The Science School Yard: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

STEM Nursery Rhyme Time!

I use to have this nursery rhyme record when I was little that I had at my grandma's house. I LOVED that record and I knew every nursery rhyme by heart. Our littles now really do not know them very well. Some do...some don't. Last year, I tried to find a way for my kinders to engineer. So, I started taking simple books to get them excited. We made puppets of the three billy goats...which I am working on now and we made bridges to learn over...under...all that good stuff! They LOVED it.

Throughout the year, I kept trying new stories and rhymes to find ways to use simple supplies to have my littles engineer! They have built stamina and used creativity to make some great zip lines...egg protectors...and learned how to use pulleys!

This summer, I have been working on packs that incorporated all of the ideas that I did this last school year!
STEM Nursery Rhyme Time In Action!
Hey, Diddle, Diddle link...catapults, fiddle engineering, and more!

Humpty Dumpty Link...Egg Protectors, Walls, and more!

Jack and Jill link...Pulleys, Handle Helpers, and more...

Miss Muffet Link...Zip Lines and Tuffets and more!

We've been busy this summer engineering! With simple supplies...and simple steps...your students can be building stamina...creativity...and problem solving skills while connecting with reading, writing, and math! Just in time for back to school! NGSS science standards are linked to each lesson as well!

Beliefs To Actions Blog Hop

Hey...it's almost that time of year...the excitement of a new school year is upon us...many of us have teacher effectiveness goals...others are reflective of the direction you want to head when new kiddos come through you door.

Last year, I was on the teacher effectiveness rotation. After 23 years  of teaching...I had many artifacts that deemed me a proficient teacher, but then again I am not always reflective on paper. It got me thinking...what are my beliefs as a science teacher. I have looked at it through the lens of a classroom teacher up until now...but now I want to take a different approach.

Thanks to my sweet blogger friend Whitney over at With Love From Texas over 40 teachers are also being reflective in a great blog hop. Hope you will join us to challenge you to write down your purpose and beliefs. Teaching purposefully is so important because teaching smarter not harder works for me...

It took me a while to really figure out what is important in my room now that education has changed so much. I also had to put my beliefs into perspective when it comes to me being a K-5 Science teacher.


What about you? Do you have beliefs that you establish and reflect on before the new school year? Have you ever written them down? This is a first for me. It helps me have a purpose and it will drive me to action. I encourage you to write your beliefs down and strive to live by them.

Continue on with the Beliefs to Actions blog hop by visiting my new friend Stephanie Upton over at The Marvelous Middle!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Flash Freebie


I love freebies...as you can tell if you have ever checked out the Science School Yard...I include many freebies to make science easier for you! Love and Laughter in Second Grade is hosting a flash freebie event that starts at 8:30 am EST on Monday August, 27th until August 28th at 10:30 pm EST. Each 1/2 there will be a different product for you to snag! What a great way to add to your back to school ideas!
This pack...will be free...just check out my facebook page for more details on the exact time...and while your there...like my page! This pack is a fun way to make science simple...and fun! Who doesn't love Popsicles!

Pop on over to my TPT STORE for this and more Science Packs to start your school year off right!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scavenger Hunts...Fun Outdoor Field Trips

Always trying to find fun ways to get the kiddos outside! Here are two different scavenger hunt freebies that you can use with your students in the garden or in the school yard! Think of it as your own little Science School Yard!

I love finding ways to get them using math, too!  Here is a great book link as well that I use before we head outside...
Seriously a great book for having kids look closely at nature. This book allows them to practice what they will do outside as they take a closer look around them. With this book...you can also draw a picture after they come in and have them hide different things among their drawings and write just like the author. It is like a Where's Waldo...but all about the great outdoors!

Just click on the link for your scavenger hunt freebies! Scavenger Hunt Freebies...in and out of the garden! Thanks for joining me in my science school yard! Stop back regularly to find more simple science ideas, book links, and freebies!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Simple Machines...Rube Goldberg...and Simple Science

To make science simple...all you need is a bag of goodies per table.

**I added 8 Jenga blocks, a paper towel tube , a little car, a bull's eye, a plastic figure, and a marble.

I asked my students to see if they could use all of the supplies to make the plastic figure land on the bull's eye on the floor. This a simple, yet easy way for your students to work together to problem solve!

I love to show this video to get them thinking...

I share with them what a Rube is... a contraption, invention, device, or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a very simple task in a very complicated way usually with a chain reaction.


There you have it...Simple science! Try it in your school yard! For more ideas, check out my Rube Goldberg Engineering Pack on TPT! Tons of great engineering ideas to make science easier!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Bubble Fun! Simple Science...

Who doesn't love bubbles? They are so much fun and a great way to end the year or begin the year...or any where in between! I love the joy on the kids faces when they make discoveries!

