The Science School Yard: February 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leaping Into...the Sunday Scoop

It is Sunday again...time for reflections...time for goals and planning! I was so very lucky to have my second daughter and her boyfriend home for the weekend! With that being said...sometimes life gets a bit behind, but I am all set for the week and I have my goals in check! So here is my Sunday Scoop...

Alright...so I have been really trying to learn some new things...I think you can teach an old dog new tricks...I am trying to learn how to follow periscope and to follow people. I have learned a lot from some really great teachers! So, I have been goal setting better and trying to use my time more wisely at home and at school. Even though I love to talk a bit in the morning...I am really trying to use that time better for setting up for things like my fifth grade kitchen chemistry activities that I need to prepare for!

I also need to finish some projects that I started a while back...those three little kittens and Jack and his beans are waiting for me and planting time is around the corner so I really better get "growing"...I mean going!

I kept up with laundry this week...I know how we add that to our to do list, but I am all good! I am going to give vlogging a whirl soon. That means my blog posts will get a video explanation and a tour of the lesson so that you can make science simple, too! Stay tuned! Until then...
I am having a little Leap Day Sale over at my Science School Yard TPT Store!

Happy Leap Day, tomorrow. I am hopping on over to the coffee shop tomorrow to enjoy some tea with my coffee drinking friend! Here is the poster that has inspired my leap day efforts...
Inline image 2

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sunny Days in Winter

My little kinder buddies are learning about Space in our next unit. It seems pretty far fetched for them to understand, but I think they kind of get it!

Let's pretend that our nose is your hometown. We use a big ball to represent the sun!

Next, we lean toward the sun and we check out where our nose is...Summer time in your hometown!

Now, we straighten up...Fall! Followed by leaning way back...Winter! Finally, Spring is straight up and down again!

We discuss the seasons and why it is cold now in Wisconsin. I let them figure it out by redoing our leaning in and out!

Now, we have to learn day and night! That sun is still in the middle of our circle. We jump our noses to the outside of the circle. Jumping is so much fun! Then we jump back to face the yellow ball! Day and night. We now add waking up...when we eat...when we go home...when we sleep. Again, they seem to get it!

I love EPIC books! I use their Sun book to project and read. We then add what we learned to our anchor chart!


Finally, our half hour finishes with a quick art project with chalk and a tissue and a sentence to trace...The sun is a star! Next week...we will connect the sun to the weather and seasons. NGSS standards for kindergarten focus on
We always wrap up with this fun video...


Keep warm my friends! It sure is nice when the sun peeks its way out of the clouds in winter in Wisconsin...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time For Oobleck!

It is almost time for Read Across America! Time for reading...and science! Time for Oobleck! This simple science activity is sure to get them excited about both! I am so thrilled to share one of my favorite lessons that works perfectly with my FOSS Solids and Liquids Unit. We spend a lot of time trying to add engaging activities to our school day and  this one seems to really surprise and amaze my students. The book Oobleck is a fun Dr. Suess book that links science into your classroom!

Fun with Non-Newtonian Fluids!


Here is my hour long lesson plan...
1. We start with the characteristics of a solid and a liquid
2. I then share with them that today we are going to learn about something that acts like a liquid and a solid. I then share with them it is all because of King Derwin of Didd. I then share with them the book. It is a long book...but reading it and changing your voice keeps them engaged!
3. We then use the the Oobleck sheet that has them see how Oobleck acts...Is it a solid or liquid?
4. We continue our experiments with five objects that either sink or stay on the top. The students are amazed as to how it acts.
5. We wrap up by writing the recipe for Oobleck and understand a non-Newtonian fluid by filling in the blanks.
6. I they get done early I have them add to our classroom graph...Do You Like Oobleck?

 I have each table set up before they come in and they meet me at the carpet for the intro and book. This helps when my time is limited...
You can find my OOBLECK TPT Pack Here!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Scoop

Oh Happy Day! I got to sleep in! No volleyball tournament, but a basketball tournament that was in town and my son didn't have to play until 12:30! It is Sunday...time to plan out the week! Here is the Sunday Scoop!


Here is my Sunday Scoop!

 It is an exciting week for STEM teachers! It is National Engineers Week! Check out STEM Activities For Kids for great ideas, freebies, and giveaways all week! This is a great site for finding simple STEM ideas...fun activities that showcase problem solving and critical thinking skills and more!
As a STEM/Science Teacher I teach over 400 K-5th grade students! It is conference week...and I don't always get too many parents stopping by. So this year, I am setting up a STEM Maker Space Station right outside my door to lure them in! If they don't show up...I get to clean up my room a bit. There are days that I have 12 lessons out in my room as I prepare and prep for the week ahead. It can get a bit busy!

I just posted two new products that I finished this last week...My first pack is STEM Construction Stations. We are building on to our school so as a true construction site, I am connecting real life building to our classroom STEM labs.  Second pack is preparing me for STEM Easter Stations. I am very excited about both, but now that I am finished I have to make a new list of projects that I would like to tackle next!

I am excited to send a fun note to my girls when it isn't even a holiday. I am not going for mom of the year, but I love to make them happy. I am so lucky to have my family!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pipelines and Oil Spills

Connecting Science to the classroom can be easy if you find links. Our third grade teachers were reading a story about an oil spill and the effects it has on the environment...we are in our FOSS Water Unit and so....connecting water to oil spills and pipelines is a great fit for older kids.

