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Big Learning News 1-4-06

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 4:1 January 4, 2006

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Distance between two cities
Activity: Take some free drawing lessons
Book Review: Poetry Speaks to Children
News for Grownups: Education or "Edutainment"?

Web Sites: Caves

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Math Moment

Find the distance between any two Cities


Here's one to do with a globe or world map nearby. Pick any two cities world wide, type them into the boxes on the indio.com page above. You'll get the distance in miles, kilometers, and nautical miles. That's a good time to help your kids understand that a given distance can be expressed in different ways. Just because the "kilometer" number is higher, the distance hasn't suddenly become greater.

Your kids might wonder how many kilometers are in one mile - before you answer, ask them if they think it's more or less than one kilometer per mile, and how they know. And what's a nautical mile? The answers to all these conversion questions can be found here:




Take some free drawing lessons with your kids


This page has five free drawing lessons (scroll down to the bottom - the lessons are in reverse order for some reason).

If you get bitten by the drawing bug, you can find more art resources here:




Book Review

Poetry Speaks to Children by Elise Paschen (editor) (Sourcebooks Inc., 2005).

Ages 5-11

What could be cooler than hearing great poetry read by the poets themselves? The 63 beautifully-illustrated poems can all be heard on the accompanying CD, which includes recordings of modern children's poets, plus historical recordings of older poems read by the poets. This is a great collection and a wonderful, surprisingly low-cost way to introduce kids to poetry.

Buying Information


News for Grownups

Are electronic learning toys really educational?


This article examines whether electronic learning toys from companies such as Leap Frog really help kids learn and develop. It includes opinions of education experts questioning the lack of research, contrasted with quotes from industry people and satisfied customers praising the products.


Web Site

Virtual Cave


This interactive sites has tons of information about cave types and formations, complete with photographs, diagram maps, and more.

If this inspires you to see a real cave, here's a page that can help you find a cave near you:



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