What do you need to keep science simple? Bubbles, bubble wands or just pipe cleaners from the dollar store!

RECIPE time!  I like to mix up Dawn, water, and glycerin to make the perfect bubble solution. I use 1/2 cup Dawn, 4 1/2 cups of water, and 4 tb glycerin. There are recipes with sugar, too. I have glycerin in our insect kit for FOSS.

We start with a bubble anchor chart...what do we know about bubbles...then we think of adjectives to help describe! I use a great freebie from Hollie Griffith on TPT. What a fun presentation for a smartboard! I use every page as an introduction to a new concept to learn. From the shape of a bubble to bubble gum!
I also use my bubble pack to get kiddos thinking and using stations after we investigate the magic of bubbles.

Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles Pack on TPT is where I dip into to help my students with some bubble reflections, observations, and extensions!

I also love to play a little music as they blow bubbles! Here is a fun song for the occasion! Blowing bubbles and popping them=joy!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Simple Science: Dadelions

This is the first in many posts that I will be sharing this year as we all find our niche. Several emails that I received or even blog comments have been about how to add science into the school day. Science is like that dandelion...you can see it as a weed, or a flower. Here, at the Science School Yard I will focus on how to help you make science simple.

Maybe it's just a science trade book and worksheet...maybe it's a book and an easy STEM idea with simple household items...maybe it's an NGSS science concept using the scientific method in an easy, set for you plan.

I know that your scheduled are packed with reading, writing, and math and sometimes science is hard to "fit" in, but if I can help you make it simple...that is what I am here for...

It is the end of the summer school cycle, our garden is in...and now it is time to learn about weeds. During the last week of summer school, my littles (K-1) will be learning about the dandelion.  My students love time lapse...here is a quick one to show the life cycle of the dandelion!

We use a great picture book to help make connections on how seeds can travel once we write our ideas down!


Next, we learned about the life cycle through pictures. We followed it up by going outside to find each stage. The kids love being able to go out into the school yard for their "field" trip. I give them the sheets I have been working on in a dandelion pack. Stay tuned...but here is A SNEAK PEEK FREEBIE.

Hope this small taste of science will get you thinking of how simple it may be to add some science to your school day! And for even more Dandelion fun and activities...check out my Dandy Simple Science Stations...A Dandelion Pack on TPT!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Linking up and a giveaway!

I am linking up for a blog reveal this week...Sasha at Sasha's Creations N' Things is having a  BOGO, Giveaways...and so much more!  Check out her sweet TPT Store Sasha's CreationsSasha's Creations & Things
From July 12- July 16th these wonderful bloggers are helping celebrate...check out their blogs...
Longwing Montessori
Sara Rucker
Engage and Play In PreK
The Berry Hill
Glimmers of Learning
Love Luck and Laughter  
Toad-Ally Exceptional Learners
Enchanting Elementary
My Heart Belongs in Kindergarten
Shakin' it up with Mrs. Shannon
Reflecting Mrs. Liana
Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars
Little Shop of Honors
Pink Polka Dots & Pre-K
The Science School Yard

To celebrate this new beginning for her...I am also holding a sale on Thursday.  Don't forget to enter  the giveaways this week as well as follow us...you could win a free Kindergarten-1st Grade 5 Senses Science Pack  or one of the other great Packs just in time for the new school year!



                            Come celebrate blogging, giveaways, and fun!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tired. But Inspired!

I was a "homie" this week...I didn't get to go to Vegas...I was a bit scared to...I don't know anyone...I am a K-5 science teacher which is very unique it seems...but there were so many people that inspired me! Even though I didn't get to Vegas...I did get some great ideas!

I now have a twitter account due to everyone sharing! @k5sciencegal
I now know how to use Periscope...@k5sciencegal
I now have two tribes! #scienceteachers and #midwesttptstribe     (I even learned what a # is!) 45 and still learning!!!!!

This week alone...I shared one of my packs for a collaboration give-away! I have NEVER collaborated before. I have someone that will edit a product...WOW! How we have connected this week is amazing! I also am so thankful to all the teachers that went to Vegas that gave us a little taste...it is on my 2016 bucket list! Lucky Little Learners and Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd are both true rock stars!
I love these ladies! They are the leaders of the tribes! So helpful!!!

Okay...so I didn't just spend hours on social media....I finally was able to release our little froglet and frog today! They were very helpful in our heredity and traits lesson!


All the time and effort making great products is for them! To inspire...to help them learn life skill while being engaged...as well as help me help my family...TPT has been a blessing in so many ways!

So....through all of the weeds life "grows" your way...I just have to remember the hard work and time put into it...will reap its rewards...can you find the carrots????

