The Science School Yard: September 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mathletic Measurement Events

At the beginning of the year, as I welcome our new third graders into my science room, I start off with a metric measurement mini unit. This review is very important as we dive into our FOSS Earth Materials unit which has the students needing to measure circumference, width, height, weight, and more!

The Common Core State Standards for Math as well as the NGSS Science Standards both emphasize a need for our students to become proficient in measurement.

The fundamentals include:
-length
-mass
-volume
-time
-temperature
-perimeter and area
-graphing/reading a graph

This pack covers everyone of those key components except for temperature.

As we help them focus on SI or International System of Units (otherwise know as the metric system) as well as customary standard unit here in the US, we can find fun ways to add math into other areas of their day...such as science!

Take a look at my Mathletes as they participate in the metric measurement stations!

 Metric Measurement Mathletic Stations
Get your mathletes actively learning metrics...Find it HERE on TPT!



I love how the kiddos are measuring volume. They are measuring the water that they squeezed out of a sponge. Practicing how to measure in milliliters is a fun way to learn math!

The standing long jump has them working as a team as they measure distance in centimeters. Once they jump three times they average!

One of my favorite mathletic events is the weight lifting station! Grab those marbles kids! Then measure the weight in grams!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

What Did The Fox Say? Science!

How To Teach Students About Mammals

Each year, we start our first graders off by learning about animals with a vertebrate. I make a fun pack last year that I am using for my assessment. You can find it here: Animal Classifications Pack.

This year, I wanted to add a way for my students to walk around the room (now that I have a REAL classroom!!!!) to locate information that would help them remember what makes a mammal a mammal.

Every year I read the book Is A Cammal A Mammal?. This book gives a multitude of mammal expamples and it is in the Cat In The Hat's Learning Library. When we are finished, this year we reviewed with a smartboard review followed up by a quick circle the mammal activity! It got the students making the connections that they needed to make and it added a bit of an assessment. I will bu using those sheets to call up each student individually next week as they work on BAT Stations! Stay tuned!

With our littles, I love to add music, art, writing, reading, and science! What a great way to find time to add science into your day! Check out the What Does The Fox Say Stations in Action!

My firsties are moving from station to station on a Fox Hunt! They are looking for the missing word to fill in the blank.
They work alone or with partners...I even underline the magic word for them to match the number on the station to the number on the sheet!

What does the Fox say? I use the 5 characteristics that we learned about for their writing activity connection and the real fox helps them out! 

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When they are all through, they work on a simple art activity!
What does this fox say? I learned about what makes a mammal a mammal! 
You can find these mammal stations here: Mammal Stations: What Did the Fox Say?


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Classroom Reveal: New Room...New School Year

Wow! It has been a long wait. For the last four years I have shared a library to teach science as well as used the teacher's lounge to teach over 400 students. The little box I called a classroom was barely large enough to fit 6 round tables in. I would have the students come in and have to sit in one spot because their wasn't enough room to move around.

Over the summer, our school has taken on a renovation transformation! We added a whole new wing making us the largest elementary school which houses Pre-K-5th grade. Throughout the summer, I could go in to school to tend the school garden, but my room wasn't ready to really work completely on until a week before school started...a week before open house. Phew...I made it.
Makerspace area in my room with supplies that are labeled and special tables for meeting with kiddos when they need my help! Didn't have that in the teacher's lounge!

After hours of work at home readying bulletin boards, making my own letters, filling makerspace buckets and keeping them in the car and sneaking them in when I could...I was able to get a few things done when I went into the garden. I just took a bit of a detour.
DOK posters! I went to a conference last summer and I figured it was about time to implement what I learned!

With a new addition comes new rules...nothing hanging from the ceiling...no curtains...nothing on the doors...no class pets...pillows must have tags (notice one of my benches has no pillows, I had to take them home because they were missing tags) the list was pretty long.
It's not much for flexible seating, but the kids love it. There are my empty bench seats. My pillows were missing tags and I had to take them home. Finding replacements this weekend!

I also worked over the summer on some new scientific process posters and activities for the first week of school. I love how colorful they are and how they look!

