High School Biology-Chemistry SMILE Meeting
20 November 2001
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Estellvenia Sanders (Chicago Vocational HS) Digital Numerics
Estellvenia uses these activities with her high school students.

She gave us a sheet with the numbers 1-20 located randomly on it, and we were told to touch as many of the numbers as possible over a given time period (10-20 seconds), timed by a partner using a stopwatch.  We were to touch the numbers in increasing order (1 ... 2 ... 3 ... ) with an index finger. We recorded the total number touched  by each of us over three trials.  Then, we analyzed and compared the data.  By this exercise, some of the students will be able to remember and identify the numbers more quickly.

We then saw how sign language digits (numerically) can be combined with standard American Sign Language [http://www.lessontutor.com/ASLgenhome.html] symbols to speed up sign language, in that some letters have both "letter" and "number" signs in the 1867 version.  In the modern version of sign language, all letters have letter symbols http://www.masterstech-home.com/The_Library/ASL_Dictionary_Project/ASL_Tables/Alphabet.html, and numbers have separate number symbols, http://www.masterstech-home.com/The_Library/ASL_Dictionary_Project/ASL_Tables/Numbers.html, so that no mixing of  numbers and letters occurs.  Very interesting, Estellvenia.

Frana Allen (Skinner School, grades 1-5) The Nose
Everybody's nose may look different from the outside, but all noses have essentially the same function and internal structure.

• Sneezes:  Frana taped a piece of plastic wrap against the board and sprinkled it with water to simulate the fate of the snezate without tissue. The water went down the board in drips.  Then, she put a paper towel [tissue] against the plastic and repeated the experiments.  Water stayed on the tissue and did not "drip".
• Frana then talked about the book Grossology : The Science of Really Gross Things by Sylvia Branzei and Jack Keely (Illustrator) [Penquin 1996] ISBN: 020140964X. She also mentioned a temporary exhibit on this intriguing subject at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences [2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago IL, 60614 | 773-755-5100], which is described below:
Sat. September 29, 2001 - Sun. January 6, 2002: Grossology. In the name of science we’re inviting you to burp loudly, explore the colorful world of vomit, and yucky body parts—really. In this exhibit, walk into the book by author Sylvia Branzei, and get up close and personal with the functions of your body and its orifices, for example the nose. Walk in, sniff around. Find out what it makes and what you do with it. Animated activity stations bring your bodily functions to life, offer you the chance to participate in them, and then present the science behind it. Source http://www.grossology.org/.  Comment by Porter Johnson:  You may perhaps also enjoy their (permanent) butterfly exhibit:  http://www.chias.org/online/thebutterflylab/index.htm.
• Frana had us make a nose dictionary/encyclopedia book with, among other items, a recipe for snot [or mucous, if you prefer], using glue, borax, laundry booster, and green food coloring.  Frana included contents to put on other pages such as the following:  A is for absorb, with a sponge pasted next to the word and its definition.  Here are some of the nose-related words that she included:  dust, mucous, nostrils, etc.  She also included a comprehension test in the book, but stopped short of issuing graduation diplomas.  Frana had made the books ready for gluing.

This subject is sure to be fascinating for our students!

Winifred Malvin (Carver School) NASA Handout:  Rockets.  A Teacher's Guide with Activities in Science, Mathematics, and Technology available from Amazon.
We started with three sheets of paper of three different colors, and a set of directions to make paper rockets.  We cut a 4 cm by 28 cm strip of paper, and rolled it diagonally around a pencil, taping it in three places.  We then removed the pencil, cut off the ends of the paper, put fins on one of the ends, folded the other end over and taped it shut, and inserted a straw.  The rocket was launched by blowing through the straw.  Alternately, you could blow up a balloon and attach it to the straw for a more vigorous launch.  Questions on the performance of the rocket, the function of the fins, the number of fins needed, and their position on the rocket are discussed the NASA Handout.  Good stuff, Winifred!

Notes taken by Ben Stark and Terry Donatello.