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Big Learning News 8-17-04

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 2:31 August 17, 2004

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Table of Contents

Web Sites: Olympics
Book Review: Ancient Greece!
Web Site: Plants in Motion
Education Headlines on BigLearning.org

 


Web Sites

Some Tangentially Olympic-related Big Learning

I know you folks all can google "Olympics" if you want to find general information and news. Yet I feel obligated to offer something about the games, since they're such a big international event. So here are some interesting sites related to things your kids will see on the Olympics.

National anthems http://www.national-anthems.net/

Flags and their meaning (click on the flags, not the country names): http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/docs/flagsoftheworld.html

Ancient Olympics interactive comic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ancientgreece/classics/olympics/intro.shtml

A nick of time: At the Olympics much can hinge on a fraction of a second: Interesting article about timing races (requires free registration): http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/bal-to.second16aug16,1,5540707.story?coll=bal-features-headlines

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Book Review

Ancient Greece! 40 Hands-on Activities to Experience this Wondrous Age by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell, illustrated by Michael Kline (Williamson Publishing, 1999).

Ages 9 and up

Speaking of Greece, want to build your own table-top trojan horse? How about pressing your own olive oil? If these are too high-falutin' you might enjoy speaking Pig Greek - it's just like Pig Latin except you say "Yiclees" instead of "ay." These are just a few of the projects Ancient Greece! has to offer. It all comes together with the light-hearted touch Hart and Mantell bring to all their information powerhouses (they've written many of the Williamson Kids Can! titles), making them two of my very favorite children's authors.

Ancient Greece! is a great mix of stuff to make, interesting facts, and history. The projects are easy and use everyday stuff like rolled up paper and rubber bands. The authors take care to give you plenty of reasons why ancient Greece is still important today, from word roots to philosophy. You just won't believe how much information they pack into each page and how varied it is - sure to be something for everyone.

Buying Information (Ancient Greece!)

More books by Avery Hart

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Web Site

Plants in Motion

http://sunflower.bio.indiana.edu/~rhangart/plantmotion/starthere.html

This is a collection of amazing time-lapse Quicktime movies of plant growth and change. You can see seeds germinate, roots develop, flowers open and close. My favorite is the morning glory twirling as it searches for a support to twine around. To see that one, click the category "nastic movements".

Each movie also includes very a technical text explanation with some advanced botany vocabulary, but don't let that stop you. Even young kids will think the movies are cool, and it's pretty obvious what's going on in most of them.

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Education News on BigLearning.org

Teachers Lose Tax Breaks for School Supplies: Many teachers spend thousands of dollars out of their own pockets just to stock their classrooms. They are quickly losing state and federal tax breaks that helped to reimburse them for their expense. So be generous if your child's teacher asks for supplies!

Teaching to the Test Rises as More Dig In for Indiana Test: In a trend mirrored around the U.S., Indiana students are spending more of their time on test prep training, test-related pep rallies, and other expensive, non-instructional extras.

Permanent Vacation: In this biting satirical essay, a teacher complains about a "frivalous" school trip to Paris.

These and more at http://www.biglearning.org.

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