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Big Learning News 2-9-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:5 February 9, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment
National Bird Feeding Month
Book Review: A Drop of Water
Web Site: Infrared Zoo


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Math Moment

Rotate Y'er Own Polyhedron

http://illuminations.nctm.org/index_d.aspx?id=406

Here's a delightfully cool way to build kids' understanding of geometric solids. The site lets you manipulate a picture of a 3-d shape, such as a pyramid. You can color the sides and then use your mouse to rotate the shape in space.

This page is actually a full-fledged lesson plan for teachers, so there's more here than you need if you're just here for fun. You have to scroll down past the shape, read the instructions, and then scroll back up to play with the shape. But it's worth the trouble.

Find more math resources on Big Learning's "Fun Math for Kids" page.

http://www.biglearning.org/big-learning-math-activities.htm

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Activity

National Bird Feeding Month

February is National Bird Feeding Month here in the U.S.A., where wintry weather can make life stressful for our little avian friends. Find out more from Birdfeeding.org:

http://www.birdfeeding.org/february.html

The site has free posters to print and other fun stuff.

If, like 1/3 of the adult population, you would like to discover the wonders of bird feeding, you'll find lots of great information at BigLearning.org on our Bird Watching for Kids page:

http://www.biglearning.org/treasurebirds.htm

In celebration of National Bird feeding Month, we've updated this page again, with new links to bird sites for kids.

 

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Book Review

A Drop of Water: A book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick (Scholastic, 1997)

For ages 9 and up independently; Read-to-me 6-8; Love the photos 5-7.

Who knew plain ol' water could be so fascinating? A Drop of Water is a science project book and photography art book in one. Wick's magnificent magnified photos of water droplets in action illustrate important physics concepts such as surface tension and capillary attraction. The text is artful and yet friendly, as in this introduction to the soap-bubble photos: "There are few objects you can make that have both the dazzling beauty and delicate precision of a soap bubble."

Nearly every photograph in the book is a picture of a simple science demonstration you and your kids could actually do at home. The composition and clarity of the photos give an almost magical quality to something as simple as a paintbrush dipped in water. The net effect is an enticement to try the demonstration yourself - something a more technical style of illustration rarely accomplishes.

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Web Site

Infrared Zoo

http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/image_galleries/ir_zoo/

Ages 7 and up, though younger kids will love the pretty colors

This kid-friendly site is a collection of photographs of animals taken with an infrared camera. The pictures show, in rich and bright colors, how the animal's body temperature varies in various parts of its body. A photo of flamingos in the sun shows how the flamingo's back, warmed by the sun, is hotter than the rest of its body.

Each photo has an accompanying text that tells you what is interesting about each photo. For example, there's a baby alligator being held by a human. You can see how much warmer the warm-blooded human is, compared to the cold-blooded alligator.

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Big Learning News 2005 Karen Cole
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