The Science School Yard: June 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

STEM Summer Fun!

Summer is a time for slowing down, relaxing, and STEM! I was challenged by a dear science friend who is teaching summer school this year to find something for her kiddos to do when she needs a little pick me up or has a little time to fill during her summer school day!

Something that could take 10 minutes...could take 30 minutes...but as a science teacher during the school year she wanted to find something that could get her students excited about science during the summer time! I was up for the challenge!

I needed to make these activities affordable as well as the materials needed to be easily set up for her to use when the time came for her to fill it with STEM Summer Fun!

For each pack...I made a booklet that she can print back to back, a center card, and writing connections! I can't wait to see if the kiddos like them! Check them out at Science School Yard TPT Store under STEM Summer Fun!



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Amusement Parks and Engineering Fun

Finding ways to add STEM into your classroom lessons can be as simple as an end of the year field trip or a smartboard webcam experience. Here is a video link for some Amusement Park Web Cams and ariel views video...


Last week, our fifth graders went to Bay Beach Amusement Park. What a great way to learn about science and have fun in the process. When they are at the amusement park we give them a mini scavenger hunt to look for rides that use simple machines. The Zippin Pippen uses wheels and axles, pulley systems and an inclined plane...
As they continue on their rides they look at the slide...as a simple ride it is an inclined plane: both in the stairs up and the ride down.
When our students get back...we have them review the simple machines used to power the rides. We list the rides that were their favorites: Ferris Wheel, Bumper Cars, Scrambler, Tilt-O Whirl, Sea Dragon, Scat...and we discuss the scientific process it takes for an engineer to build a safe ride. Finally...they get to sign up to design and build their favorite ride as a team.

Stipulations:
1. You must use the scientific process
  • Question: How will you create a Amusement Park Prototype
  • Research: Which supplies will work out best to create your ride?
  • Predict: Predict what will make your ride work safely.
  • Experiment: Experiment and build your prototype.
  • Conclude: Did it work? What modifications did you have to make? What problems did you face? Did you problem solve and work as a team? Use reflection sheet to help the process.
  • Report: Share and report out how your ride works. 
We set out at our STEM store simple materials:
  • toilet and paper towel tubes
  • pipe cleaners
  • cardboard pieces
  • tape
  • string
  • trays 
  • egg cartons
  • scissors
  • materials that students ask for as they build
Here are some of their rides...

As you can see...making connections to background knowledge let's kids really shine. Going to an amusement park or any other field trip and then making connections lets our students use STEM in a way that makes it real.

Stay tuned for a new STEM pack coming this summer to a TPT store near you...
This activity was a great way to end the year with our simple machines in mind. If you are interested in my amusement park scavenger hunt freebie add a comment to the bottom and your email and I will send you a freebie!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dandy...Lions and Fun in the Sun!

It is hot here in Wisconsin...our students have shut down....what do we do? We find a great way to take them outside and use the environment around them to get them excited to learn! The dandelions are out and the kids are checked out...until we found the dandelions that weren't cut in the field!  Here is a simple science lesson for you...

Plan:
1. What can dandelions have? What are dandelions? What do dandelions have?
2. I share my dandelion poster showing them along with a picked dandelion (root and all) the stem, root, leaves, bud, flower, clock, and seeds.
3. We then read our dandelion story
Cover art
4. Go outside with your station cards and sheets (found in my Dandelion Stations Pack at TPT)
5. Let them work on the activities...I do Adaptations, How Tall, Can, Have, Are...and Tap Roots.
6. I give them a set time to explore and do one sheet...then we meet up and share.

7. I send them back out with rulers...partners...sheets, clipboard...and a tray for a chair. They come back with the joy of learning! From one seed they grow!

Check out this fun end of the year...summer fun pack!