The Science School Yard: May 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Solar Energy Activities

We have T-Minus 9 1/2 days and counting. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my 3rd graders for the next week and a half. So, let's move from Sound Energy to wind and solar power. So, let's harness the sun! We are cooking some marshmallows up using the sun's energy. Here are the sheets I am using along with an amazing video...
                 Solar Energy Lesson and Worksheet



Wish they didn't use the word freakin', but it is an amazing use of solar power...We are also making a list of how we harness energy using some great sheets I got from the Science Penguin.

The sun will come out tomorrow...bet your bottom dollar... the weekend is almost here!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Garden Time

Pollination Fun with Cheeto's
It is time to plant the vegetables! We are very busy in our school garden. This week, our kinders are planting their pumpkin patch. While, the first graders are planting sunflowers. Our second graders are planting cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, and squash all from plants they grew from seed. They are very excited. What is even more exciting is that their peas are growing. The competition is on. Funny though, the first group that planted is winning, but by a lot even though it was every day for four days that they planted pea seeds. They got a really big head start I guess that one day.
Kinders learning to plant pumpkins...scoop, dump, drop, cover, mound, water! Easy peasy, lemon squeazy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Busy Bee

I have been away for two weeks! Yikes...longest time ever! I had a good excuse...I have been a busy bee! I just wrapped up our Plantapalooza event which brought over 140 people into our school to learn about container gardening and then they got to make and take their own container gardens home. One problem though...it poured during our event. No garden scavenger hunt...not to many filled containers. We gave them garden greens a garden buck I made in my plant unit. They can come to school any time to claim their container and soil. We had amazing door prizes and every family went home with a prize and two free tomato plants donated by Majestic Farms out of Hatley. This was a great family night, but it has consumed me. The garden is growing and the plants are going in...that has also taken up a ton of time...our garden club ended last week...one week to early to actually plant the plants in the ground. We are going to plan B...5th graders will be using simple machines to plant the plants next week. Clever plan.

Last week's plans...real quick recap...
Oh...My... Gosh...is your week as busy as mine? Crazy busy that is all I can say. I am not getting home until after 8:30 each night. I go from school to after school, to games, meetings...I can't keep up with it. I am a day late and a dollar short. I should have shared my week yesterday. Forgive me. I went to bed by 9 last night. Worn out...

Kinders are growing plants in a glove to watch seeds grow. We read the book Plants and Seeds. It's short and sweet. We then wrote what we learned about plants and seeds on a flower pattern.
Plants and Seeds by Colin Walker

Different sized seeds in each finger! Kinders growing!

Firsties are learning about the difference between moths and butterflies. We used the A-Z book Butterflies and Moths and then showed the video:
We made symmetrical butterflies by painting the FOSS butterfly pattern on one side. We then played the butterfly game I made which is similar to the cootie game we played as kids! Remember that game? Fun times!

2nd graders- worked on planting tubers...yes potatoes. We started off listing how we like our potatoes...fried...roasted...chips...you get the picture. We followed it up with a great resource I use Grow Your Own Potatoes. Great activities...videoes...I printed up the posters for the kids to see and then went through them. I also read the book Potatoes.


We then went out to plant the tubers. They love the FOSS lesson in a real garden...skip the cup.

Third grade- Strike up the band! We shared our instruments, made some music by playing Yankee Doodle and We Will Rock You. We then filled out a sheet showing how our instrument showed volume, vibration, pitch, and how it relates to sound. Sound good? Then we watched a short video to wrap up our sound unit before the big test. Who doesn't love Ms. Frizzle?


Fourth graders- We are working on our research project. The students are making a picture book for 2nd and third graders to read about a planet. They picked a table and I assigned a planet to each group. They will then be able to use that research information to make a group project to teach their class as well. Check out our blog for kids to see our links:

The Science Corner

Fifth graders- working on simple machines. We are using the FOSS lessons to teach pulleys now. We took a quick quiz to see what they are retaining. We used the FOSS lessons as a bit of a competition though. Each group assigned their team 1-4. I picked out of a hat a pulley and then I picked a number. That person had to make the pulley picked without help..just a diagram. Then, the team could help them after one minute of time. The diagram reading was perfect. I gave winning teams a mint...they taught the other groups and then we did the activity in FOSS. Perfect way to get them actively engaged.

