The Science School Yard: 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Three Bears Rock!

So after four years of teaching the different names for the different sizes of rocks...I finally...finally figured out a better way to teach the three major rocks in our lesson...Pebbles...Gravel...Sand.

Why not take a story that they know...the Three Bears and make it add up! We have three different sized screens...A papa bear screen...a mama bear screen...and a baby bear screen! I retold the kiddos the story of the bears, but I added that Goldilocks also took their rock collection they had from a trip to the beach and mixed up all of their treasures! Papa Bear's Pebbles, both large and small are mixed up with Mama Bear's gravel, both large and small...and you know how Baby Bear just loves playing in the sand and now his sand he brought back from the beach is now all mixed up!


What should they do? Can we help? Let's take Papa Bear's BIG Screen and use it to separate his pebbles...and the medium sized screen to separate Mama Bear's gravel and then the little screen to separate the little gravel from Baby Bear's sand!

I model it for them...then we play a matching game with the pictures of the outcome I want and the word cards...miraculously they matched them up almost immediately!

Who would have thunk?


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Unwrapping Holiday Ideas Linky: STEM STYLE


The kids are all nestled all soundly in bed...while visions of really excited students go around in YOUR head. Kids love to be actively engaged! I know that can be hard when it gets cold outside or you are needing to test your students, or that our kiddos know there is a break in sight...

Focus On Fifth...a team of teachers devoted to 5th grade...(a grade I taught for over 15 years, until I switched to K-5 science) are hosting a great link up to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas! Here is how we can celebrate along with them...whether you teach 5th or like me anything in between, here are great ideas for the holidays!

A great way to support academics, yet unwrap some holiday fun,  is to read a great book that can tie in Science Stations...STEM engineering fun...or even team building reading...writing...science activities! Let's get started!!!


Here are some easy STEM steps to unwrap some holiday fun:
1. Pick a great picture book to start discussion. For my Penguin stations I like to use...

I use this book because it has great facts about Penguins and I can then go into an anchor chart that allows me to discuss what they would need if they lived where penguins did...and then what we would need if we were penguins. It leads into many STEM station ideas. I also to unwrap some fun with the book...
2. Find a transition with your book as to why students are engineering. This is a fun way to add some science adventure into your day! It is great for students to be themselves...and work as a team! Great transition into engineering when Tacky and his penguin pals can work together, too!

3. Using the scientific process is key to making another key transition...making connections through writing. For each station that  my students participate in...we follow up by drawing... reflecting... modifying...and sharing our ideas with the class(which are included for each station in the packs!

If you want to unwrap some Gingerbread fun...cookie decorating...gingerbread house making...reading and writing...and STEM science fun...Here are some more great ideas for before and after Christmas break!

Again...First, unwrap a great book!
Second...make connections....and predictions...plan...then create...


Finally...reflect...modify...and then share! And repeat with another great STEM station!


Here are some great STEM products or what I like to call Teacher's Little Helpers to get you through the holiday season and beyond...


STEM Penguin Stations on TPT

STEM Christmas Stations on TPT

Gingerbread STEM Station Pack on TPT

Christmas Science Stations on TPT



 STEM Winter/Christmas Stations
STEM Winter/Christmas Stations for Littles on TPT
Add some holiday cheer into your classroom day by unwrapping more great ideas over at...

Happy Holidays from the Science School Yard!




Friday, December 4, 2015

Currently...December!

 What great things await this month. It's time for a bit of a break (two weeks)...time to think about Christmas present lists(all those odds and ends!) ...time for planning for a Christmas birthday...yes my second child was born on Christmas...we opened presents first then went to the hospital...Best Christmas present I ever got!!!

Thanks again to Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for hosting this blog linky! I am a bit late to the party...but I finally made it!



My son and I are laying around this evening...he is reading his book and I am finally getting to the December Currently!

We just came back from the Christmas Parade and an annual Party held by friends. Always nice to catch up. It was the warmest night that I can remember in December...32 degrees! You could actually enjoy the outdoors!

I ordered almost everything online this year! Everyday things are arriving! I have to start wrapping it soon...maybe this weekend. It is one of my least favorite things to do. I am really bad at it.

Every year for my daughter's birthday, we play birthday or Christmas Bingo. I get Dollar Store gifts...gift cards...and gag gifts to add to the center of the room. When you win...you yell HoHoHo and then pick a gift! It is one of our favorite traditions...besides finding the pickle!

We have two more weeks and then vacation...so I am setting up for our Christmas STEM week next week! The kids are learning about solids and liquids in 2nd grade so we are making a toy for Santa as if we are elves! In first grade we are working on the Gingerbread Man...taking a break from our rock unit...In 5th grade we are working on Kitchen Chemistry...Snowman style...making polymer snowmen!  Poor 4th Grade...they have to continue working on the Human Body unit! 3rd grade is doing water and the Gingerbread Baby...Kindergarten...those cuties are integrating their reading series with a lesson on magnets...and then next week...Gingerbread Man traps and gumdrop towers!

We use a f aux tree...I am allergic to real ones. I take it out of the box...and presto...it is ready to go! I can't wait until my whole family is together! The countdown is on...21 days until Christmas!

