5 7 3
Home About Big Learning Treasure Troves Newsletter Books Workshops Blog Search Site Map Links



Book Review Index


Big Learning News 2-15-07

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 5:5 February 7, 2007

Visit BigLearning.org for past BLN issues, education headlines, and more!

Subscribe! Send a blank e-mail to subscribe@biglearning.org.

Table of Contents
Math Moment: Tessellations
Activity: Weaving
Activity: Great Backyard Bird Count
Book review: Socrates
Contest: Earth Day photos
Web site: Logical Lies

Editor's Notes

Two two-fer's this week:
Two chances to enter a photography contest: The Great Backyard Bird Count and Time for Kids.
Two kid-level philosophy resources: A book about Socrates and a web site on logical fallacies.
Do you live in the Washington, D.C. metro area? Sign up for one of our Family FUN workshops!
You can see the workshop schedule and handy online registration form here.


Math Moment



Tessellations are patterns of shapes that fit together like tiles on a floor, with no empty space between them. There are three regular polygons that tessellate: A square, an equilateral triangle, and a regular hexagon. You can learn more about the math of tessellations here:


But here's the cool part your kids will love. Tessellations can make artwork. The artist most famous for using tessellations is M. C. Escher. This site, tessellations.org, has galleries of artistic tessellations, plus tutorials that show you how to make your own artistic tessellations based on geometric figures.

Some of the tessellations in the galleries are animated and fun to watch.

More Fun Math for Kids





Kids can learn the basics of weaving with this nifty home-made cardboard loom project.

For instructions on how to make a loom, click here:


Yesterday we wove a little change purse (YES! my BOY wanted to do it) - click here for instructions and photos:


This page will help you understand the basic vocabulary of weaving.


More fabric projects

Sewing with Felt

Sew a Kite



The Great Backyard Bird Count


If you can recognize common species of birds in your area, here's a chance for you and your kids to participate in real scientific research. Plus, you can win fabulous prizes, like a pair of Vortex Sidewinder binoculars.

The GBBC web site has online guides to help you identify species. You don't even have to have a bird feeder or a yard - you can do your count anywhere. You just have to spend 15 minutes observing an area and submit your checklist online.

This page has a printable checklist of species in your are, by zip code.

You can also take photos and submit them to win a prize for the best bird photo. There's a link on this page to upload your photos.

More Bird Watching Activities
Make your own bird feeders
Project Feederwatch
Photos of common feeder birds


Book Review

Wise Guy by M.D. Usher (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005)

Ages 7 and up.

The "Wise Guy" is Socrates, and this book introduces kids to his life and thought. The author does a good job of expressing complicated ideas in a way kids can understand.

Click the link below to read my complete review.

Read complete review or get buying information...



Time for Kids Photo Contest
Deadline: March 5, 2007

Kids 8-13 can enter Time for Kids' Earth Day Photo Contest. They can win a Canon PowerShot G7 Digital Camera.

The theme of the contest is "What is worth saving in your world?" You can find official rules and entry information on the TFK web site.


Web Site

Logical Lies

Ages 9 and up


Don't let anyone pull a fast one on your kids. Here are ten kinds of false arguments people make - for example, setting up a "straw man." And if you can't keep Ad Hominem and Non Sequitur straight, this is your chance to get it right. (Ad hominem is attacking the person rather than the argument: "That's wrong because you're a big dummy!" Non Sequitur is bringing in an irrelevant point: "Global warming is a fact - my new stove dial goes up to 11.")

Each of the 10 argument styles has a brief explanation and an example. Some are more accessible to kids than others though, and you might want to peruse the list in advance and think up simpler examples for younger kids.



Changing Your E-mail Address? Don't Lose Your BLN Subscription!

Sadly, each week, BLN subscriptions are cancelled because the e-mail address no longer exists. If you are about to change your e-mail address, don't forget to re-subscribe to BLN!

Just send a blank e-mail from your NEW address to subscribe@biglearning.org.

or fill out the subscription form at http://www.biglearning.org.


Fight Hunger
You Visit. Corporate Sponsors Pay. The Hungry Eat.
http://www.thehungersite.com .


Comments? Send an e-mail to editor@biglearning.org

Advertise in Big Learning News or on BigLearning.org. Our rates are reasonable and our subscribers have excellent taste, at least in newsletters. E-mail for rates and other information:  advertising@biglearning.org .

Big Learning News (c) 2007 Karen Cole

All Rights Reserved.

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.



2007 Karen Cole Privacy Policy HomeAboutTreasure Troves Newsletter WorkshopsBooks Column Site Map Karen ColeLinks