It is now time to figure out next week's lessons for tomorrow. That is how far behind I am. Oh, well. Time flies when your having fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Busy Bee...Take Two

I am back again for my next peek at my week.

Kinders- We are planting our Kinder Garden! Pumpkins are going in!

Firsties- are learning about bees! I found this great activity which I will be using after we learn about the importance of bees.

Little Warriors: Pollination Idea
Here is the fun video showing honey bee pollination... then on to amazing footage of the birds and the bees...
2nd graders-
We are planting today, but first we are learning about the difference between vegetables and fruits. We are also observing different seeds and leaves to determine the parent and child and their characteristics. We are creating a veggie survey for the kids to take and then making veggie posters to encourage others to eat their veggies! We will also be learning about photosynthesis by doing some activities in our garden packet and by watching a quick video...


3rd graders- We are wrapping up our sound unit by taking our test. Then we are learning about onomatopoeia in our writing, creating sound poems. I used this presentation to start off this sound lesson from ...I Love 2 Teach blog...here is a little onomatopoeia game to play ... and
Here is the sheet I will give the kids to have them make a class book. Onomatopoeia Sheet. We also spent time making a study guide for us to take home reviewing what we learned from FOSS sound lessons.

4th graders-We are continuing to work on research and creating our books and projects.

5th graders- We are headed to the garden to use the 6 simple machines in action. I am working on creating stations that will have the groups have to see the difference in using the machine and not using the machine...making our job easier will surely show through. The kids are excited.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Peek At My Week

Day one is upon us. I have way to much going on, but I am excited about the lessons that I have this week. Let's take a peek at my week...

Kinders- I found this amazing book called Animal Homes that is a pop up book. It is an National Geographic book. We first start with discussing the  new NGSS standard...Plants and animals can change the environment to meet their needs. We discuss what a habitat is and that animals, plants, and humans need habitats to survive. They also need food, water, shelter, and space which makes up their habitat. We also shared how habitats can change due to weather...we have a storm right now and our garden is getting flooded. Perfect time to share what could happen to plants and seeds.

We read the story and then I used the free clip art to show the habitat of the 6 animals shown. Monster Wrangler Mike's Mother's Day Clip art was a great way for the students to have the picture there and to draw the habitat around it. I am making a book with their sheets. We finished up with this fun song:
First graders:
We are learning about insects. Today, we are meeting our next guests...the painted lady larvae. We first review what we know about meal worms, then we take a test from my Life Cycle of the Butterfly and Insect Connections Pack to review what they know. We used sheets for life cycles and observations from my pack, too. I start by showing the FOSS posters of the life cycles of our insects so far. We then read the book From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman.


We then observe our larva recording on a chart our observations. We measure how big they are and record from each days' class the changes. When we were done we viewed this nice video that shows the metamorphosis of the butterfly.

We observed the caterpillar then and recorded what we saw on our FOSS sheets. We drew a butterfly in our notebook and recorded observations. We noticed in our first group that they move slow and fast. They crawl on the side of the cup, they eat a lot. They are now about 1-2 cm long. They have bristles and small antennas.

2nd graders-
Our second graders are learning about plants. We reviewed for a test on seed parts, plant parts, and how seeds travel. We then listened to the story First Peas to the Table which I shared my lesson ideas in the last post. Check out our competition.

3rd Graders-
They were introduced to our homework assignment...make an instrument for our rock band. Our own little school of rock. We gave examples of homemade instruments. We discussed the parts of the ear again and I gave them a picture and labeling sheet for them to do so they understand the three parts as well as the little parts that help us hear: outer, middle, inner ear and eardrum, stirrup, anvil, hammer, Eustachian tube.  We then read a sound book that I was going to read last week...and discussed our big question for the day...What evidence is there that ocean mammals are good communicators. We watched two videos to help in our gathering of evidence.

The first video is linked by a website with great information to share...Whale songs...the second is a quick echolocation snippet. This was a great way for our kiddos to use science and writing. Our kiddos bombed an assessment and so we are working together to find any way to add writing to all of our curriculum.