With a few simple supplies students can connect...water travels downhill, water beads on the table if there is a leak, oil and water do not mix, there is surface tension in the cup of water...

However the best part is that you can have the students engineering during a water unit! Here is a quick video on the building of the pipeline...then we discuss pros and cons of oil traveling a great distance over land and water. We then discuss our need for this fossil fuel and alternative sources of energy and its benefits.

We read a quick chapter from two EPIC books using an overview and quick write in their notebooks(write and draw what you see and hear)...
Chapter four is about Drilling for oil...

The picture of the pipelines in this book help make connections....

Here is the quick video we watch...it gives them a chance to see what a pipeline looks like...

Now...it's  time for a pipeline...we discuss the importance of sealed pipelines so that there are no spills and the consequence of the spill. We then have them design a model of what they will build. Everyone is assigned jobs...

Here is what they get...
Here are some of their designs as they work together...
I walk around and remind them...water travels down hill...


Have you sealed all pipeline connections????

This activity is a great way to use STEM with reading and writing! When we were finished we wrote the pros and cons of creating pipelines to get crude oil. Discovering how difficult it may be to ensure no spills addresses issues that effect us today! Whether it is oil spills or pipelines these activities allow any Water Unit to have hands on learning experiences!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Science Circus

First graders use the FOSS balance and motion kit and let's just say sometimes balancing a pencil on your finger is just not enough. Last year, I made a fun Balance Pack that helps me extend and enrich the balancing lessons with a creative circus theme. Last week, we focused on the book Mirette on the High Wire...
We used the shapes from the kit...the triangle as Mirette (it looks like her dress), and the semi circle as Bellini, (it looks like his arms or legs). We set up a high wire in our room...just a piece of painter's tape on the floor and play circus music. We do the wire walker's salute and a trick! The kids love connecting to the story.  We then make pictures of us walking on the high wire and write a time when we had to do something hard or get over a fear just like Bellini. This is a great writing connection!

This week, to wrap up our balance part of the kit, we used a fun circus theme and my pack to start off with. I set the stage to engage...

First...we read the book Circus by Lois Ehlert. I set up around the room some of the acts that are in the book to set the stage to engage! I have zero minutes between 4th grade leaving and a first grade class coming in...so I have to keep the circus theme up all week for the five classes of 1st grade that I have.


All of the students K-5 seem to love all of the circus acts around the room and the bigger kids can remember when we learned to balance.
Here are the balance stations we worked on this week:
1. Review of balance point by making a clown that has many points to balance on when we change the location of the counter weights.
2. What does balance mean? Defining stable and unstable by making a chart to see who can balance on one foot for one minute.
3. Performing the balancing bears act...using scales to balance objects in a cup of one side and bears on the other and charting what we learned.
The balancing bear act...

4. In our notebook, we finished up by getting a clowning around sheet and filling in what we know about balance point and counter weights after we finished today. I went around and assessed the students and had them point where they were located using their make and take clowns.
5. We left the room by balancing across the high wire to circus music!  The Circus Pack Can be found (HERE)! Join the fun!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Currently Loving February!

Wow...Farley's New Blog Design is Amazing! I am currently linking up with her over at Oh Boy...It's Farley and this month's sponsor over at the Teacher's Lounge...This is an exciting month...our oldest is turning 21 this weekend and we are making a road trip to the Twin Cities to celebrate! Currently...I am watching the storm head our way...not school closings yet for us, but other schools are closing...I am wearing my PJ bottoms backwards tonight...

Currently...

It has taken me longer to write this post because I am stopping often to perform a duo with Stevie considering the house is empty...

I am loving the thought that the storm is on its way and we could be able to sleep in...and relax with the family with a busy weekend coming up....

I was scolded for not sending more care packages and mail out to my college kiddos...so I am getting ready to box goodies up and send cards out for Valentine's Day...never have been good with deadlines and holiday gifts getting places when they are suppose to....I am on this one though...

Here is how I am doing currently...need I say more about needing a computer....yes my computer is projecting on a TV screen...

Ok...hubs is gone to 8th grade orientation and he is the PE department chair....so I am alone for another hour!!! Getter' done...that list is long and the TV isn't always available...

I tried to think of something that makes me swoon other than school related "stuff", but I cried at school last Friday! You know when you have a group of kiddos that struggle in school in everything...and then you give them a STEM activity that connects to what you are learning about and they SHINE!!!! Well, writing this is getting me a bit teary....Three ESL students from all different cultures decided to make a team up and whamo...we learned about articulated joints and posed a problem that needed to be solved...and they used the supplies to build a robotic/prosthetic arm that picked up a cotton ball and dropped it  in a cup! Our second successful group was also one of my most at risk groups...science is hands on and we celebrated their successes...they wanted to all take it back to class and even work on it for next week's competition...who's engineering group can do the job faster...this activity is going in my STEM Robot Stations Pack that is on my to do list this week. Here are my buddies at the early stages...
a bendable elbow...

STEM teamwork...

My winning group at the beginning stages!!!
My students cheer when I say it is a STEM day in science class...it has become my motivator for being successful on their tests...STEM if you pass sure has helped. This project was to enhance FOSS Human Body and wow did it ever! I am currently...happy!  HAPPY February!