Connect Issues information
- January/February, 1999
- Vol.12 Num.3, Back issues available
- Focus: Toys
- Toys are important in children's lives in every part of the globe. Even in times of strife or extreme poverty, the simplest objects become toys that allow children to explore and better understand the world around them.
The earliest toys predate written history. Complicated devices such as wheeled toys were developed by 1100 BC in Persia, where the first known design was a small limestone body running on limestone wheels with wooden axles. As in other societies, Inuit toys in Alaska were carved from bone to allow the creation of miniature worlds.
Toys also have great instructional value, as articles in this issue point out. They may be manufactured, or built by the hands that play with them. With a determined push for higher standards in U.S. education, toys remain a motivational resource as well as a means to investigate significant aspects of physical science and practical math.
- March/April, 1999
- Vol.12 Num.4
- Focus: Magnetism & Electricity
- In the 1820s, Michael Faraday began to sense, through his experiments, that a combination of magnets and electrical current could create a strong magnetic field. By 1838, he had established the basis of a new theory of electricity, dealing with fields of force. The central element of this was that the energy of a magnet was not inside the magnet itself, but in its magnetic field.
This issue of Connect looks at ways to approach magnetism and electricity in the classroom, from being able to see fields of force to using and measuring electrical outputs. Early exploration with magnets can begin in first grade or even earlier. First work with batteries and bulbs often takes place in third or fourth grade, with more sophisticated wiring and electronics possible in middle school. You will find articles on all these topics in this issue.
- May/June, 1999
- Vol.12 Num.5, Back issues available
- Focus: Math: Finding the Balance
- Finding the balance in math: preparing children for meaningful lives in the next century.
Writing in 1900, John Dewey lamented the isolation of children's school experiences. Children could not bring their life experiences into school, he said, and they could not use the skills they learned at school in the rest of their lives.
Nearly one hundred years later, math educator Marilyn Burns writes, "The change we need to make is to broaden the notion of what basic arithmetic is so that it includes the complexity of real-life arithmetic, so that it promotes the thinking and reasoning that are essential life skills." [Math:Facing an American Phobia, 1998]
Math is better taught at this end of the century than at its beginning, but as this issue of Connect points out, there is plenty of work to be done in the classroom and the community.
Explore these articles by educators as you think about the next steps in math instuction and related curriculum areas and how that instuction relates to the lives of children.
- September/October, 1999
- Vol.13 Num.1, Back issues available
- Focus: Animal Studies
- The animal kingdom, of which we are a part, is surely a vital area of study and exploration by all our students. It is often defined as multicellular creatures which have tissues and organs that ingest their food (with the exception of the sponges, which are also animals). The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology reports:
Most members of the animal kingdom can be distinguished from those of the plant kingdom by their greater motility, by the more constant form and structure of their bodies, by the placement of the organs...and by the nature of the tissue cells, which are enclosed in delicate membranes rather than ridgid walls of cellulose.
The definition is still in dispute, in part because of some one-celled organisms that move and consume food like an animal, but contain chlorophyll like a plant.
This issue of Connect presents teachers' points of view about investigating animals of all sorts, in the classroom, outdoors and in specialized environments, such as an aquarium.
- November/December, 1999
- Vol.13 Num.2, Back issues available
- Focus: The Senses
- Our senses reveal to us the world in which we live. Whether you can tell a certain city block by its distinctive smells of foods or subway grates, or you notice the changes in light and in the air as you walk towards a rushing stream on a forest trail, the inputs to your brain frequently rely on sensory perception.
Then, when we express sensory experiences in spoken word, writing or art, we use words or colors that communicate the sensations we have experienced. From K to 8, science and technology learning demands sensory experiences to allow students to grasp concepts. Math, using manipulatives and student-developed data to construct meaning, requires the same.
This issue investigates ways that we can learn about our senses and ways that we may use them to better understand ourselves and the world around us. One article suggests ways to build sound-makers while exploring the physics involved, another guides you in building a simple model of an eye. There are ideas for mapping local environments using different senses and for safe taste tests. In its Technology for Learning section, Connect provides background and evaluation of software and hardware that relate to the theme of the five senses and that will suppport curriculum needs and national standards.