My Store

My Store
My Store

Free Resources

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

Shark STEM Connections

They can be scary from their movie stardom to their sharp teeth and bad reputation...sharks are like the big bad wolves of the ocean! However, their reputation shouldn't really be as bad as they are portrayed! Only 100 people each year are attacked by sharks and only 25 out of the 368 species of sharks actually attack people. To get to know sharks better, my students who live far from any ocean celebrated a bit of a shark week sensation!

We started off with a great EPIC book connection, Sharks! by Ilene Tremble which helped us develop background knowledge. We proceeded to learn even more about sharks by creating a lapbook that had us researching habitats, food chains, and characteristics for survival. These are all part of the NGSS standards that are woven throughout elementary school!

Once they were finished with their lapbook, the students had an opportunity to create one of the sharks they learned about. It had to have the same features that the real, researched shark had and needed to be able to float in a bucket of water. These were some constraints that they had to follow.

For the last STEM sensation the students worked in teams to be able to build a shark cage that allowed a person (plastic figure) to be submerged in a shark (fish) tank...equip with our very own sharks (plastic)! This activity surely stumped my higher level thinkers, because it had to sink in the water, but it had to be made out of something water proof!

Some issues that came up was that fact that many designs tipped over when placed under the water. Some of the cages didn't allow for the diver to even see the sharks swimming in the water!
Here is a cage that tipped over on its side. The shark is getting a bit close for comfort!

Want to celebrate your own shark week? Follow this link to get all these ideas in one place: Shark Lapbook and STEM Connections Pack

What a perfect motivator for any time of year! STEM and Literacy Connections, writing, and research as well as engineering, a perfect theme for intermediate grades!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

The Science of Mental Health

When life gives you lemons make lemonade they say...As teachers we are always adjusting, and helping our students succeed and when their mental health is challenged we do everything in our power to guide them and give them resources and support!

As a staff we have been focusing on ways to nurture a child's mental health. Here is a list of quick tips to help you...help them. We must also remind ourselves that we too as educators need to have what we need to get through the school year successfully! We can take the same strategies we give to our students and use them ourselves!

1. share your feelings and validate theirs
2. model healthy behavior
3. be consistent and follow through with what you promise
4. practice relaxation and cooling down exercises with them
5. recognize positive choices
6. respond calmly when emotions are elevated
7. be present
8. be patient
9. use open ended questions
10. make movement and brain breaks a requirement

Another way to help provide a healthy classroom is to find time to add interactive activities to allow your learners to be active and engaged.

Here are some great science and STEM strategies to get them engaged and to give you time to step back...take a breath...and just let them create:

1. read a book for language arts and then add a STEM activity to build something relateable in the story. We learned math and engineering by using this book as we set the stage to build our dream playground!
Image result for picture books about playgrounds

2. teach a math concept and then have them build it and show a 3-D way to show that concept...we used the terms perimeter and area as we started to plan the space we had to build our perfect playground! You can do that with anything...graphing, number sense, be creative. When you can find ways to step outside of the everyday mundane, it inspires you as well!

3. Teach a science concept  and bring in examples of the real world experience to have them touch. Add a bit of energy and motion as your designs! We continued outside to test the speed of objects that could slide or roll down the real slide! It is often hard to find time for science. Take a look at your standards that you have to follow such as NGSS and weave a concept into it. Share the standard, tie it into what they are learning about and presto, once again finding ways to add what is so very hard is also freeing! Great for positive thoughts!

4. Give them choices in their learning set up a maker space station for them to go to when they are done with their work or as a go to station as part of your daily routine. We all love choices! Listen to their ideas, give them a voice, help them learn to problem solve. All of this is great for everyone's mental health!

5. After a science lesson, provide them with a science game, vocabulary connection, or review with qr codes or game boards to get them learning the same concept differently. After they are able to build and share, their positive vibes will carry them to continue to want to be engaged. Use this to your advantage!

This week, has been trying to my own mental health so what can we do for each other?

This summer, I am splitting the school I am at with another science teacher. I am also heading over to a new school where I will teach K-5 Science. I am getting two new principals and my team that I love will not be able to connect the way we did in the past.

