Friday, May 05, 2006

Kindergarteners trapping fairies

Here's a little bit of info on how Mrs. Wright, who teaches Kindergarten at Lakewood Elementary, tied in an Ann Arbor phenomeon... fairy doors. The activity is very creative and expressive. I'm very impressed how these students figured a way around "speaking softly" to encourage the fairies to come out!

Read more about the classroom experience at

This page has pictures of the "fairy traps" that the children devised. Don't forget to check out the rest of the site, which explains the whole fairy door concept.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

An environmental math activity

Caring for the environment is a hot classroom topic. While I'm sure teachers can find all kinds of curricula on the subject, here's a current events activity I'm making up as I go along. First, learn about GM's Hybrid Bus. Then, using some math projections, calculate the hybrid bus's impact on the environment.

Here's a great place to start:

This blog post talks about how much fuel hybrid buses can save each year. The fact is stated this way, "In fact, if America's nine largest cities replaced their transit fleets — totaling 13,000 buses — with GM's hybrid buses, the cities would save 40 million gallons of fuel each year — a greater savings than 500,000 small hybrid vehicles would produce."

Just how many math problems can a teacher extract from just that sentence?? It gets better! Someone posted a response suggesting that school districts could replace their current diesel buses with these hybrid buses. Can you calculate the fuel savings for your district's bus fleet if they went fully hybrid?

Wow. Social commentary, involvement in social media, all wrapped up in environmental science and pinned together with math.

It's amazing what you learn at every turn. Happy computing!