The Science School Yard: November 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Motivating the Masses

This linky party is a new one for me, but made me think about all the ways I am trying to motivate our kiddos. Sometimes, it seems hard, but it sure is worth the try. At http://headoverheelsforteaching.blogspot.com/ this fun linky sure got me thinking!




As a science teacher, we see each student only one hour per week. Motivating students to study is always hard. That seems to be the one area that I really want to tackle this year in a big way. For our third grade Earth Materials Unit, I made a book that students could make that focused on all of the areas that we studied and that were going to be tested. I gave a study guide to one class and we made the book in the other just to see if my new method would work...and it did. I was happy to see more of my students having success on the test.


 I also gave out mini science star certificates to students that passed the test and we asked for words of wisdom for how to always do better. That idea came from a free science star reward card from TPT thanks to Sparkles, Smiles, and Successful Students.        http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Im-a-Science-Star-277450

 We posted the "Study Tips" on the wall for future reference. With 79% of our students on free or reduced lunch, many of our students don't always have the support they need to thrive. I also added this year the traveling science star award for the class that is the shining star class of the week. This class was on target, helped each other, answered questions, set up and cleaned up in a timely manner...you get the picture. We are always trying to find ways to keep our kids on task (specialists you know what I mean). We share that information on our daily newscast in a kind of Where's Waldo fashion...can you find the science star? Who's class will be next... I also have tried class dojo to motivate, but it takes too much time out of the class to keep it up, so I started the three stars on the board thing. I have three stars on the board, kind of like three strikes your out. I give a warning if they are off task, then the class loses a star. We have PBIS at our school, so they want to get a class paw at the end of our class. We also give out individual "paws" for kids who are really shining in class. In our class store, students can use their "paws" to purchase some great prizes.  The one that seems to be going over quite well is an extra science class with me. We made fake wounds and slime in October, rockets and Mento Volcanoes in November.
This is also a motivator to earn tickets for fun activities in science. It has been quite motivational and the kids who bought my pass have passed on the word that extra science is a blast.  I am glad I was able to link up.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pet Rocks, Rock!

I love blog hoppin'. I love when I see an idea and I think...I can do that. I also love when I see comments that help me get thinking, too. My new friend, Mr. First Grade uses FOSS and let's just say the Pebbles, Sand, and Silt unit can really use some boosts. Soooo... I was in the shower thinking about what I could do next week with my firsties. It came to me...Pet rocks. I am sharing this link so that my FOSS friends can connect Science with Writing in a fun way. I can't wait to try this next week when we do our next rock lesson. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pet Rocks, Rock!

Planting A Seed...

I love what we have done for our Farm To School Garden Club. We are now done with the first 6 week course for our after school programs. So, to finish off our Garden Club right we had a tea party with mint, spearmint, chocolate mint, and pineapple mint to top off our tea...and who could go without tea sandwiches with veggies of course. We made homemade dip from our herbs and served cut veggies, too. We then finished it off with the Farm To School lesson Parts of A Plant. Next week, we will post our videos that are being placed in the libraries to pick great garden themed books. Also next week, what to do in winter...form a "winter"green club. We will be going green in another way, by getting our recycling efforts going, upcycling for the holidays, and composting waste in our worm bins! Stay tuned!

Mint tea and finger sandwiches. What a fun way to end our session!
 Yum, veggies rock and so does learning about the parts of a plant and then being able to taste them!
What can you do to make the winter go faster? Share your ideas my Farm To School Friends!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Flashback to Going Forward...

Well, my blogger friends... considering that I have not been doing this so long, I started to look back at the posts that triggered me to wanting to do it again. I am linking up with a great blogger, Hope  at Shenanigans in Second. During this special time of year, I want to figure out how to have our kiddos pay it forward once again. We have a new "Winter"green club that has been formed after school. We will be creating activities that upcycle recyclable goods. I am hoping to have my club make something for a nearby retirement home and for their families. It is a great way to teach it is  to give then to receive.

