Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
05 October 1999
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker

Section A:

Lyvonia Hearns (Randolph School) passed out a sheet of paper, pencil and a 5x7 card with a short set of instructions on it (such as "Draw a picture of a zoo animal in its natural home," etc.) Crayons to color it. A sort of "eye-opener" - Lyvonia will get back to us later in this class on this.

Marjorie Fields (Young School)
gave us each a sheet of colored construction paper (about 14x20 sq in) and a "Monster" pattern on white paper (about 12x18 sq in). She also supplied scissors, crayons, stick glue, and a sheet (8.5 x 11) of Senses Patterns (20 small drawings, four for each of the 5 senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, sight. (eg. a flower, a lemon, a feather, etc). She had a completed example for us to see, so we would know what she wanted us to do: Color the monster, cut it out, glue it to the construction paper, cut out each of the sense pattern drawings, glue them at various places on the paper, and connect with lines to the various sensory organs (eyes, nose, etc) appropriately. Marjorie had us smell various unknown things, taste, etc. And she had a Goosebumps Scream Machine which made various sounds by pushing buttons: What was that? (sound-hearing-ears). She gave us a lesson handout, and described how her kindergartners reacted to these things - the delight and interest these hands-on activities produced. Great, Marjorie!

Ben Butler (J Ward School)
opened up a large "banker's" cardboard box that he had gotten from the Field Museum. He took some of the carefully wrapped stuff from the box and passed it around for us to inspect with hands and eyes: skulls of various animals (bats? dogs? fox?...) Ben explained that teachers may borrow similar boxes as a Harris Educational Loan at the museum: 312-322-8863. They have dozens of catalogs describing what is available, and the loans of these materials are free, provided you make the request at least one week in advance. You keep it for up to 3 weeks for use in class. Materials available cover a wide variety of subjects: poetry, math, minerals, etc. He has used this with 3,4,5th grades. Makes the subject come alive! Thanks, Ben!

Lilla Green (Hartigan School)
did a science lab she has been doing this past week in her class. She said she usually starts with the video (The Garbage Story, United Learning, Inc, 6633 W Howard St, Niles, IL 60714-3389, 1-800-424-0366, about 20 min), and she played it for us while asking: What is the most abundant material in trash or garbage? We guessed paper, tires, etc. Lilla passed around a bag full of "trash" and we each took a piece or two. She gave each of us a pie chart (Tracking our Trash) which had data listed: plastics 4%, glass 20%, paper 33%, etc. - and we should fill in the chart. Also, a handout of the lesson: Piles & Piles of Garbage. We also worked in groups, sorting small piles of"trash" into it component materials. Her students learned much, including that even garbage can yield to a scientific approach. More good ideas, Lilla!

Lyvonia brought us back to the "eye-opener" she had given gave us at the beginning, and asked us to show what we had done, and to read anything we had written about it. This brought a few laughs as well as insights. Neat!

Section B:

Al Tobecksen (Richards Voc HS)
put us to work at classification. He had 5 boxes and could form 5 to 10 piles of stuff, each pile going to a group of 4 of us, like he does in his classes. "Sort it so that it makes sense," said Al. Carl Martikean's group got keys, and they sorted by types: round, oval, cloverleaf, rectangular, automobile, miscellaneous. Val Williams sorted buttons by large, small, no.holes, coat, etc. Sue Sitton's group did shells: coral, rock, clam shells, etc.-- we all had something to classify by a scheme of our own invention. A challenge was to make one fewer category by a merge.

Sue Sitton (Associate Dean of Armour College, IIT)
introduced us to two IIT scholarship students, Bryan and Pat, who want to do things in local schools to the benefit of students, and they hope to connect with some of us for ideas. Questions? Ideas? Phone Sue at 312-567-6781.

Estellvenia Sanders (Chicago Voc HS)
did Science In Sign, Part XIV, with us. She handed out cups with the periodic table on them,and had a big supply of gum drops and toothpicks. The idea is to let the gum drops of different colors repesent atoms, and to connect them together with the toothpicks to form "compounds." Eg. hydrogren chloride - HCl, ammonia - NH3, carbon dioxide - CO2, etc. She showed and had us form the "signs" with our fingers for the various elements involved. Then we had a Scrabble Crossword puzzle of math facts, and gave us sample copies of some pages from a book: Signs for Science & Mathematics. Fascinating, Estellvenia!

Earnie (Earnest) Garrison (Jones Commercial HS)
passed out a page with a set of squares containng stick figures sporting hair that ranged from really curly to plain straight. The "curliest" hair was associated with the alkali metals in the periodic table, and the straightest with the noble gases such as helium. We had to arrange the figures to represent the first 11 elements on the periodic chart - lighter ones on top. Interesting challenge, Earnie!

Barbara Pawela (retired, May School)
showed us hollow plastic balls ofvarious sizes and shapes: How do they roll, fall, fly? We split into groups, and each got a shoe box. Following printed instructions, we cut the lid and other parts into shapes to make chutes and ramps on which to roll the balls. We explored the effect of ramp slope on distance traveled, and "smoothness" of the ramp. We found that dropping a steel ball and a styrofoam ball into a clay surface was different; the steel ball stuck and the styrofoam didn't! Each experiment was pointed at answering a specific question: Does a heavy object fall faster than a light object? Will balls of different sizes land in different places? How does gravity affect the speed of a falling object? Thanks, Barbara!