The Science School Yard: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Liebster Award! Yea...Me!

How fun to have been nominated for this award! I have been super sick...so it took me a few days to start posting on my blog. Yucky germs=yucky bug! Thanks to Mrs. Sprigg's at Mrs. Sprigg's Kindergarten Pond for the nomination!!!! The Liebster Award is a way for newer bloggers (with less than 200 followers) who have great content, to link up, meet other bloggers, and share a little bit about themselves.




1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
Well, I last summer, I started to use some of my time surfing the net. I started looking at blogs and seeing how many great ideas there were out there on these sites.  I also noticed that there weren't a lot of blogs that focused on Science. Being a K-5 Science teacher, I figured...why not give it a try. My birthday is in September, I paid for someone to help me create a fun science blog...I tried myself first, but yikes it was ugly and those codes...I don't really get it. I also found TPT at the same time I discovered blogging...which is when I was sending my oldest daughter onto college. Blogging, creating TPT items...both have made me a better teacher and connecting to other teachers is a true blessing!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Reflecting. As a teacher in Wisconsin, we are under a new observation plan...teacher effectiveness is the name of the game. As I connect to other teachers and their great ideas, I am able to reflect on my own teaching and learn and grow even after 23 years of teaching. Reflecting is essential to growing as a teacher. It makes us better, allows us to grow, and that helps our students in their academic development.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before? 
Oh...My...Gosh...Yes! When you first start blogging, it feels like you are talking to no one. You wonder if the time and energy is worth it. As you connect with other bloggers that post faithfully, have great products, and have a large number of followers to boot...you learn how to hop...download freebies...and linkies are a blast! It allows us to learn from our peers. How great is that. I continue to take ideas and strategies from anyone willing to share. What talented teachers...it makes me want to better myself in the process.

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
I love making TPT products. I find it therapy. I sit in a quiet spot...away from the busy, hustle and bustle of my life. I take my FOSS lessons and figure how I can help the classroom teachers I works with and make them activities so that they can incorporate more science into their school day!
Okay...so I also love when I can just sit and talk with my kids when life slows down! Pinterest is also pretty addicting!

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
It depends on the week. Sometimes, I have way to much to do to get ready for the week...sometimes, I am so busy with my own children, but I try to at least post 1-3 times per week. I wish I had more time, but I really like making products so some time is devoted per week to that.

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I love finding great science ideas and freebies. I teach Science! I also love finding ideas for the teachers I work with, too!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
All things science, school gardens, and reflecting on my lessons and the ideas I find that will help them better. I also love to post the resources that I use so that I can find them next time around!

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I love my farm to school grant posts because they allow teachers that also grow gardens to link up and find freebies and ideas for their garden. It has allowed our school to get recognition and grant money in the process.

Blogs I am nominating:
Mrs. Laffin's Laughings




Mrs. Jones' Creations





Teachers Are Terrific



Now its your turn (nominated bloggers) to participate - here are the official "rules" for accepting:

1. In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above)
3. Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each. Provide them with 11 questions (listed above) to have them answer.
4. Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well. (you can just put your post link in the comments below)


Circuits are a SNAP!

I bought this great toy for my son a few years ago and it is so much fun, but doing the electricity unit and teaching vocabulary is not always easy with my fourth graders. So after I was Energy certified this summer...yes, I took three graduate credit energy classes through UWSP and now I have a cool certificate that I got to show my kiddos and share for my teacher effectiveness! I got some free money when I did that sooooo....

I bought some SNAP circuit kits! You can find them at Snap kit circuit kit site. We covered energy...
We covered what type of energy they were creating...mechanical? chemical? wind? Open and closed circuits! Amazing!

Teamwork!

Schematic Drawings!

Wind and Chemical Energy!
Mechanical energy!
Going Green! The resource book in this kit is great!

What a way to tie in FOSS and Energy and give them a break from state testing!

Candy Science!

Ok...so I have seen some sites that show how to use candy to teach science concepts, so I thought I would use the FOSS concepts to see how I could teach some of the kit ideas as a refresher or introduction. We had a special celebration today on our half day...Halloween. We had our and littles sign up for stations...they got to do 2.

I did...CANDY SCIENCE! We did the acidity test (great for a whole class demo or even small groups and to review the Calcite test and mixtures and solutions), floating M's from M&M's (the kids love this when they can get the M to stick to their finger),  Earth materials candy properties (review of property words, mass, perimeter, area, and the beginning of density), sink and float with an introduction to density, candy chromatography (didn't love this when the kids did it, so I would do this as a station demo), reflection and refraction candy suckers.

Not sure how to help kids with their large amount of Halloween candy? Have them bring in one piece to share. Check out the stations...in action...and set up!
Refraction and reflection

M&M fun and floatable...

Sink and Float...and the beginning of density!

Mass, area, perimeter, properties...

Great for demo of citric acid reactions...fizzy fun!

Candy Chromatography...FYI the kids need patience and directions

Refraction in action!

 I put these stations into a pack! Check candy science at Candy TPT Link.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Climate or Weather...or not?

