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Big Learning News 10-06-05

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 3:29 October 6, 2005

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Table of Contents

Math Moment: Fly through Escher
Activity: Form a Jazz Band
Book Review: The Armadillo from Amarillo
Background: Why leaves turn colors


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Math Moment

Flying through Escher

http://www.mcescher.com/

Patterns and 3-d visualization are at the heart of deep mathematics. Thanks to artist M.C. Escher and some pretty cool animation, kids can bend their minds around the patterns and illusions in three works: "Belvédère", "Waterfall" and "Ascending and Descending". The narrator explains, with deep pomposity, how the impossibilities of Esher's works come to light as we fly around and through them.

To see the animations, go to www.mcescher.com and click "downloads" on the side navigation bar.

 

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Activity

Form a Jazz Band

http://pbskids.org/jazz/bandleader.html

Here's a fun little music exploration. You drag jazz instruments onto a band stand and listen to the results. You can choose among saxes, keyboards, horns, percussion, and guitar/basses. Then you can position any of these in rhythm, accompaniment, lead, percussion, or bass roles.

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Book Review

The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999).

Ages 6-8

This is an illustrious addition to the out-farther-and-farther-til-you-can-see-the-whole-Earth genre of children's geography, which I always find charming. Armadillo wonders where he is, so he travels all around Texas by foot. But he still can't quite grasp Texas geography, so he asks golden eagle to take him up for a "birds-eye view."

Written in rhyme (and dedicated to Dr. Seuss), the book is illustrated with paintings showcasing Texas in its varied splendor - the cities, the prairies, the oak forests, the canyons and rivers. On each page is a small postcard that Armadillo (full name, Sasparillo Armadillo), sends to his cousin Brillo Armadillo at the Philadelphia Children's Zoo.

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Background Science

Why do leaves turn colors?

Wait, you learned this in science, right? Something about chlorophyll... Well, if your kids ask you why leaves turn colors in autumn, you can be ready by checking out these sites, which explain the science behind autumn's showiest phenomenon.

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/veg/trees/treestruecolor.htm

http://www.accuweather.com/iwxpage/paws/fallfaq.htm

http://ncnatural.com/wildflwr/fall/science.html

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