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Showing posts with label FOSS Friday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FOSS Friday. Show all posts

FOSS and Science Stations

For the 28 years I have been teaching our district has used FOSS as our science program. I am using these kits as I teach my kindergarten through fifth grade students. We have build a pretty solid road map that helps us determine what lesson we are teaching per week to each class. As our district adopted the WI science standards which are almost identical to NGSS, we had to create our new road maps to make sure that each of the standards were covered. That meant that we had to look at consolidating lessons, working them into stations, as well as cutting the FOSS lessons that do not meet our new standards.

We wanted to also make sure that we were adding engineering as well as find ways to study vocabulary, assess our knowledge, and gather grades when we only see our kiddos once a week, for an hour! That means we have to be really creative with our time and we had to learn how to make every lesson and moment count! (Not to mention that we are also needing to help our school math goal in science...I will be sharing in my next post how I am attempting to do just that).

I want to share with you a few strategies that we came up with as we kept the FOSS kits, learned to consolidate and create stations, and found creative ways to work in assessment and vocabulary.

Learning To Consolidate:
As we looked at the time we have with each of our students, looked at the fact that we needed to find ways to show their progress, as well as assess them, we had to find a way to create lessons that were meaty and created a way for our students to retain information.

I focused this year on the 5E model of writing my science lessons!

Using my FOSS lessons, I find a way to engage in what we are going to learn that day. I give them part of the experiment as an introduction or way to explore what we are going to be learning or I give them a way to start to investigate the "experiment" that goes along with the FOSS kit. When students are done with their investigations, some tables are done earlier than others, one method to adding other layers to each lesson is to find ways to have students explain their thinking, use a record sheet to write down what they learned and any observations that they made.
Variables and Castle Storming Station
One way that I use FOSS as an extension is to have students finish an experiment and then take it up a notch. We learned about variables for an example then we made castles to show what we learned!

Elaboration can be done at their tables or even as stations around the room! I love when my learners can get up and move around, get up and be responsible for their ongoing learning, and continue to focus on not only explaining, but elaborating! This might mean a quick STEM challenge, an extension of the experiment, qr code vocabulary games, digital review lessons that I made for each FOSS unit, or a quick game such as task cards or review!
Human Body Leg and Kick Ball Station

If students can get done early, I also add ways for them to continue their learning through games as well! We have to create something at times that can be used to create a fun competition or interactive game to utilize what we are learning at the time! We had to make legs in fourth grade Human Body, why not use what we made to see how our leg muscles react when we kick!

One huge incentive to get done is the ability to elaborate! I also can take the opportunity to help the groups that might need my time, a reteach, or even a way to evaluate their learning!

Setting Up Stations!

Creating stations while using a science kit like FOSS can be a bit time consuming at first, however once you create stations, they can be used over and over again! Check out my FOSS extensions on TPT if you want to find resources to elaborate!

Station Ideas:
1. vocabulary review
2. experiment sheets
3. assessment
4. ticket out the door
5. digital recordings and picture explanations
6. STEM connections
7. extension sheets
8. math connections
9. Book creator or adobe spark
10. digital activities and review
11. task cards
12. reading connections
13. writing connections
14. maker space
15. meeting with small groups

Stations can be used after your initial introduction lesson. They can also be used to consolidate smaller activities and experiments as well. Finding ways to add stations can help you find ways to meet with groups to check for understanding as well as guide them if they are struggling.

Assessment and Vocabulary Review Stations

A great way to add a quick review is to use games that incorporate vocabulary and questions that we have been asked during an experiment or that they will see on an assessment.

I love using qr codes for a quick review and assessment. QR codes are great because they can check what they know after trying to answer the questions first. They can also have a partner and see who can answer the question first. You can have them answer the questions then use the qr code to review what they know.

I also think ticket out the door is important as a quick way to check for understanding. I use digital sheets that they can place in our Itslearning site (like Google Classroom) or they can air drop their screen shot of their sheet for me to see where they are at. I also check it at the door if we are needing a quick check and go! Here is the resource that I created and use with my 2nd-5th graders!

Use FOSS in your classroom? Please share any ideas and strategies that you use for extensions, elaborations, and evaluations. We can all use some great ideas!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Who Stole the Cookies Chromatography Lab

You know when you have a little extra time to fill in  your day? Okay...that rarely happens, however this week our fifth graders went on an overnight trip to what we call school forest leaving me with only one fifth grade class to teach this week instead of two. So I got to figure out a lesson that was not something I normally teach during our Mixtures and Solutions unit. I already taught my students the lesson on chemical reactions, so why not figure out a chromatography lesson to extend the excitement!

