Math Mini Lessons

Columbia Education Center offers–among other things–quick and fun math lesson plans with titles like “Problem Solving Using the Sports Page” or “Ratios with Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches,” just to name a couple. You might find a new way to engage your child in a tough topic or just keep math skills sharp during the summer.

Inspiration for Autobiographies…

For all those autobiographies, oral history interviews, and even sometimes family trees kids have to write, I found this thirteen-year-old Museum of the Person in Brazil to be very inspiring. To acknowledge that everyone has a story to tell really values the worth and dignity inherent in each of us. I also like the use of digital media, though I know Harvard libraries (for example) are urging people to give paper copies of information. In our home for example we have a film reel of my in-law’s wedding but no equipment with which to view it. So if you make a video of a grandparent, you might also want to transcribe what they said and print a few still shots.

“Gordian Knot” Sculpture in Process

Doug Kornfeld, a Boston-area artist, seems to get a lot of commissions for public art from Colorado. We have one of the leftover tiles from his rest room signs for a Denver bus station. At his website he gives a little peek into the fabrication of his latest sculpture to be installed in June at the Colorado School of Mines called “Gordian Knot.

The amazing, essential and tricky thing about sculpture of course is how it all balances! Just solving that must have been a Gordian Knot. Kornfeld explains the title:

“The Gordian Knot comes from a legend associated with Alexander the Great. In 333 BC, wintering at Gordian, Alexander attempted to untie the Gordian knot. The legend said that whoever untangled the knot would rule all of Asia. Finding no end to the knot, or a way to unbind it, Alexander cut it in half with a stroke of his sword, Alexander went on to conquer Asia, fulfilling the prophecy.

The term: “cutting through the Gordian Knot” is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem, solved by a bold stroke.”

Incidentally, Kornfeld is acknowledged as one of Peter Reynolds’ art teachers in the inspiring children’s book Ish.

Book Club

Well, if Oprah can get people to read, why not us? Last year I posted a retrospective on what my elder daughter’s book club has read. Today I’ll just offer what my current 3rd-grader is reading for our parent-child book club, but I’ll post again soon with updated retrospectives from each.

For May the 3rd-graders are reading Camille’s pick: Ruby Holler by the wonderful author Sharon Creech.

“Mammoth” Science Fair Project

Kudos to Katelyn Gibbs, a ninth-grader (!) at Great Falls High School in Montana, who followed some tips from a veteran earth science researcher and–with a great deal of dedication and digging–unearthed evidence that a comet or meteorite hit Montana about 13,000 years ago and had a huge impact on animals living there. She has presented her findings to conferences of professional geologists. Read more about her curiosity and perserverance here.