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Big Learning News 6-1-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:16 June 1, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Hotel Infinity
Activity: Beyond the Bug Jar
Book Review : Inventing Stuff
Web Site : Watergate
Big Learning Workshops in June


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Math Moment

Hotel Infinity

Ages 8 and up

http://www.c3.lanl.gov/mega-math/workbk/infinity/inhotel.html

Kids love to think about infinity. So, if you've got a little more than a moment (the story is about 6,000 words), cozy up together and read "Hotel Infinity," the story of a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. Your kids will love the mysterious drama, the chances to think about the implications of infinity, and the chances to say "but...but..." For example, "but..but..if there were an infinite number of guests, wouldn't it take an infinite number of minutes to check them all in?"

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Activity: Beyond the bug jar

Ages 8 and up

It's summer again, so save up those glass jars, and get the hammer and nail ready for punching air holes in lids. Your kids are going to be needing the jars for bug catching (unless they've got one of those newfangled toy bug catchers).

Either way, maybe this is the summer your kids are ready to move beyond simple observation of their catches (not that I mean to denigrate the value of observation!). If so, you can be ready for that too, with these web sites.

Common Garden Creatures ( http://tinyurl.com/7y65m): A quickie page with great photos to help kids identify common garden bugs.

Innovative Projects and Activities on Minibeasts (http://tinyurl.com/c2nxj): Courtesy of the Young Entomologist Society, you'll find several summer's worth of projects on this page, and they're deep and thoughtful too. Tons of great advice on catching, collecting, and caring for insects.

Minibeast Museum (http://tinyurl.com/cfx7m): More from the Young Entomologist Society - lots of great science info on a big variety of "minibeasts" (insects, spiders, etc.).

For more summer nature activities, go to our Nature Activities for Kids page on BigLearning.org.


Book Review

Inventing Stuff by Ed Sobey (Dale Seymour, 1996)

Ages 10 and up

Ed Sobey has lots of practical advice for young inventors, and and a nice, respectful tone in his writing that says to a kid, "You are smart enough to make a terrific invention." Inventing Stuff includes a bag full of tricks for boosting creative thinking and strategies for noticing problems and turning them into fodder for invention. Pages are laid out with inspiring sidebar stories about famous inventors and inventions.

The quality of the writing and advice makes this a better inventing book than most. Some illustrations, diagrams, or photos would have been nice, though. Also, the book begins with a long "Note to Parents and Teachers" that completely blows the otherwise lovely "between you and me, kid" tone of the book. The note should have gone in the back and been titled "Stuff your parents and teachers might like to know."

Still, the book has a lot of depth. I can imagine a kid who likes to tinker reading this book again and again, and getting new ideas each time.

Buying Information

For more inventing resources, go to our Inventing for Kids page on BigLearning.org.

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Current Events

Watergate and the Washington Post

You've all probably heard by now that the mysterious news source that helped bring down the Nixon presidency has been revealed (I'm not using the code name, initials D.T., because your SPAM filters will get me for it I do.)

If your kids want to know more about Watergate, you can refresh your memory with the Washington Post's Revisiting Watergate. There's a good timeline, along with the Washington Post reports that were published about each event, photos and descriptions of key figures, and lots more to explore, and an updated link to coverage about D.T.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/watergate/splash.html

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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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