Elementary Mathematics-Science SMILE Meeting
16 November 1999
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker

Section A:
Cynthia Southern(Spencer School)
(inadvertently omitted from 19 October biweekly letter) asked us the question What is matter?-- and she used leaves to show some properties of mater; color, shape, flexibility, etc. Along the way she had us do leaf rubbing to probe for answers. Neat!

Winifred Malvin (Carver Primary School, K-1)
split us into groups, and gave each a sealed package of jelly beans,. and put us to work (handouts) estimating the total number and number of each color. Then we sorted them into cups according to color, and counted each. And then we graphed the number of each according to color. Finally, we completed sentences stating observations made. Skill development involved: estimating, sorting, colors, counting, graphing, sentence completion. Sound dull? It was actually quite colorful and fun to do. Great!

Imara Abdullah (Douglas School
(handout) passed around bags of leaves from which we took several specimens and inspected them. by placing a leaf under a sheet of paper, and coloring them over with crayons or pencil, we made "leaf rubbings" -- which served to show the leaf shape and its veins. Imara had several student examples displayed for us to see. A page showing the human circulatory system made it possible to compare differences and similarities in "veins" in leaves and people. Colorful and informative!

Kenneth Onumah (Kozminski School, 4th & 5th)
drew a tall rectangle, a broad rectangle, and a square on the board. Then he described how he asked his students which one each might fall into. Handing out tape measures, he asked his students to measure their heights and arm spans (in inches). Kenneth then summarized this information on his class list, including his own. We saw that some were tall rectangles (height greater than arm span), etc. He turned out to be a square. He did this both for 4th and 5th graders, and plotted height versus arm span. The points were more closely clustered in 4th grade than 5th grade. Interesting!

Erma Lee (Williams School)
(handout) had us locate "betwen" numbers on a drawing of the number line (0-10) by placing a small (plastic?) block in appropriate places either "before" or "after" a given number. Working in groups, we then received beans, which we stuck on a page in order to show the numbers: 1 (1 bean); next 2 (2 beans); next 3 (3 beans), etc, up through 10. On another page was the alphabet, and students could identify various letters, as requested, by placing a block on the letter. Similarly, for a page showing numbers 1 - 100. A neat hands-on, minds-on way for children to learn nubmemrs, counting, and the alphabet. Good!

Shirley Hatcher (Williams School, 4th grade)
(Seed Sort handout) gave each of us a cup of seeds (kidney beans, corn, lima beans, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, etc), and we had to place them into a circle in the center of the page, and then sort them into the appropriately-named "satellite" circle. But first we had to estimate how many were in the cup. Finally, we counted and recorded the number of each kind in its circle. Another active way for kids to sharpen their skills!

Section B:

IIT Camras Scholar Student
rehearsed their presentations--ultimately to be made to 7-8th grade students in IIT's neighborhood.

• Jackie Johnson (sophomore)
asked Do you want to be an engineer? As an example, chemical engineers are involved iwth shampoo, toothpaste, medicines, and chemical products in general. Example of the chemical reaction
O2 + 2 H2 ---> 2 H20
Jackie heated a cup of milk, added about 25 ml of vinegar, and produced casein--a natural plastic--like cheese. A good, concrete example!

• Tarik Galijasevic (Civil Engineering)
asked "What is the breaking point of materials?" Constructing a simple paper "bridge" spanning the space between books on a desk, he asked "How many pennies will it hold?" It held 8! With the paper folded in half, it held about 20 pennies. And forming it as an arch, it easily supported 50 pennies. A corrugated paper bridge held 300 pennies! Most interesting, and making the point that the shape of the material has a great bearing on when it will fail!

• Brian Larsen (Mechanical Engineering; assisted by John Dees and Genevieve Cregar)
showed us that paper airplanes fly nicely, but hte same paper crunched into balls did not! Why? A thrown plastic straw simply fell, and a paper strip formed into a small hoop and taped to the straw as a form of wing didn't work very well, either. When a large paper hoop was attached to the opposite end, and it was thrown (small hoop wing forward), it flew pretty well! Reminiscent of the US Navy Sidewinder Missile, with vanes added for stability. Part of what Mechanical Engineers do.
We enjoyed this, and hope our feedback was useful! Back to SMILE teachers --

Roy Coleman (Morgan Park High School)
gave us each a plastic cup, a piece of cotton string, and a toothpick. We punched (pin) a small hole in the bottom center of the cup, fished the string through, and tied to the toothpick, and pulled the string back against the bottom. Wet the string and grasp it and let it slide through your fingers -- a Turkey Caller! We could make sounds like the Big Bird! Due to "stick-slip" effect on the string, the cup vibrated like a membrane to produce sound. Fun and instructive!

Edgar Boyd (Gillespie School, 4-8 Science Lab)
involved us (as he does his students) with critical thinking skills. On TV we have entertainment, but no response is solicited. Here we have a question: Can water run uphill? Usual answer: No, because of gravity. Then Edgar brought out a Florence Flask, fitted with a stopper with a glass tube running through and into the flask (handout) The flask had colored water partly filling it. With the flask held inverted on a ring stand, and a container below it, Edgar heated the flask with a flame. The water was expelled as the air inside expanded because of the temperature increase. With the heat removed from the flask, the water ran UP the tube, back into the flask, ans the gases inside the flask cooled down. Very nice!

Earnie Garrison (Jones Commerical High School)
(handout) showed us ZOG Hotels, which involve sorting, classifying, reasoning, and problem solving. The ZOGS are a set of drawings of strange-looking creatures, each drawing in the same square size. Cut the squares out to make a set of ZOG cards (36), in 3 different colors of 12 each. Each ZOG May be different from the others in color, number of antennae, hair, and number of legs. Using a grid drawn on a page to form a Hotel with 6 X 6 rooms, and following the rule that each ZOG must have only one attribute in common wih tis neighbor, arrange the ZOGS. What arrays can we use for the ZOGS? Problems encountered? Do only certain arrays work? Patterns, etc? Setting up the Periodic Table is a similar form of organization, says Earnie. Interesting!

Brian Cagle (Cook School; 8th grade Math and Social Studies)
did Weird Science with us. How many times a week [t] would you like to eat out? Then, he directed us (handout) to multiply by 2 [2 t], add 5 [2 t + 5], multiply the result by 50 [100 t + 250], If your birthday is already past this year, add 1749 [100 t + 1999]; if now add 1748 [100 t + 1998]. Now, subtract the year you were born [19xy]. You should how have a 3 digit number [ 100 t +(99-xy) or 100t +(98-xy)]. The first digit will be the number of times you eat out, and the last two digits will give your age. How come?