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Showing posts with label 5th grade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5th grade. Show all posts

STEM is Hopping With Easter Stations!

Time for a much needed break after testing? Need to find a way to let off some steam with STEM? This is a perfect time to add some Easter STEM stations to your day. All you need is 30 minutes set aside for building, creating, teamwork and some "HOPPY" students!

These are some of my favorite quick STEM activities! The kids love to create a way to pick up jelly beans and with a little competition it certainly is "egg"citing! Love to add a bit of candy fun for everyone...I love having the kids make peep towers, too!

Jelly Bean Picker Uppers! 

Another quick way to add a bit of area and perimeter into your lesson is to build baskets! I love watching them try to fit as many eggs in their basket so that they can walk the eggs down the bunny trail! 
Easter Egg Baskets!

In intermediate classrooms, students love to make something to protect their eggs as they build an egg drop! Perfect for integrating science concepts such as physics with laws of motion, fluid science, and properties of matter. 

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Basketball Fever using the NCAA and STEM/Science Connections

I love to connect what is going on in the real world and bring it into my science classroom! We are just finishing up many of the FOSS kits, so why not add some engaging STEM activities that are also timely!

Throughout March you can integrate this basketball inspired activity to your school day! For me it is also a way to share with my students a little bit about myself...

We are an athletic family. My husband is a PE teacher and a Baseball and Football coach. My kids also are and have been three sport athletes. I love to share little stories with my students so when March Madness rolled around this year, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to share what my family does! Each year, our family along with the significant others (boyfriends of our daughters) sign up for Fantasy Football and now NCAA brackets. We have to enter who we believe will win the 16 games played. Once we all have picked, we write down and verify what the winner would like as a prize. Let's just say last year's winner was my husband and the two lowest scoring...otherwise know as the BIG losers had to cut his toenails. Yes...he won and yes...this is what they had to do.

This year...if I win, I want everyone that loses to cook a meal for the family. With my picky bunch, it is perfect. No one can complain about MY cooking. I love to share these types of stories...Why you might ask...to show traditions...to show how other families interact...to show them a free way to get everyone doing something together.

Now to connect it to STEM and Science...I get them all excited! I let them know who I want to win...okay I picked Duke...and then I ask them if they would like to have a little basketball competition. I also have to let you know...I use this as an incentive. If they pass the end of the unit test, they are in our bracket...if they do not they take the test over and are spectators. I have very few kids not pass. I then as the kids work on the STEM activity can work with my kiddos that are struggling. I can do a reteach and also build vocabulary.

Take a look at what you can do with recyclables and simple dollar store finds...

Once we set up the constraints and criteria...I assign one side of the table to build the flipper and the other side the hoop. This is what both teams will use for the first round of competition. Whoever wins...moves on. If it is tie...we have a different competition...wadded paper thrown into a garbage can! We play by putting tape on the floor and have them each take turns from the spot. It is like a free throw line...they throw at the same time...whoever gets the first basket wins!

Now we move on to the next round of winners and repeat. Each team gets a set time to shoot and try to score. When that time is up, the next team gets a chance to beat that amount. I give 4 minutes. At two I say switch shooters.  The spectators sit around the courts (tables). We play until we have a winning team! They love it!

I found basketball candy at a Party Store. I also give them a championship metal to show how far they made it! Here is a Free Copy of the March Madness Trophy for stopping by!

Thinking of your own basketball tournament in March or for a great end of the year activity for indoors or outdoors you can get your STEM March Madness Basketball Pack HERE.

Integrating Science and Social Studies With Success

I am always trying to find ways to integrate different subjects into my Science day, so when our fifth grade teachers asked me if I could add some social studies into science…I took the challenge!

I was a regular Ed teacher for 20 years before becoming a science teacher. I minored in Social Studies so when I taught 5th grade for 15 years of those 20, I loved getting my students excited about something that was often ignored or but on the back burner. When I took the science job, I took on a subject that was often put aside just like Social Studies because the focus was placed heavily on math and reading.

I  actually miss teaching that topic so as three new 5th grade teachers unsure of how to teach the revolution were joking with me in the teacher’s lounge, I took them seriously. Little did they know that I could actually pull it off. I took a look at our new unit FOSS Mixtures and Solutions, remembering that I also had iPads to figure out how to utilize…I looked at any way that I could actually find connections…BAM…What Separates?

Success Strategy #1: Find a common theme

What Separates became my theme! What a perfect way to tie a social studies concept with a science concept. 

Success Strategy #2: Find common words to use

Loyal...Separate...timeline...events...they can be as simple as that. Then figure out how to weave them together. My first lesson was "What separates". We used a list to find ways that we were going to separate mixtures...screen, filter, and evaporation. Then, we made a list of what separates people. We took that list to start the timeline of the major events that led to the revolution. I had then learn the events by working with a timeline that was strung across the room. We then did our separation science lesson!

My second lesson is are controlled experiments always loyal to the outcome or do variables impact the results. Loyalists vs. Patriots...and does loyal always mean loyal...in comes Benedict Arnold next week.

Success Strategy #3: Motivation
I have a chart in my room for points that they can earn. Points can be earned by finishing their science sheets, answering questions, passing a ticket out the door test that is linked to google forms. They seem to work much quicker and with more focus when we have an intensive chart that in the end will get them a little prize...this one is a Boston Tea Party! Tea and Boston Creme Pie! Three classes, three winning groups. 

Here is a three sheet freebie for you to see what we are doing in our class and see if you are up to the same challenge! Let's connect!
Social Studies and Science Connections Freebie HERE

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!


Freebie "Owl" For You!

Our fifth graders each year head out to School Forest where they stay for two nights and three days. One of the science lessons done out there is owl pellet dissection. Our classroom teachers are always looking for ways to incorporate the concepts taught out there through reading and writing before they dissect the pellets. The sheets that have been used out there are ancient, so creating new activity sheets for them was important, too. 

                                              I hope you "OWL" will love it!

Owl Pellet Science Freebie Link


Castle Catapults

Our FOSS 5th grade unit has us testing variables, however sometimes the kids have a hard time connecting to why they are making lifeboats, pendulums, or flippers. In an older post, I shared how I introduced the lesson...here is how I wrap it up. Each group tests for length of stick and angles. We figure out what angle gives the best distance and the length of stick that gives us the height we need. We then give each kingdom a chance to scale the wall of the there castles in the room. The can change the length of stick or the angle or both now to use what they learned in their controlled experiment. We give them a chart to tally out of three tries how many times they scaled the wall of a castle. The winning team gets Burger King Crowns and are rulers of the room. We discuss how kingdoms were won and lost due to battles such as this. It makes it make sense as to how it relates to history.
Castle Catapult Sheet

Here is a group trying to scale the castle walls. Who will be rulers of the kingdom?

We Flip for FOSS Catapults

Soooo, I was thinking. How can we make the FOSS lessons extend to really get our olders connected. How about frontloading the idea of medieval  catapults? I am giving my fifth graders a piece of tag board this week and as a team they must decorate the sheet to look like a castle. I am then sharing the following sites with them.


And a video of a catapult at Warwick Castle. Short and sweet.

After the students build there flipper system and you have them read about the physics behind the catapult, have them try to get them to get the silver ball over the castle they built. This will help them connect history to science! Or if you want to share another type of catapult at a circus perhaps, then this one may be the one for you.

Either way, this will help our 5th graders understand the flipper system a bit better. I sent along a tag board paper that each group is making that they will make into a castle. We will place the castles around the room and after we practiced the height and distance and recorded we will then have 5 chances to make it over the wall of another groups castle. They are super excited.
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