The Science School Yard: February 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dr. Seuss Connections in Kindergarten through 5th Grade!

Read Across America week and do we have things planned! My Media Specialist and I have come up with some clever ways to integrate Dr. Seuss into library and science time! Teaching K-5th grade science allows me each and everyday to see the rotation of grades...so each day I see bigs and littles.

Sometimes, my bigs come in (3-5th grade) and they see all of the projects with art connections that my little are doing (K-2) and they get a little jealous...funny I also think my littles get jealous of the fun science activities that my bigs are doing, too!

I decided that I would challenge myself to find a Dr. Seuss book and idea that fits into what we are already doing!

Kindergarten=Horton Hatches the Egg
We will be focusing on animals that hatch from eggs=Oviparous vs. animals born naturally=viviparous  Stay tuned for an interactive digital science activity this week!
Image result for horton egg book dr. seuss

1st grade= 10 Apples Up On Top
We are starting our FOSS Balance and Motion Unit so we will be focusing on our vocabulary
Balance, counter balance, stable, counterweights
Image result

2nd grade= Bartholomew and the Oobleck
That's an easy one...we are in our FOSS Solids and Liquids Unit. The kids love to work with Oobleck...the book is long, but so worth it!

Image result for bartholomew and the oobleck

3rd Grade= A Fish Out of Water
We are working in our FOSS Water Unit. I thought it would be a great opportunity to use our Water Wheel activity and attach a fish to the binder clip.
Image result for a fish out of water book

4th Grade=Inside Your Outside
We are working with our 4th graders on FOSS Human Body. The perfect connection! We will be moving inside to the digestive system. We will be incorporating STEM into our lesson by starting our Digestive System Project!


5th Grade= Oh, The Places You'll Go
We have been working with Chemical Reactions as part of our FOSS Mixtures and Solutions Unit. My students love the Alka Seltzer Rockets activity! So this is the perfect time to use it!
Image result for dr. seuss oh the places you'll go

I know today are just the ideas as to how to find ways to celebrate fun events into your week while still using the resources you need to. I am not changing my lessons so to speak...I am just finding a great Dr. Seuss picture book to put it all together. How can you use the unit you are on to connect to your science curriculum?

Don't have a copy of the book? Check out the videos on you tube that people have made. Also check out Seussville by clicking here! It is the official Seuss site!

Want to try your hand at Alka Seltzer Rockets? Oh the places the rockets will go!

Alka Seltzer Rocket Pack HERE

Or maybe you want to try your hand at Oobleck to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day! Here is everything you need to organize and prepare for Oobleck!
Oobleck Pack Found HERE!

Any way you decide to celebrate...your learners will have a Seusstastic Time! See if you can find ways to make Science Child's Play!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Digging Dinosaurs In Science

Kids really DIG building and creating! I love to try to find ways then to add STEM activities.

We just finished our first grade FOSS kit Pebbles, Sand, and Silt so it was time for a STEM connection! We learned about Paleontology and Fossils and now its time to build our own dinosaurs!

Let's set up a STEM lesson to see how easy it can be for you, too to add some STEM to your day!

First, Grab a Picture Book!

 I started with this great interactive book where we get up and do hand motions for each of the pages. Dig, dig, dig those dinosaurs...This is a quick book to get them remembering what Paleontologists do as well as what a museum looks like!

Dig Those Dinosaurs

Next, I ask them a question to get them thinking. 

I asked them what types of characteristics did dinosaurs have that helped them survive when they lived on Earth?

We made an anchor chart that helped us write our ideas down before and after the book.

We are going to take a look at another book that will help us see the adaptations that helped both herbivores and carnivores survive.

This is a great book that shows how dinosaurs were different sizes and how they compare to animals that they know. I make sure that they are constantly looking for ideas to build their own dinosaur.

It also shows how herbivores and carnivores lived as well as how they defended themselves.
The students are able to see the spikes, clubs, plates...to add to our list of adaptations.

