Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
04 April 2000
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker
          OUR NEXT MEETING...
...will be April 25, 2000 <--- NOTE!
4:15 p.m.

Section A (K-5) meets in 111 LS
Section B (4-8) meets in 152 LS

Be sure to sign up for a presentation if you haven't already done so!


111 LS A Sophia Watson Sophia Watson
(K-5) Virginia O'Brien
Iona Greenfield Claudette Rogers
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152 LS B Brian Cagle Brian Cagle
(4-8) Pearline Scott Pearline Scott
Kim Baker Kim Baker


Section A

Carolyn McGee, Carolyn McBride & Claudette Rogers [all of Manierre School]
(handouts)showed us a book on Ecosystems, obtained from

Carolina Biological Supply Co.
Burlington, NC 27215
TEL: 1-800-334-5551 website: http://www.carolina.com/
At school they invented new procedures as the project progressed. In front of us the table was set up with colorful displays and examples of aquaria and terraria involving living and non-living stuff. It begins with 2 liter pop bottles. The teacher cuts off the top of the pop bottle and drills about 10 holes (1/8 in). Labels can be peeled off with aid of a hairdryer, but using care not to melt the bottle. They then handed out stuff to us to make our own terrarium or aquarium. Students handle the materials and learn about such things as gravel, soil, dead plant material, seeds (alfalfa, grass, mustard, etc) for a terrarium. An aquarium would have gravel, water, elodea, duckweed plants, algae, various animals (snails, mosquito fish). They make and record observations about these things over time. Impressive!

Shirley Cesair (Henderson School)
passed out mystery bags to us, and asked us to figure out what we could do with the stuff inside: pencil, rubber band, wooden beads. In a short time we had demonstrated our inventiveness by coming up with combinations of these objects. But then she passed out tuning forks for us to listen to, and talked about touching a vibrating tuning fork to a hanging ping pong ball or bead on a string. What do you think happens? If a vibrating tuning fork is touched to the surface of water - what happens? (handouts on energy and sound) What if touched to the top of a desk? Vibrating rubber bands, rulers, etc make sounds too. What makes the sounds higher or lower in pitch? Observations are made by students, and outdoor and indoor sounds characterized. Rich with ideas!

Christine Scott [Beethoven School]
got us involved with center-of-gravity (cg). She had us come up to the table and take an empty pop can, then challenged us to add just the right amount of water to make it balance at an angle on the table on its bottom edge. We had to measure the amount of water needed. (Some people got 40 ml. - A 12 oz can is about 340 ml.) All to a classical music accompaniment! She also gave us a pattern for producing "balancing children," and handouts illustrating other hands-on cg stuff. You have to see it!

Ben Butler (L Ward School)
passed out C-Spectra film mounted on 3x5 cards. When we looked at any lights through the film we saw rainbows or the spectrum of color for white light. Using a 500 watt light scource and a prism, Ben spread the white light into a rainbow spectrum of color. Then he showed us how to make a "prism" from a mirror immersed at an angle under a small transparent tank of water, which resulted in a spectrum projected so we could see it. Undeniably colorful! And good science.

Sophia Watson (Manley HS)
passed out State Goals in science and described special booklets for special needs students: Modification and Accommodation for Special Needs Children, Vol I & II. Available from regional office. Will bring copies to next meeting.

Section B:

Ed Scanlon (Morgan Park HS)
placed some websites on the board and remarked on how striking they were to him when he visited.

Thanks, Ed!

John Scavo (Richards Career Academy)
showed us some active stuff he uses when on the topic of weather and air pressure. He filled a large glass cylinder (about 9 cm diameter and 30 cm tall) with water, and then floated a ball on top. He had covered the ball with duct tape so that it would just fit into the cylinder, but without significant friction. "What will happen if I turn the cylinder over?" he asked. After some discussion - and some good-natured "picky" questions about exactly how he would do that from Roy Coleman & Lee Slick - John carefully and quickly turned it over. He had a container below to catch water that escaped from the cylinder when he did this. To our amazement (at least most of us) the water slowly escaped downward past the ball, while the ball slowly rose to the top of the remaining (but draining) water column! "What will happen if I keep my hand over the open end to prevent the water from escaping?" he asked. After we had made our guesses, John showed us. The water stayed in, of course, and the ball more rapidly rose to the top of the water column. Archimede's principle of buoyancy was at work here; lower density rises, higher density sinks.

Next, John filled a 50 ml Erlenmeyer flask completely with water, covered its opening at the top with a paper card, turned them over together while holding the card in place, then released the card. He did this asking for our predictions about what would happen, before he did it. Even though some of us had seen this before, it is always somewhat surprising: the water stays in and the card stays in place!

Finally, John scaled the experiment up a bit. He used a much bigger 1000 ml Erlenmeyer flask completely filled. He had our visiting student, Terrence, sitting on a chair and protected with raincoat and cap underneath when he turned the flask over with a fresh card held in place to cover its top opening. Despite the fact that the water weighed much more than with the small flask, the water stayed in and the card stayed on when he released it. Terrence stayed dry. Great, John!

Janet Sheard (West School, Glencoe, 4th grade)
put us through the same set of ideas for two-digit multiplication that she uses with her students. (Handouts) Example: 75x84 = (70+5)x(80+4) = 5600 + 280 + 400 + 20 = 6300. Rather than following a rote system, the student comprehends what multiplication really means this way. One of the "games" handed out was Multiplication Wrestling. Four digits are determined by drawing cards from a deck. The problem is to form two 2 digit numbers to produce the largest product (multiplication). Still another game is Baseball Multiplication that uses 2 dice, 4 pennies and a multiplication/division facts table or calculator. And there are several others Janet gave us. All designed to give students not only the facility to multiply/divide, but to understand what it does - what it means. But it is done in the format of games so students view it as fun - and it is. When students seek homework help from their parents, the parents would often not understand these different ways of multiplying. So Janet had classes for parents so they would understand and help. Usually successful, but always a few recalcitrants. But as we know - Learning is fun! Thanks, Janet!

Sally Hill (Clemente HS)
did M&M math with us. She had us form teams by passing out numbered Prediction Sheets for taking data; the 2s formed a team, the 3s formed a team, etc. And then each team picked up one package of 3 types of M&Ms (plain, peanut, crispy). We first guessed how many M&Ms in the package, then opened it and counted, recording all observations in the spaces on our sheets. Then estimating how many of each color, and the actual number determined by counting. Sally created a table on the blackboard; three columns across the top of the table were labeled Plain, Peanut, Crispy. The rows of the table were labeled with the colors: green orange, red, yellow, brown, blue. Then she called on different teams and placed their data in the table. Questions: For the Plain, which color was the most common? For the Peanut? For the Crispy? One could study ratio of orange to red, etc. And results could be graphed to form histograms. See http://www.m-ms.com- More good learning-math ideas!

Estelvenia Sanders (Chicago Voc Career Academy)
informed us about a new method for teaching speech to "hard of hearing:" - Cued Speech. Provides a transition to speaking and understanding speech which is more natural. Used in the last five years for the elderly by the National Cued Speech Association.

Is there a website? Yes! Thanks to Porter: http://www.cuedspeech.org/cued-speech-definition for a definition: "The cueing of a traditionally spoken language is the visual counterpart of speaking it." Estelvenia showed us the sign language for "Happy Birthday to You" - which we tried to emulate, with some success. Thanks, Estelvenia!

       Future Meetings

May 8 A Barbara Baker Barbara Baker
Chandra Price Chandra Price
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B Brian Cagle ___________________
Mikhail Siddiq ___________________
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