 Change is hard for some people, but there is a reason for everything. Embrace change and keep moving forward. Stay tuned for summer progress and ways to prepare for the new school year! If all else fails...treat yourself!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

4 Great Ideas To Teach Chemical Reactions

Teaching 6 different grade levels has me covering a lot of different science topics and concepts. Whether it be a certain standard that you need to cover or just need some ideas for what to do in science this week, I have you covered. I will be sharing a new blog series that will help you find ways to make Science child's play!

Kids love chemical reactions however, I think they are always waiting for something to explode. You can easily find ways to cover the NGSS concept of structures of matter...more specifically chemical vs. physical change...without anyone or anything blowing up!

Four Ways to Cover Chemical Reactions and Structures of Matter:

1. Vocabulary (always key to comprehending a concept)

In order for students to really grasp the idea of what they see or don't see, you need to focus on helping them understand the vocabulary words they will be hearing as well as demonstrating.

Some quick ideas:
1. anchor chart and sticky tab draw what you know. Have one side of the room draw Physical changes and the other side draw chemical changes

2. Digital review games which you can find HERE {Digital Chemical and Physical Reaction Review}

3. Task Card and QR code Scoot games which you can find HERE {Mixtures and Solutions Task Cards}

4. Lapbooks which you can find HERE {Mixtures and Solutions Lapbook}

2. Fun and Engaging Activities That Are Easy to Show

Grab some dollar store glow sticks and teach the concept behind how they glow and you have your first idea.

Grab Cranberry Juice, citric acid, and baking soda and you are onto your second idea!

Grab some pennies and some liquids and show how acids clean pennies in this quick chemical reaction activity! Make sure you have ketchup because it does an amazingly quick job getting any patina off of a penny! I also love vinegar, baking soda and water, Coke, window cleaner, and water as a control. You can always add different liquids that you have.

3. Set Up Experiments That Use Everyday Household Materials

Bath Bombs are all the "bomb"! With any holiday from Mother's Day to Christmas you can make this with your kiddos and send home a little gift!

All you need:

¾ cup Epson Salt
½ cup Kosher Salt
¼ cup baking soda
3-5 drops of essential oils
food coloring

container/baggie to hold the salts

Another fun favorite is Silly Putty! For this polymer you need: (yes, polymer which you can read all about in this great Science Buddies Link not to mention a few more ideas)

Silly Putty Recipe:

¼ cup white glue
2 TB Laundry Soap(have extra)
2.Knead (if sticky add more laundry soap)

And don't forget good ole' Oobleck or Slime! Oobleck is a great way to teach non-Newtonian Fluids and all you need is corn starch and water and a little food coloring!  Find the pack full of fun Oobleck Connections HERE.

4.  Physical and Chemical Reaction Observations

Now, I have to say we use the FOSS mixtures and solutions kit for our chemical experiments, but if you don't have this kit then here are some great ideas for quick and easy chemical reaction observations that are inexpensive and kids love them!

I use open and closed systems as a way to compare a plastic baggie and a cup with vinegar and baking soda because they are able to understand the difference.

You can also teach Natural Disasters and how humans can protect themselves by making volcanoes. All you need is baking soda and vinegar!

-Create boats that are propelled by baking soda and vinegar which is another creative take on these two ingredients, but with a STEM twist!

 Sign up for my newsletter and get this experiment free in my Science School Yard Library!
-I love Mentos and Coke as well as Alka Seltzer and Water in old film canisters, too! Find the Alka Seltzer Rocket Lab HERE!

It is always hard to find easy and affordable ideas to teach a concept such as structures of matter, but with a little creativity and some help from the Science School Yard, you can find easy ways to teach chemical reactions! Know any other easy chemical reaction recipes or demonstrations you use? Share below. We would love to add to our list with your help!
Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

ST. Patrick's Day STEM Stations

As my kids were growing up, the leprechaun visited our house every year! He would turn our milk green or even our toilet water. He would sprinkle green glitter in our hair as we slept. He would leave a mess in our room with remnants of his trickery! I love having kids learn about another culture, other traditions, even have a little o' fun in Science as well as STEM club!

 I am so in love with this new STEM Pack. I was trying hard to find ways to keep my STEM station supplies all in one spot and not have to purchase something for it. So when I saw a box of Manila envelopes in the office I needed to figure out how to utilize them in my organization.

