Category Archives: Learning Opportunities

Make a Water Glass Xylophone

Musical glasses are a fun way to combine art, math, music and science.

Gather the materials you need:

8 identical water glasses

water

a set of measuring cups

food coloring (optional)

1 plastic spoon

1 sheet of paper

Tape

pen/pencil

As you create this experiment. Take pictures of all of your steps.

Steps:

  1. Use a measuring cup to fill each of the glasses with the correct amount of water. Use the image below as a guide.
  2. For fun, you can add a drop of food coloring to your glasses or two drops to make green, orange, or purple.

3.  Label your glasses.  Use the image below as a guide.

4. With a plastic spoon, gently tap each glass and listen for the sound it makes.

5. Notice which glass makes a lower sound and a higher sound.

6. Try playing these simple songs or create your own.

7. What else can you do with musical water glasses? Respond to this post with your ideas.

 

The SCIENCE behind the music

The science of sound is all about vibrations. When you hit the bottle with the spoon, the glass vibrates, and it’s these vibrations that ultimately make the sound. You discovered that tapping an empty bottle produced a higher-pitched sound than tapping a bottle full of water did. Adding water to the bottle dampens the vibrations created by striking the glass with a spoon. The less water in the bottle, the faster the glass vibrates and the higher the pitch. The more water you add to the bottle, the slower the glass vibrates, creating a lower pitch.

 

 

Activity adapted from Musical Water Glasses at https://www.connectionsacademy.com/resources/instructographics/music-water-glasses and https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/pop-bottle-sounds/

 

 

#71: 2020 Olympic Medals

80,000 tons of mobile phones and small electronic devices around Japan, which will be used in the crafting of every gold, silver and bronze Olympic and Paralympic medal awarded to athletes at the 2020 Olympic Games.
How can you spend your Math Minutes?

Image Source: https://www.pdclipart.org/

School Now vs. School in the 1800s

Source:  http://mentalfloss.com/article/58705/11-ways-school-was-different-1800s

Summer break is coming up for most students in the United States, but did you ever wonder what summer break looked like for kids in the 1800s?  There are so many differences between school now and school in the 1800s! This blog post will explore those differences, and it may just convince you how much tougher it could be – and just how good you’ve got it!

  • In the 19th and early 20th centuries, one room schoolhouses were the norm in rural areas. A single teacher taught grades one through eight together. The youngest students—called Abecedarians, because they would learn their ABCs—sat in the front, while the oldest sat in the back. The room was heated by a single wood stove.
  • Most of the time, there was no transportation to get to school. Most schoolhouses were built to serve students living within 4 or 5 miles, which was considered close enough for them to walk. So when your Grandpa says, “I used to walk 5 miles to school”, he might not be exaggerating.
  • The school year was much shorter back then! When the Department of Education first began gathering data on the subject in the 1869-70 school year, students attended school for about 132 days (the standard school year these days is 180) depending on when they were needed to help their families harvest crops. Attendance was just 59 percent. School days typically started at 9am and wrapped up at 2pm or 4pm, depending on the area; there was one hour for recess and lunch, which was called“nooning.”
  • Forget iPads and gel pens—there were no fancy school supplies in the 19th and early-20th centuries. Students made do with just a slate and some chalk.
  • Lessons were quite different than they are today. Teachers taught subjects including reading, writing, arithmetic, history, grammar, rhetoric, and geography. Students would memorize their lessons, and the teacher would bring them to the front of the room as a class to recite what they’d learned—so the teacher could correct them on things like pronunciation on the spot—while the other students continued to work behind them.
  • Teachers sometimes lived with their students’ families. According to Michael Day at the Country School Association of America, this practice was called “boarding round,” and it often involved the teacher moving from one students’ house to the next as often as every week. One Wisconsin teacher wrote of boarding with families in 1851, “I found it very unpleasant, especially during the winter and spring terms, for one week I would board where I would have a comfortable room; the next week my room would be so open that the snow would blow in, and sometimes I would find it on my bed, and also in it. A part of the places where I boarded I had flannel sheets to sleep in; and the others cotton. But the most unpleasant part was being obliged to walk through the snow and water. I suffered much from colds and a cough.”
  • Discipline was very strict. Sure, stepping out of line in the 1800s and early 1900s could result in detention, suspension, or expulsion, but it could also result in a lashing. According to a document outlining student and teacher rules created by the Board of Education in Franklin, Ohio, from 1883, “Pupils may be detained at any recess or not exceeding fifteen minutes after the hour for closing the afternoon session, when the teacher deems such detention necessary, for the commitment of lessons or for the enforcement of discipline. … Whenever it shall become necessary for teachers to resort to corporal punishment, the same shall not be inflicted upon head or hands of the pupil.” Not all places had such a rule, though; in other areas, teachers could use a ruler or pointer to lash a student’s knuckles or palms. Other punishments included holding a heavy book for more than an hour and writing “I will not…” do a certain activity on the blackboard 100 times.
  • No lunch was provided by the school, even if families had the money for it; kids brought their lunches to school in metal pails. Every student drank water from a bucket filled by the older boys using the same tin cup.  GROSS!!
  • For many, education ended after just eighth grade; in order to graduate, students would have to pass a final exam. You can see a sample of a typical 8th grade exam in Nebraska circa 1895 in this PDF. It includes questions like “Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications,” “A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?,” and “What are elementary sounds? How classified?”

