Monday, June 20, 2011

Children's Learning: Break a World Record

Discovering world records is a great learning activity for kids. I always had a world record book in my classroom, because I found that often boys who said they didn't like to read fiction, would devour this book and enjoy sharing it with friends. Bite-sized chunks of text are often far less threatening than a whole novel would be.

Some world records are bizarre or good for a laugh. Others might just be the inspiration your child needs to investigate more, or even try to topple a record himself. Maybe your whole class might like to tilt at the World's Largest Rubber Band Ball record, or practise their multiplication with a view to breaking a world maths speed record. Your children and their friends might also be intrigued by The Most Complicated Rube Goldberg Machine you can see in operation in the video below.

We can't all be top athletes, and some of the records might capitalise on your child's quirky skill. Is she a great cup stacker? Is he a wonderful whistler? There are records for these.

If your children/students are in record-breaking mode, these resources might help:
  • At Kideos, you can see a short video of a girl breaking the world cup-stacking record.
  • Australia has a few world record breaking animals in the category of most deadly or most poisonous - as shown in this video. Why not have your children research and develop their own list of world record breaking animals, or just decide for themselves. They could try categories like cutest, most dangerous, fastest, fluffiest, biggest, longest etc, and back up their claims with written and pictorial evidence.
  • You might find books like The Guinness Book of Records in your local library, or check out websites like The Book of Alternative Records and 50 Extreme Guinness World Records at The Wondrous (Parental supervision advised as always.) Reading about world records helps kids practise becoming world record-beating readers!

{Original image public domain, Wikimedia Commons, supplemented by text from Skitch.}

Stop Press: Congratulations to Susanne Gervay, author of I am Jack, on being awarded the Order of Australia!  The only children's literature recipient for the Queen's Birthday.

Susanne says, "As the child of post war refugees, my parents with my baby brother, left everything to escape Hungary across minefields in the dead of night, for freedom. In the Austrian refugee  camp, they hoped a country would take them.

They wanted to be chosen by the USA, but it was Australia who offered them home. They  didn’t know what or where Australia was, except it was far away from war, communism and imprisonment.

They came on a refugee ship, without language, possessions, community, but with hope. Like many,  they rebuilt their lives in a new country. It is the story of America, Canada, UK …. many countries.

It’s hard to believe that as the child of refugees, I have been awarded an Order of Australia. It is overwhelming and deeply meaningful."

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