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Big Learning News 12-13-06
|Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 4:41 December 13, 2006
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Don't have a cow, man! Give a Goat.
It's always amazing to note how far dollars go in an impoverished country. $59.00 buys two goat in Rwanda, providing a daily supply of milk to a family. A quick Google search for "Goats for Sale" indicates a U.S. price of several hundred dollars per goat. That's the math, by the way - comparing prices for these gifts to U.S. retail.
Anyway, if you're looking for a way to teach your kids about giving (and a little math too), the Hunger Site has a great deal on goats. Buy a pair of goats for a Rwandan family for $59.00, and the Hunger Site will throw in 150 cups of food (more math - figure out how much that is in units that make sense - like a bag of rice). You even get a Rwandan woven basket as a thank-you gift.
More charity projects
Tired of making frosted cookies with sprinkles? Here are two cookie-art ideas we found on the Internet and tried out, plus one we made up ourselves.
1. "Jackson Pollock" Cookies: This one came from Martha Stewart's site. To make them, you cut out "canvases" out of cookie dough. Then you drop drops of food coloring onto the dough while blowing through a straw. Guess what - ours aren't as pretty as Martha's (we used store-bought dough, which might be part of the problem). But we had fun doing them.
2. Egg paints: We found this idea here. You color egg yolk with food coloring and then paint your design on cookie dough with food-grade paint brushes.
3. Swirls: We made these out of our failed egg-painted cookies. We pulled the paint through the dough in streaks, then rolled it into a 3" snake, twisted the snake a little, and joined the ends to make a doughnut shape.
Here are some facts about Jackson Pollock and links to learn more.
Smithsonian Bird-Watcherby David Burnie (DK Children, 2005)
It's bird feeding season in the Northern Hemisphere. Here's a book that will help kids learn about birds through the winter and into the whole year.
The 30+ activities in the book are likely to entice kids to explore - they sure got me curious. In nesting season, the book suggests, put out dishes of various nesting materials, and try to catch birds in the act of taking them. Will different species prefer different materials? Or, during the winter, put out two bowls of food - one with a cover lightly taped in place. Which species are smart enough to remove the cover to get at the seeds?
The book is full of great photos - who knew a woodpecker has a tongue? Well, they do, and there's a photo to prove it.
Looking for more books for your kids? Try this list.
Education News for Adults
New Flash! Winter Break is Good for Kids!
This hardly needs saying, but vacations are good for kids. So enjoy yours, and if anyone asks you if you've been reviewing math facts, you can quote Dr. Denoon of Kansas State University:
DeNoon believes some of the "greatest life lessons" can be instilled in children by their parents during a long break. "An appreciation for culture, family heritage and family values becomes a lifelong learning experience for students when time is spent traveling and with family."
Catch up on our education commentaries!
Here are our recent commentaries on education-related news.
Reviews of Favorite Web Sites (2006)
We reviewed a lot of sites in 2006! Here are some of the stand-outs you may want to re-visit. They make great use of web technology to give kids a creative challenge and real interaction. Many of them have substantial information, organized and presented to grab kids' attention and keep it.
Tinker Ball physics game
Polar Days and Nights astronomy animation
Dig a hole through the Earth geography
Get Physical sports and fitness
Bookzone children's literature
Hug a Tree wilderness survival
Dance Mat Typing free typing lessons
Shellfish field guide from the National Wildlife Federation
Make a Movie with the Zimmer Twins movie-making web site
The Hobby Shop online microscope and science lab
CBBC Press pack children's journalism
Toon Beats creative music game
Linerider physics game
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Content meant for adults and provided for informational purposes only - readers are responsible for previewing all materials and activities for suitability and safety before sharing them with children.