Chromatography is the separation of mixtures into their individual components so this is perfect for a mixtures and solutions unit!

Scientists use chromatography in many ways. They use it to test the level of alcohol in the body. They can figure out a crime by testing and analyzing blood and cloth samples. Arson verification is another way chromatography is used by identifying the chemicals responsible for a fire and to rule out foul play. It is even used to determine drugs and poisons in the body in the hospital.

To make it age appropriate and to help them learn about real world science through hands on investigations I made Who stole the cookies? This is a way for us to separate different markers, but in a story like way. I picked four co-workers, the janitor, librarian, art teacher, and music teacher who I asked if it would be okay to be a part of my story. With a yes from all...I set up the folders.

Time to give out the folders with a note inside that says "Thanks for the cookies!" The students use the evidence to prove who it might have been. This team cut the note and then wrote the same word to test if it would bleed out in the same way.

I wanted to pick four black markers , one for each person. The librarian got the VisaVi that she might use on the overhead, the janitor got the Sharpie because he labels boxes to leave the school, the music teacher got the Expo marker because she puts the notes on the board, and the art teacher got the Crayola markers for art projects. This evidence after testing the note eliminates two suspects because permanent markers do not bleed. Notice the difference in the markers below!

Expo and Sharpies don't bleed!

Crayola and Visa Vi markers do...this one points to...

This activity allows me to add another lesson or two to our Mixtures and Solutions unit we do with our FOSS kits! I use the rest of these lessons in an after school class as well as on line to get kids doing things at home!

The best part...I added a ton more activities based on color that I will be using right before ST. Patrick's Day..stay tuned for another post!

Interested in a fun and quick lesson on Chromatography and Color to get your kids excited about science? Grab the Chromatography Lab HERE!
Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Human Body Digital Research...Engaging and Interactive Science

We use the FOSS Human Body Pack with our 4th graders. We focus on several of the body systems as we go through this pack. There are some nice interactive activities that my students love. From animal bone identification that we use when I bring in real animal bones...to identifying human bones as I bring in X-rays from a doctor's office!

We work with the skeletal system when we deal with the bones of humans and animals.

We even work with the muscular system when we build a leg and thumb and discuss joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

I think though that it is important to also discuss the other systems such as the digestive and circulatory system. I also think it is important to challenge them with some great STEM activities.

The great thing is that I work with three fourth grade classroom teachers that wanted to connect writing and science together! Not only do I get to have my students participate in great hands-on activities, but I get to create a Google Human Body Pack to have them download so that they can work on it in their classrooms!

Thinking of ways to add digital activities to use in your classroom? Here is a great starting point!

The teachers had them download the qr code and assigned each group with a body system. Then the groups did the following:

1. researched information
2. added information to the slide/jpeg
3. they outlined their bodies using bulletin board paper and then made a labeled model for their system
4. The then worked on their speeches
5. They finally presented using our Apple TV's which allowed their iPads to be projected.
6. We even had the students put their iPads around the room for the other classrooms to come in and look at. They took notes to learn each body system!

It is also a perfect opportunity to build a workable hand especially right before March Madness...we can always make connections! Stay tuned for a later post and watch a little basketball being played in Science!

Find your Human Body Digital Resources HERE! Every-BODY will be happy!


Doesn't Have To Be Seuss Week To Make Connections in Science!

Every year, when I work with my 3rd graders on their FOSS Water Unit I can't wait until I get to water wheels. It is the only STEM related activity in many of the kits. Don't get me wrong, I do love having FOSS to guide me, but let's just say at times it needs some more meat.

This particular lesson though...is a great way to add in  a ton of ideas that are all water related and I have just the book that makes this lesson even better.

Dr. Seuss's book A Fish Out of Water is perfect. It has double meaning, too! What is it like to be a fish out of water? Have we all been there? (I also love the addition of Mr. Carp telling everyone that this always happens because the boys don't listen)

Here is how it goes...

1. I start off asking what does it mean a fish out of water? We make a list and then I explain that it kind of means the person is completely clueless or directionless when put into an unfamiliar surroundings or an unfamiliar situation.

2. Perfect time for you to ask if they have ever now felt like a fish out of water. Cue the stories!

3. I now add my what is sustainable energy lesson discussing non renewable and renewable resources. Here is how...What would it be like if you had to all of a sudden live somewhere where there was no electricity or running water. Could you let's say...live off the grid? We discuss tiny homes and the movement and what that would look like.

4. Now that they have thought a little about what they could use that is a natural resource or a sustainable resource...we generate a list. Sun...Water...Wind...we even add trees and corn. If we continue to plant them...

