Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
20 March 2001
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson
Section A: [K-5]
- Long term SMILE staff member Lee Slick [Morgan
Park HS] was hospitalized for observation and
tests after experiencing cardio-vascular symptoms recently. He is
expected to return
home shortly, and can be contacted through email at
- The SMART program will have two independent sessions
during the period 09
- 20 July 2001. These sessions will be held from 9 -12 am and
1 - 4 pm,
respectively, during weekdays for that period. Please be sure to
for one of these sessions if you would like to participate.
are available in current SMILE and SMART classes, or
contact IIT Staff Members directly. Note that there
will be no SMILE
program for Summer 2001.
- A special guest, Shyla McGill of Columbia College,
will come to the Elementary
Math-Science SMILE B meeting on 24 April 2001 to describe
and explain her program
of Hands-on Mathematics Instruction for students with weak math
- Columbia College is sponsoring Physical Science Workshops
for teachers of
Grades 7, 8, and 9 the Summer of 2001 through the Institute for
and Science Communication. For details call (312)
Barbara Hill (Fernwood School 1-5 Special Education) Handout:
Geometry in Pictures, Pillows,
placed transparent sheets with images of two dimensional [rectangle,
square, circle], as well as some three dimensional geometrical objects
[tetrahedron, cone, cube, sphere, prism, and cylinder] on the
addition she gave us a big sheet of cardboard stock [about 20 cm ´
50 cm] and a plastic metric ruler. Then we began to work on
week lesson plan on Pictures, Pillows, and Places.
- Week #1: Barbara gives the directions, then models
what her students should do. Everybody picks a shape, and draws
it carefully onto the cardboard. Then, they go around and find an
image or object with that special shape.
- Week #2: Students look for various shapes in their
- Week #3: Students investigate volume and surface
areas by measuring pillows of various shapes.
- Week #4: Students study slides of Chicago
Architecture and look for various shapes. [See the recent SMART
program lesson The Virtual Math Trail by Bernadette
- Week #5: Students make drawings of the various
shapes, find the corresponding real objects, arrange for musical
accompaniment, and do a "walkabout" carrying their special
shapes. They then stand together holding their special objects,
and photos are made.
We posed for Barbara for our group photograph, but
was no film in her camera! What a shame!
Joyce McCoy (Spencer School Head Start 3-5 year olds) Preparation of
put the following ingredients on the table:
- decorated paper
- sheets of colored paper
- Bo-a-Pot kit (plastic bags with colored yarn and various pretty
We came up to the table and made our own Windsocks. Very good, Joyce.
For additional information see the websites, A Variety of Ways to
Cynthia Southern (Spencer School Kindergarten)
Handout: Where's the Mathematics? (The Super Source,
She had us make planar geometric figures using rubber bands on a square
a 5 ´ 5 array of smooth
plastic "nails" sticking through it. The device, called a
Geoboard, can be used to make triangles, rectangles, and squares
sizes and shapes, to illustrate concepts of geometry at an elementary,
constructive level. Students construct the figures, cut out paper
the same size and shape as the figures, and consider questions like
- What is the difference in a square and a rectangle?
- Are diamonds the same as squares?
- When are two figures geometrically similar?
- When are two figures the same?
At first students are apt to make figures with the sides parallel to
the Geoboard, but they will learn to make other shapes. Very
For additional ideas concerning Manipulative Mathematics, see the
Notes taken by Earl Zwicker
Section B: [4-8]
Earnest Garrison (Jones Academic Magnet HS) Electromagnetism
He showed how to unify the presenting of the topics of Electricity and
Magnetism using phenomenological exercises, rather than following the
traditional approach of separating these topics:
- First he passed around a pair of small but strong magnets (5 mm
diameter; cylindrical), and showed
that these magnets were strong enough to hold one another in place by
attraction through the wooden desk tops [about 3 cm thick].
The magnets, which were made of a Neodymium alloy, are much more
powerful than the ALNICO [Aluminum, Nickel, Copper] magnets in
vogue years ago.
- Then he showed and passed around a sealed transparent vessel
containing mineral oil fluid, with
iron filings in suspension. The vessel had a small [1 cm diameter]
cylindrical tunnel through its
center, into which we inserted an iron rod with a strong magnet stuck
on its end. This produced a magnetic field inside the fluid, and when
we shook the vessel the iron filings aligned with the field, clustering
around the inside tube. Thus, with no muss and no fuss we could
use iron filings to
show the field directions in three dimensional space, without getting
iron filings all over the room
and all over ourselves. The filings line up with the field for the same
that a compass points North.
