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Big Learning News 12-14-04

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 2:45 December 14, 2004

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Table of Contents

New on BigLearning.org: Photography for Kids!
Activity: Make Music with Math
Book Review : Earth from Above
Web Site: Gifts to Make


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New on BigLearning.org

We've got a new Treasure Trove for Learning!

Photography for Kids has everything you need to help your child get started with photography, including tips, science, projects, and history. You'll find it at http://www.biglearning.org/treasure-photography-for-kids.htm.

Also,

Shop our affiliates (www.biglearning.org/shop-affiliates.htm): You can help keep Big Learning online by entering sites like Target, Gardeners Supply, Hearthsong, and other great merchants through our site. It won't cost you a thing, and some are offering special discounts.

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Activity: Make Music with Math

Ages 6 and up (because you don't really need to be clear on the math to use the tools)

These pages, by music educator Phil Tulga, are fun little tools for making very cool music. Each tool also features cleverly integrated math - patterns, fractions, and other important concepts - that relates to musical ideas like rhythm and pitch.

Unifix Drum Machine (http://www.philtulga.com/unifix.html): You get three drums, and click to make patterns. When all three drums sound together you get an unexpected rhythm. There are also built-in rhythms to listen to.

Musical Fraction Bars: (http://www.philtulga.com/fractionbars.html): Arrange the bars to create a melody.

Pattern Block Rock: (http://www.philtulga.com/patternblock.html) Use blocks of different shapes to describe a rhythm, and then listen to your creation.

Fraction Pie Rhythm: ( http://www.philtulga.com/pie.html) Use pie slices to describe a rhythm, and listen to a drum play it.

Each tool lets you vary the speed of your composition. The tools require the free "Shockwave" software, which you can download if you need it using the link on the tool page.

There's lots more on the site too - activities and interesting information about music.

 

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Book Review

Earth from Above: 366 Days by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Harry N Abrams, 2003)

Earth from Above for Young Readers by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Robert Burleigh (Harry N Abrams, 2002)

Ages 6 and up

A Greek peasant crossing his field with a donkey, a Carrara Marble quarry in Italy - just two of the more than 700 amazing aerial photographs that make Earth from Above: 366 Days endlessly engaging. The photos come from every corner of the globe, and subjects range from industrial wastelands to engineering triumphs to natural splendor.

The photos are organized into twelve themes (Biodiversity, Renewable Energy, Abolishing Poverty, and others) that help Arthus-Bertrand communicate his passionate conservationist message. Each of the twelve themes is introduced by an essay authored by an expert on that theme. Each photograph has a short essay on the facing page explaining the significance of the photograph in terms of issues of conservation and sustainable practices.

There are many ways a parent and child could explore the book together. With younger children, it's fun just to try to guess what each photo depicts (often it's not obvious), and then read the title and perhaps an interesting fact from the essay. Each photo also has a helpful map showing where the photograph was taken. Kids 13 and up will appreciate the issues and dilemmas each photograph brings out. Anyone interested in photography will enjoy Earth from Above as an art book.

Although the photographs aren't violent or blatantly inappropriate for young kids, the essays are often depressing or even scary (in an environmental kind of way), and many of the issues will go over the heads of young children. But that isn't to say they won't love the photographs anyway.

Earth from Above for Young Readers is a specially-selected subset of the photos from the adult version. The text is written for kids too. This is a book kids ages 9-12 could enjoy independently.

Buying Information for Earth from Above: 366 Days

Buying Information for Earth from Above for Young Readers

 

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Web Site

Gifts to Make

http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/_gifts.html

Here's a whole page of clever and easy projects for kids who want to make their own gifts, including snow globes, a three dimensional tic-tac-toe game, picture frames, bookmarks, and more.

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