Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
09 February 1999
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker

Section A:

Imara Abdullah (Douglas School)
started things off with a "Fruit Trick." (Handout) Using a 1.5 volt lantern battery with insulated wire connected to its terminals, she asked us what to do to light a (battery) bulb that was mounted in small, porcelain socket on the table. Suggestions were made which didn't work, and then she showed us the "trick." Next, she included an apple in the circuit, and then an orange, resulting in dim light (conduction through the fruit). Using potato chips instead of fruit resulted in no lighting, ie., no conduction. Ken Schug (IIT) stimulated a question on how one would try to explain ions to a second-grader? Ideas anyone? Interesting!

Frana Allen (Skinner School)
gave us a handout on Cool Coral Reefs, explaining about 3 basic formations, and what polyps are. (Do you know?) Her handout listed Objectives, Materials, Strategy, and outlined a Performance Assessment and listed References. She soon had us on our feet, running through the activities and creating models of various corals (many very pretty to see!) that we could take home. Exercises in coloring in the continents on map handouts (so we would know what they were), and pictorial explanation of the Water Cycle (rain, etc), and reading thermometers (handout). What a wealth of good hands-on, minds-on activities!

Section B:

Therese Donatello (Weber HS)
set out 6 cups (16 oz each) containing chips, beads, balls. In 6 groups, we were soon busy separating objects by color and counting the number of each within our cup: eg. 5 red (33%), 6 green (40%), 4 blue (27%). Total = 100% How is this related to molecules? Group A was given C02, B given H20, C given BaCl2, etc. Each group had to calculate what percent of the molecular weight was due to which elements. Eg. C02 C:l x 12(atomic wt) = 12; 0:2 x 16(atomic wt) = 32. Total wt = 12 + 32 = 44, so C is 12/44 = 27% by weight, and 0 is 32/44 = 73% by weight. Neat! Clearly, you can't do chemical weights until you know percentages. Very good!

Earnie Garrison (Chicago Vocational Career Academy)
remarked on the 5 Keeps:

Then he gave us Star Finders from Adler Planetarium. He showed us how to cut the pieces from heavy paper, insert a brad in the middle of each figure, then hold it overhead with the time and date aligned. This would give a view of how the sky would then look, to identify stars. Have you tried yours? Thanks, Earnie!

Ben Butler (Ward School)
Showed us how to make a density column. Beginning with 3 beakers filled to the same level with water, he put I tablespoon of salt in one, 2 tablespoons in a second, and 3 in the third beaker. This produced 3 solutions of increasing density. Using vegetable dyes, he colored them, respectively, red (least dense), green, and blue (most dense). Then, using a see-through plastic soda straw, he immersed the bottom end about I inch into the red solution, covered the top with his finger, removed the straw (the red solution in the straw remained there!), and then immersed it about 2 inches into the green solution and removed his finger. Green solution flowed in and displaced the red solution further up the straw. He repeated the procedure with the blue solution (straw immersed 3 inches), ending up with three layers of different colored solutions in the straw. The most-dense was at the bottom (blue), and least dense at the top (red). They eventually mix after several hours, due to diffusion. Pretty ideas, Ben!

Zoris Soderberg (Webster School)
wrote on the board in words,

Her students can do that! Equations may be confusing at their level. Next, she placed a soda can on the table, tilted it on its edge, and it stayed balanced there! She explained it was about 1/3 filled (water), which placed its center of gravity above the edge. Amazing science! "How could you show that air is matter?" she wondered. She had a bottle with a special stopper and asked, "Who has hot hands?" Holding the bottle in one's warm hands causes the stopper to move up, visible evidence that "something" (air) inside was pushing the stopper up. The air expands when it is warmed. Good stuff, Zoris! What a great meeting! Don't miss the next one!