Try the test yourself and let us know how you did in the comments!

#70 Algebra in Pictures

Images to create this puzzle taken from pdclipart.org

One of the things I struggled with when taking Algebra was the use of letters (variables) to represent numbers.  However, if we remove the letters and replace them with pictures, somehow Algebra becomes a little more manageable.

How can I spend my Math Minutes?

  1. Figure out the picture puzzle above stating what the ? represents in the final “equation”.  On a piece of paper, put your answer along with your first and last name, grade, school, and classroom teacher.  Give it to your EY Coordinator (or tell your classroom teacher to “pony” it to EY at Sunset Hills).  All correct answers will be put in a drawing for a $5 gift card to be drawn on March 31.
  2. Create your own picture puzzle.  I used Keynote, but you could use Explain Everything, Pic Collage, or another iPad app.  Pictures for your puzzle can be found at https://www.pdclipart.org/ These puzzles can be emailed to Dr. Spady (ask your EY Coordinator or classroom teacher for the correct email) by March 31 for another entry into the drawing for the $5 gift card.
  3. Figure out the 11 puzzles pictured below.  On a piece of paper, put your answers along with your first and last name, grade, school, and classroom teacher.  Give it to your EY Coordinator (or tell your classroom teacher to “pony” it to EY at Sunset Hills). NOTE:  You do not need to answer all 11 puzzles correctly to be entered in the drawing.

Thank you Mrs. Bridwell for the inspiration to create this post!  Thank you to Mrs. Bridwell’s 6th graders for all the great puzzles below!

#69: Snowiest February

Who knew SNOWIEST was even a word?!

Was February 2019 the SNOWIEST of all time?

How can I spend my Math Minutes?
  1. Create 1, 2, or 3 different graphs to display the data above.  For a clearer image of the data, click here.   Use the Create-A-Graph website to make a graph of the data.  Be sure to include a title and label your axes.
    • Top 5 Snowiest Februarys
    • The Top 5 Snowiest Winter Seasons (Dec-Jan-Feb)
    • Top 5 Snowiest Winters (Jul 1- Jun 20).
  2. Take a look at the graphs in the image below.  For a clearer image of the graphs, click here.  The information in the blue box is particularly helpful in reading the graphs.  Answer any of the following questions by leaving a comment and/or leave a question for someone else to answer.
    • How many times in January/February 2019 did the temperature range fall mainly in the record highs?  What about the record lows?
    • On how many dates was the temperature range very small (short blue bar)?
    • How many times did the temperature range fall in the average section (green)?
    • What do you find interesting about these graphs?

 

 

 

Social Studies Enrichment #27: “Presidents’ Day”? The Truth Behind the Holiday

In 1879, the United States made Washington’s February 22nd Birthday a federal holiday. Today, the third Monday in February is frequently referred to as “Presidents’ Day.” So which is it? Let’s get to the bottom of what’s official and what’s not.

According to mountvernon.org, George Washington was a humble man who did not enjoy flashy celebrations. During his lifetime, Washington didn’t really celebrate his birthday, choosing instead to use the day to respond to letters or attend to matters at Mount Vernon. However, national celebration of his birthday began while he was alive and continued after his death.

The road to what the majority of people in the United States now recognizes as Presidents’ Day is a long and confusing one. After Washington died in 1799, his birthday was informally celebrated across the country. But, it wasn’t until  January 31, 1879, that Washington’s birthday became a federally recognized holiday.

Washington’s birthday is also recognized in another unique fashion. Starting in 1896, it has become a tradition to read Washington’s Farewell Address on February 22nd (the actual day of his birth) in the US Senate by a current member. This tradition reminds us of a man whose patriotic spirit still inspires us to this day, particularly federal workers who uphold what he helped create.

On June 28th, 1968, Congress passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act”. This law aimed to provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays. The act was also created to provide federal employees with more three-day weekends. Under this new law, Washington’s birthday would be celebrated on the third Monday of February, partially losing the value and identity of the importance of his birthday. Washington’s birthday has not been celebrated on the actual day of his birth since the law took effect in 1971.