I share with them the supplies that they can use to make their dinosaur. I ask, "can you see how to make a dinosaur that has legs to stand on and ways to protect themselves or survive? Remember all the adaptations that they can have."

I show them toilet paper tubes, cubes, ten frame, 100 frame, and 1000 frame blocks, masking tape, construction paper, and pipe cleaners.


How Big Were Dinosaurs?

Once you share the items and your anchor chart  list is complete it is time to follow the Engineering Design Process! 

1. Ask
2. Imagine
3. Plan
4. Create
5. Improve

I send my dear students back to their iPads where they open up their Science Notebook in Explain Everything. They start to design and plan what they will create!

Once they have a labeled diagram, they can go to the supply table, get a bucket, and fill it with what they put on their supply list.

Now it is time to create! Sometimes they get stuck. I try not to do anything for them, but I do give them ideas to try. I really want them to problem solve!

When time is almost up, I let them know it is almost time to share. They must share what items on our anchor chart they incorporated into their design. This gets them thinking about the list again which helps them remember what adaptations are.

Time to SHARE!

Sharing is a key component to the engineering design model. It allows your learners to put into words what worked and what they could modify. It also is a chance for others to give compliments and advice!

This is our favorite part. You can do this with partners, table groups or as a large group. We then set up a museum for everyone to come and see.

Kids love learning about different types of dinosaurs...did you ever worry that you said one of the names wrong? Here is a quick video that does a nice job explaining the names and what they mean.




If you are looking for a fun song to share with your kids as they work...here is a fun little ditty...

Need these lessons all laid out with writing connections and STEM activity sheets. Check out my new line of STEM products, STEM Let's Build...

Finds LET"S BUILD A...DINOSAUR PACK HERE

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Milk Makers: Changing Liquids to Solids

I love opportunities to help my students learn a little bit about the jobs provide us with products that keep our community in the spotlight. The Dairy Industry helps our own community as we have several cheese factories as well as Dairy farms even just a mile down the road.

The dairy cow is our state Domestic animal. We see them as we drive in the country…However even if you are NOT a dairy state this lesson is a great opportunity  for you to do an easy and quick lesson on how butter is made.

Literally, all you need is a jar with a lid, whipping cream, and a bit of salt! Get your kiddos in a circle and shake. Two minutes later or two times around the circle and you have yourself butter! I love all of the other connections we can make. We use math by creating a survey and vote on if we like butter or not. Seriously…it is so tasty and after the kids get a taste on a cracker…they are hooked!


Here is what I do:
1.     I ask them what are things we get from a cow. We make a list on an anchor chart

2.     I ask them if they know how milk is produced. I  then proceed to share with them that we will be learning about milk makers. We make mammal connections, but we discuss specifically that we will learn about dairy cows.

3.       I show an old Reading Rainbow that reads Milk Maker by Gail Gibbons, but it also does a               great  job adding lots of great details about cows.

4.       I then share with them how we will make butter.

5.     We make butter and then before we taste test we write the process of how to make butter.  A           bit of inspiration in order to taste test…work first then eat!

6.     When we are through taste testing we make a dairy cow art project.


7. We follow it up with our math connection graphing! If you are interested in making butter in your room and need some help…check out my Milk Maker Let’s Make Butter Pack!


Find the Milk Maker: Let's Make Butter Pack HERE

Help butter them up with fun and engaging activities that can teach a bigger concept...Changes in Matter! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Science Hand in Hand with STEM Prosthetics

I am always looking for ways for my students to feel like they can make a difference. Always looking for ways that my students who come from poverty don't always have to worry about buying supplies to make a cool project. During our 5th grade FOSS Levers and Pulleys Unit, for example, we use the video Caine's Arcade to incorporate STEM and the Engineering Design Process to show how something that one person can do does make a difference. The video also inspires young people to be creative even if you don't have a lot of supplies...a plain cardboard box can become something more than a container. It can open up new possibilities and allow for a young brain to think outside the box...so to speak!