5. I let them know that today after our story they are going to be a fish out of water. I am going to give them only...cue FOSS lesson: 5 red wheels, 1 yellow dowel, three binder clips, a string, and Otto! Yes, Otto. A fish out of water. It is their job to get him in the bucket by only using hydro power!
If you do not have STEM, I have a supply list and alternative in My Water Pack on TPT found HERE.

6. I read the book and then share with them how they will, just like Otto be a fish out of water! They must work together to create a water wheel. I then pop up the google search results for images on Water Wheels. We talk about the shape of the wheel that looks like a bike tire. They are to work together as a team to see who can save Otto first.  Competition is what makes this extra fun!

7. Supply lots of towels. Stand back. Watch the magic happen. (I sometimes have to give clues as to what to do, if time is running out, but I wait a while and keep referring back to the water wheel pictures!)

Here are some freebies that you can use...writing connections, pattern, and reflections! You can download them as worksheets or download them for your iPads! I save them to my camera roll...air drop them to my students...then they place it in Explain Everything (you can use PicCollage) in order to be able to insert videos, pictures and text boxes!

3 Page Freebie Found HERE
Don't feel like a fish out of water every time you plan for a science lesson...grab a freebie...follow the plan...check back often!

Science Rock and Roll

It was that time of year...time to finish our FOSS Earth Materials Stations...Moh's Hardness scale... Calcite Quest...Properties of a Rock...It isn't always the most exciting and at times it loses the kids. The kit can be loooonnnnggggg.

I know I am not alone. We all have units that make it hard for us to keep the kiddos attention. Units that we have to follow because of district initiatives. We follow the plans...we try to add a fun twist...we think "how can we shake it up a bit?"

To finish up on the Rock Cycle lessons that I added, I also mixed it up with a little "ROCK" and roll. QR codes are a great way to get kids actively engaged in concepts such as vocabulary, studying for a test, and reviewing concepts.

Sometimes my students scoot around the room....sometimes they have the cards at a station...other times like this we make it a competition.

Here is how it works...
1, Playing some rock instrumental music sets the mood. I just have it playing in the background lightly.
2. I share with the group that they are going to be rock stars today. Each time they pick a new card, that lead rocker will read the question, working as rock stars to try to figure out the answer.
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Rock Cycle Questions and Record Sheet...my students ROCKED IT!
In a group of 3-4 they take turns reading, having everyone record, checking the qr code for the correct answer, changing it if they are wrong,  and passing it to the number 2, then 3 rocker.... Each leader must also make sure that the same process is followed each time. Read, record, check, correct, pass to next rock star!

3. When each box is filled in with the correct answer, the band of rock stars must come up to me and show me that they rocked it out together. If they are all finished...first...I give them rock candy and a polished rock.
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The Rock Stars LOVED the candy rocks! 
4. We finish up by reviewing the Big Ideas of our FOSS unit and I continue to find other students that are "rockin' it" with sharing what they know about the scratch test...vinegar test, the difference between a rock and a mineral...

Here is a link to your own Rock Star Rock Cycle Review Freebie!
Rock On My Friends...we all can be rock star teachers and get our students to be excited about what we are teaching! Sometimes it's nice to get a little help from your back up band (with a freebie!)

Foss Friday and Peek at My Week

It has a busy week in the Science School Yard. It is Farm to School Garden time and three new FOSS kits are starting this next week. Busy...busy... I am linking up with my blogger buds at
 Mrs. Laffin's Laughings and  Mrs. Will's Kindergarten for this linky party!

This week in the School Yard:
Kinders- What are seeds? We are starting with a poster entitled...Seeds with the words CAN, ARE, HAVE, NEED. Our kinders don't seem to know much about seeds. They say that seeds have stems and flowers. That my cuties is a plant. I then hand out the variety of seeds I have that we plant in our school garden. Our garden is cleaned out and ready to go! We then go back to the poster where we now add what we know about seeds. I read the story The Garden We Grow. Or kinders will be planting a kinder"garden" starting next week. They are growing a pumpkin patch for next fall where they will be able to see how they grow and the plants grow too. It takes time to get big doesn't it. I read the story and add in our kinder"garden" after each page...until we pick the pumpkins...in first grade. They love it. I get to practice on one class before the start of next week. It went well.

Firsties- are using the FOSS kit insects, but before we get our meal worms and painted ladies, we need to know what an insect is. We read the book Do You Know about Insects? But before we read it, we add to a poster what we know and our misconceptions...then we learn from the book and add what we learned. As I read I sing the song head, thorax, abdomen to head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Cute stuff. We also chant, egg, larva, pupa, adult. Yea! They remember then! We then make an insect, but remember what everyone of our insects must have when we make it. We build a bug and add it to our board. We finish with a bug hunt outside.

