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Amazon Prime Day Finds For Teachers

Amazon Prime Day starts  today and will continue until through tomorrow.  That’s 2 days of awesome savings! Have you heard about Amazon Prime Day?  It’s a huge sale at Amazon with savings on 100,000+ items.

 It’s bigger than Black Friday for Amazon and I know they’ll be lots of savings on craft products and supplies. This year, I’ll be watching the deals for everything TEACHER related  and updating this post with my latest finds. I use these for my STEM stations and Science lessons so when I can get a deal, I am all for it!
 I've been sorting through the deals and have put together a list that I have here at this link: 
In order to take advantage of any of the deals, you need to be a Prime Member.  If you aren’t a member of prime, you should be!  I love Amazon Prime.  I use it all the time (probably more than I should) and recommend you try it, too. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial of Prime and get access to all of the Prime Day savings.  To try it for free, just click this link to sign up (and get access to the great Prime Day deals).

Happy shopping! If you find great deals, share them here and I will link them up for everyone!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!  Read my full disclosure policy.
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8 Moon Landing Anniversary Projects

July 20th is coming up next week! It's a very special anniversary...it is the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight that landed on the moon!

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans into space. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American. They landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969! How do we use this to springboard a great science and STEM lesson? Here are 10 ways to engage students in this celebration!

Idea 1: Virtual Race to the Moon

Virtual Race To The Moon is for you...the teacher! Keeping yourself healthy and your students healthy is important! Check out this challenge!

Idea 2: Show the Lunar Landing

Have your students watch the moon landing. Littles can start with Astronauts can, have, are... Bigs can discuss why some thought it was a hoax or they can even take a poll to see who would want to fly to space and why.

Idea 3: Read a Great Book
I love using the book One Giant Leap written by Robert Burleigh. 

Find that book here! 
I also like to use the book If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty. This is a great springboard for having kids really helps kids relate to how you would pack, how you would feel, and how you get home.
Find this book here!

Idea 4: Do a STEM activity

I love using toilet paper tubes to have the students create the moon landing! We use the tubes as a ramp system to get from Earth(a picture representation taped on the wall) to the moon (another picture) They must have three bends, and land safely in a bucket or on a tray. I use pompoms or ping pong balls as the spacecraft. 

Idea 5: Oreo Moon Phases

I love having my older students (bigs) create moon phase posters using Oreo cookies. They love this project! Gail Gibbons has a great book, Moon Phases that you can use, but I just love the rap to go with this project!

I use cheap dollar store cookies because they don't get to eat them and it saves some money. I give them plastic knives so that they can scrape off the frosting as well. I want them to take what they know and create a representation and then we analyze if their model is correct and if they can explain how the cycle works.

Idea 6:  Moon Crater Painting

Very simply, I cut out grey paper circles. I set out trays and white paint. We used circular objects to make the craters. You can use bottle tops like we did. This is a quick and fun little follow up on what craters on the moon look like and how they are made. We used our sentence strips to show what we know.

Idea 7: Moon Crater Ball Drop

I love this activity for my littles. Grab black paper and a plate. Add flour to the plate. Make sure you have plenty of floor covering so that you don't make too much of a mess. Grab different sized balls that can create different sized craters and you are good to go! Each ball represents a different sized meteors and asteroids that hit the surface of the moon and left a crater.

Idea 8: Moon Phase Games

I made this free resource for you to help with the phases of the moon! Grab your free copy here ! Use it as a memory game, a review, or even for an anchor chart!


Want to find these ideas, sheets, activities, and a few bonus activities all in one place ready for you to just print and go? Check out my moon phase packs by following this link: Moon Phase Science Pack and STEM Connections

Because I teach both primary and intermediate, I have packs for both age groups! Check out my pack I use with my K-2nd graders! You can find that pack HERE!
                                     Science Stations: Solar System and STEM for K-1

I love you to the moon and back! Let's make Science and STEM child's play!

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                       Some of the links are affiliated links, meaning in no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through to purchase.

5 E Lesson Planning Time

If you have seen my Instagram lately, you might have seen that I have been in Texas. I have been learning about how to utilize the 5E model within my science classroom! I love that teachers can incorporate this instructional model using any science kit or program you use.  This plan is an easy way for us to help our students gain a better understanding of the new concepts we are presenting them with. This is because this format is really an inquiry-based approach to learning.

The five E-Model lesson format that I am sharing with you today will help you focus on allowing your students to get a better understanding of your concepts because it is allowing you an organized way to establish a series of steps that include: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation! This model will really allow you to let your students gain knowledge through experiences because it is active learning. They are discovering and experiencing because you have built in inquiry, the ability to explore and then assess their understanding when the time is finished.

What is different for me as a develop as a science teacher is I have to become a facilitator instead of a sage on the stage. I am learning this year, to really guide my students through the concepts I need to cover in class.

