Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
19 September 2000
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker


Christine Scott (Beethoven School)
had the table filled with all kinds of colorful stuff. She invited us up front and got us "hands-on" busy finding out what would happen if we mix water, oil & vinegar?! 
Materials: Clear plastic soda bottles, cooking oil, vinegar, water, clear plastic cups, funnels, sand, salad seasonings (optional).
Single page Handouts (Kitchen Chemistry) gave these categories: 

Soon we were following directions and poured vinegar into water and observed and described results. Then poured oil into the water and vinegar and observed. Then poured that into a soda pop bottle, shook, and observed. Interesting! What do you suppose we saw? We learned about solubility and what is meant by a "solution," among other things. We then repeated much the same procedure with water, oil and sand, and learned more about density, solubility, mixtures by observing the formation of different layers in the containers. Fascinating, Christine! - and rich with new ideas for our students.

Frana Allen (Skinner School) attracted an excited crowd of us around the table up front to get a small plastic bag and fill it with stuff. A one page handout, which Frana would give to her students, was titled "Welcome," and began with "Dear___, Welcome to your new classroom. The items in this bag have special meanings.

It was signed, Love... What a dandy way to emphasize the positive and get things off to a great start! Students could take these home and explain as much from memory as they could, and parents could read the handout and help them!

Next, Frana gave each of us two large sheets of paper, about 18x26 sq in, from a pad such as used at conferences to make lists, etc to a group of people. We folded them in half, then in half again to make two "books."

Then we made the second book, and titled it Seed Sorting on its front page. Each student receives a bag containing a variety of seeds and a page asking questions like these:

The page with completed answers is pasted into the first page of the book. Then another page with 6 consecutively numbered boxes; "Paste the correct number of seeds in the box next to the number." This goes on page two, Seed Sorting. A final page showing drawings of different fruits (banana, apple, lemon, etc) must be colored in, and pasted onto the last page the the book. Frana described a third book, Eating the Right Food, but for lack of time, she gave us a handout page requiring coloring, cutting and pasting.

Wow! Enough here to keep our students busy learning for some time! Thanks, Frana!

Erma Lee (Williams School)
gave us large sheets of (construction?) paper and showed us how to fold them to make room for a heading, and define 20 boxes, the last 8 of them of larger size. She gave us each a page with similar boxes on them, numbered 1 - 20, and a second page bearing not only the numbers, but their correct spelling. Her students (we) then would write the numbers in the boxes we had made on our paper, and then had to glue the appropriate number of beans (grocery store) in each box. This explained why we had to have larger boxes further down on our page: to accommodate the larger number of beans! Erma held up a completed page, and described how a display of such pages on the bulletin board was an impressive sight for all to see, including parents. And students would smile with delight in pointing our THEIR page! A great way for students to learn counting and numbers. Homework was to spell out each number in various colors, next to the number on the handout sheet. The page with the spelled out numbers serves as a model of how to spell them. Thanks, Erma!

We ran out of time for Glenda Ellis, and Lyvonia Hearns explained that we must start on time in order that each of us may have a reasonable share of available time. Probably no more than 5 presentations in one afternoon session, which means no more than 15 minutes each!

SECTION B: [4-8]

Sally Hill (Clemente HS):  IT'S IN THE BAG
gave each of us packages of potato chips and several pages to write down the answers to various questions having to do with estimation, graphing, sorting, decimals,  and percentages:  

On another prepared page, each of us had to calculate the following:

This information was charted on the board, for various types of potato chips: Sally then introduced the notion (handout) of a Venn Diagram for discussion of results. A tasty way to connect observation, counting and calculation!

Zoris Soderberg (Webster School)
gave us these rules for the 5K Method:

Then she asked how many of us have flown? (Most of us.) On a rocket? (None).

What keeps an airplane in the air?

Zoris had some colored water in a glass container. She placed a card over its mouth and - holding the card in place - turned it all upside down. When she released the card, it stayed in place; the water did too, in spite of the fact that the glass was put over Bob Foote's head! She said that surface tension and Bernoulli's Principle explained why this happened.

Next, we divided into teams:

Each team received a soda straw, string (5 feet), balloon and tape. One special colored balloon will win a prize, so we should sit down, be quiet and listen! We each blew up our balloon, taped it to the straw, threaded the string through the straw and stretched the string taut. When we released the neck of the balloon, the air rushed out, propelling the balloon along the string - like a rocket! Good stuff, Zoris!

Christine Etapa (Gunsaulus Academy)
showed us a katydid in a jar, and horse chestnuts (buckeyes). More next time!

IIT student Tutors from the Digital Media Center who will go to elementary and high schools in the IIT neighborhood to become tutors and technology experts participated in the meeting and explained their mission to us. They were warmly received by SMILE participants, who felt that their efforts would be greatly appreciated.  The following IIT students were present: 

What a great meeting!