Today the nation typically combines Washington’s Birthday with Presidents’ Day, celebrating both days on the third Monday in February. However, Presidents’ Day is not the official name of the holiday. While the name “Presidents’ Day” was proposed for this Monday holiday in 1951, the U.S. government never officially changed the name. In the 1980s, thanks to advertising campaigns for holiday sales, the term became popularized and largely accepted.

The idea behind the name was to create a holiday that did not recognize a specific president, but rather celebrated the office of the presidency. This joint recognition would also celebrate President Lincoln’s February 12th birthday within the same period. Both great men, both important to our country.

Source: mountvernon.org

Social Studies Enrichment #26: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated around the world in February. Learn about the history of this famous day, and discover some interesting facts!.

The Famous Holiday of Love

A few weeks before February 14th rolls around, what types of commercials do you see on TV more often? If you guessed ones about flowers, rings, and chocolates, you’re exactly right! These are gifts that are commonly given on the holiday that celebrates love: Valentine’s Day.

However, in the beginning, this holiday did not celebrate love. It was actually a Christian feast celebration. In the 14th century, the idea of love became a part of this holiday. It’s widely thought that Valentine’s Day was declared an official holiday in England in the 1500s by King Henry VIII.

Nowadays, it’s a major holiday around the world. People in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe celebrate this holiday of romance and love. Billions of dollars are spent each year on chocolates, cards, and flowers.

Watch the video below to learn more Valentine’s Day facts!

 

Reading Enrichment #39: It’s All About the Heart

 

For many years, the heart was a mystery.  What did it do?  What was it there for?  Let’s learn all about this muscle.

Video

This TEDed lesson will help you investigate how the heart keeps you alive.

Reading

 Years ago, people thought emotions came from the heart!  Read this article to find out more about how the heart works.

Show What You Learned

 Choose one of these prompts and respond with 3-5 sentences.

What are some ways to keep your heart healthy?

What are the four chambers of the heart called, and what does each chamber do?

Why was it so difficult for scientists and doctors to figure out what the heart was for?

Take It a Step Further

Create a visual explaining how the heart works.  Include as many details as possible.  Please share this project with your teacher.

#68 The Math Behind Pringles

This Math Minute was inspired by the Pringles commercial that played during Super Bowl LIII.

Thanks to Ava and Karin too for your help!

I’ve always been intrigued by the shape of Pringles, but this commercial took it to the next level and had me pondering the mathematics behind this beloved chip!

How can you spend your Math Minutes this week?

  1. Read about the Geometry of Pringles by visiting this website: https://interestingengineering.com/geometry-of-pringles-crunchy-hyperbolic-paraboloid Post a comment about something new you learned.  Make sure to include your first name only, grade, and school (i.e. Ava, 6, Loveland).
  2. Watch this video on stacking Pringles in a complete circle.  If you try it yourself, make sure to record it! 🙂  Check out Cooper and Jack’s attempt!
  3. A Pringles can is a cylinder that is 30 cm tall.  The circles at each end of the can have a radius of 4 cm.  Find the surface area and volume of the can.  Click here for help with the formulas.  Turn in your work to the EY Coordinator at your building.
  4. Create a package that will hold a single Pringle.  Send it to yourself (or a friend) in the mail and see if your package kept it protected during its journey (didn’t cause it to break).
  5. Check out this interactive Pringle stacking website! https://www.pringles.com/us/wowyoucanstackpringles.html Leave a comment with the combination you think would taste the best!

The #spadyboys had a friendly Pringle Stacking Competition/Taste Test the other night.  Check out the video!

#67 Rose Bowl Parade

parade | pəˈrād | noun

a public procession, especially one celebrating a special day or event and including marching bands and floats.

Who doesn’t love a good parade?  People throwing out candy from elaborately decorated floats, listening to marching bands while baton twirlers dance by, watching the line of fancy cars drive by with kings and queens waiving…the list goes on!  Have you ever participated in a parade?  What is something you remember?  When I was in 4th grade, I dressed up as one of the orphans from Annie and walked in my hometown parade.  My little sister was Annie and my older sister was Miss Hannigan.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day.  This year marked the 130th parade in Pasadena, California.

How can you spend your Math Minutes?

  • Read about the Parade here: https://tournamentofroses.com/about/ and post a “number fact” about the parade.  For example:  45.5 Million people watch the parade on television and 700,000 (estimated) watch it live. Source Feel free to post as many facts as you like.
  • Create a Infographic about some of the data you found out about the parade.  Check out Violet’s example.
  • Read about the Design and Manufacturing process for floats.  Leave a comment with something new you learned and/or your idea for a float.

 

image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/karmakazesal/4146346672