The Science School Yard: October 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ten Apples Up On Top STEM and More!

This year has been a bit of a challenge with our classes of kindergarten that come into science this year. Roughly 1/3 of the kiddos already have an IEP... the majority of them are late birthdays so they are just 5...and academically they are very low. That poses a challenge in science because I so want them to start working on the NGSS standards and start learning basic concepts. I have had to really pull out of my bag of tricks to find ways to use my 30 minutes I have with them each week to first of all change up what I am doing every 5-6 minutes or I am losing them to wandering...giving up...not paying attention...interrupting. (Let's just say this 25 year veteran teacher after 15 minutes with them the first few weeks of school was sweating 15 minutes into the lesson...)

I am happy to report that I am starting to figure things out with this new group of kiddos! Not only do I use their reading program Super Kids to tie in the characters of the reading program, I also find ways to have them using STEM activities to get them actively engaged. Here is what we packed into 30 minutes this week!

We started off with a short story from EPIC books called I Eat Apples In Fall written by Mary Lindeen. Great book for kinders! It works on shapes, colors, senses, property words in a very simple format!


I Eat Apples in Fall (First Step Nonfiction - Observing Fall) by [Lindeen, Mary]
We then follow it up with this great song and video based on the book Ten Apples Up On Top! I am now singing it in my head at night after listening to it for five days in a row! Kids love it...I do, too!

The kinders got up and we snapped and clapped. Then we used our fingers to show the amount of apples up on top! 

STEM time! I placed in a bucket toilet paper tubes, tongue depressors, and red pompoms in different sizes. I even added extra tubes and depressors so that if they wanted to be creative with this activity they could! I told them that we were going to make trees with 10 apples up on top! I asked them to share (by raising their hand...and waiting to be called on) what the parts of a tree were. I pulled out the TRUNK... the tube...
the BRANCHES...the depressors...
and the APPLES...the red pompoms in different sizes! 
I sent them to a table where the buckets were setting out and let them build!

When they were finished they counted the apples up on top! Engineering and Math!

When finished...I gave them about 10 minutes, we went back to the carpet for a senses activity. I showed them the different shapes of the apple by cutting the apple in half to show them the circle and star. I cut little pieces in the shape of triangles. We then talked about our five senses. 
Not eating the apple slice yet...they shared what they smelled...saw...felt...and then I got them excited about being very quiet to listen to what an apple sounds like when we bite it! We then bit it and shared what we heard and what we tasted. I love when you ask how it tastes with suggestions such as sweet and tart and  every time someone says it tastes like an APPLE! 

Time for a quick graph! Did you like the taste of the apple? 
Yes...No...Kind Of

We color and place our vote on the graph as we line up at the door. We count the apples up on top of each heading~ in 30 minutes you can really teach many different science concepts!
From senses...to graphing...
shapes...to counting....
and my favorite STEM!
Grab a freebie here! This lesson is pretty "apple"ing!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Scientific Process and M & M's

Teaching science is such a great job! I get to create, explore, discover, build and so much more every day along with my students! One of the most important concepts that I need to cover to start off each year with success is to teach the scientific process.

It's hard to believe that we are over a month into a new school year, but this time I had to plan for a new group of students to join me in my NEW science room! This year, I wanted to create something that could start off my FOSS Variables Unit that would capture their attention...help them discover new vocabulary...and get them thinking!

Why teach the Scientific Process at the beginning of the School Year?
The scientific process or scientific method is the foundation of science and what all content that you teach builds off of. Take for example my first FOSS Magnetism and Electricity lesson. The students explore and learn what a magnet is and what it is attracted to. By using the scientific method...we ask a question...(What is attracted to a magnet?)  Scientists are naturally curious about the world around them. Let the students then form questions! Once they do that they can form a hypothesis...conduct and experiment, and then analyse the data and draw conclusions!  Presto! You have the process laid out for them!

Again, this sets the foundation for all of your questions and experiments that follow!






What are the parts of the Scientific Process?
1. Purpose/Question: State the purpose or question you want to answer.
2. Research: Find out more about the topic.
3. Hypothesis: Predict the outcome of the problem/question.
4. Experiment: Develop procedures to test your hypothesis.
5. Analysis: Record the results of the experiment.
6. Conclusion: Compare the hypothesis with your results and come up with a conclusion based on your results. It is always a bonus to share what others have found out as well!

How can I help my students to understand the process?
There are some great ideas out there. I love Pinterest, but here are some ideas that I implement in my classroom:
  • post the scientific process in the room to refer back to it every time there is an experiment.
  • have students post the scientific process in their notebooks to refer back to.
  • a "hook" lesson to get them excited about learning the process!
  • QR code review game to check for understanding
  • a video that shares the vocabulary that we are learning (I included the video I use in class below)





Where can you get your M & M pack? Follow the link right here to help you teach the scientific process or to add to your Variable Unit today!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Need Science Ideas? Go Back to College...

Did I get you? Hope I did! Are you looking for some hands-on science fun? Look no further than your local universities! There are some amazing opportunities to use theme based science trunks filled with an array of amazing educational material and props! From puppets...to specimen...puppets...to lesson ideas your local university might be a great place to start.
Just a few fun and batty finds in the Bat Trunk!

Living here in Wisconsin I didn't realize that the UW-Stevens Point has some amazing environmental science trunks for teachers to check out to utilize in their classrooms...until this year!

When I received the trunk, I couldn't wait to dive in to see what my first grade bat lesson might be able to add to make it even more hands-on. My students love the "real" brown bat that they can get a closer look at. Is it a mammal? It has fur, it feeds its babies milk, it breathed air...but most importantly we can see it up close and personal!


The books that are included have found our way to a station in our room for students to enjoy them in the bat cave!

I even decided to use the lesson idea books to create a pack to include as my little gift for letting us borrow the kit for free! YES...my teacher friends these kids found at universities around the country are most often free to use if you are an educator!

Not only does our own UWSP have a bat trunk, but you can also check out the bear trunk, bird monitoring kit, energy trunk (that one is mine in May), Watershed (aiming for that when we do FOSS Water with 3rd grade), Fishing For Fun Backpack, and a ton of fun forestry kits that I can't wait to check out when our 5th graders go to our local school forest overnight!

If you are here in Wisconsin and want to check out these amazing tools to use in your classroom, go to UW-Stevens Point Educational Trunks and Kits or their direct site at http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/wcee/library/Pages/trunks_kits.aspx to book your trunk or kit today!
I also included in the trunk a free bat pack for teachers here in Wisconsin can use. Not able to utilize this fun BAT themed trunk...no worries pick up your  Science-Based Bat Unit here!
What can you do to go back to college to help teach science without even having to take a course? Check out your local universities by calling or searching in their library catalog for trunks for kids for educators. You might be pleasantly surprised!