We started with the concept of weather vs. climate.
I have been working on a unit that takes FOSS and NGSS to figure out how to create a weather unit that works more smoothly.
 I came up with the idea of treating my kiddos as meteorologists or better yet...travel agents.

 They would work on learning all they need to know by planning a trip to a major city in the world. They would use the Weather Channel app on the iPads to look up a different city per table.

 We would use a world map to chart the different temperatures on the map. We would focus on climate and weather and know the difference and then we would finish activities that help us show the difference...on to what we did this last week, and the upcoming week....

We will incorporate the FOSS weather tools  as we go... By the way.... As we continue on our trip many of my second grade kiddos have never been out of our hometown or for that out of the state so we read a really nice book based on "stay"cations.


After our book we discussed Wausau. What can we do in and around our town. With our list, we can do great things with little money. To start our FOSS integration, we measured with a thermometer and learned how to read one. We tested hot and cold water and recorded the temperature in our notebooks. Then when we were done we went to the smartboard and looked at hot spots and cold spots in the US. There is certainly a trend. We can see weather and climate.

This week...clouds. Here is the plan...
What are the three main types of clouds...
Here is a quick video...
Then, a review by making a flip book...
Then, a cloud in a jar...
Finally, a cloud song....The Cloud Song lyrics.

Yea! For 2nd Grade!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rockin' It...Inquiring Minds Want to Know

We now have a name for our inquiry based library corner...the Encorner!

OK let me explain...

The PE, art, library, music...and me the science teacher are called ENCORE...otherwise known as specialists. Prep time classes!

So, encorner works because we are all working together to create inquiry based questions and activities for our kiddos at our school. This corner was a success...using rocks from the 3rd grade unit along with scales, books and our inquiry question..."If you were a geologist what is a question you might want to know about rocks and minerals?"

Here is our Encorner for the next two weeks. Stay tuned we are working on a motion corner...PE, music, art, library, and science...WHOA!
Rock on! We even put our kiddos rock collections into the locked glass case. They feel so proud of their rock finds. 

Here is our I wonder board on the first day...not all about rocks, but they still wonder...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Frog and Toad...Friends

Well, it is our second week of amphibians in our class and the "lily pad" tables worked like a charm. I wanted to keep that idea in mind as I planned for this week's lessons. We will be setting up the classroom tables with QR code stations, an art station, and a life cycle sheet. Here is the new QR code pack...Frog and Toad QR Code Task Cards Pack. Check out the kiddos in action!
Here are some fun Frog and Toad videos to play if, too! Check out the link...Watch, Know, Learn...Toads and Frogs

Weather...or Not?

My kiddos use the FOSS Weather module and I wanted to create a packet that they could use that combined everything they needed to cover as well as assimilate NGSS standards in a fun way...planning a trip! What is the weather and climate like where each group is going? With the help of a travel agent...the teacher, and a meteorologist...them, it is bound to be a great trip.

I have been using this pack to get my 2nd graders a bit more excited about the weather unit, but still using the FOSS lessons to incorporate the creation of the tools and plans they have. I love using the sheets on my smartboard so that we can review what we did and see the vocabulary and pictures when needed. 

My Classroom Teachers love the QR Code Vocabulary Review Game! Our school focus is vocabulary!

I made a packet with all of the sheets for the kids to work on. I will use several of the sheets for review.
I can't wait to post pictures this week of this packet in action!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

This week in Science...

Here are my lesson plans for my sub...

Kinders are learning about their 5 senses. Having them sing our song is so much fun. They know it by heart, just start that bingo song rolling. "I have 5 senses yes I do..." We are doing that through learning about popcorn. We can smell it, hear it, feel it, see it, and taste it. Our kiddos start off by getting a kernel...describe it...then get a popped corn and to the same. They watch me pop a bit of corn kernels, making sure that they keep far away...it is HOT! We each get a cup of popcorn that I already have set for them and then we read the book:

As they finish their popcorn I have a bin ready to get the empty cups...or they play with them. After the book we finish up with our popcorn sheet. I use the same sheet on the board with words already to go. Finally, we line up to dance the popcorn dance...

1st graders are working on reviewing amphibians than taking a test. Popping up my amphibians back on the smartboard for visuals and word help really works well. Types of animals, metamorphosis, what makes an amphibian an amphibian is reviewed. Once, amphibians are covered again, the kiddos take a yes or no amphibian test. I always put the magic words: tadpole, frog, and egg on the board for the write spelling of the words...out of order for the last part of our test. Then our kiddos listen to Yucky Reptiles...

When the book is done we add to what we know about reptiles: they have scales, they lay eggs with rubbery outsides, they lay them in soil usually, they are cold blooded, they have 4 legs or 0 legs. Finally, seat work. They are working on matching pictures with words and gluing it in their science notebooks. They are gluing in a poem (one...two...then your through with glue). They finish up by drawing their favorite reptile in their notebook and writing three facts about reptiles in the notebook.

