Biology-Chemistry High School SMILE Meeting
14 March 2000
Notes Taken by Ken Schug

Alma White (Woodson North School)
(handout) showed us a different kind of yo-yo. Fill a small balloon about 3/4 full with water, then blow it up until it is about as big as a tennis ball. Tie it shut, and then cut a rubber band in half and tie it securely around the knot on the balloon. Tie a loop in its other end to fit around your finger, and throw the balloon. When Alma threw the balloon, it stretched the rubber band and bounced back at her, similar to the behavior of a yo-yo. What happens if the balloon is filled only with water? ... or only air? What can students learn from this? Clever idea! Thanks, Alma!

Shirley Hatcher (Williams School)
showed (handout) us a "Color Analyzer". As an example, she showed us three pages with colored patterns, and cards with three openings covered with different colors of cellophane. Then she gave each of us our own "Secret Message" sheet with a pattern. We used crayons to color each numbered section of the pattern with the color named on the paper: 1 = orange, 2 = green, 3 = yellow, etc. Then we looked at our pattern through the different colored cellophanes. Do you know what we saw? Can you guess? A good way to learn something about how we see colors!

Glenda Ellis (Williams School)
(handouts - Adler Planetarium) showed us an acronym for the order of the planets:

(My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizza-pies)
(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)

She challenged us to invent our own acronym, and to write a short rhyme that names the planets in order. Glenda also gave us a Solar System Scramble (drawings of the planets in their orbits and the spelling of their names scrambled), and a Star Map and Star Finder cut out. A fun way to learn some things about those "stars" in the sky!

Erma Lee (Williams School)
presented us with a challenge: Build the tallest tower from newspaper! We formed into groups, and equipped with newspapers alone - no glue or other stuff - got busy building towers. Of course, there was the matter of how to do this? One doesn't just automatically know how; it requires some thought - it has to be designed, and the properties of the material at hand - newspapers - must be kept in mind. One learns ways to make a newspaper be rigid, to keep a desired shape, to connect to other newspapers to form a self-supporting structure, a tower. Some of our groups made towers as high as 6 - 7 feet! A real learning experience!

Will there be more good ideas at our next meeting?!