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Big Learning News 5-25-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:15 May 25, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: How much things used to cost
Web site: Giggle Poetry
Product Review: Peripole Angel Halo Recorders
Software Review: Distant Suns Demo
Big Learning Workshops in June


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Math Moment

How much things used to cost

http://www.minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/

Do you love to tell your kids how little things cost when you were a child? Here's fun site that lets you convert prices from year to year. You can ask, if something costs $100.00 in 2005, how much would it have cost in 1984? Or going the other way, I put in my salary from my first job after college, and found out what I'd have to make today to have the same purchasing power. That is an interesting bit of consumer math all by itself - a dollar buys less over time, and so what seems like a small amount of money to us actually bought quite a lot in 1950.

Older kids might be interested in the math behind the conversion. These numbers are calculated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI tells you how much money you would need, in years from 1913 to the present, to by a certain representative "bundle of goods and services" defined by the government. Each year has a decimal multiplier that gets you from a price in 1982-1984 (called the base years) to the price in any other year in the range.

To see the formula to convert between any two years, click here:

http://www.minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/#calc

Here's the chart of the CPI multipliers for each year.

http://www.minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/hist1913.cfm

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Web site: Giggle Poetry

http://www.gigglepoetry.com/

Ages 4-8

This site has funny little poems by well-known children's poets. There are take-offs on nursery rhymes, poems about common school mishaps, and pages that help kids write their own poems.


 

Product Review

Peripole Angel Halo Soprano and Alto Recorders

http://www.peripolebergerault.com/recorder.asp

1·800·443·3592

My older son loves to pick up his soprano recorder when he just wants to play a quick tune - not nearly as much work as putting his trumpet together. When he told me about the cool Peripole recorders some kids in his class have, I happily agreed to order one, having tired of the shrill tone produced by the one he'd been playing.

I ordered by calling the 800 number. The woman who took my order was very friendly and helpful. I even decided to throw in an alto recorder, since the shipping cost was the same either way. The recorders arrived exactly on the day she predicted.

We were so pleased right out of the box. The recorders are heavier than ordinary models and, though plastic, have a definite deluxe feel. They come with a cleaning stick, case, fingering chart, and a "halo" - a hoop and string gizmo that lets you hang the recorder around your neck. Both recorders sound terrific - a big improvement over my son's old recorder.

Here's the best part - they're not even expensive. Currently the soprano goes for $4.25 and the alto is $9.95 (not including shipping charges which depend on where you are). So if your child has to buy a recorder for school or just wants an easy instrument to play, do your ears a favor and go for the Peripole.

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Software Review

Distant Suns Desktop Planetarium (free version)

Ages 10 and up, younger with help.

http://www.distantsuns.com/ (click "downloads") on the side menu.)

This "lite" version can be downloaded for free. Though it is missing videos and other cool stuff you get on the $49.00 CD, it's still bound to delight any kid (and adult) with an interest in astronomy.

You can see what the night sky will look like tonight, with the planets and constellations mapped out for you. You can watch animations of the planets in orbit - Mercury zips around the sun while Saturn appears to barely move. You can also watch an animated flyby of the Voyager space probes, "hover" over planets, and lots more. The program is easy to use once you read the help files.

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Workshop Fun for June

Do you live the Washington, D.C. metro area? You can attend one of my very-fun Big Learning workshops. Here is the June schedule.

Gardening Together: A Big Learning Workshop for Families
Saturday, June 18, 1:30-3:30 pm Garrett Park Town Hall

$25.00 for one adult and one child, $8.00 for additional family members 5 and up.
Grow your child's math, science, and literacy skills along with the carrots. You and your kids will get your hands dirty while learning about seeds, soil, and even bugs. This is an afternoon of Big Learning fun for parents and kids 5-12, plus a summerful of garden learning to take home.

Sign up or get more information at http://www.biglearning.org/workshops/ .

Contact me about doing a workshop in your area.


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Big Learning News 2005 Karen Cole
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