2nd graders are working on weather. We start off with the words climate and weather on the board. We discuss the definitions using my weather packet I am finishing up on. We then discuss different types of weather and what it is like traveling on a trip to see family. Is the climate the same? Is the weather the same? We watched the video Weather vs. Climate video to get the definitions. It is a fun wrestling video. Different places gets us to see different things such as weather and climate. We followed up by pulling out the Ipad to show them our current temperature and discuss what forecast is using the Weather Channel app. We defined forecast then. I gave them examples of climate (it usually is cold in winter vs. it is snowing) We can predict the weather for tomorrow by looking at what is coming our way. Show them Wausau by using them the radar really helps them see what is happening in our area. I then zoom out to see the hurricanes in the ocean and discuss weather in other parts of the US. I then as them to think about the 4 seasons and as them to then think about the climate based on the weather changes in each season. I send them back to cut out the orange weather and climate sheet. We finish up by cutting and pasting our climate and weather cards in our notebooks. If time we work on the forecast side of the worksheet.

3rd graders will be focusing on rocks and minerals...specifically mock rocks. I set up little buckets on my back table that have what they need to get the job done. We will focus on the three ways we separate our mock rocks: with a pick and picking the parts apart...adding water to a vial and letting the solid separate in layers, and evaporation to see what crystals are present. Pages 4-6 in their FOSS packet allows them to show what they know. Guessing what the ingredients are in the mock rocks is fun, too. Using our hand lenses are fun when we hold up the evaporation dish to the light. We can clearly see after handing out the earth materials pack that the page showing crystal identification shows one type of crystal. We look at that crystal under the microscope and see it is kosher salt. We once again draw what we see.

5th graders are taking a test based on the lifeboat experiments. First, we review the pages in our packet, get the test, then onto the variable activity of the day. Running out of beans has us using noodles to paste on our paper...how? by creating our own glue. The group must come up with a recipe using corn starch, baking soda, salt, and/or flour. They must measure the solid first, record the amounts in metrics not standard unit then add water. They can't add any more solid once they add the water. They can share their ratios of solids on the board as they place the glue on the notecard and then the noodles. What ingredients are the best and worst? What team made the best recipe? Cleaning up takes time, but it is fun to see them work together.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Popcorn Poppin' Freebie and 5 Senses

Today, starts my new week. Kinders are wrapping up their 5 senses with popcorn. I handed out a kernel to each kinder while they entered the room. We reviewed our five senses through our song to Bingo each time we meet...I have five senses yes I do I use them every day-o. Ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands...you get it...they love it. We belt it out now that we have sung it 5 times. We started by watching the popcorn popper, shared our descriptive word, and made a chart. We then felt one popped corn and then got a whole cup to eat...YUM! We finished up with the writing of our words in the popcorn kernels at our seats.
The kernel is hard, pointy, and brown. 

We watched it pop, wondered where the moisture comes from, and learned why popcorn pops!
We filled out the popcorn chart using our 5 senses, then...

finished up with this freebie for you!


The kinders loved eating popcorn and reviewing the 5 senses!

Popcorn Activity Sheet Freebie
Thanks for poppin' on over! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five For Friday...Hop on Over!



Well, I'll be..it is Friday. I am home and I am finally sitting and relaxing. I find that blogging can do that to you.

My kids are all going to a football game while mamma rests and recuperates from a long week of teaching.

 Friday's seem to be my toughest classes and by the end of it all I get a bit crankers. So Doodle Bugs Teaching inspired me to stop on by and share some of the good stuff that this week did bring. 
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My kinder kiddos worked on the sense of feel. They traced words, glued on feelies to their paper, and learned how to work in science stations! Got to love when they get so excited and they do what you ask them to. Good stuff!
Things that are soft...trace the word soft...

Feel how furry this hide is..."Did you kill it, Mrs. Heinrich?"...No kiddos I didn't, I got it from a friend...


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Our garden is at the end. It froze this week...hard. Each day, I have over 10 kids join me to harvest vegetables for home, vegetables for school, and to pull out the plants. This week, we harvested 43 pounds of potatoes for our school lunchroom. FOSS potatoes in a cup...NO WAY! We put the chittings right in the ground and imagine that...we grew big potatoes for the whole school to enjoy!

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 Never know if the kiddos are understanding the lesson...So, this week we worked as a group to make sticky notes about air compression and what they observed! Great ideas in my makeshift syringe. I think they got it!
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As a mom, I have been working since May with 4 other volleyball mothers to orchestrate the volley for the cure volleyball match between the East (best side of the river!) and West High Schools in our town. Countless hours of work by all the mothers and daughters raised over $8000 dollars for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Way to go, Wausau Volleyball! Didn't they look great in pink?

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Finally, I finished a fun activity for my classroom teachers to continue to have our firsties learn about amphibians. We downloaded i-nigma on our classroom Ipads. It is a free QR code reader and I showed each class how to use the Ipads to learn about frogs and toads. The kiddos are really excited to use the Ipads to "play a game"! Here is the resource I gave my teachers!
Frog and Toad QR Code Task Cards Link
The cards come with the question and answer sheet, QR code answers, reading cards, and word cards if you don't have Ipads. Hop on over and check it out!

Happy Friday!