2nd graders- Plants! I love this unit. It sure helps when we grow our own garden at school. I am using our Plant Unit that I made with two other science teachers to incorporate NGSS and FOSS. Plants: A Comprehensive Unit. I will start with building a greenhouse. We want to also know what plants need. We will use the story A Seed Is Sleepy to learn about seeds first. We will be opening up a seed and taking a look inside. I will add a sheet next week that I am adding to the unit.

3rd graders- Sound is the name of the game. We learned about the difference between pitch and volume. We will be reviewing with a quick quiz to check for understanding. We will continue by watching Study Jams Sound. The new words we will add vibration, frequency, decibels, hertz, and echo. Quick quiz time again. Students then will do stations that deal with vibrations, decibels, and frequency. Slinky model and sound waves and pitch.... long gong.... tuning fork in water. We will wrap up with all the words while showing the amplifier.

4th graders- we will continue to learn about the solar system. We are finishing up on what we learned about the Earth, Sun, and Moon. We are working on fact building with stations. We are using a matching activity from the Science Penguin, then a quick quiz to see what they remember.

After they are done with a quick review...we are working on the concept of cycles around us. Tides, seasons, day and night, and lunar cycles. We are finishing up with this great rap and start of the lunar model using Oreos and this great free download from Balancing Everything.

Fifth graders: Oh, My, Gosh...I am so excited about their cardboard arcade games. We started them this last week for about 10 minutes of supply getting. Some groups are already almost done. These games will be played at our Title 1 night: Hmong Heritage Celebration and 5th Grade Cardboard Arcade. The game with the most tickets gets featured at our school carnival that weekend! When students are done with their game, they are working on the past, present, future lesson in the Cardboard Arcade Simple Machines Unit. I love this unit! We did the scavenger hunt and vocabulary matching. The kids were completely engaged in the activity! They now are understanding simple machines even better!

Have a great weekend!

Our Finished Food Chain Art Project


Peek At My Week...FOSS Friday...oh where did the time go? It's Sunday...

Hey...We made it! It is Friday. Okay, it's Sunday...where did the time go? It was the last few days to spend with my college daughter and the whole family. I took advantage of it! We went to the Eastbay sale! Here in little ol' Wausau is one of the greatest outlets...Eastbay. You know Nike, Adidas, Coverse...but, when it is a sale everything on sale is another 50% off. Nike's for $30.

My kids are set for track...baseball...softball... you name it...deal!

I was looking forward to sleeping to catch up with that hour that I lost last weekend. Anyone else felling that way? I took all of my girls to the spa this week, girls night out. We loved it soooo much. We had tea in beautiful cups, finger foods, and amazing things done (back massage, foot massage, hand and arm massage, and more) We are definitely going back! That is when I have some extra dough. We also were able to go out to eat, and let me say that is a real treat when we can do that as a family. We even had one of the boyfriends along. Always room for one of those cuties that are so wonderful to my girls. Of course, dad picks Buffalo Wild Wings. It was great to look around the table and see my family laughing and talking and just being together! Ahhhh.

Okay, enough already...time for this week's sneak peek... I have a sub on Monday... I am part of a science and math teachers' grant. Off to CESA to hopefully bring something amazing back...I won't hold my breath. I am sad to miss St. Patrick's Day Fun! However, I will post some pics next week of our leprechaun hair and our traps. If I remember.

Time to link up with other bloggers and take a peek at my week. Not only can you link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings but you can also link up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten.

4th graders are working on our school set of chrome books. They will be working on a body systems review by going to How The Body Works facts and quizzes. I made a sheet for them to use that I left at school. Sorry.

3rd graders are working on sound for the first time this week. They will start with a list of what they know about sound and ears. Then they will watch Bill Nye and Sound to get them thinking.  They will use their science notebooks to write down 5 facts that they learned along with illustrations and labels. They will finish up with the sound chambers as an introduction to sound discrimination.
Our kinders are working on the water cycle. I read on a website, can't find it again after a massive search...that they kids could simulate the cycle. I set out blue cubes to represent water. Some of our kiddos were clouds, while others showed evaporation as they picked up the water and placed it into the clouds hands showing condensation, when the little clouds (hands) couldn't hold any more, the rain would fall...precipitation! The water once again accumulated on the ground. When we needed to change jobs, we sang rain, rain, go away... We then made Water cycle bracelets by Katie Hess using the sheets and ideas from Meaghan Kimbrall. Cute stuff.
The Water Cycle in Action!
Our first graders are making roller coasters today! I practice on these kiddos and then do another 4 rounds:) We will start off by asking students if they have been on a roller coaster, we added that onto a graph. We shared how it felt as we were standing in line waiting, how it feels when you aren't tall enough, and how it felt on the ride. Then we read Roller Coaster! Awesome book!
Students needed to show a safe hill and a loop. When they had time to build a workable roller coaster we met to share our creations. Then, the students shared what they learned about making a successful coaster. We even discussed potential and kinetic energy.
FOSS roller coasters!