Originally posted in October of this year...
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Our garden has produced an amazing amount of vegetables. We have had an Open House, Open Garden picking which brought in over 200 people into our garden to reap the benefits of our planting. We also had a harvest gathering with over 145 people last week. We gathered vegetables and also ate together and had many presenters sharing garden cooking and more.

 What we want to teach our students is that it is great to get things, (picking veggies during club time, eating food that we make with harvested veggies...) but it is even better to give. We made pickles two weeks ago and now it is time to give to others. Our pickles are being given to our adult crossing guards and one jar is being given to our principal on Boss's Day on Wednesday. Our students in our Green Team Garden Club also picked a ton of cherry tomatoes as well. We made 22 bags of cherry tomatoes for our teachers. Here is the label that we used on the teacher bags. Our garden club enjoyed doing something nice for the teachers and others that help us grow.

Garden Thanks
 Our pickles we are paying forward. When we are in a pickle, we can always count on our crossing guards.
 We gathered a second harvest of dill. We are hanging it upside down so that we can use the dry dill to make dip this fall.

Some of our wonderful Green Team Garden Club with their new t-shirts!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Here's That Peek...

First Grade geologists... just a little something for their interactive science notebook. Here is the sheet I started with to use as an assessment.
Geologists in 1st

Sorting rocks is fun. We sorted them by shape, size, color, and texture.  This is our writing part of our science activity. We predicted where our rock came from.
 Look what happens to our rocks when they get wet...they change. The firsties were amazed at the colors they could see!

We started our water unit. I love this activity. Came up with it on the fly. I read the book Simply Science Water.  The students took 6 pieces of paper in different water shades. I read the story and they listened and took notes.  They glued the pieces on the paper and Viola, a great visual for them outside the Science room!




Our 5th graders, finished their Variable Unit. They were able to finish with a fun day, Engineering Style. Each group was given 10 tongue depressors, and 4 rubber bands. They each build a marshmallow catapult using what they knew from the lessons. They had so much fun! You should see how good some of them are at catching marshmallows in their mouths! 
 Different designs ...
These boys had some great techniques to catching marshmallows. 
 We finished off the hour building a control designed airplane. Then, we changed one thing to see if it made our planes fly better. We then went outside. See that bloggers...snow. It was hard to see some of the planes. It was like they got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle. The winner got airplane designs and a pack of paper to build some new models.
















So, there was a peek at my week. I started the lessons on Thursday and will finish the other classes by the time we get back from break. My kinders, 2nds, and 4ths are learning new lessons, too. I will include some pictures as we go. This was just a little peek of my week.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Peek At My Short Week...

Just spent my day at an 8th grade girls' basketball tournament. Long day...boys didn't see a deer, but they didn't freeze even at 9 degrees. A propane heater in a ground blind helps.

We are so fortunate that we have been given Wednesday off for the first time ever. We certainly all need a break. We haven't had a break since Day 1.  So here is my two day plans... Monday evening, we are hosting a Thanksgiving STEM night. I helped organize this event to help our regular ed. teachers so that they didn't need another thing on their platters.  Science will be cranberry and popcorn activities. Technology will be students and parents using chrome books and I pad Thanksgiving sites and then a voyage in our school to locate their art project that is connected to an Aurasma presentation through our art classes. Engineering is a family challenge to make a "Mayflower" boat our of a piece of aluminum foil. Then, placing "pilgrims" or pennies in the boat to see how many passengers can fit before sinking. The winning boat wins a door prize. Math station with  Thanksgiving themes will round us off. I found a lot of great ideas for free off of TPT for this. We have over 79% of our student population on free and reduced, so we also have some great door prizes of food that we are giving out, as well as popcorn treats to eat with popcorn facts for everyone to see as they come to the popcorn feast.




To finish off my week, Tuesday, starting at 11:30 we host a family style Thanksgiving dinner for our entire school. We have our first graders performing for entertainment and each class decorates their tables. It is fabulous. This year, we have over 385 students so getting everyone sitting in our gym is very hard. After that, we will be hosting different events in our rooms. Students were able to sign up for what three events they want to be part of. I am hosting a science volcano event. Each person is building and exploding a volcano. I am doing a demo of Steve Spangler's volcano activity:

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to take a peek at My fellow Wisconsinite's site where she is giving away a great Genre Pack! http://mrslaffinslaughings.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 22, 2013

Girls and Science

Greatest Rube Goldberg I ever saw. During our Simple Machines unit I am definitely sharing this video. This video shows how I would have liked my three girls to play with toys. We need to remember STEM should focus all students to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into their lives! Forget those Barbies...My friend sent this out as well as my fellow Science Blogger...Science Penguin. Check it out!


