The Science School Yard: September 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Teaching Weather and Climate With M&M's

Some of my most challenging students are in second grade right now. With that being said...I have a very dry weather unit I need to teach. Granted FOSS has some great hands-on activities, but that only lasts so long and I have an hour with 5 different second grade classrooms!

I stumbled upon an idea for how to use M&M's to teach weather and climate. I created my own sheet and focused on primary vocabulary words...meteorologist...forecast...weather...and climate. I added assessments of the key vocabulary and a little art project!
Forecasting the weather can be fun! Connecting it with math is even better!

I love how the kids get so excited! The understanding of the vocabulary is spot on! Not going to lie...candy sure helps them make connections!
Understanding Climate vs. Weather can be fun! Check out this new pack on TPT!
Just a few of my favorites before we put them into a book for their classroom!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wooly Willy Magnet Activity

This week, we are reviewing the magnet portion of our FOSS unit. We took a quick quiz and then we get to learn with iron filings. What if you took the same old lesson and twisted it so that you could use a toy to teach the same thing..."How do iron filings react with iron or steel?" This isn't just your paper plate inside a baggie with filings...take a look!

A question was posed...can iron filings move with a temporary magnet? Well...let's find out!!! We could see induced magnetism! Our two vocabulary words from last week! Awesome connections!

Our own Wooly Willy toys were a real hit! We learned the same content, but in a fun way! Simple Science in action!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Apple Time in Science Class!

Our school is getting bigger next year. We are adding sections of Pre-K and 4 other classrooms onto our existing school building. We also purchases some land that will be used for a road for a new pick up system. The good thing is...we have five apple trees to use that is on the newly purchased land! The sad news...the trees will be cut down this year to make room for the road.


I am all for opportunities! I asked if I could take as many kids as I could over to the next lot to use the apple trees as a learning tool! My principal said yes! All Kindergartners and first graders have been able to learn about apples this week. I started off with some great freebies from TPT, but I needed to make it my own.

 I have one hour to teach a ton! I want every moment to count. My kinders are learning about the five senses....so I needed to get them to write or draw very simply!

 I want them all to do a taste test. I want them to all find treasures for our "treasure tray!"  This was a great idea to have the little put the fun things they found on the ground in one place and then share it all together inside!


Here are the sheets that I redid to work for my kiddos! Here is are the apple freebies for you!



I hope these ideas are "apple"ing to you! I also hope it helps you see how science can be simple! Grab a bag of apples...print a sheet...read a great book like Apples by Gail Gibbons...and you are all set to go! Make moments any time you can! ( I even snuck some new vocabulary in the mix...tart is a fun word to comprehend...just give them a Granny Smith...!)

Here is the whole Apple FREEBIE pack ready for you to download with even more activities!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Digging For Gold In Science

Funny thing is...I was a social studies minor. I never really had a great science teacher to get me excited about science. So...when I can take a social studies topic and combine it with a science I am golden! Here is an idea for your school garden...

Last year, my second graders planted potatoes. Little did they know they would be digging for gold...Yukon Gold to be exact. This little lesson is a great way to teach the gold rush, measurement,  and Earth Materials. Here is the Freebie Link For You!!

First...I had the kiddos come in and get them excited about digging for gold. I put the book Gold Rush on Epic books up on the Smartboard. I shared the book and compared what they would be doing outside. When the story was done I had each student pick a card: either I will get to California by boat or I will get to California by boat. They found a partner with the same card. (Just a fun way to find a new partner....) The boaters got to pick a tool at the mercantile...then they were off to stake their claim (using spoons with their names on them as their stakes.) Each spot was in a grid pattern.
Marking a grid in the potato patch...staking a claim...and digging for gold!
The students had a set time to dig for gold. The boaters got three extra minutes in the garden...finally the covered wagon crew. When they found gold...it was magic!
Look at that gold! This is a great way to start our FOSS Earth Materials unit! Digging in the Earth to find rocks and minerals!
Next, we needed to see who had the "mother lode"! We spend two weeks learning how to use a scale and measure in grams. Once again using a garden helps tie in social studies, science, and math!
Using a scale to measure how much each prospector was able to find was a great connection to math! 
Next, it is time to record our weights on our graph. Keeping record allows us to see which group out of 4 classes doing this activity actually hauls in the "mother lode". You can see some kiddos in the background even weighing their potatoes again!

How exciting for the kids to reap the benefits of what they planted in second grade in a great lesson about history!

Prep: gridding a potato patch, getting spoons ready with markers, setting out a mercantile with tools, printing sheets and cards up, letting them dig, having them measure, then reflecting on learning. A highly productive lesson to teach science...social studies...and math! I love that we could use our school garden in such a successful way. These potatoes will be our September Harvest of The Month!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Scoop

Good Morning Sunday! I have a day to finally take a breath and relax...but not for long! Thanks to some wonderful teachers over at the Teaching Trio I can share my Sunday Scoop!

Here is the Scoop of my week to come...Little planning...a little game watching....a little birthday celebrating!