4th graders-
Our fourth graders are taking a quiz to see what they know about the sun, moon, and Earth. We then have a scavenger hunt in the room based on the game scoot. They have an answer sheet to fill in as they move around the room to find the answers to the questions. I got the idea off of super teachers. The scavenger hunt is free!  You can find it here! Solar System Scavenger Hunt. I mounted the yellow cards on black paper with a cut out star next to each. Easy to see and find. I placed two sets in my tiny room. They loved it. Our 4th graders struggle reading for meaning and this was a great way to help them read and find the correct answer to a question.

5th graders-
I gave them a study guide for simple machines. They could use their notes to find the answers and fill in their study guide. When time was up, we went over the answers and then finished Lever activity 2 for FOSS. We shared results and then time was up.

Busy week...but fun stuff to be learned!

Monday, May 5, 2014

First Peas to The Table

How lucky is it to work at a school called Thomas Jefferson, when you are going to plant peas? Well... let me tell you! There is an awesome book that I came across last year, as I was planning for our first school garden. It is:


It is based on Thomas Jefferson's own contest he had with his neighbors to see who could win a pea growing contest. Jefferson knew that healthy soil was key to healthy plants...especially his peas for the competition. He also worked with composting and finding ways for his plants to be resistant to insects.

Use your school garden with this book to teach the scientific process through testing different pea seeds and different soils to plant them in. Compost vs. potting soil for example. Here are some great resources to add to this lesson:
First Peas To the Table activity pack  and some great illustrations I use for my kiddos to see the life cycle for my plant sheets in my plant packet. You can find them at: First Peas to the Table Coloring Sheets.

You don't have to work at a school called Thomas Jefferson to inspire your students to this fun growing competition...just like one of our founding fathers.  For more competition ideas, graphs, and certificates check out...first peas to the table graph and certificates and more.

Here are some pictures to inspire you!
Beans...and peas growing 

peppers, too
Family Garden Day...picking peas and more!


Getting everyone involved...gardens do that! Can't wait to compete in our pea competition at Thomas Jefferson!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Sale

Don't you love a good sale? Well, I sure do. I also love being appreciated, I bet you do too. So...happy teacher appreciation week! We are all working so hard to make a difference in the lives of our kiddos. Thank you! Did you know that Teachers Pay Teachers wants to appreciate you, too?


I am throwing a sale in honor of teacher appreciation week. Stop on by and check out my TPT store for 20% off of all of my products May 6th and 7th. Here, is a sneak peak of some you will find...
My Butterfly unit that I start next week...painted ladies are on their way!
Roller Coaster Science...great for the end of the year!

Who doesn't love a good life cycle unit!
Reviewing Variable has never been so fun! Check this out!


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Remember...what you do does matter even if you don't hear it that often! 


Currently May!

Today, May 2nd is my son's birthday. My baby is 12. TWELVE. That is crazy. I want to thank Farley over at Oh, Boy 3rd Grade for hosting the Currently linky. I love checking out the blogs that appear each month. What inspirational teachers out there. It is quiet right now. My husband has a baseball game...as a head coach in a state that has had snow until April and rain once the snow melted, it is hard to get the games in. So, a dryer field was available so off his team went to play their game at 7 o'clock tonight. Then, our daughter at noon was told, get your uniform, we are playing a softball game tonight as well. Yikes. Two gone. Now, for our third daughter, she is babysitting. So, now I have one left and it is the birthday boy. I love how kind he is to the boys in his grade. He invited some friends over that he knew couldn't bring gifts. He wanted me to get some special gifts for his friends instead. They were so excited. After a night of nerf gun wars, hot tubbing, and legos, it is now quiet and the boys are settling down.

Tomorrow, when Matt's other family members are around...we are off to go fishing. It is opening day and I can't wait to get outside. It has rained ALL week. Let's check out what is happening Currently...

Check out her blog at  Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.

I got the TV tonight. So, it was DVR time. HGTV it was. I agree with Farley...I am good with being me at this time in my life. I feel very lucky to have my family...even if at times we don't understand each other...I am working on that...I love teaching science...I feel so lucky to go to school and feel proud of what I am accomplishing to help kids be inspired. I can't wait until all of my children are under one roof. Preparing for a new apartment for our daughter will be a fun project for us to work on together. I can't wait to see us all slow down a bit when summer approaches. I can't wait until we can plant plants in the ground and start our own family garden now that I see how amazing gardening can be! Happy May! 6 more weeks and summer break!