I created this 5E template that I will be using this year to guide me through this new approach. Grab your free copy here!
Grab the free 5E Lesson Plan Templates here!

If you are interested in some of the books that I have used for my professional development...here are my top three books! Press on the book to take you to the source I used! I love using picture books to get my students engaged!

Let's make science, child's play!

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The 5 E Model In Your Science Classroom

If you are just joining me, welcome to the Science School Yard. I have been teaching for 27 years. For the last 7 years, I have been teaching Science and STEM to K-5th grade students here in central Wisconsin. Our district uses FOSS to guide our road map and lessons, however adding STEM has always been important for me because of the amazing benefits that I see in terms of thinking differently as well as growth mindset! Last year, we adopted the WI Science standards that are almost identical to NGSS. This change comes after having to use standards that were developed in 1994.

When something new comes my way, I try to look for ways to learn all I can to be able to be the best science educator I can be. This year's focus was on learning the 5 E method of planning my science lessons. I watched countless videos, read a ton of articles, and even did some professional development classes to really get a grasp of this student centered approach to planning my science lessons.  The 5E Model of Instruction was exactly what I needed to help me learn a  more inquiry-based learning method. Let me help explain what I learned!

What is the 5E Method?

In the 5E Method of Instruction there are 5 key components that help the teacher guide and facilitate a lesson, starting with the foundation ending with assessment. The role of the teacher and student work in tandem. The teacher's job is to facilitate by eliciting responses that allow students to use their background knowledge to learn a new concept. By posing questions, observing and listening to student responses the teacher is also able to ask inquiry-based questions that will not only generate curiosity, but also interest. Following the lesson format allows for deeper understanding of key concepts because you are engaging students in a systematic activity based approach.

The 5E's

Engage: During the first part of the lesson, students are introduced to the concept. This is a perfect opportunity to motivate learners and create interest!

Teachers ask questions and engage them in making connections and helping generate prior knowledge making the connections between past and present which leads to a new learning experience. Teachers take note of any misconceptions, but at this time are not corrected. It is the framework for the new concept they are learning.

Explore: It is time to discover new skills, probe, inquire, and even examine their thinking. As teachers generate interest, students now explore the new concept that was presented.
Investigations and experiments are explored by the students at this time. Probing questions are asked so that students can make observations and collect data.

 This can be done in small teams for as a large group. As the team creates a hypothesis, they start to use the scientific method to use inquiry based questioning. Answers may not yet me established. Our role is to not provide answers yet, but to guide.

Explain: During the explanation stage, the teacher now asks probing questions that will help encourage the students to find patterns from the data they collected and start to verbalize their understanding of the new concepts. They also put together what the vocabulary means.   Students use their words to explain what they observed again either in a small or whole group.

This phase allows for students to connect their prior knowledge to their new discoveries through explaining what they now know or observed.

Elaborate: In the elaboration phase of learning, students start to make connections and apply what they learned to the world around them. As teachers, we provide them with ways to apply their knowledge so that their is a deeper understanding. We can do that through STEM connections, other experiments that extend what they already learned, or do research to explore more on the topic.

 As they gather new data they can start to draw new conclusions as they share what they learned through writing and connecting with others.  This step is where they learn about the world around them and get a deeper understanding and skill set.

Evaluate: This is such an important phase because it is an opportunity to evaluate learning. Students prove their own learning by writing, conversing, or demonstrating what knowledge they acquired through the 5E process.

Students can not only demonstrate their learning, but they can pose new questions, and even through formative(ongoing and dynamic) and summative (end of lesson final test or product) assessments show what they know. This is a way for students to self assess, peer assess or be evaluated by their teacher. I love to see evidence of accomplishment as they demonstrate what they now know. Not all of my students make huge gains in understanding, however where they started and where they are at the end is much more substantial now that I use the 5E method.

Now that I am the facilitator to their learning, it allows for larger growth in accountability for all students to learn and take part in that learning!

I made these 5E posters that I hang in my classroom. It helps me remember my role and it really helps my students know the process that they will be taking during a science lesson!

 If you would like a free copy you can find them here! If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter, it is a great opportunity to grab more free resources in my member's only free resource library!

I will be continuing to share what I learn and implement along that way. It is certainly easier to adapt and find ways to integrate something new in what you are already doing when someone tests it out for you! Try the 5E model as you plan your next science lesson. Watch for the next blog post...
the 5 E lesson plan for your next free resource!

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Electricity Lessons That Help Learners Shine

Each year we start and electricity unit which allows students the ability to work hands on and to problem solve as a group...that to me is so electrifying.

The major focus in our electricity unit is to learn about the parts of a circuit. Whether that be the source meaning... the battery... the pathway... meaning the wires or the receiver which can be either the light bulbs or a motor.