It's that time of year when my kids start thinking Christmas. Finding ways to cut back to save a little extra is my goal this month. Any great cutting costs ideas out there?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Going to the Beach and Paris in Science

I have been doing a lot of reading about how to get kids excited about your teaching. The goal is to create rich experiences for them and opportunities to go on an adventure in and out of school. Teaching FOSS kits for science doesn't always lend itself to that, but this year my goal is to plan "stay"cations for my students. I want to provide opportunities to make fun connections with what we are learning in science. Our first graders are learning about jobs they could have that deal with animals. We are building a zoo, learning about taxidermy, and later on marine biology! We are connecting our lessons to adventures we can have using what we can get our hands on! Next week, we are going gold prospecting in our school garden...digging up our potatoes. This allows us to connect science with social studies!  A majority of my kiddos don't get to go anywhere outside of our town...so why not set the mood in our room and around our school!
Students review what a mammal is... (this pack is coming soon!)
We then get to meet Foxy Fox. Using a real mammal really gets them seeing the characteristics! It is also a great incentive. Sheet first...then pet the fox!
This week...my third graders are going to the beach! Beach Boy music in the background...sand and shells everywhere. Why? To practice measurement sillies!
This is from my measurement stations found in MY STORE ON TPT.


My second graders are going to Paris, France! With french cafe music in the background...pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the smartboard...we are learning science! You wonder how? We are learning about Air. Gosh!
I found this great book on EPIC books called Pierre In The Air. It all started there! We are using the FOSS air lesson on parachutes with no books in our library about that. I found this book and Voila! A french scene to set the mood! I even researched how to speak with a french accent on you tube to read the story! After building a parachute...getting on a plane...and traveling outside to Paris...we learned about air resistance. Check it out! The kids loved the fun way we learned about air and it seemed to stick better when we reflected!
Testing our homemade FOSS parachutes! 
The best is saved for last...the real parachute and a fun color swap game! 
Now...what can you do to make science an adventure? What can you do to make science simple and yet...fun! Let me hear what you do to tie in real world experiences!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Currently September

Last month, I challenged myself to give teacher treats in mailboxes because of all the currently ideas in August. I did alright so far! I gave a first day back treat...and next week I am making cookies for the teachers!

Currently...though...I am thanking Farley...over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for hosting Currently!
Listening: I was always at school so late. I did after school programs for years, but this year I need to find the time for myself and find some peace and calm in my life. I have been pretty good so far this week. I have been home 1/2 an hour after school each day! Not bad!

Loving: I get to teach science to all the kiddos at my school. I love that I don't have to do AIMS WEB, progress monitoring daily...weekly...I don't have to worry about a new reading curriculum following a new math curriculum last year. I don't have to worry about cum folders and conferencing with all the families each quarter...the list goes on! I get to create hands-on lessons for kids who need to be active and moving! I work with a great team and I feel very blessed!

Thinking: How hard it is to send another child off to college! My car is packed to the brim with her college necessities and more! She will do great, I just know it, but it is hard to say good bye! Now...I have to dishes again. Yuck!

Wanting: I really want the best for everyone that is in education...getting an education...going to school! None of it has been easy lately! Going back to school reminded me how much goes into each and every lesson that I plan...and that someone is planning for my children! I wish everyone well. Today, was excessively hard, our littles aren't quite ready for an hour of science. Soon, though...
Here is my open house station to get the kids coming to visit me!

Needing: I need to finish an animal classification unit for next week, not to mention a few projects I started during break. I have to be in the right frame of mind, so they are almost done, but not quite. My goal is by the end of September to have them all complete!

3 Goals: I loved setting the goal last month so that I can make my coworkers smile! I really want to keep placing fun treats and treasures in their boxes. I also want to make sure that even when things seem kind of yucky...which it can be....I want to remain positive ( and out of the office). Lastly, I want to make sure that I am posting to instagram one great thing that happened per day #happyclassrooms is a great idea! 
I CAN statements will be hung on display for the different grade levels. #happyclassrooms!

Happy September, Everyone! Enjoy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Measuring Up The First Day Back!

What a great first day of school. Working with every Kindergarten-fifth grader in our school is amazing. It may be a bit of juggling as I transition from a 5th grade class that is followed right away...not a minute between by a first grade, but I am up for it! Today, was called hit the ground running! Because I know all of them!!!! I can get started with not too much review!

My fourth graders worked on things that help our learning STICK! Then we worked right into magnets! See the transition! We did a KWL followed by them getting to just explore and play!
I love watching them figure out the balls...the magnet chips, and the magnets. I then add the vocabulary words attract and repel on the board. I ask them to show and tell their team what each word means. It is amazing that each student can show what they know! I then gave them a bag of items to test. This year...we are doing FOUR OUT THE DOOR! They must show me what they give themselves as a self assessment on my rubrics with four being the best! I have included the rubrics for you. One is for content...one is for writing, one is for analyzing, and the last is for effort.

                           Science Rubrics Download...FREEBIE


We use FOSS so we did a quick FOSS sheet and then I read a book from EPIC books about magnets! We learned about Iron and Steele and how they attract things that are magnetic! Great quick read and a free sight for teachers!

I also taught my firsties about scientists tools! The kiddos loved the stations! I had them using scales, thermometers, rulers, and timers! The hands on activities helped my little ones get through a whole hour with not too much fuss!
Third graders are also doing similar stations as they learn the metric system! Get them up and moving...get them working as a team! Get them self-assessing! Science=Success!

Happy Back to School! Happy Classrooms!