Thursday, April 30, 2009

David M. Schwartz and the Power of Ten

popcorn2 Today I will be reviewing the book, On Beyond a Million, by David M. Schwartz.

You're probably wondering what the "M" stands for?  We don't really know, but we're guessing it stands for "Math Mutant."  Get it?  He's a Mathematician and Author, and he's a bit crazy about math.

Mr. Schwartz has loved big numbers since he was a kid.  We found out about that at the Author Visit at my old school, Bell Top Elementary School. Who knows?  Maybe he is planning to visit your local school next.

You're probably waiting for me to review his book, On Beyond a Million.  So, without further ado, I will commence reviewing the book.  You shall wait no longer.  You're patience is about to be rewarded, so I will pause no longer, and I will begin to review right now, with no more pause in between.  You shall use no more waiting skills.  Ow, ouch, stop it, Mom, I'll get to the point!  Okay, what a grouch!

On Beyond a Million is an outstanding book about the powers of ten, and how numbers go on forever, and you can never reach Google or infinity.  It even has a fictional story to it about a popcorn machine going haywire that won't stop or turn off.

David Schwartz told us that his book was inspired by a story in Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey, about a donut machine that won't stop making donuts.

Did you know that it would take David M. Schwartz two and a half years to pop a million kernels of popcorn?


This is a picture of the author with 10,000 popped kernels of popcorn.  He told us that he wasn't able to bring his bag with 100,000 popcorn kernels because it was too big for the airplane.   It took him 3 months to pop that many popcorn kernels, but he decided not to make one million because it would take him 2 and a half years. 

Still, he had a picture of ONE MILLION POPPED POPCORN KERNELS!  When he visited a school in Texas, they like big things in Texas, so they surprised him with one million popped popcorn kernels.

Counting by the powers of 10 is multiplying the number you have by 10 each time.  This is useful for counting really big things like overflowing popcorn flooding the whole school.  Instead of saying 1,2, 3, 4..., you'd say 100, 1,000, 10,000, 1,000,000, ten million, one hundred million, one billion.  And you'd show this by writing 10 to the power of 6, which is one million.

Take a look at this YouTube Video, Powers of Ten.  It is really cool because it shows what happens when you move 10 times farther away, every second.  If you moved out into space, by the powers of 10, you would enter distances light years away really quickly. 

Then, they return the same way, in distances that are powers of 10 closer, until they enter the starting point, a napping picnicker.  They magnify and enter his hand, using a microscope, which is really cool!!!  They keep going until you see the nucleus of one of his cells.

I highly recommend the book and the video to people who want to read a cool book, or watch an awesome video!

More Links:

David Schwartz Website

The Magic of One Million Activity Book

Homer Price: Robert McCloskey: Books

ISBN: 0142404152
ISBN-13: 9780142404157

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Fish Dragon

I got a new pet fish.
He is red.
He is awesome. I love him. He likes to swim. Here is a picture of him. He is a Crowntail Betta, and here is a link to my fish.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving Endangered Animals


Do you people know what's happening to this world?  There is the cutest little bird called the Kiwi that's endangered because people introduced non-native species in its home in New Zealand.

What are you doing about it?  Sitting there on the computer, reading a blog, instead of taking action?

One way that people are saving kiwis is through Operation Nest Egg, where they raise Kiwi eggs in captivity and release them to protected wild areas when they are old enough.

There are many endangered animals in the world, like the Manatee, Green Turtle, and the Black Footed Ferret.  I saw a slide show that said "Endangered means there is still time."  That means that if an animal is endangered, or low in numbers, there is still time to help them.

Click the link to watch: Endangered Means There Is Still Time.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What I Learned About Forensic Science

forensics I am writing about what I learned, and what I already knew about forensic science. By the way, forensic scientists are people who look at clues to investigate and solve crimes.

First, I read D. B. Beres and Anna Prokos's Crime Scene: True-Life Forensic Files #1: Dusting and DNA.  Then, I read a Dig Magazine issue from October 2008 that was all about CSI: Archeology.  Finally, I did a whole a bunch of experiments with the Smithsonian Crime Lab Investigations kit to solve fake cases.

