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Big Learning News 3-9-06

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 4:9 March 9, 2006

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Create a graph
Activity: Dig a hole through the Earth
Book Review: Super Science Concoctions
Education News: Attention surplus disorder?

Web Site: Ballet Videos

Thinking about planting a garden with your kids? Check out Big Learning's Gardening Treasure Trove!

Gardening for Kids and Families

Need a Science Fair Project? Find one on BigLearning.org.

Science Fair Project Ideas

Math Moment

Create a Graph


Remind your kids why making graphs is a fun way to understand real-world information better. Try this page from NCES Kids - a quick and simple little tool for making, saving, and printing your own graphs. You can enter your data, choose from among many formatting options, create your labels, and see your graph. If your child is new to graphing, I recommend choosing a personally interesting data set to graph - for example, number of desserts your child had each day for the past five days.

For older graphers comfortable with spreadsheets, here's a page with data sets to download and graph:



http://mathforum.org/workshops/sum96/data.collections/datalibrary/other.resources.html has other data sources to peruse.

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More Fun Math for Kids



Dig a hole through the Earth


Here in the U.S., many of us remember childhood afternoons spent trying to dig a hole all the way through the Earth to China, which we were told was on the other side of the world.

The DigHoles web page lets you point to any place on Earth, and find out where a hole dug from that place would come out. Your kids will understand the activity better if you do it with a globe in hand. Find your city on the globe and on the web page. When DigHole tells you where the hole emerges, help your child find that place on the globe.

You can find geography books on BigLearning.org: http://www.biglearning.org/books-history-for-kids.

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Book Review

Super Science Concoctions by Jill Frankel Hauser (Williamson, 1996)

Ages 6-10

I still remember my first grade teacher asking this vexing riddle: What gets wetter as it dries? Answer: A towel!

In Super Science Concoctions, this riddle begins a series of activities about capillary action - interesting things that happens as water gets absorbed and moves through materials. Typical of the lively presentation of the Williamson Kids Can books, the riddle contributes humor while getting kids thinking about the topic at hand.

Super Science Concoctions is a great book for kids who think that science is about mixing things. They can get out their beakers and test tubes. There's plenty of attention to creating effects with food coloring, adding intrigue with "secret messages" or magic tricks, and other kid-friendly stuff.

Each activity has a short paragraph called "The Principle of the Thing" that explains the scientific principle behind the activity. There's also "Science Speak" boxes that explain terms like capillary and adhesion. Lots of the activities offer extensions (More to Explore). Sometimes the activity ends with a question, then referring kids to another activity elsewhere in the book to find the answer. Kids can have a lot of fun with this book.

Support Big Learning! Buy this book - or any other book - by clicking on this link

What's your favorite science book? Comment on this article


Education News for Adults

Attention Surplus? Re-examining a Disorder


By some estimates, 10% of boys are on medication for ADHD, and new risks have been reported for these medications. This article questions whether the problem is indeed a disorder, whether ADHD-diagnosed kids always have trouble paying attention, and the degree to which situations affect symptoms. Read it quick - the New York Times usually only lets you read articles for a week.

Comment on this article here


Web Site

Ballet Videos Online


From First Position to Frappé, this page offers your young ballet enthusiast 24 short videos of basic ballet steps.

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