We want them to be able to figure out ways to problem solve by learning what an opened and closed circuit is! We also want them to be able to work together to create a way for a switch to turn on and off the light or motor better yet... as we develop our skills in putting a circuit together  we can even add how to be able to work with insulators and conductors! 

 I love giving them a bag of insulators and conductors for them to test from spoons to sponges washers to paper clips they are able to connect and understand that all metal objects are conductors! 

The next big focus is to understand the difference between parallel and series circuits! By adding different light  bulbs to our circuit we can see the difference between the two, We really emphasize that series circuits work together one after the other after the other... just like a series of books or movies!  I like to use movies or favorite books like Avengers.  It sure can get kids to connect to the understanding of the difference between series and parallel easier!

 Here’s how I did it: Series vs. Parallel

For series circuits... I like the different types of movies that are put together one after the other so that if you miss one movie you might miss something really important in the story line. Why do Captain America and Iron Man have an issue with each other for example. 

For parallel circuits...We can look at the movie Avengers and see that there’s a parallel universe that can work separately from each other. What other movies show two things happening simultaneously without interference? That is the key to making those connections!

Think about a Series of Unfortunate Events. If you miss one of  the books, you might miss out of something that happened that led to it coming up in another book.  Using movies and books to be able to share the difference between a concept that might be a little bit more difficult is an important strategy to use in any classroom setting. 

Adding lesson such as static electricity as well as electromagnets are also really fun and hands-on ways to help students understand the concepts of electricity as well as magnetism and how they can go hand in hand. 

One of my new found favorites to finish up the unit...bristle bots.  I was able to use grant money to purchase this kits from Brown Dog Gadgets called Bristle Bots. There are some great step by stem picture tutorials that we used from PBS Kids site with video help, too!  

I love ending the school year with this unit because when these kids are so worn out from being tested they can be able to really work to gather any fun and engaging way trying to find an electricity pack that can work for you grab this pack below right here!
Electricity Unit and Resources

Hope I helped you find ways to add electricity activities to your science lessons. Thanks for joining me in the Science School Yard!
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Creepy Crawley Insect Ideas

Those creepy crawley insects! I love to bring insects into the classroom to help my students learn about the life cycles of different animals.

You can find ants outside  or you can find crickets at your local pet store. I have to say I absolutely love crickets for the purpose of showing students even at a young age of first grade the difference between a male and a female. A female has an ovipositor in between the circe at the back of their body.  This shows where the eggs are deposited from and the males are the only ones that make that sound to attract females. The other thing about crickets is to be able to show that some of our animals we are investigating are nocturnal! They have ways to protect themselves such as camouflage or big back legs to be able to jump. Give crickets a try!

You can even purchase butterfly larva or find some other insects around your yard to be able to bring in for students to see under hand lenses and the crème de la crème of insects are those fun little meal worms you can get for fishing! They are perfect for being able to let students see the three different changes from larva... to pupa... to adult. I even give each one of my students a vile so they can have a class pet to be able to watch and feed and even take for a walk on a plate! They love it when that darkling beetle is ready to be released, too! We have a fun release party for them so they can be in their natural habitat! And don't forget their is always the ant or bee to learn about! 

Not only can you bring in insects but it’s great to find tadpole eggs or watch the raptors on the Decorah eagle site. The best time to do this in in February when the eggs are in the nest. Right now in June the eaglets are almost the same size as the mother eagle! (note: the babies fell from the perch and are both at the raptor rescue center. ) 

It is also really great to be able to connect plant life cycles so that students can see a variety of ways that animals and plants go through their life cycle and metamorphosis to change and grow. A fast growing plant for kids to see are radishes or even peas! The good ole' bean is perfect as well! 

Are you needing to find a quick science lesson for your Littles how about pick up this insect pack and your sheets and activities are all set to go perfect for inside or outside. Find your Insect Pack HERE!
Insect Science Pack

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STEM is Hopping With Easter Stations!

Time for a much needed break after testing? Need to find a way to let off some steam with STEM? This is a perfect time to add some Easter STEM stations to your day. All you need is 30 minutes set aside for building, creating, teamwork and some "HOPPY" students!

These are some of my favorite quick STEM activities! The kids love to create a way to pick up jelly beans and with a little competition it certainly is "egg"citing! Love to add a bit of candy fun for everyone...I love having the kids make peep towers, too!

Jelly Bean Picker Uppers! 

Another quick way to add a bit of area and perimeter into your lesson is to build baskets! I love watching them try to fit as many eggs in their basket so that they can walk the eggs down the bunny trail! 
Easter Egg Baskets!

In intermediate classrooms, students love to make something to protect their eggs as they build an egg drop! Perfect for integrating science concepts such as physics with laws of motion, fluid science, and properties of matter. 

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