Monday, July 2, 2012


Boy, is it HOT out there!!!  If the temperature outside is 100 but air conditioning keeps the atmosphere inside at 85 degrees, what is the percent change when you come in from the heat?     (100-85)/100........(the original amount minus the new amount) divided by the original amount).......the amount of change divided by the original amount.....The air inside is 15% cooler than the air outside.

In times of extremes, like in the weather, even the kids are aware of numbers.  What a great opportunity to demonstrate a few math concepts like percent change.

Here's another one.  The days are getting shorter.  Yesterday the sun rose at 5:14 and set at 8:24.....that's 15 hours and 10 minutes......910 minutes (multiplication).......tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:16 and set at 8:21.....that's 15 hours and 5 minutes.  [These are simple arithmetic problems and the times are only samples and not accurate.]  Students can look up sunrise and sunset on the computer and do the math on the calculator.  Now, calculate the percent change.  For what portion of the day is the sun up?  (tomorrow: 905/1440)  Can you use ratios to predict the number of minutes of sunshine the day after tomorrow?  next week?

Interested in health?  Take your temperature orally or in the ear.  One reading when you're outside in the heat and another when you're inside an air conditioned space.  Is there a difference?  What about your temperature when you're sitting in the sun versus sitting in the shade?  Do you have one of those forehead temperature readers?  Is there a difference in your skin temperature inside? outside? in the sun? in the shade? Doe sitting in the pool lower your body temperature?  Will pouring water over your head lower the body temperature?  How could these observations apply if you're an athlete working out on the football field or soccer field in this heat?

You may feel more comfortable sitting in front of a fan, but is there a difference in your body temperature just because of the moving air?  Take your temperature with and without the fan.

Is there a candy thermometer in the kitchen?  How hot will a bowl of water get if you set it in the sun?  Will a smaller container get hotter?  more quickly?  glass versus metal?

Will warm water heat up faster than ice water if identical containers are set out in the sun?  Will boiling water cool off at the same rate that warm water heats up if both are put in the sun?

These are teachable moments because even the youngest students are aware of the extreme heat.  Whatever the student's age, there are math and science questions that can be related to today's extraordinary weather.  What questions can your kids come up with?  And how can an answer be found?.....The Teachable Moment for The Normal Genius in each of our kids!!

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