaccuracy (Galileo's discoveries went against later-recanted Church teaching, not the Bible).

But I love this book anyway, because it uses art to add emotional impact to a science story, and because it includes quotes from primary historical sources, including Galileo's own writing. This is a book to be pored over and savored, which is why I've recommended the hardcover edition.

Buying Information

More Science Books for Kids


News to Share

Giganto, the Real King Kong


With the release of a new "King Kong" movine, your kids may be interested in this article about an extinct giant ape. "Giganto," a 10-foot tall ape species with teeth an inch wide, lived 100,000 years ago in China.


News for Grownups

Experts Concerned about Children's Creative Thinking


In a society where children have resumes, it can be hard for parents to feel good about just letting their kids play. This article explains why play is so important.


Web Sites

Open your present!

And now, my holiday gift to you - a grab bag of winter holiday sites. You'll find it on BigLearning.org:




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