So now it's time to find ways to utilize them...meaning new STEM stations! Some of my favorites yet!

Why am I so excited about them? Well...

  • They include activities that can be used within other science concepts such as motion and simple machines.
  • The materials are easy to find and affordable! 
  • This pack can be used with primary and intermediate classrooms because the sheets for each station are differentiated!
  • All the sheets you will need are included: Teacher set up and materials list, stduetn materials list, student guided questions, primary and intermediate record sheets...all in one pack.
  • It reinforces teamwork and problem solving!
What STEM Stations are included?


  • tubes
  • masking tape
  • pom poms
  • pot o gold or cup with pattern for catching the pom poms
We made a game out of it. Each group competed to see who could get four pom poms in the cup fastest. If it missed the cup they had to keep trying! We discussed inclined planes as each group had to have three bends in the maze!


  • cups
  • masking tape
  • egg cartons
  • spoons
  • tongue drepessors
  • bowls and plates
  • beans, popcorn kernels, rice  (something to fill it to make noise
  • any other items you can think of to make an instrument...a shaker (WE CALL THESE SHAMROCK SHAKES!)
They had to create a Shamrock Shake that could add to our band! We talked about sound energy along with volume, vibrations, pitch. Another great way to add a science concept!


  • cups (we used Styrofoam)
  • spoons
  • masking tape 
  • pom poms
  • rainbow pattern
They made this into a game as well! We put each rainbow on a different rainbow color. They had to hop over each color in order of the rainbow and at the end they had to get their pom pom into a pot o gold! We talked about rainbows and their colors. We added the milk and Skittles, water and Skittles  and Mt Dew and Skittles activity to see how colors blend! Here is the idea for a Variable lesson...

This week, we also created pulleys.


  • tubes
  • rulers
  • string
  • empty school milk cartons/ cups for riders
  • you can give them binder clips, big paper clips...for a harness (these are my littles so I didn't)
We discussed simple machines and pulleys. We also with my littles talked about push and pull and motion. We discussed friction as we figured out what would support our pulley better at the top!

Next week, we will continue more engaging March themed STEM activities and Science connections so stay tuned. You might be lucky with more easy and engaging ideas you can use this ST. Patrick's Day...until then sign up for my newsletter and in your in box you will get a ST. Patrick's Day freebie!

Want all of the supply lists, differentiated sheets, teacher guide? Here is the complete set! Follow the link for this STEM Velope Pack!!
Give it a pin if you want to remember the activities...or try it out in your inbox with a free language arts connection activity STEM -Velope Style! 

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Four Ways To Use Digital Activities In and Out of the Science Classroom

This week we are gearing up for Digital Learning Day which occurs on February 22nd. There are a lot of really great ways that you can add technology to your teaching to increase student learning objectives and outcomes.

For the last two years we have been a 1:1 iPad school. We are equipt with Chrome books that come in a caddy for easy access as well. I am fortunate to have a Smartboard as well as Apple TV. So with that I found ways to utilize technology into my science lessons in a variety of ways that work for each grade level I work with from Kindergarten to Fifth grade.

Here are Four of My Top Technology Tips for  Elementary Classrooms:

Tip 1: Project a Smartboard Interactive for K-1 Classrooms

It isn't always easy to have student's from many different teachers' rooms. Some of the students come with the knowledge of how to get an airdrop or even how to get to their Google Drive, but with only an hour with my littles, I had to find different ways to utilize my time, as well as check for understanding of key Science concepts...That is why I started creating Smartboard Projectable Activities that have a Science Theme or tie in math and language arts.

 I love how students can come up to the Smartboard and drag and drop to show me what they know. I also love how this is a great way to have students sit nicely to be called on and learn that we don't always get a turn to come up.

We can even agree or disagree and help a friend if they are stuck. We use the thumbs up and thumbs down method so no one is blurting and we all have an answer. 

Tip 2: Digital Quizzes Check For Understanding

Looking for ways to assess differently? I found that my 1st through 5th graders like the Google Drive Assessments because they love being able to look at a picture, circle their answer on a sheet that they can self-correct, or hand in to show what they know. In first grade, I have them sit with me and I show the slides on the Smartboard and walk around to check if they circled a word, but with my 2nd through 5th grade, we have everyone sign up with their Google user name and password and they are set with their own copy. All I do is give them a record sheet and it is an easy way to get accountability as well as guide your lessons.  (I even had my principal take the quiz when she came into my classroom to observe. She was pretty impressed!)

