Learning Fun for Kids Online

Home school and after school, kids online can access some great sites and games that are both educational and fun. This site reviews and links to the best, and also discusses some parenting articles and homework sites of interest to parents.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Interactive Art at the National Gallery of Art

I played around with PHOTO OP (Shockwave, 7 MB) over at the Kids Zone at the National Gallery of Art.

The site says it's a

two-part interactive activity that introduces you to digital photography and digital photo editing. Use the virtual camera to create snapshots and explore lighting, focus, shutter speed, and compositional effects. After you've taken some photos, switch to the Photo Op editor and transform your pictures into something completely different.

This Art Zone interactive is suitable for all ages. Young children will find it easy to take simple snapshots and transform or recolor their virtual photos.

More advanced users can create complex artistic compositions by layering, applying filters, and experimenting with various special effects, lighting, and blends.
I'm just at the "young children" stage (as usual), but I had fun and can see how kids can learn everything from perspective (ie., blurring the foreground to radically change the viewer's focus) to making a collage of the image and so on.


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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, November 26, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, November 21, 2009

At Home Astronomy

There are 10 activities at At Home Astronomy that you can do at home (naturally!), from learning about the order of the planets in our solar system to building a lunar settlement and finding out where the sun is and even calculating how big it is.

The site is made possible by the Center for Science Education at Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, and exists to provide families with instructions for hands-on science experiments.

Each project has links for further research and more details. In the case of the astrolabe for instance (that's a device used for measuring altitude, including the height of objects in the sky), you not only learn how to build and use it, but you also get links to Encyclopedia Britannica for the history behind the device and to a page called astrolabes.org which provides an overview of astrolabe principles.


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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, November 21, 2009   0 comments

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Geometry Homework -- Reflection and Symmetry

A reflection isn't just what looks back at you in the mirror in the morning. Reflections are also mathematical problems to be drawn, groaned over, erased and drawn again.

Back to MathIsFun.com for geometry help, where they give two underlying principles of reflections:

1. Every point is the same distance from the central line;

2. The reflection is the same size as the original image.

There's also a definition to work with: a reflection is the image flipped over the mirror (or center) line.

If all that is clear as mud, go on and play around with the shapes on their interactive graph, then scroll down for explanations and tricks.

There's also a wonderful tutorial on Line Symmetry at LinksLearning.org that's sure to help clear up concepts behind lines of symmetry (a snowflake has 6!). After the explanations are given in each part, there's an activity to see if you understand what you've watched before you progress.


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posted by Stephanie @ Wednesday, November 18, 2009   0 comments

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Do You Know Your Triangles?

Which triangle has NO equal sides or angles: the isosceles triangle; the equilateral triangle or the scalene triangle? If you don't know, don't feel bad. No one does--except the people at MathIsFun.com of course.

At MathIsFun, you'll learn (or refresh your failing memory!) that the triangle with 3 equal sides and angles is the equilateral triangle, the one with two equal sides and angles is the hard-to-spell isosceles and the triangle with NO equal sides or angles is called a scalene.

There's more too -- it seems that triangle names can actually indicate what type of angle is inside (who knew?) and that some triangles have two names! Curiouser and curiouser...

OK, that's it for today's Sunday night homework.


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posted by Stephanie @ Saturday, November 14, 2009   0 comments

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mom, what's a perimeter?

Need a little refresher? Think of a fence or even a border when you need to explain what a perimeter is. Talking about it in those terms might be easier to understand than saying that a perimeter is the boundary line or the area immediately inside the boundary or defining it as a circumference.

Then go to Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies to get diagrammed examples of how to find perimeters for all sorts of different shapes, complete with commonly used formulas. Scroll down the page, and you'll find exercises to try.

Here's one: can you find the perimeter of a triangle with sides measuring 10 inches, 14 inches and 15 inches? Type your answer in the Answer Box on Mrs. Glosser's Math Goodies page and press ENTER.


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posted by Stephanie @ Friday, November 06, 2009   0 comments

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Monster Mind Reader - Fun With 2 Digits

I revisited a favorite site of mine, CoolMath.com, and got a little weirded out by the cute little Mind Reader. Why? Cuz he's right every time!

I've seen it before (think of a 2 digit number; subtract the sum of the two digits from the original number, and your answer appears on the screen), but I've never really understood how it's done. I guess magic is the only explanation available to me.

Now I'm off to study the geometry of crop circles. And no, I don't think magic is at work here. Little green men seems perfectly reasonable.


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posted by Stephanie @ Thursday, November 05, 2009   2 comments

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Homework Helper - The MIssissippi River

My Grade 6 daughter is writing a report on the Mississippi River, and I'm surprised at how difficult it is to come up age-appropriate fact sheets. I've been doing some digging and am putting links to those that I think kids can most easily use below:

From Kent ICT (which will be moving to www.kenttrustweb.org.uk?kentict in December 2009), there's a comprehensive fact page which talks about transport and agriculture;

From Byrant University, there's a page that contains a brief section on animal life in the Mississippi;

From The Center for Global Environmental Education, there's a page that talks about the use of the river:

Millions of people each year use the Mississippi River for recreation, but the Mississippi is, and always has been a working river. An average of 175 million tons of freight are shipped each year on the Upper Mississippi.
From Hucks.com, there's Mississippi River Facts, which can be very helpful when explanations are needed for specifics of river life (for example: locks act like elevators to raise or lower your boat from the water level on one side of the dam to the level on the other side; and each individual barge holds 1500 tons, the equivalent of 15 railroad cars or 58 semi trailers.



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posted by Stephanie @ Sunday, November 01, 2009   0 comments