A commercial product, a Magnetic Field Observation Box
[P8-8001 $92.00] is available from Arbor Scientific: [http://www.arborsci.com/]. Here is
- Roy Coleman [Morgan Park HS] remarked that there is a
magnet at the
Physics Department of Lake Forest College, which had the usual North-South
configuration, until it was accidentally dropped on the floor. It
found to have the very peculiar configuration of South-North-South.
Believe it or not!
- Earnest then got out a set of Christmas Lights, and showed
that when one light on the
chain was removed, all the lights went out. The observation that
either they all
work or else none of them work is an indication that the lights
were connected in series
in the string.
- Earnest took two identical lights consisting of small bulbs in
wires to external terminals.
- He hooked one of the lights to a 6 Volt battery, and
we saw that it burned brightly.
- He attached the two bulbs in series to the battery. We
noted that the bulbs were less bright, and decided that this happened
because there were only 3 Volts across each battery.
- He attached the two bulbs in parallel across the
battery. The bulbs were much brighter --- in fact, they were each
as bright as in the first case. We felt that there were 6
Volts across each bulb, and that they should each "feel" the full
electric potential of the battery.
- To unify the subjects of electricity and magnetism, he made an
wrapping a copper wire [with thin plastic insulating coating] many
times around a
common iron nail [10d, if you're big on English Units]
and attaching the
wire ends to the 6 Volt battery. We used several of
electromagnets to pick up paper clips. We counted the number of turns
wire, and compared the number of (iron) paper clips picked up and
held with the number of turns. Here are
|Number of Turns
of Copper Wire
|Number of Paper
We concluded that, the more turns of wire around the nail, the
magnetic field, and the more paper clips held up. Very
Earnest led a discussion about the difference in a big battery
a small battery. He asked whether the bulb burns brighter with a big
than with a small one. We decided that the Voltage produced by
determined how brightly the bulb would burn, whereas the size
of the battery
might determine its capacity, and thus determine how long the
burn before the battery was discharged.
Porter Johnson asked what was the difference between these
standard types of
1.5 Volt batteries:
AAAA, AAA, AA, A, B, C, D
In particular What's inside these batteries? and  How
come they all produce
the same voltage? He explained that inside a 1.5 Volt
dry cell battery there is a Zinc anode, a Manganese Dioxide cathode,
aqueous ammonium or zinc chloride electrolyte that is "gelled" by
addition of an inert metal oxide. Details are described at the
The same voltage is produced in all dry cell batteries because they all
driven by the same chemical reactions. These reactions are complicated,
full discharge of the
battery can be considered approximately to be the following:
Zn + MnO2 +2 H2O + ZnCl2 Û
2 MnOOH + 2 Zn(OH)Cl
A 6 Volt dry cell battery contains four independent 1.5
Volt dry cell batteries that are
hooked in series. [For comparison, the basic 12 Volt
automobile battery actually contains
6 independent lead-sulfuric acid wet cells hooked in series,
each producing about
Here are some additional sources of information about batteries:
Valvasti Williams Jr (Bass School) How do you make a motor or
Val began by reciting the familiar mantra of Zoris Soderberg
School]; namely, the K-Method for Effective Teaching:
He took a dry cell battery, two paper clips, two wire leads, a wooden
[cylindrical, with diameter » 1 cm
length » 10 cm], a rubber
band, a small permanent magnet,
a small Styrofoam™ board, and a 1 -2 meter length of fairly
stiff copper wire with plastic insulated coating.
We wound the wire around the dowel to form a circular coil of » 20 turns. We suspended the wire
coil over the magnet so that it rotated freely about
the axis formed by its straightened ends, using the paper clips.
plastic coating was scraped from one side of the wire, so that, as the
rotated it alternately made and broke electrical contact with the paper
clips. The paper clips were attached to the battery electrodes
two wire leads and rubber bands. The system looked like this:
- Keep it Simple [as simple as possible]
- Keep it Graphic [as graphic as possible]
- Keep it Relevant
- Keep it Safe
- Keep it Fun
The purpose of the half-stripped
wire was for the current in the wire to be shut
alternately on and off as the loop rotated, serving as a
commutator. We made a very nice electric
motor using this technique, and were able to get the get the motor
continuously after a little practice. Just as an electric motor
the starter motor in an automobile] converts electrical energy into
energy, an electric generator [such as an automobile generator or
converts mechanical energy into electrical
Notes taken by Porter Johnson