Love this bulletin board. I will be referring to it all the time! 
Flexible seating is being used throughout our school: from couches to bouncy balls...cushions to beanbags. So, as a science teacher, I thought I would give it a shot. I found a simple table and covered it with Target's contact paper. I created some bench seating for around our carpet area. We also have extra tables for students to sit at and ample floor space to use the carpet squares. Most of our work is done in teams, but if an experiment lends itself to movement these kiddos have options!

At the door we have different areas as well. An area to pick up sheets...a place for our brag bracelets...and a shelf for this week's worksheets. However...we are a 1:1 school this year. Each one of our kiddos have I pads that they can use. I have buckets ready to go for each table to put them in so they are safe from our activities. We will be using Explain Everything to help us keep a folder so we can explain everything and keep it in one place.
Can't forget my Science Brag Bracelets! You can find them in my TPT store. I can't wait to get to use them!
Our room would not be complete without Mr. Bones. My husband is a health teacher and some naughty high schooler stole his arm, so I got Mr. Bones for our room a few years ago to teach the Human Body. He just stayed and now is a permanent line leader and door greeter.

Thanks for stopping by my 2016-2017 Classroom Reveal! I still have to label some things, and I can't find where I put items away in the cupboards, but when this week is over, I am going to add it to my to do list! It's not much...but it's my little piece of heaven for my students! I can't wait to keep adding to it as I get more time to add the finishing touches!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Cha...Cha...Cha...Changes: Life Cycles Freebie

Each year, in our FOSS Insects Unit, we raise butterflies in our science classroom. It is always an amazingly wonderful experience for the students to watch the Painted Lady Larva transform from larva...to pupa...and then to an adult butterfly!
This lesson helps students learn about life cycles as they observe a metamorphosis, bringing them closer to nature and the common standards that we must cover during a given school year. We tie picture books with writing activities...add in some science inquiry...and maybe a little math graphing. Whoa-la...we have integration!

At a recent conference, many of the teachers received a life cycle of a mosquito and life cycle of a worm freebie. I heard several winners say, "what am I going to do with that?"
Let's Take A Look...

Big Ideas:
  • Organisms reproduce, develop, have predictable life cycles, and pass on traits to their offspring
  • Organisms and their environment are interconnected
  • Changes (whether caused by nature or by humans) may effect the other parts of a system. 
Essential Questions:
  • How can we use models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles, but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death?
  • How can we analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variations of these traits exist in groups of similar organisms?
  • How does one's environment influence these traits? 
  • How do an animals traits help them survive, find a mate, and reproduce?
Thinking About Outcomes:
  • By bringing in worms or mosquito larvae can students learn about the needs of living things?
  • By starting a worm bin and learning about composting, or by looking outside for examples of stagnant water, can students learn about an animals' environment and how they survive?
  • Can students learn to observe, measure, chart, graph, and record with drawings, writing, and interpreting data though a life cycles lessons?
  • Can students learn about interdependence between animals and plants through worms and mosquitoes? (any animal for that matter)
  • Can students learn about the hazards facing us or an animal? 
Whether it be NGSS or TEKS...state standards or your district's standards, life cycles are the core ideas of each and every standards based curriculum at one point in K-5.

One of the latest classes that I took this summer to help me develop as a science educator was using the book Inquire Within. Inquiry based science is student-centered in approach. Set out the plastic life cycle pieces and see where the inquiry takes you. Let students lead the discussion. Bring in samples and show them what you have. Start with an I wonder...see where the process takes you!

We are always seeking to motivate students what better way than to use life cycles tools and real animals to get them excited and enhance learning for all different learning styles. Life cycles may be our students first experience with biology! By having students identify different species students are able to see the process that living things take and learn to appreciate different animals. In the spring, we study insects. You can take a look at my Insect pack HERE.  I mean all different insects and their life cycles...crickets...darkling beetles...ladybugs...butterflies...bees...I even get pond water with tadpole eggs to compare different animals. (Lenard the Frog was just released this week after taking him home and watching him through his changes!) From there my friends...bring out some seeds and grow! Another spring board to watching a life cycle, but this time plants!



For those of you checking out my blog this pack is free here! Enjoy!