How to get a loop to work? Where should the loop be?
Our second graders will be wrapping up the worm unit by learning about the food chain and producers and consumers. This is a great way to move into our plant unit which we will start next week...even though we have over two feet of snow here yet.

Our fifth graders will be starting their simple machines unit using Caine's arcade as a springboard. I am actually looking forward to this unit this year. Check out why at my TPT store...Simple Machines Unit...building an arcade.

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! 


Peek At My Week...FOSS Friday!

Time to link up with other bloggers and take a peek at my week. Not only can you link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings but you can also link up with Mrs. Will's Kindergarten.

Here, we are Friday again. My planning day. The peek at my week and the FOSS fun I plan to do. Remember though...I am almost done with two FOSS kids so it is test time for two grade levels. Report cards are next week also, so testing is important so I have a formative assessment to use with all the little ones we did along the way.

4th graders
will come in with a model of the digestive system They will need to make labels for their system. They will get 10 minutes to label and then each group will share their model explaining the parts. After they are done they will then have their models hung in the hall by our classroom adult by their room. Students will read the next experiment…starch experiment and perform. Potatoes need to be ready. Then they read the digestive system reading. After reading, they observe experiment. They also will do the cracker experiment . They place a cracker in their mouth and chew without swallowing. As they chew ask them to think about the job of teeth, tongue and saliva. They will use notebook to write their thoughts. They will take a quick quiz on the digestive system. When done have them put them in a bucket  for correction.

 3rd grade
will be working on a review of the water cycle then take the test. Review words and ideas on the water review sheet on table.
When the students are done…have them complete the water cycle sheet in their notebook. Color and describe inside each part.

Things that are hot and cold. Have them make a picture of something hot and cold on the sheet after making a list on the board. They will fill in the sentence ____________ is hot or _____________ is cold. Then ask how we measure things that are hot and cold. Show them the big thermometer and how it works…hot goes up…cold goes down. Have them pretend they are thermometers by going hot and cold up and down.Skim over the book Hot and Cold by Jack Challenor. Now have them see how a real thermometer works. Ask what they see and check and monitor and fill in the sheet.
Using a thermometer!

                                                   Hot and Cold Sheet

 first grade
They will be working on inclined planes and how it affects speed and motion. Read big inclined plane book, then ask how inclined planes or slopes at different heights can affect the speed. How do they know? Sledding, car, bike… Now have them perform experiments. Walk them through it. Use the clipboards and tubs for first two then as you need bigger incline add the cardboard lid on a chair for the biggest slope. You will need to walk around a ton and read and direct. At the end they can have a car race if good choices are made. Wrap up with the little book or a discussion. If time remains they can draw what happened in their notebook.
First Graders testing slope...inclined plane...and how it effects speed


 Second grade
Students are learning about worms. Students will get earthworm book…we use red worms. They will start by telling you what they already know by writing some facts on a notecard. Then they will get a worm from you…you will have to get them out for them . They will get a moist paper towel first…then a black tent, then hand lense, then worm. Have an assembly line on the red circle table. Then the students will be guided by you to do the cover. Use hand lense kids. Then have them do experiment 1 by you taking another tub of worms and using the fork turning the soil over. They watch the reaction of the worms to light. Then they make observations in their book. They then use worms to test light and dark and you can come around with flashlight. They then share results and move onto experiment two. They will get a dry paper towel from you…prepare at lunch time or before school. Have them place worms right in the middle of the two types. Then observe. Share worms at table and results. When done share as large group. Finish by having them write a worm poem in notebook…Worms. ____________,_____________, ______________ Worms.   (three adjectives) illustrate.
It's a hatchling!

Fifth Grade
Our fifth graders alternate classes per day with 4th grade. Otherwise, I always have the same line up each day. They will be taking a test this week to finish up Mixtures and Solutions. When they are done they will be performing an experiment with ammonia to form a precipitate. This activity can be found in my free TPT download at What's The Matter? Mixtures and Solutions activities

Have a great weekend! Here is a shot of our rainbow making lesson from my ST. Patrick's Day Fun Pack . I did this with a kindergarten group that won an extra science class! The small cup seemed to work better at mixing the colors of the rainbow... The girls loved it!

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