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Showing posts with label Featured. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Featured. Show all posts

STEM St. Patrick's Day Stations

It is finally March. I sure hope the snow starts to melt. We have over 30 inches of snow so spring can't come too soon! I am teaching an after school STEM class and one of my favorite times to teach this is right around ST. Patrick's Day where we can win with some hands-on pot-o-gold activities.

The first activity that we do is the Somewhere Over The Rainbow catapults! Giving my students the tongue depressors, rubber bands, and Yellow Pompoms along with rainbow patterns that they have to catapult over is a great "croquet" like game that becomes a fun competition.

The second activity that we love to do is the Pot-O-Gold Wall Maze. We give them toilet paper tubes, Paper towel tubes, and masking tape along with yellow pompoms and a cup with a pot-o-gold pattern / or pots of gold from the Dollar Store.

Pot-O-Gold Fun with Toilet paper tubes!
The fun part about this activity is that they get so excited to compete against other teams to see who can get to the pot of gold first. I always throw in they have to use the same amount of tubes as well as so many turns or changes of direction (usually 2-3) depending on the grade level.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow!

Up, Up Panda Away with pulleys!

With my older students I like to have them make pulley systems called Up Up Panda Way...our little St. Patrick's Day Panda's love the free ride...while the littles love to make Leprechaun hats to take home!

Shamrock Shakes in progress!

Ready to shake it up!
The finale...Shamrock Shakes! We make instruments and then play them along with a fun Irish jig! The kids love to dance along to it as well! Here is one of the jigs we play along to! Irish Jig found HERE!

Time for you to create some shenanigans with your students! Join the fun by developing STEM students with STEM-velops in envelopes, folders, packs, buckets...FIND the St. Patrick's Day Activities Today HERE!

Time For St. Patrick's Day Fun for everyone! Happy March, Friends! I hope you find your pot of gold!

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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!
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Superbowl Football STEM

This weekend is the Superbowl, what a great time to add some "super" fun STEM to your school day! We have had indoor recess all week, and I don't see an end in sight. If your kids are getting cabin fever like mine, STEM activities are perfect additions to indoor recess! Not too cold where you're at...then adding these STEM challenges in a math or science station to teach measurement, graphing and statistics as well as controlled experiments might be just the thing!

The Super Bowl is a perfect opportunity to get the attention of your students while adding cross curricular activities. Here are my top five ways to add some theme based lessons this week:

1. Geography: Give your students a map and have them plot different super bowl locations.  Find out how far they would have to drive or how much a plane ticket would be to attend the Super Bowl.

2. Math: With the plotting of cities, have students plan a trip. Add the dollar amounts of what it would cost to travel, get lodging, buy a ticket, and purchase food or souvenirs. Younger students might like plotting the winners of the Super Bowl in a graph!

3. Language Arts: Time to design a logo for your favorite team. Write about your reasons for color choices, mascot, and why it is your favorite team! They could even write an advertisement for their favorite treat, beverage, or toy that might be featured in a commercial. They could create it on an iPad or video tape the commercial with a group.

4. History: The history of football is always fun to research. Epic books which is free for educators has some great non-fiction books. There are some great Football Themed fiction books as well, but here are a list of my free favorites!

I use EPIC books all the time to help me find access to books that I can project or share with my students. From A-Z to statistics...background of the game at multiple levels to books that can get them excited about a certain player, here are my favorites:

5. STEM and Science: Catapults are a great way to add some science of how a kicker makes a field goal or how angle affects how high or far a ball will go.

                                                 STEM Football Stations
My STEM Football challenges have three activities for your students. Creating a football kicker, a goal post, and a stadium help with a perfect little extra to add to your classroom. Each challenge includes a teacher-friendly direction and supply page that guides you and your students to know what to do to create each football themed challenge.

These activities were designed for my after school classes which range from students from grades 2nd-fifth grade. Perfect for after school, early finishers, indoor recess, homework, centers, family challenges, and gifted and talented resources for example.
I love the different ways that students are able to be creative with the supplies I give them!
Creativity, Teamwork, and Hands-on Learning are all perfect additions to the benefits of STEM!
When they add a how to or directions it is a great way to add a writing activity!

Are you ready for some STEM football? Find the STEM Football Challenge Pack HERE!