I already knew that everyone has different and unique fingerprints, and that everybody has their own unique genetic code called DNA in their blood.  And, I also knew that they send the fingerprints to someone to figure out who they belong to, but I didn't know who.

Now, I know that they send them to forensic scientists.  

I also learned that they also use a process called chromatography, a laboratory technique for separating chemical mixtures such as ink. 

With the Crime Lab Kit, my dad and I did an Ink Analysis Experiment where we cut little strips of paper, put ink-like stuff on it, and hanged them from a small plastic bar over a clear, plastic container that had a tinsy bit of water in it.  Then, we waited a bit and these colors worked their way up the strip and we matched them to the ones in the case, but they didn't match up.  So, we knew that the girl was lying in the case, and that she had printed up extra raffle tickets.

I learned one thing from the CSI: Archeology magazine, and that is that forensic scientists can match up pollen samples from the crime scene to the suspect's car, shoes, or weapons to see if he or she did the crime.

After reading the Crime Scene book, I discovered that I might be a good forensic scientist.  At the end of the book, there is a quiz called, "Do You Have What It Takes?"  To be the best forensic scientist you need to: be good at working on a team; be good with handling blood, be good at following directions; you need to be organized; and you need to be comfortable speaking in public. 

I found out that I would probably be a good forensic scientist even though I'm not good at following directions!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Caesar, Ruler of Rome

Julius Caesar was a ruler of Rome, who wanted to be king.  Caesar fought in the army, and became a military general.  He was very popular with the Roman people, and was a strong leader of Rome.

Caesar was born on 100 BC/BCE.  He died on the Ides of March in 44 BC/BCE when he was murdered by the Senate.  All twenty-three stabbed him, even his friend, Brutus.  It took a bunch of people to kill a skilled fighter like him.

Caesar was a vain man.  Since he was bald, he wore a wig.  Caesar wore elegant clothes, and he liked to wear a robe.  He had to be rich to dress this way.  The way he looked and dressed helped make him a popular leader of Rome.

Another reason he was popular is that he won a lot of battles.  He enlarged Rome by conquering a lot of land, including most of the Mediterranean and Britain.  Rome would not have been as big and powerful without Caesar.

The world would not be the same without Julius Caesar.  Rome might have fallen into enemy hands without his strong military skills.  He was an important leader of Rome, and had a great impact on world history.



Bauer, Susan Wise.  The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child.  USA: Peace Hill Press, 2001.

Chandler, Fiona, Sam Taplin, and Jane Bingham.  The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Roman World.  New York: Scholastic Inc., 2001.

Gowar, Mick.  Spilling The Beans on...Julius Caesar and his friends, Romans and countrymen. Italy: Miles Kelly Publishing, 2004.

"The Genius of Caesar" Calliope: Exploring World History Dec. 2006: Vol. 17, No. 4 (Multiple Articles).

Wright, John and Joshua illustrated by Joshua Wright.  The Romans Were The Real Gangsters.  Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2004.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Get Talking About Get Talking Chinese

mandarin2 Ever wanted to talk in the Chinese language, but you've tried Rosetta Stone, and all those other programs, and they just don't work?

Well, I've got good news for you.

There's a new program called Get Talking Chinese: Mandarin Chinese for Beginners where you can learn all sorts of Chinese words.  This program got me talking all the time.  Why not you?

In this book you will find a bar graph that shows how many people speak Mandarin versus other languages.  Did you know that 885 million people speak Mandarin, but only 400 million speak English?

This book includes an audio CD, that I put on my computer and on my Ipod, that helps you pronounce all the words and it has catchy tunes too.

This book also teaches you how to write in Mandarin with a special brush and ink.  First, they show you how to paint the strokes using a graph.  Later, you write whole words. 

They also show you how to write numbers in Chinese.  Mandarin numbers are different from English because you show the place value when you say a number.  For example, in Mandarin, instead of saying twelve, you say ten and two.  This makes math problems easier because when you're adding numbers like twelve and seventeen, you can add the tens and the ones separately.

There are a lot of different things in this book, from learning how to use chopsticks to popular games like ping pong.

I highly recommend this book to people who want to learn Mandarin Chinese and a whole bunch of other stuff about China.