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A+ Images: Free Blogger T-shirts for Teachers!

Have you heard of TeacherShirts.com by A+ Images

A few weeks ago I heard about how I could get a custom teacher blogger shirt for FREE! I love freebies, and signed up for a blogger meet up in October...what a perfect way to share who I am...and my little blog in the middle of Wisconsin. I took advantage of their limited time offer and uploaded my logo on their easy to use online design tool. Within minutes I had created my own custom blog t-shirt! They had tons of t-shirt colors to choose from, and I love how perfect the color turned out! The material and quality of their t-shirts are excellent! I washed my t-shirt and it still looks great...no fading or shrinking!

A+ Images is a family owned business located in Indianapolis, IN. I love the fact that they are family owned, and anyone purchasing their products are helping support a family rather than a large corporation. My husband is a PE teacher and coach and routinely needs t-shirts for school. I can't wait to find a way to give back to a great business that sees what we do as valuable! 

You can purchase their ready made designs or create and upload your own. They can even add "bling" to your shirt using rhinestones, or if you prefer they can do custom embroidery. They are super easy and friendly to work with, and they ship fast! While on their website, I noticed so many awesome teacher t-shirts! I'll definitely buy from this company in the future.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Christmas and Winter STEM Wishlist

What an exciting time of year. It is time to add some items to your Christmas Wish list! For two days TPT is holding a sale for you to save big this holiday season! This means a SITEWIDE SALE on Monday and Tuesday! These amazing sales don't happen very often, so it's no surprise that we all ge a little excited when it does happen! For a great reason...EVERYTHING in my store is 28% off! Don't forget to use the code SMILE at checkout!


The kids are ready for ways to add joy and holiday cheer to your classroom...but keep the academics alive! Why not try some great STEM activities to do just that!

 Why not add some simple science activities that get your students actively engaged. Here is how to  make STEM simple by easy activities with simple materials...

Kids love penguins! How about creating a penguin ice skating rink...a penguin playground...or marshmallow tower for penguin????

STEM Penguin Winter Antics Pack on TPT
Quick and easy STEM stations such as gumdrop chimney...treats for Santa table...and packaging presents...

STEM Christmas Stations on TPT

Another pack I use each year with my 5th graders is the Holiday Science pack filled with activities that include mixtures and solutions because that is the FOSS unit I am working on. I try to keep up with my road map by adding some activities that can really fit both needs!

If your looking for other ways to continue the winter...Christmas...holiday science scene...I also gave my teachers the Gingerbread STEM Pack which I love to do with my students after Christmas because it breaks up the winter blahs!  Try this quick and easy STEM pack...

My new pack I made last year for my classroom teachers that incorporates reading, writing, math, and science really incorporates each letter in S...T...E...M! Winter/Christmas STEM Stations that include candy...cookies...mittens and more!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Am Thankful For...Freebie!

I am so very thankful for my blogging friends...visitors...and anyone else who pops on by my site! I am appreciative that you are here and that you stop by to see what I am doing in my science school yard with my 400 kiddos! To thank you for being here...I have posted a small freebie that my second graders were working on as they finished the acorn trees and mazes. They couldn't get enough of the fun hands on STEM activities. Check out the  pictures of their hideouts! You can have fun with this one this week as we get closer to Thanksgiving.
Can the turkey hide in here???

Maybe a scary sign will deter the hunters...

Bars might keep them out!

Here is what to do...
1. Pick a fun Turkey Trouble story where poor turkey might be dinner...
2. Set out materials for them to get or have them ready at the tables...
3. Let them build their own little turkey hide out to help the turkey not be dinner!
4. Place the paper turkey inside the hideout and then...
5. Let the kids share their ideas and reflect with their sheets.

A little writing...a little reading...a little science and engineering! If you like this freebie...take a look at my STEM stations on TPT.

Download your freebie station HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! I am thankful for you!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Turkey and Billy Goat Science

 This week, we started to use my STEM Fall Into Thanksgiving Pack. We have finished up our first units for FOSS at many grade levels and it is sure fun to take a STEM break!

I love the way that the book Run, Turkey, Run! fits our STEM activity of making a maze. We used the story map to create scenery along the way...You could always use another turkey book's story line to help your engineers...You can find the TPT STEM Fall Into Thanksgiving Pack Here!

Here are some of their amazing turkey runs!
They loved working together as a team to create the runs and the scenery, but most of all to play with the maze!
What a great Fall STEM station!


Their teacher even had fun!

Their finished products! 
In Kindergarten...we finished up another positional word STEM activity with the Three Billy Goats Gruff! There is a great version of this story to read on EPIC books that is a nice positive twist! It goes along well with the positive twist on Miss Muffet we use with the song on youtube!
This version is great...the troll doesn't want to "have them for dinner"...He wants to have them over for dinner!
  Take a look at the kindergarten bridges and puppets that they use to retell the story! Science and language arts can go hand in hand!
We work with retelling word cards...up...across...over...under...next to...

We draw and discuss what a bridge needs in order to get across...

We then let our kinders play with the puppets to reenact the story line!
I love to see them be creative and play and science can do that! 
STEM Three Billy Goats Gruff Pack
   Next week...boats to go under the bridge! They are very excited!