Here is an activity I use during my simple machines unit. It is fun to see all of the different ways to deliver a pizza.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dig It...and Gobble It...

My I/E group is working on Rocks and Minerals unit. We read our book and learned about the rock cycle now it was time for our Science and Math component. Why not use this great site to get some ideas to learn about archaeology...  http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/history/handsonhistory/dig_partners_english.pdf

 There are some great questions in this book that I have my kiddos working on by using the ipads. They are creating posters that we will hang up to share what we learned. We are also cookie archaeologists. We dug out chocolate chips and compared them to dig sites such as Hot Springs or Jamestown...which I have been to and could share pictures of.  Here are my kiddos working on their dig site. Check out Cookie Archaeology for the unit I used with my kids.




As we shifted into primary sources compared to archaeology we can compare historians using primary sources to tell us about the past, just like artifacts at a dig site. Here are two great sites to use for your students right before Thanksgiving.

First, an interactive site...
http://www.plimoth.org/learn/MRL/interact/thanksgiving-interactive-you-are-historian

Some great videos...
http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/webcast.htm

Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Take Me Back... Wednesday...Sorry

I love to see how far I have come with my blog. Last year, I had my own homemade blog, pretty cheesy, no followers, few posts. For my birthday this year, September... I bought myself a blog, a real one, and I love it. I can share my Farm to School ideas, Science ideas, FOSS connections, and connect with other bloggers. I watch every day to see if I get another follower. I take myself back to my first post last year that showed something that is timely...cranberries.




I think my students really loved the Thanksgiving themed activities. Who doesn't love eating popcorn and bouncing berries? I thought I would love Cranberry Thanksgiving, but what seemed to work out better was pictures of cranberry bogs, plants, and processing of the berries that I showed on an I pad. We used our five senses in the younger grades with both popcorn and cranberries. I was impressed that most of the students tried the tart treat. As for the popcorn activity the soaked seeds didn't pop, the lesson was a success, and the sheets helped guide my kiddos. I am posting the activities on TpT. Hope you like them.
The leftover berries were great. We used them to make homemade cranberry sauce. My son thought it was pretty awesome that the berries he picked for me were actually tasty once you add a bit of sugar and orange juice to the pot.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Planting a Seed...

Squash. Who would have thunk the kids would like squash soup? Well, we surveyed our kids and our littles voted half and half for liking and disliking the taste of butternut squash soup. I thought that was pretty good. We made the soup in the crock pot, shared the recipe and how to prepare it and yum, the majority of our bigs liked it. We even made homemade applesauce in the crock pot, too. We want to provide our after school classes the ability to try new things, be okay with not liking it, and learning ways to share these ideas with their families. We had a drawing for free butternut squash from our garden...they even loved that prize. It was so cute, I even got letters the next day from them thanking me for the food. Yesterday, we served squash in the lunch line. Can't wait to see the numbers of kiddos that tried it:)
 Our little survey with the littles. Tie isn't so bad!
 Thank you notes are sooo fun to get. I love that she said that the soup tasted like chicken noodle soup, we used chicken stock.
 What does butternut squash look like inside?
We finished up our Fall Harvest snacks by reading Fall Harvest. Just planting a seed, my garden friends.


Cover image

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Junk Yard Science and Flying Marshmallows

Found a great website to use to help the students use FOSS and yet connect it to what we are learning...variables. Here is the sheet I made to go with it and a quick video to show.
I included the answer key on the second page, and the link to the lesson I am using for the activity. 

Now, onto 5th grade. Here is the idea and sheet for my bigs as they build catapults for marshmallow shooters. I can't wait to see the marshmallows fly. 
 
                             Marshmallow Catapult Directions