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Big Learning News 5-31-06

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 4:17 May 31, 2006

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Table of Contents
Math Moment: What's more than 100%?
Activity: Share your Lego designs
Activity: Enter a cartoon contest

News to share with Kids: Music and science

Education News for Adults: Parents and schools
Web sites: Book of Cool


BigLearning.org is getting a makeover!

Our home page (www.biglearning.org ) has a snazzy new design and two new features you'll want to check out every day:

  • Today's Birthday profiles an interesting Big Learner from history.
  • In the News has fun news stories, usually about science or history.

Take a look and let us know how you like it! Click here to comment or send a note to editor@biglearning.org.


Math Moment

What's greater than 100%?

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/112-05312006-663947.html

Here's a news article about some fifth graders who collected pet-care items to donate to an animal shelter. The article says they increased donations 684 percent.

What? 684%? Your kids might have gotten the impression that percents only go up to 100 - 100% means "all of it" or "the whole thing," right?

Start with 200% as an easy example. You can explain that 200% means "twice the whole thing." If the shelter got 25 items last year, 200% of that is 50 items. A 200% INCREASE would be 75 items - the original 25 plus 200% of the original number = 25+50=75 items.

More Fun Math for Kids

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Activity

Share Your Lego Creations

http://club.lego.com/eng/coolcreations/

Part of Big Learning can be sharing what you know and getting to feel proud of it. For some kids, the chance show off their creations is part of the fun of making something. For others, it's an unwelcome distraction.

If your child falls into the former category and likes to share creations, check out the Lego.com web site. It has tons of kid-designed projects - a blast of inspiration for the young builder. By signing up as a member, your child can submit his or her Lego project photos to the site and vote for the best creation, and maybe even win a design award.

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Activity: Enter a cartoon contest

http://www.nicktoonsnetwork.com/showoffyourshow/howToEnter.jhtml

This link has instructions for submitting your child's original cartoon character to the "Show Off Your Show" contest, sponsored by Nicktoons Network. Winners get prizes and a grand prize winner gets a trip to Los Angeles and other cool stuff.

Comment on this Article


Education News for Adults

My friend SF Mom of One (http://sanfranciscomom.blogspot.com/) was kind enough to plug Big Learning News on her excellent blog. Read about her daughter's balsa wood project - it's such good Big Learning and warmed my heart to read about.

The San Francisco Mom of One blog is my friend's wise and witty take on raising and educating kids - a mix of urban parenting tales and education issues. The May 29th post, Fierce Commitment, pointed me to a series of articles the San Francisco Chronicle is publishing this week about the city's public schools. The first article is about parents who have made a commitment to supporting public schools. Check it out.

Comment on this article here.

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News to share with kids

Musical science experiments

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20040602/Feature1.asp

This article describes cool science experiments about music. The experiments were designed and conducted by teen-age participants in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Results of the experiments:

- Listening to classical music can improve people's immune system functioning

- Listening to aggressive music while driving may increase your chances of having a crash

Provocative, no? I like sharing these stories with kids because they provide a sense of how a science experiment is designed. For example, the aggressive driving experiment used a driving-related video game to test people's driving, not real cars. Do your kids think that using a simulation might cause different results from real driving? Why do they think the experimenter made the decision to use the simulation?

Comment on this article


Web Site

Book of Cool

http://www.bookofcool.com/

The Book of Cool is a DVD that teaches how to do cool tricks with objects like frisbees, soccer balls, and bikes. The web site is fun all by itself, even if you don't buy the DVD. It has slow motion video of expert tricksters - really captivating to watch. Your kids will love it.

To see the slow-motion videos, click "skip intro" twice, then "browse artists." Then, clicking on the colored dashes at the bottom of the screen will give you the cool videos. I guess there's a reason it's not called "The Book of User-Friendly Web Design."

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