If you are needing to do it quickly...once again you can show it up on the Smartboard while students circle their answers at their seats as you scroll through the slides. 

Tip 3: Airdropped Sheets for Explain Everything or Pic Collage Save Paper and Allow For Better Understanding of Concepts

One of my favorite apps is Explain Everything.  I used to use Pic Collage until our district bought us this app. Both work great! 

My students can get a record sheet airdropped to them and they place the picture that is now in their camera roll into their "Science Notebook" in Explain Everything. Once they add it to their notebook they can lock in the sheet, add pictures, text, voice recordings...its a great way to look back on our experiments to show what we know and to recall what we learned the week before!

Taking a picture or video of the demonstration of an experiment has cut down on the questions asked or the lack of understanding of what to do next. It allows for reflection and instead of drawing what they see, they can take a real time picture that shows exactly what happened! This can be looked at week after week, lesson after lesson to continue to make connections! It also increases vocabulary by letting students voice record or take pictures of anchor charts, vocabulary on the board and more!

Tip 4:  QR Codes and iPads Make Learning Fun!

Increasing Vocabulary for Tier Three Words is difficult at times because they are low frequency words that appear in classes such as Science and Social Studies...classes that are often times ignored due to the increase in math and language arts. The way to get students actively engaged in learning vocabulary...studying for a test...creating partner activities that challenge who might know more information...and even assessment can be done through QR Codes!  Using a QR Code Generator such as https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/ is an easy way to write an answer and then copy the QR Code onto a poster or task card for them to answer questions or what we love WRITE THE ROOM or SCOOT. 

We place the cards around the room and they Scoot around the room finding each card, writing  down their answers and then checking their work. I even place task cards on their tables for them to read, write, and correct to increase vocabulary and understanding!

Whether you have a classroom of ipads or just a few for a station, or Smartboard using technology with your students will prepare them for the future. Technology is always changing and sometimes that is hard to embrace because it is not always what we grew up with, but showing your students that you can utilize technology to teach makes connections that can help them learn not only Science, but any subject!

Hope you enjoyed reading about how I use Technology in my classroom! Time For a Giveaway! You have a chance to win a $50 TPT gift card when you comment on each of our posts in the blog hop! 

Comment below to let me know how you can use these ideas in your classroom! Then click the image above and read another way to add digital learning into your classroom from my techie friend, Kristy over at Two Peas and a Dog! Keep hopping for great tips, tricks and content from more amazing TECHIE TEACHERS!
Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Valentine STEM and Organization Made Easy

Remember when you might have been able to have a Valentine's Day Party...along with treats...time to make boxes to house all of the Valentine cards in them...organize snacks and treats...well now those days are over for many schools...including mine. I do not LOVE wasting valuable instructional time so in order to find some time for fun I LOVE to add STEM to my Valentine's Day!

The best thing that I could have figured out as I teach all of our Kindergarten through Fifth Graders is that at times if I differentiate my big STEM Engineering Ideas I can set up one bucket, create different sheets that work for different grade levels, and when a holiday like Valentine's Day comes around I can be set to go hour after hour...all I have to do is replenish the materials used...and here's a BIG one...have each group that finishes with the bucket to leave it as close to the way they found it as possible! (I find that before we share out...they need to clean up because the group that cleans up first gets to present first.

Here are some great ideas that can really be differentiated for multiple grade levels! Today was the best when a group of fifth graders were watching the presentations I recorded of the second graders and I heard them say how those second graders sure are smart because their ideas were amazing!  The other weird thing was that our littles were able to work faster and more efficiently than our fifth graders as well!


STEM Station 1: Candy Heart Carrier
In this one has you creating a short love note using at least four candy hearts in the note. We used note cards for our notes. I love how creative the kids can get with the candy hearts. As for the carrier...give the kiddos some ideas on how to carry mail or objects and they are set to go! Give them paper, string, tape, glue...

STEM Station 2: Valentine Bouquet
This one was so cute...I had them making flowers for someone they loved. Using paper, tissue paper, straws, pipe cleaners, glue, tape...the cutest part was when we got done one of my kiddos came over and gave me their flowers! So super adorable!

