The Science School Yard: December 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year...New Paths

As a farm to school site, I have been truly blessed to be watch so many things grow....I growing far more than I could ever imagine. Two years ago, I was asked around this time if I wanted to use a farm to school grant that was just "sitting there". It was my first year in science after 20 years in the regular ed classroom... and I was growing as a science teacher...why not take the grant.

The first year...magic happened. I bought some worms...taught about vermicomposting...planted some seeds with all 400 students...dug some holes...laid some raised beds...and the rest is history. Magic seeds I say! Magic seeds.

 It changed my life...really. I learned to plant a garden right along with my students. The first year, we planted over 15 beds...that number grew to include over 25 this year and over 20 types of herbs, not to mention a strawberry patch. This next year...even more...and other projects to boot!

Each new year...2015...I start formulating in my mind what we want to accomplish for the new garden season. I get really excited...I even bought seeds today...really. Peas, arugula, and spinach. Seeds for our new winter growing season of microgreens and even chia pets with the art teacher! Stay tuned.


Onto my new path...this year, I am presenting at the Farm to School Summit for the state of Wisconsin. I just finished my presentation and am really excited to share how amazing planting a seed can be for students and their teachers. I am including the presentation for you to see and maybe get growing yourself... Let me know what you think...any feedback would be appreciated. To new adventures in the new year!

            Farm To School Presentation

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Science: Inquiry Based Learning...Rock ON!

Our new inquiry activity in the library based on what we are doing in science and I love how excited the kids are. This time, we focused on the rock cycle and shells! Check out our corner...
I wonder...the students are writing I wonders, but not based on rocks or shells...so we are reteaching:)

If you were a geologist, what question would you ask about these rocks? Inside the binder, we had some great questions that we will make into a book for the library!

Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Extensions



Don't get me wrong...I like FOSS. I really do. It helps with an organized lesson plan and after 19 years of FOSS in our district, we have added a few updates of our own...

Whether it be lapbooks...my new favorite for my upper grades 2nd-5th grades to study their FOSS concepts, but I have firsties for an hour isn't always fun filled with just the FOSS kit. Pebbles, Sand, and Silt is one that could...in my book use a few fun fillers. I am using this unit now...

So...perfect timing to making some fun fillers! Here is what it is filled with...
Pebbles, Sand, and Silt FOSS extra sheets that go with lessons...

And extensions that are just plain fun...fossils, volcanoes, and dinosaurs!

This is how we prep for our different rock size vocabulary. We make it a game. I take pictures of the sorted rocks, cover the word cards with stickies, then have the kids see if they can match the correct word with the different rock pictures. It really is a fin way to learn their vocabulary. 
Now...it's time to sort. We have the papa bear screen...then the mama bear screen...finished with the baby bear screen. Another fun...and easy way for the kiddos to remember which screen to use...when.

Rock on...FOSS followers!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

School Traditions

I read the same version of the Gingerbread Man this year as I did last year. I started each grade level off today by talking about what a tradition is and the importance of them. I shared my family traditions both holiday and not. I get to see each grade level...each year...so over 410 kiddos are stuck with me for their whole schooling...fortunately for them, I am cool!

I love that I do Gingerbread Man traps both in Kindergarten and first grade. Conceptually, that one year really changes their ability to think outside the box. They have one more year of schema and one more year of engineering know how. I think it is so important to see that as a teacher...that we set the groundwork for someone else at times. That as they add more information to their brains, some of it sticks. Sometimes you don't even get to see it!  Take a look at both kindergarten traps vs. first grade traps....


"Look...he'll go in here"...kinders

"He will walk in here and not get out"...kinders


"He will take the path and as he steps on the one step, he will fall through"...first grade

"This is in a tree and will lower on the gingerbread man"...first grade

I just love to see the development...traditions are important in their growth as a learner. This evidence is so amazing to see.

Solving Solutes vs. Solvents!

A solution is a type of mixture that is homogeneous...same throughout...

It is the best mixture between two or more substances...can be separated...

Solutions are made up of a solute and a solvent. Solvent does the dissolving the solute is lesser it is the substance gets dissolved... Let's sing it kids...

Great way to start the best way to remember vocabulary...let's sing and take notes!

Here is a link to a sheet I made reviewing the song and an experiment separating a mixture with a screen, filter, and evaporation.  FOSS friendly!  Mixtures and Solutions Sheet. Another FREEBIE for you!
This is a great way to remember solute...solvent...the three ways we separate a mixture...screen...filter...evaporation. FOSS review for you! And a song to wrap it all up in a bow!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gingerbread Science K-5

Who doesn't love the story of the gingerbread man? I even love gingerbread! This seems to be the week for a lot of different classrooms tying that sassy little runaway into our classrooms. I am one of those teachers.
I personally love to read the story and change my voice. So, this is the version I have been using...
The Gingerbread Man

Here is the plan...

