Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
27 April 1999
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Section A [K-5]:

Sheila Gladney [Douglas School]
Snap! Crackle! Pop! [Rice KrispiesTM Treats Recipe]

Historians believe that marshmallows got their name when the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt discovered that part of the mallow plant grown in marshes could be made into a delicious confection. The recipe involves using margarine, marshmallows, Kellogg's Rice KrispiesTM and vegetable cooking spray. Melt it! Mix it! Spread it!

Science observations and questions?

  1. How do you cut 13" by 9" into 2" x 2" squares?
  2. Change in viscosity with temperature?
  3. Do air bubbles leave the marshmallow?
  4. Why do some treats stick to plastic gloves, but not others?
  5. Would treats cook faster in a glass dish?

Barbara Lorde [Attucks School]
Math and Science in a Salad Bowl
Salads were poured out, and we made lists of their ingredients. The lists were used to arrange the vegetables into categories, such as the following:

  1. Roots: beets, carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips
  2. Leaves: cabbage, da kale, lettuce, parsley, spinach
  3. Seeds: beans, peas
  4. Stems: onions, potatoes, sugar cane
  5. Flowers/buds: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower,

Margia Artis [Herzl School]
The Five Kingdoms of Living Organisms

Mary Gleason & Wanda Pitts [Douglas School]
Experimenting with Craters

Rocks of different sizes dropped from same height onto flat containers with 3-4" of flour coated with chocolate milk mix, for contrast. The sizes of the craters were compared with the sizes of the rocks. Also, the drop height [impact speed] can be varied.

Section B [4-8];

Roy Coleman [Morgan Park H S]
Tornado Bottle [T], Coke [C]. and Bowling Balls [B]:

[T]: Take two 2-liter bottles; fill one with water; and then epoxy the caps together inside the right size/length of PVC pipe [inside diameter circa 1" or 25 -mm-, take the pop bottle to the hardware -tore with you to get the right size]; then turn upside down and shake around. Watch the tornado action. Bigger is Better: do it with 3 liter bottles, or even 5 gallon [plastic!] bottles, if you can get them.

[C]: Diet coke in cans floats and ordinary coke sinks. Why? [presumably, because of the extra weight of dissolved sugar]. Also, you can cheat by trapping air in the base indention, to make any pop/soda/cola can float!

[B]: The alien bowling ball [extra holes for all the fingers] sinks, whereas the ball with no holes floats --- and furthermore is unbalanced underwater. Explanations:

  1. bowling balls are made without holes, and the holes are put in for custom fit. The ball should be balanced [neutral orientation underwater] after the holes are cut; not before.
  2. Bowling balls come in different weights, with the same size. The "sink point" is about 12.5 pounds; heavier ones float and lighter ones sink.

Stephen Fears [Eli Whitney Elementary School]
Mathematics with Straws and Tape

He reviewed these basic concepts: point, line, line segment, angle [acute, right, obtuse] . Then, we made the angles with straws and paper clips. We used three plastic straws and three paper clips to make a triangle. Using straws of several lengths, we made equilateral, isosceles, and scalene triangles. GeoboardTM lattices were used to create triangles and other figures using rubber bands. We then used a tape measure to measure our heights and our "wingspans", and found that they were fairly close to one another for most of us, except for a few "high-flying" individuals.

Marva Anyanwu [Green Elementary School] Her lesson was on the types of memory [short-term vs long term], and the categories: episodic [triggered by special events], autobiographical [self-conception], semantic [fact files], implicit [skills, such as singing or riding a bicycle]. General questions, such as

  1. Where in the mind are memories stored? [in non-localized form, in the cerebrum]
  2. How much energy does the mind require? [70 watts; whether you are thinking, daydreaming, or "nothing"]
  3. What is the role of dreaming while asleep? [consolidating; reprogramming].
  4. How many different faces can you remember? [about 10,000]
  5. How many different words can we remember [10,000].
  6. Why are "hands on" exercises more memorable? [they are "memory hooks", apparently]
  7. Can computers think? [***the answer to this question was deleted by the central processing unit on my PC; sorry about that ***].