# Can You Solve the Winning Question?

Probability and Statistics is one of the more modern branches of Mathematics (several hundred years old as opposed to tens of thousands of years old).  Having a firm grasp of this new-ish branch of Mathematics, helped a 13 year old win a national math competition last week.

Luke Robitaille won by answering the question below in less than a second. See if you can solve it.  Please comment below with your mathematical thinking.

We will reveal how you can solve the problem on Monday!

Here is a clue, when you are trying to find the probability it helps to consider the possibilities. Enjoy!

In a barn, 100 chicks sit peacefully in a circle. Suddenly, each chick randomly pecks the chick immediately to its left or right. What is the expected number of unpecked chicks?

# Wow in the World: NPR’s Brand New Science Podcast for Kids

Eyes Up. Screens down. Jaws dropped.

NPR is thrilled to announce the launch of Wow in the World, a new podcast for kids ages 5-12 that illuminates the wonders of science, technology, discovery and inventions.

This is the first time in NPR’s 47-year history that it will release a children’s program.

Starting May 15, NPR’s Guy Raz and SiriusXM’s Mindy Thomas will take kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the most incredible science and kid-friendly news stories of the week.

Wow in the World is a place where we can tap into the crazy cool things that are happening all around us, every day!” says Thomas. “We want to help spark conversations between kids and other kids and also with their grown-ups that will ultimately lead to their own big discoveries.”

Each episode begins with a series of questions that lead to an explanation about a new amazing scientific discovery or finding. For example, “How long would it take to get to the closest star outside our solar system?” or “How did we Homo sapiens come to dominate the planet?” or “How do astronauts poop in space?” Through comedy and conversation, along with voices from real kids, Mindy and Guy make the news fun and interesting.

“As parents and caregivers, many of us grapple with screen-time,” says Raz. “This show is not just an alternative to screens but a show about celebrating the spirit of inquiry and encouraging kids to ask even more questions.”

Episodes will highlight some of the most exciting new research about space, dinosaurs, animals, technology and human origins.” (see full article here)

Subscribe to the Podcast here.

Listen to a sample below.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/526976646/527060598

# April’s Book of the Month: Unspoken

Every year Mr. Bender carefully selects a book for each month of the school year.  These books are always connected by a particular theme which changes from year to year.  This year’s is a really powerful theme, but we aren’t going to tell you what it is just yet.

At the end of each month, we will share the Book of the Month with you in the hopes you will discuss it further with your children. And while you’re at it, see if you can figure out Mr. Bender’s theme!

April’s Book of the Month, Unspoken,  is told through only pictures. In this beautifully illustrated book, “A young girl’s courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story. When a farm girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in the barn, she is at once startled and frightened. But the stranger’s fearful eyes weigh upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice. Will she have the courage to help him? Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face a journey: one following the North Star, the other following her heart. Henry Cole’s unusual and original rendering of the Underground Railroad speaks directly to our deepest sense of compassion.” Watch a slideshow of the book below.

Here are some resources for you to use at home:

1. Before you read, pose this question from the back of the book, “What would you do if you had the chance to help a person find freedom?”
3. Interview with Henry Cole.
4. The Underground Railroad: Student Activity

# Area Model for Multiplication

Hot off the presses, two new videos on the Area Model for Multiplication.  This model is really useful because it uses the Area Model, which students learn in 3rd grade, to find partial products. Finding partial products is often easier because the students are multiplying with friendlier numbers.

In these videos Ms. Goldstick will teach you how to:

1. Estimate the product before you begin so you’ll know if your answer is reasonable
2. Decompose factors into friendly numbers
3. Find partial products
4. Combine the partial products to find the total product

Want some practice? Try these problems out after you watch the videos!

2-digit by 2-digit

1-digit by 4-digit

# March’s Book of the Month: Strictly No Elephants

Every year Mr. Bender carefully selects a book for each month of the school year.  These books are always connected by a particular theme which changes from year to year.  This year’s is a really powerful theme, but we aren’t going to tell you what it is just yet.

At the end of each month, we will share the Book of the Month with you in the hopes you will discuss it further with your children. And while you’re at it, see if you can figure out Mr. Bender’s theme!

March’s book was, Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev. In the story, a little boy has a very different kind of pet. When the boy and his elephant are turned away from a Pet Club, he and his new friends set out to create a place where creatures of all shapes, sizes, and kinds are welcome.

Here are some ways you could discuss this book at home:

• Create your own Pet Club and invite friends to come with these invitations from Simon & Schuster.

Discussion Questions

• Throughout the story, the author mentions kind things that friends do for one another such as:
• “Lift each other over the cracks”
• “Brave the scary things for you.”
• “Give you directions.”

What do you think the author means by each of these? Has anyone every done these things for you?

• In what ways does the boy help the elephant? In what ways does the elephant help the boy?
• What is true friendship? What are examples of true friendship in the book?
• Why were the boy and his tiny elephant excluded from the Pet Club? Do you think they should have been invited into the club? Why or why not?
• When excluded from the Pet Club, how does the boy react? What actions does he take to change how he is feeling?
• Have you ever been excluded from a group? What actions did you take?
• When the boy and his new friends start their own Pet Club, how is it different from the Pet Club he was excluded from?
• The sign on the new Pet Club reads, “All Are Welcome.” How do you think this message makes the other children feel?
• Do you think it is important to accept others that may be different from us? Why or why not?
• How can accepting others, that are different from you benefit you?
• What lesson is the author, Lisa Mantchev, trying to teach you?