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9 Strategies For Teaching Moon Phases

The moon phases are one of my favorite lessons to teach. I think it is a wonderful challenge to teach students a strategy that would allow them tricks to remembering the phases! I also love all of the activities and games that can enhance the learning of another cycle and pattern in the solar system!

I have Nine Great Strategies for you that will help your students learn the cycles in a fun and engaging way!

Strategy 1: Moon Phase Trick

Here is a trick for remembering the moon phases:

Hold up both thumb nails. Show them that on left hand we will call it waxing, wax on by doing a circle motion, on your right we call that waning and we will do a circle motion wane off.
Now back to the thumb nails, on the left hand (wax on) the nail is on the right side of the thumb nail. This will always be the first hand (1st quarter) and always be waxing crescent or gibbous. 

On the right nail it reminds you that it is a waxing hand, on the left side of the nail is the white crescent or waning crescent or waning gibbous. It helps remind us is it waxing  (left hand) or waning (right hand).

Then you tell them to ask questions, is it full or new? Waxing or Waning? Big or little? Half? Left or right hand.  

Strategy 2: Moon Phase Calendar

Use a moon phase calendar to question students on which day them might see a specific phase. I use this site because the pictures are more defined: Moon Phase Calendar

I ask questions such as, "One one day of the month would you see a waxing gibbous?", or "On which day is there a first quarter moon?" We also look at it to help us see patterns during the months and the 29 day cycle.

Strategy 3: Moon Phase Interactive Notebook

I want my kiddos to match words with the moon phases to understand their vocabulary.
We use a little interactive notebook sheet that helps us place the words underneath the pictures and add it to our notebooks!

Strategy 4: Moon Phase Memory (Freebie)

I love adding a game for my students to play and learning the moon phases lends itself perfectly to memory! So I created two Moon Phase Memory Games that I placed in my Free Resource Library! Just sign up for my newsletter and you will get the secret code that is filled with  great free resources!
              This resource is also found in my Moon Phase Pack in my Store!

Strategy 5: Moon Phase Anchor Chart

I create an anchor chart that will allow my students to review, use as a guide when they play the memory games, when they create the interactive notebook page, when they play the Calendar review game...you get the picture, creating an anchor chart can be very versatile!

 Strategy 6: Moon and Earth Revolution Model

I always like to review the cycles and patterns that we have already learned, and with that to show the big picture I like to create a model for the students to use that gives them a great visual as to how the moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth Revolves around the Sun as we rotate!

This is a perfect activity to review the vocabulary words revolve and rotate! All you need is a pattern of the Earth, moon, and sun in proportion, scissors, glue, and two paper fasteners per student.

Strategy 7: Styrofoam Moon Phase Demonstration or Simulation

I found this great idea from the National Science Teacher's Association on a search I did that demonstrates how to use a Styrofoam ball and a pencil to show how the phases of the moon work using a light and the ball! This is a great addition to the Moon Phase lesson and a perfect visual!

Strategy 8: Moon Phase Digital Games

I love using Google Drive and Digital Science Activities such as The Moon Phases to assess where my students are in their understanding of a given topic. I can use them individually by giving them each a qr code to create their own copy, or I also use them as a whole group activity where I project the game or review cards on the Smartboard! Either way has worked perfectly for a review, test, game, challenge...

Strategy 9: Moon Landing STEM Activity

I love reading the story, One Giant Leap and then show this video!

We finish it up by create a moon landing of our own! I give each team a tray with 6 toilet paper and paper towel tubes (the path) , a marble (the Apollo Space Craft), Tape, and a pattern of the moon and Earth.

They have to make a path on the wall that has three bends, and gets the marble safely from Earth to the moon! They love this challenge. This is one of five challenges in my STEM Space Stations Pack!

Want to find these ideas, sheets, activities, and a few bonus activities all in one place ready for you to just print and go? Check out my moon phase packs by following this link: Moon Phase Science Pack and STEM Connections

I appreciate you to the moon and back!

Back To School and What To Do In Science

I create a lot of my own resources to integrate the FOSS curriculum that I need to use in our district, but often times I also find new ideas on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers free resources that I can utilize into my plans. So as I plan for my first week of lessons this year, I had to organize a bit differently due to the fact that I am at a new school with new students that don't know me at all. I needed to find getting to know you lessons and activities that started the scientific process started for all classes K-5.

