High School Biology-Chemistry SMILE Meeting
07 October 2003
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson
Estellvenia Sanders [Chicago Vocational HS]       Matter (and differences in materials) Handout:
began by putting the following list of terms on the board:
matter, composition, pure, substance, homogeneous, heterogeneous, formula
We discussed the meanings of these terms, as well as their expression in sign language. Then we divided into groups, and each group was given a single substance (bleach, ammonia, vinegar, ketchup) to describe according to its characteristics and properties (substance, characteristic, property). Some were liquids, and others were "semi-solids". Estellvenia then gave each group a "neutralizer" (water), which was added to the substance in question, with any changes being recorded.
Caution: Do not ever mix bleach and ammonia, since a toxic gas is produced in the process.

Estellvenia then put a rusty paper clip into a small beaker, covering it with a layer of drain cleaner [The Works™]. Will the paper clip eventually be cleaned this way?? We will check it at the next class meeting.

Good stuff, Estellvenia.

Chris Etapa [Gunsaulas Academy]       Nature Walk, Part I
took us outdoors on a stroll through the campus to collect several specimens of various types of leaves.  We obtained simple leaves, compound leaves, single leaves, and leaf bunches still on their branches.  We will take these home, put them between layers of newspaper under weight, and press them.  At the next class we will bring back the pressed leaves, to continue with Part II of this experiment.

What happens next time?? Very nice, Chris!

Robert Albert [Roosevelt HS, science]       Observation and Inference
took out a shopping bag filled with cubes made from empty milk cartons -- the cubes had one missing side where the carton tops had been cut off.  Our cubes were similar, with the numbers 4 and 3 on the front and back sides, 1 and 6 on the left and right sides, and 5 on the bottom. All cubes were identical.  Each person saw only the numbers on one cube. We then were asked to seek a pattern, to predict what number should have been placed upon the missing face.  We first saw only the numbers on the sides; since the cubes were identical, each person had the same information in order to extrapolate.  These numbers represent observations, and it might be difficult to suggest a pattern. The possible pattern became more evident when we looked at the base, with 5 on it.  It was suggested that the sum of front-back, left-right, and up-down numbers might be 7, since  4 + 3 = 7, 1+ 6 = 7 and 2 + 5 = 7.  The missing number [2] could then be predicted from this inference.  Of course, that prediction cannot be confirmed until and unless we see the number on the missing side.  So it goes with scientific analysis.

Next we replaced the numbers by names:

front-back: hat + fat         sides: bat + cat          bottom-top: mat + ___
What should be written on the top of the cube? Presumably, a three-letter word, ending in "at".  There were several suggestions:
NatA name, opposite Mat
PatAnother name
PatLetter spacing: b-c ... f-g-h ... m-n-o-p
RatAn animal: bat cat rat
SatA fat (cat or bat) sat on a (hat or mat).
There is more than one pattern, and more than one "good guess" here.

Next set of cubes:

front-back: Alma + Alfred          sides: Rob + Roberta          bottom-top: Frank + ___
Presumably, it is a person's first name. These observations may suggest that the missing word is a feminine name corresponding to Frank, such as Franka, Frances, Francoise, Francene, Francesca, etc.  This puzzle is much more ill-posed, and the predictions more tentative.

Robert uses this exercise in class to highlight the difference in observations and inferences. You really made us think!

Notes taken by Ben Stark.