Our kiddos pulled out any intruder that wasn't part of the family...I inspired them to pull weeds! It feels good to inspire and to be inspired! I learned that this week!
I want to thank all of my new teacher friends and followers...this week I felt I won the jackpot!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Heredity in the Garden!

I have been working on ways to incorporate NGSS science standards in the garden. School gardens are a great way to get students engaged in a whole new way. Whether it is container gardens or a raised bed, you can find great ways to get kids learning FOSS concepts....NGSS standards and more!

Here is what we did this week...we asked the questin "How are young plants and animals like, but not exactly like their parents? I told them to look at a partner as I  turned over cards that read...
1. What is your length of eyelashes? long or short
2. What kind of eyebrows do you have? bushy or thin
3. What are the shape of your lips? large, medium, or thin
4. Are your earlobes attached at the end or does it hang down?
5. Do you have freckles?
6. Do you have dimples?
7. Do you have a widow's peak?
8. What color are your eyes?
9. What color is your hair?
10. When you do I love you in sign language...is your pinkie the same size as your pointer?

They have so much fun sharing. Then, we talk about how you get those traits. That those attributes get passed down to us by our parents and grandparents and beyond? I then show them a picture of my sister and I. We have different dads, but have very similar features. I let them tell me how we are alike... then let them know we have the same mom, but not dad. I also share the following picture to let them figure out how animals are also similar, but not the same. We share our ideas.
 Then...I let them know that we are going to go out in the garden and see how one type of plant is similar to the same seed that was planted. We look at our pea plants...our pumpkin plants...then we look at the zucchini. They look very similar? Why? They are both part of the squash family. They are related. We try to figure out their differences to tell them apart. I love that the kids are figuring out how to look at leaf structures and tell the plants apart!
Our Pumpkin plants...

Our cucumber plants...

The sheet that we did together! They can understand heredity and traits!
Here is the freebie to go along with what we did this week!
Download Heredity Freebie Here


Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Link Up...Blast From The Past

This week, I am linking up with I Heart Grade 3. I finally have time to spare and linking up is definatley on my to do list...sure is better than the laundry:)

Five hears ago...I was 40...Yikes. I was still teaching 5th grade at another elementary school in our city. Now...I have been teaching K-5 science at the biggest elementary school in our district with over 430 kiddos! I wouldn't give it up for a minute. I love what I do! I did 5 years ago...but I saw changes coming and wanted to make a switch...after 18 years of teaching at that time was getting to me a bit. I lost a bit of my creativity.

Five years ago...I had all of my children with me under one roof! My kiddos were 15, 13, 10, and 7. That sounds so little. Now, I have two in college this year. Time flies when you think about 5 years going by!

I was looking for pictures that I had from 5 years ago...wow...the changes in five years...
Without braces...

With braces...
My high school graduate....college bound!
Five years ago...I didn't know what a blog was, never knew TPT existed...and now I am thankful each month when I can now help my kids in any way I can as they go to college! What a blessing linking up with teachers have been!

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is out there...sometimes I wonder how to keep up with all these "new" way of connecting and creating...but I do know it has made me a better teacher...making packs for my students and now for other people has helped me find that creativity and then some!

Peas In the Garden and a Freebie

It is pea picking time in the school garden! We first planted our peas the first week of May here in Wisconsin! We love to make our connections in science with reading and social studies! Here at Thomas Jefferson each year, we use the book First Peas to the Table that connects the real life of Thomas Jefferson and his pea competition he had with his neighbors. He usually lost, but what a great way for our kiddos to make connections with history! Although the peas are picked in summer...and our planters don't reap the benefits...our summer learners get to and they are very willing to help honor the winners of our competition!


Here is are the winning classes plants...and a picture of a taste tester! Peas in a garden are just like sugar! Pods and all! I also included the sheet we use to share our observations with the planters of the peas so they have record of our observations! We do a tally of the peas we count before we pick! The winners this year had over 28 peas growing on the plant in one week's time!
28 peas that grew in one week...last week they were babies and flowers!
So what do you think of the peas?  Sugar? Yes...sugar!

First Peas To The Table Freebie!

Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July SALE-abration!

It sure is nice to have some time off and rejuvenate before we have to think about heading back to school! We are so fortunate to have a place "up north" here in Wisconsin! Check out a few ways we are celebrating time off together!
Duchess our Weimerhaner relaxing on the boat!

My daughter even did my nails for the 4th!

We enjoyed Happier Hour at T-Bell for fun!
And the boys were goofing off on the dock!
What a great way to have some time together as a family! Relaxing...playing...eating...enjoying the company!
To celebrate the 4th of July...I am throwing a sale! 


Come Join the sale! Stop by THE TPT Science School Yard Store for science resources and more!