Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
22 February 2000
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Section A:

Shirley Hatcher (Williams School)
Chocolate Chip Diamonds
Everybody started with #19 paper clips and toothpicks to remove chocolate chips from cookies within a five minute period. We had to "pay" for the tools, but got "money" back for each chip ["diamonds", from a diamond mine]. We then filled out a Cookie Mining Worksheet that contained the following questions:

Glenda Ellis (Williams School)
She put about 22 oz of water in a 2 liter plastic bottle, shook it for about 20 seconds, and then dropped a lighted match inside, and squeezed the bottle intermittently to see cloud formation. First she did it with cold water, and then tried it with hot water, which produced a more visible cloud.

Beverly Merchant (Soujourne of Truth School)
[a]: Sprinkle pepper in a glass of water, and then rub a wet finger on a bar of soap, and touch it to the center of the water surface. The pepper is pushed to the edge of the class. Why?
[b]: Milk streamers. Put milk into a cup, and add several drops of vegetable dye near the edge. Add liquid dishwashing soap [Joy], and notice that the dye moves around. Why?

Erma Lee (Williams School)
Bouncing Buttons and Bouncing Raisins
Add raisins to a glass of water, and to a glass of soda water. Notice what happens.

Then, put on safety goggles, and put buttons in a jar with vinegar. Add baking soda to the jar, and notice that the buttons bounce. Why?

Camille Gales (Coles School)
Math Activity on Classification
This activity, which involves classifying 4 brands of raisins, can easily be extended from lower to higher grades by being more quantitative and requiring a more sophisticated approach. The following questions were considered:

Section B:

Charlene K Smith (Wirth School)
Charlene did a series of presentations that are described in the book Worms Eat Our Garbage by Appelhof, Fenton, and Harris [1995] ISBN 0-942256-05-0. In particular, we did the following exercises:

Therese Donatello (ST Edwards School)
Soap Bubbles
She had a container filled with soapy water, for making soap bubbles. We got some of the fluid in a paper cup, and made our own bubbles by blowing on a swizzle straw. We saw the pattern of reflected light on the bubbles, which contained various colors, and which changed with time. The top was reddish and the bottom greenish; then the top became clear just before the bubble burst. Why?

The bubbles illustrated the concept of constructive or destructive interference with thin films. For constructive interference, the peaks line up, but for destructive interference the peaks and valleys. One can see similar effects with oil on water [oil slicks on roads or sidewalks]. She showed a scale model with paper "wave trains" to illustrate the effect.

Therese also pointed out that the diffraction pattern on the back of a CD is caused by the grooves on the compact disk, which serve as a diffraction grating for incident light. The effect here is diffraction, rather than interference.

Ed Scanlon (Morgan Park HS)
Human Muscle System
He wore a "muscle shirt", and brought a "skeleton shirt" that was stylishly modeled by Carl Martikean. Ed had prepared models for muscles out of red cloth, with VELCROTM for attachment to the "muscle shirt" in the right place. He explained that muscles work by contraction. He named the muscles, attached the models to the shirt/body, and illustrated how the various muscles are exercised. He considered these 7 muscles:

Name of MuscleLocation of Muscle
Corraccoid brachialisshoulder-upper arm front
Brachialis upper arm-forearm
Biceps shoulder-forearm front
Triceps shoulder-forearm back
Pectoralis major sternum-upper arm
Latissimus Dorsii vertebra-upper arm
Deltoid shoulder-elbow

Ernest Garrison (Jones Commerical HS)
Polyethylene Foam
He produced polyethylene foam by mixing parts A and B in a styrofoam cup, which was then stirred by his trusty assistant. It turned into a yellow liquid, which began to expand and become slightly warm after a minute or so. The porous yellow substance is widely used for "retrofit" insulation in old houses. It expands to several times its original volume, and the trapped air bubbles make it a good thermal insulator.