Kinders= gingerbread sink and float
1st graders= Build a trap to catch the Gingerbread man
2nd graders= Gingerbread Solids and Liquids
3rd graders= Gingerbread Water Lesson...Engineering a Boat
4th graders= Gingerbread bone connections
5th graders= Christmas Stations


This is my newest addition to my week before Christmas fun! I am using this with my 3rd graders!

I also am using this kit with my classroom teachers. I gave them a copy that they could use...K-2. 

Finally, I am using with my 5th graders...
Check them out at my TPT Science School Yard Store! Hope your holiday is sweet! Don't forget to check out my Gingerbread FREEBIE link here!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Scoop...Gingerbread!

We have one more week of school...people. One more and then...TWO WEEKS OFF! That...my friends is much needed!  This week...in the Science School Yard...Gingerbread! Almost each grade level in some capacity.

Kinders= gingerbread sink and float
1st graders= Build a trap to catch the Gingerbread man
2nd graders= Gingerbread Solids and Liquids
3rd graders= Gingerbread Water Lesson...Engineering a Boat
4th graders= Gingerbread bone connections
5th graders= Christmas Stations

So here's the scoop... with a fun linky with the Teaching Trio.

I am using my Gingerbread Post FREEBIE,  Gingerbread STEM Pack and Christmas Holiday StationsWinter/Christmas Stations for all of my classes. So here is the scoop...I am so glad for TPT it has made me more creative and my kids love science! HOHOHO...Merry Christmas...blogger friends.

Christmas Conversation

I am linking up with Babbling Abby over at the Inspired Apple to have a little Christmas Conversation!


How fun to have a little conversation among blogging friends...
Happy Holidays, Bloggers! I hope your Christmas is filled with family, fun, and peace!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Engineering Connections Towers and Coasters

This week, I used two great picture books to tie in science and engineering...and presto...bammo...
two new freebies for you! I read the book, set the mood and tone of the project...even went on a coaster ride with kiddos...both projects were FAB...U...LOUS! Check out my Science School Yard TPT Store for both sets today!

In the meantime...check them out in action!
They are on a roller coaster ride...once done they saw the ride as a bystander...one little asked..."Is that us on there?"
Roller coasters go up, down, fast, and change directions!


Our art teacher made these last week and we both read the story! What a cool connection!

The sheet in action.
Noodle Towers....

Paper Towers...

Teamwork...

Tall Towers!!!

FOSS...Radiology and Medical School!

Our fourth graders are learning the human body unit and it is lesson two...the bone puzzle. This can be hmmmm how do I put it....not quite engaging enough or long enough for an hour...

So....let's continue to encourage all of kiddos to pursue college...maybe a radiology technician, CNA, RA, doctor...Why is it so important for people to know their bones? What if a doctor wasn't sure what bone was where? Or if a family member needed help figuring out what was broken? If someone didn't know their femur from their humerus...well misdiagnosis.

One of the many X-rays we used to look at the bones of the body...carpels, metacarpals, ulna, radius...  
Working on the bone puzzle...

The finished skeletal system! 

Check out how we started our lesson...with Xrays! We each got an X-ray and the kiddos used their skeletal bone sheet to figure out what they were looking at.

Sometimes...it was a real puzzle...in goes the FOSS puzzle activity. We followed up with...a small skeletal system cutout for us to label on the back and study from.

Skeleton Pattern for Kids

Skeletal System and Bone links, games, and more...

Great Learn the Skeletal System Game

Hope you enjoy the "bone"us activities, videos, and links!




Saturday, December 6, 2014

HoHoHoliday Fun

I am planning away for the next week of science lessons and into the last week of school before Christmas Break!!!!!

I am thinking a little holly and a bit of jolly should be in the works...

 Last year, I had my 4th and 5th graders working on my Christmas Holiday Science Pack ! I can't wait for the fun to begin. They love science stations and in one hour they seem to be able to get to each one!

I also made a pack for my littles to have fun with in science and in their classrooms!


You can find  Winter/ Christmas Stations at my TPT store! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

So Predictable...Those Kinders

Our kinders are working on setting up experiments to test their predictions...so here is there little ditty...to the song High Ho The Dairy-O. A prediction is a guess, a prediction is a guess...high ho the dairy-o A prediction is a guess.

They LOVED it. We predicted where our car would land on a yardstick. Our partner marked the spot and we tried to "push" the car to the spot. Then we predicted if a big hill would make our car go faster. We marked our graph with a sticky tab, then I demonstrated big hills and small hills. We saw the outcome. Then...the kinder kiddos got to set up the same experiment. The finished with a race between the partners...predict who will go farther...Science is FUN!


Predicting where the car will be pushed reinforces number recognition!

Reviewing push and pull through experimentation!
A big hill makes our cars go farther!!!!

I use the sheets for the kiddos from my Force and Motion Pack!

Check out this fun link for push and pull review...