If you are like me...you might be trying to find ways to make your science lessons more engaging while making sure that you still cover the standards that your district requires of you. Our district requires me to use the FOSS units and for our 4th grade right now, we are in the middle of the FOSS Human Body Unit. I was thinking...how can I have an engineering project that still focuses on the human body, but lets them get a break from the FOSS kit. I came across a video that once again inspired me! Take a look...


Just like Caine's Arcade, young people are making a difference and changing people's lives this time! What a great way to spark their interest and get them hooked. Now...how to set it up...

1. We go through the engineering design process. We focus on the five main components and I always prep them for what might happen if they don't get it on the first try. This helps them understand that yet may be in their future.

2. I offer up time to work on their iPads to design a model

3. Once done, they share their ideas with their table group and decide on what they will build

4. I set up an area for supplies. This time we set up a smorgasbord for them to come to. They walk in line to pick up supplies after bringing a list with them.


5. Once teams get their supplies, it is time for creating a prosthetic hand. This is not an easy task, however we always have some form of success...this can be little such as a finger that actually moves, or a team that can actually pick up an object.

6. We always leave time for modifications, however my students get so excited that they want to take it back to their rooms to work on it!

7. I can't wait for next week when they share with the whole class their engineering design model!

I have to HAND it to them...they really love STEM activities...

Throughout our FOSS Human Body Unit, however we have many opportunities for review. If you are looking for ways to incorporate human body ideas, digital research, or human body review into your human body curriculum check out these helpful resources and  ideas out over at the Science School Yard:
Human Body Review Task Cards, lapbook, skeletal system qr code review, and digital research all right HERE!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

How To LOVE Science...Use A Holiday!

Valentine's Day is just two days from now. This post is either too late or just on time. It is harder and harder these days to fit some science into your busy schedules...oh I know. Even as I teach science everyday...getting our kiddos engaged and focused on tier three words is often very difficult.

One great way to add a little holiday science into your day is by attaching it to a holiday and bringing in all of your components...reading, writing, math, STEM, and science!
valentine's day, STEM, digital activities, science connections
I am all set up for next week's second graders as we get ready to see what happens to candy hearts...our solid...as they get added to a liquid...water, vinegar, and soda! What a great way to add some fun as we are in the middle of our FOSS Solids and Liquids unit! To add to the fun I created a math connection, STEM activity, and writing! I use the writing sheet on our iPads by taking a picture, next saving the image, then air dropping to my kiddos! These activities will be used with my Kindergarten, and First graders, too!
Valentine STEM and GOOGLE Math Pack
Find the Valentine Bundle HERE!
Another easy and fun way add integrate so many subjects into this special day...STEM stations! My third graders are learning about water...we are making helicopters with compliments on them. They must figure out how to land the helicopter on the landing pad and not in the water. We know what paper does when it gets wet...we tested it! Here is what I have set up...easy supplies...great connections!
STEM Valentine Stations HERE...easy and fun!
Not sure if this is what you need? Here are some comments by teachers who are trying these activities this week:

Ruthanne says, "These activities will make for an easy yet highly engaging Valentine's party. Thanks!"

Stacey says, "These are going to be our valentine's day party stations this year! Can't wait!"

Not sure what to do with a small amount of time? Make it a challenge...Use conversation hearts to see how tall they can build a tower, house, monument...then measure the height or even just count up the levels. Share on the board for an easy math connection! 

I LOVE science, but I will share a funny story...last week I was prepping the students for Valentine's day fun! I told a group of first graders that I LOVE science so we were going to celebrate next week. He went on to say he loves SILENCE, too! I agreed whole hardheartedly! Here is a freebie to show my LOVE! 8 different Valentine's for you and your students...VALENTINE FREEBIE LINK HERE!