STEM Station 3: Candy Heart Dispenser

So I did this one with second graders and fourth and fifth graders...the second graders were so very creative and were able to do it quicker than those older kids. Go figure! I gave them Styrofoam cups (other cups, too but they seemed to go to the Styrofoam), tongue depressors, candy hearts, tape, toilet paper tubes...I love how they could get the candy hearts to come out one at a time. This one really showed their creativity!

STEM Station 4: Love Bugs
Time for some Love Bugs! I love the heart shaped wings!
Great review of the parts of an insect. Have them include a head, thorax, and abdomen, eyes, antennas, six legs...give them egg cartons, bottle tops, construction paper, pipe cleaners, straws, google eyes...Get them making a love bug for a love bug of theirs to give it to!

STEM Station 5: Cupid's Archery Game (Extra Game We Are Playing On Valentine's Day This Year! Stay Tuned For Pictures!)

Having them create a bow using plastic spoons and knives if you tape up the sharp parts, Craft sticks, Straws, Straws, Rubber bands, Paper clips, and good ole' masking tape!

But, Let's talk organization... I love having the supplies in the bucket, but remember to have them clean up and recycle or throw away before they even put anything back in the bucket. Only reusable supplies and unused supplies get put back in exactly like they first saw it. 

I have them clean up before we share and line up. We have a quality control person (bucket brigade) that inspects the bucket and then brings in back to our central location. They are in charge of making sure the team is cleaned up! It works pretty slick!

I will be sharing more tips for easy clean up in an upcoming post!

Want it all in one place? STEM Velope Valentine Pack can be found here! I love these interactive holiday themed activities...just in time for Valentine's Day!

Don't forget to sign up for our Science School Yard Scoop~lots of great extra freebies in your inbox as well as in our free resource library!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Are You Ready For Some Football...STEM Stations and Family Connections

Next weekend is the Super Bowl and to get ready we created some amazingly fun STEM football activities to play during our at home "Super Bowl Parties"...if they do not watch the game or have a get together...we shared that this would be a great way to get their families playing together this next week!

Sometimes I just love to find ways to get families involved. That is seriously one of our School Goals! Let's walk through what you can do to get your parents involved in your STEM products!

First...connect with parents by sending a pre-game warm up

What does that mean? Send a note home sharing with them that you will be making a fun game for the Super Bowl (or insert what ever else your theme is) and have them donate or have them share a time they had a ball with their child. Bring them into what you are doing in science (insert any other subject).

Second... pump the kids up by showing them football clips, high lights, Past Super Bowl High Lights and Book Connections

This will get them ready for understanding the game a bit. Give them some background. Another great idea is to share a picture book.

Third...Set them up for successful STEM Lessons

Set out the supplies at a table for a Supply Smorgasbord, or get supply buckets ready with everything a table needs...two easy ways to make sure that they are ready to go.

Have your sheets ready and have them go through the design process. I set the sheets out at every table, set them in a pile to have a helper count them out, or even just put them in a pile as part of the smorgasbord...and you are set to go!

Now let them go through the design process after sharing with them the constraints. Set a timer for them to get done at a given time and give them reminders along the way so that they are finished when the time is up. At times some groups may not get done, we discuss YET and share what we would do next as well as what we do have!

Here are this week's STEM Stations to get ready for the Big Super Bowl Party!

 All you need is 2 pieces of paper, 6 dixie cups, tape, and cotton balls to build it!
 For the Goal Posts you need straws, Popsicle sticks, and masking tape.

I have given options for this one, but I am using it with younger kids in 2nd and third grade so I am giving each person 6 sticks, three rubber bands, a bottle top and a pom pom!

Need it all in one place with sheets, supply lists, language arts and math here is the link for the Football STEM Activity Pack HERE!

Finally, don't forget to have them create directions for their games, give them a try in class, and then take them home for families to play! A perfect way to get them connecting!

The Packers aren't in the Super Bowl this year, so I guess I will root for good snacks and perfect party food! I myself am making Buffalo Chicken Dip and Veggie Pizza...

How do you connect with your parents? Would love to hear it in the comments below!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!
Powered by Blogger.