When the new school year rolls around everyone gets so very busy setting up their lessons and prepping for open house. To help you see how to start your science lessons in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms I provided my plans and links for you. Here is my Back to School Plan for each of my classes:


What is Science? I love that book as a great beginning activity for littles. We read the book, make a list of what we saw on each page then I use a magnifying glass to have them take a closer look at one of the ideas we wrote and I illustrated on our anchor chart. Even is Science I like to find ways for students to write so the other part of the sheet has them tracing letters in a sentence! I included the sheet here for you! Grab a copy of What Is Science? HERE.
First Grade

My first graders will be busy learning about different types of Scientists by using my pack What Is A Scientist Pack and Measurement Review found here. It is filled with a power point, station cards and hands on activities to review tools scientists might use, a record sheet, and a bulletin board starter to get Science Concepts visual right away as we get back to school!

I set up the station cards in order around the room. I demonstrate each station to the students and then I give them time at each station and then the timer goes off.

 One of my favorites is the hand lens activity...small pictures can only be seen using a hand lens. I love how they are surprised to be able to figure it out.

Second Grade
When you find something that fits right and helps start your lessons on property words and great review for our matter unit you just have to use it! So last year I found this free resource from Beth Van on TPT which I renamed. She calls it Cat's In the Bag. I fill 8 bags with one item each. Use the tags, copy the sheet that works for our second graders. Then, I set some heavy ground rules. 

We learn about the saying "Don't Let The Cat Out of the Bag". We say it is everyone's job to NOT share what they felt in the bag. Everything is a BIG secret and at the end they can take a guess as to what is in the bag. 

They can NOT poke holes in the bag or break the bag in any way. When we head to another table, we are also having kiddos inspect the bag for damage. Any damage may result in the time out of the last person that had the bag. I also give privacy folders for their own private area and we also discuss why we don't cheat.

When time is up, we sit together in our circle and share property words...not what we think is in the bag...YET! We are trying to focus on words that describe objects such as solids. Then, we say one...two...three "Let the Cat Out of the Bag". They can turn and share the secret or they can raise hands or all at once they can share, it is up to you. You can find her free resource here.

If someone shares early, they are asked to leave the circle because we want to respect the rules of the game. When one of them leaves the group, the others know that they shouldn't because we follow the rules. 

Third Grade

In third grade, we always start off with a measurement unit. We do that to review for our FOSS Earth Materials Unit which has them measuring rocks. I found that incoming students struggled to measure circumference, width, length, and even weight. I use my measurement packs to help in that review and to make it STEM related this year I am adding a play dough activity at the end where they need to make an object a certain height, width, and diameter. We will also weigh the object they make as well. I will have a cityscape for each group that will have a theme: sweet shop, park, pet store...I can't wait to see what they make! I am hoping to have that new activity pack done this weekend. Always something on my to do list.

Here are a few stations to show you what we did with measurement...from measuring with a syringe to measuring the temperature, I tried to utilize the different tools and supplies they will be measuring with in third grade.

Find the Science Tools Stations resource here! I love the follow up game that we play with puzzle cards! 

Fourth Grade

We are Saving Fred or Sam if you have ever heard of this challenge! This one is  a yearly lesson for my older students. It is a great way to establish positive growth mindset as well as review the importance of working as a team. The students must work together to get a squishy life saver around the outside of a gummy worm! There is a fun scenario that goes along with it and it allows for us to really get the lesson out there that science experiments are going to need everyone to work together and not always is the outcome going to be correct or done on time in the hour we have.

I used one for years and now when I try to find the sheets on line they are gone. It happens people. So to not waste time, I went to a back up pack from More Time to Teach found here

Fifth Grade

Once again to get us started on the scientific process and WOW was I glad I made this pack for my new classroom! In this pack I made bulletin board posters and even letters! Not to mention my first week's activity using M & M's! Want to start your year off with the Scientific Method and a great hands-on controlled experiment? Find the Teaching The Scientific Process Pack here!

I love this activity to get my older kids excited about learning how to set up a controlled experiment which we will be tackling this year! 

So, now that I have my thoughts down on paper...time to get to prepping and work. Happy Back to School!

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Back To School Fever With Top 10 BTS Tips

Are you like me? It is the end of July and I am chomping at the bit to get into my classroom. This year, is a bit different for me...I am headed to a new school to teach K-5 Science so I seriously have already stepped into my new classroom to do a bit of fixing up, planning, purging, decorating, and dreaming of my new lessons that I will be able to deliver to a whole new group of kiddos!

Some of you are headed back next week, while others have a bit more time, however I am here to give you my top 10 Back to School Ideas to keep you sane!

10- Let it go! Whether your year was positive or not or had a few bumps along the way, this year is a fresh start. (With a new school I think my bumps might come at the beginning of the year as I learn over 300 new names, do meet the teacher activities, and fill shoes of a loved teacher! It is a fresh start and I have to remember that!)

9-Organize! I mean get a planner, organize supplies, plan for distributing and collecting papers, create a new layout for your room, label your bins. (I stepped into classroom chaos as the teaching leaving left everything as is and it was all going to a new space. I bought tubs and bins, organized and boxed up unnecessary supplies...I mean 400 hand lenses for only 200 students and over 40 scales...I had very little but the FOSS boxes, but now I am getting organized! Not quite there, but I am seeing the forest through the trees!)

8-Decorate! I mean on a budget friends! I made my own letters and printed them on colored paper. I used a coupon from Michael's! I spray painted an old book shelf for my Collaboratory and even made my own science posters and sentence starter bubbles to cover up the rust on the radiators. Here is the link to my sentence starters! Sentence Stems Freebie just for you!

I really feel that if your classroom is warm and inviting, for you and your students...you and your students will want to be there!

7-Plan! Set a plan for the incoming year. Don't wait until you walk in the door for the first time in fall. You will be readying for open houses, meetings, and so much more! Even if it is a road map, pacing guide, first week's lessons, be ready by preparing your supply list, the papers you will need to print, and even ready your digital resources! Looking ahead will save you time and save you from any unforeseen complications along the way.

6-Create! So this one I am ready for. I started to think about all of those new families and kiddos walking through my door, not knowing me or even knowing where anything is in their new science room. So I created a Meet the Teacher sheet that I will hang at the board (with a note saying they should share their name and one thing they like about science) and at the door! I also made station signs to help them find new areas around the room and what that area means to them. Even the off limits sites are going to be explained!

5- Book It! Find some new picture books that you can try out this year! Whether that is from Youtube, the public library, your local book store, or your school library...find a few new go to's that will add a new spin on your new year!

4-Connect! This one took me some time to really think about. I will have few connections at my new school and after 27 years of teaching it gets harder and harder to want to keep starting over, however it is really important for anyone young or veteran to form relationships among staff. That means other teachers, aides, custodians, secretaries, and most importantly students. Its those relationships that make it worth coming each and every day! No one knows the amazing job my Encore teams does to educate children and as a team we are coming over to connect! You never know when you need a little help, an ear to listen, or just a friendly face greeting you in the morning! Relationships are the key!

3-Comfort Zone! Professional development doesn't have to just come from the district you work in, PD can come from choices you make to learn a new teaching strategies or new curriculum. Get out of your comfort zone to learn something new. Start early so you are prepared. This last week, I was in a digital PD that showed me different strategies that I could implement using our iPads at school. I am going to be trying some of those ideas this year and I am getting those digital resources ready before I even get back to school. Sometimes trying new ideas can be difficult because it means we have to take a risk, however I figure in the day of teacher effectiveness this shows me stepping outside the box...can you?

2-Checklists! Right now, I have two checklists next to me. I have my school list of things to do, and I have my home list of things to finish before I go back. On my checklist is to purge many areas of hiding places in my home where I have stored way to much "stuff". Time to get rid of it while my children are willing to help me. I have taken many items to retirement homes, homeless shelters, and okay I may have slipped a few items in our school garbage can when I came to purge some things from my classroom makeover.

1-Reflect! I think that this is so very important each and every day, but when summer vacation is at an end it is key to moving forward. Reflect on the summer, look back on last year's successes and busts, reflect on what worked and what didn't, think about what you want this year to look like, and what you and your students need to make this year a success!

You got this! Here is something I made to cover up some rust as well as start conversation among students.
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