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Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label STEM. Show all posts

Bird Beak Stations

Image result for beaks picture book

Each year, I pull out my bird beak stations, and each year I love watching my first graders as they learn hands on how birds have different beaks that allow them to survive in the habitat they live in.

I love starting off this lesson by asking them to tell me what makes a bird a bird. We create an anchor chart that has a nest of great words including birds ... have 2 legs, have wings, have feathers, lay eggs, have beaks, fly, have two eyes.

I then share the book Beaks by Robin Brickman.

Beaks aren't just for eating...this book is great in showing other ways such as building, finding a mate, and digging to name a few!

I then take the first graders around from table to table to show them how they will be using their beaks to eat! I read the sheets to them, give them a check off list, but going in a circle from station to station is easy enough! I was able to get my supplies from the Dollar Store or from my classroom or home. There are seven stations in all! Here are just a few fun stations in action.

How fun to dig for worms! Wheat germ and gummy worms!

Time to crack open a sunflower seed!

Watch the woodpeckers as they dig for bugs! I use Mung beans because I had them, but rice or split peas work perfect, too! Grab the tweezers and a sponge and your all set!

My little hummingbirds love the nectar! Droppers, graduated cylinders and a little flower prop and we have a fast flying bird ready to eat!

Bird Beak Stations and STEM Connections
When we are all done with the stations, because I only have an hour with my students, we finish up by having them create a bird that they saw in the book or they simulated in our stations. We add it to our anchor chart. If they get done nearly, I share with them a live eagle cam (yesterday we watched it eat a squirrel for lunch!) and compare it to a live bird cam from Cornell University!

Want to teach adaptations in a hands-on engaging way? Grab your set of Bird Beak Stations HERE!

After setting up all of the stations with supplies...I put them each in a baggie and they are all set for the next year!

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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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Gobbling Up Thanksgiving Science and STEM Ideas!

It is hard to fit it all in during the school day, and with holidays approaching you might want to even add a bit of fun...why not do both! I have been playing with the idea of every new holiday I can connect Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math within the confines of my lesson and still cover NGSS Standards!

Holiday and Science Connection #1: Buoyancy/Sink and Float

What a great way to teach sink and float while sharing with the students the story of the Mayflower. I like the visuals of this video, but I will be posing a variety of questions as we watch and not listen...for older students it is perfect, but for littles it is too hard to understand. It ties in history, which you can do on your own.

1. What do you see?
2. How is a boat long ago, different and the same as a boat we see now?
3. What else is different in 1620?
4. What problems might have occurred on a ship if you were a Pilgrim?
5. Why does a big boat float?
6. What other things might float?
7. Why would someone want to write on a boat? 
8. When would you travel across the sea? They left in September. Was that a good idea or not?
9. They needed to write down rules. Why was important to have rules?

Find items around your classroom that you can place in a bucket or on a tray. Set out buckets of water. Have students test the items. Have each person draw on a sticky note something on the tray. Each pick a different item. Use an anchor chart to show and display the pictures.

Holiday and Science Connection #2: Living or Non-Living with Scarecrows!

Scarecrows are a perfect connection to living vs. non-living. Scarecrows are used to help farmers ward off birds that might eat the plants in a field. They look real so it scares the crows! 

This can be an easy lesson in what is living: 
You can find pictures in magazines to make posters to share. You can give word cards to each child to see if they can figure it out using the definition of living. Then, how fun to create a scarecrow after reading one of my favorites: The Little Scarecrow Boy.
I give my students construction paper, straws, cups, toilet paper tubes, and popsicle sticks. I give them glue, scissors, and tape...but not too much tape!

Holiday and Science Connections #3: Traditions

My students come from a wide range of ethnicities. That means that not all of my students celebrate holidays or at least the ones that I do. So approaching the Thanksgiving holiday doesn't mean that everyone in our classes will sit down and eat the same meal we do or even celebrate that at all.

There are two ways to go about an activity where students make a Thanksgiving table. . You can tie it into the history of the first Thanksgiving and share what was served then vs. what we might eat now. Or not even share what we eat now...or you can say at a holiday you might celebrate what do you eat...or you can plain out ask, those of you that celebrate with families on Thanksgiving what is your favorite food or what do you even serve. My Hmong students typically eat rice and chicken. 

We love making a special table for a meal we can eat with our families. We use toilet paper tubes, tongue depressors, unifix cubes, and cardstock/notecards. I love having the students make their favorite food that can then fit on the table. Here is the free lesson for you to use in your classroom!

Here is the Thanksgiving Table Activity Ready for you as a fun freebie!

Holiday and Science Connections #4: Camouflage

One of the NGSS concepts that I now need to cover with my littles in how animals survive, grow and meet their needs. This is for our first grade friends. What a great way to show how animals are able to survive...Thanksgiving style! Turkeys do a great job camouflaging. Many of the activities out there are for turkey to hide...how does a turkey survive without building a hideout or dress in a costume? This is a prefect way to show what camouflage means, but also do some of those fun activities to make those connections!

How can a turkey survive playing hide and seek for survival? They are shades of brown and it makes them harder to spot. Try taking a coloring sheet of a turkey, have students color it to blend into their classroom as they blend in. Have a predator (school personnel)  come in and see if they can find the hiding turkeys within view  in your room! Give them one minute on the clock to see how many they can hunt and find!

 Want to join the fun with  Holiday Science and STEM? Thanksgiving Science includes connecting social studies, math, science, games, and STEM engineering projects with a sprinkle of tradition all in one spot to make it easier for you to print and go!
This pack focuses on Buoyancy with sink and float activities, Camouflage with the concept of how animals survive and protect themselves, as well as Living and Non-Living as we add some scarecrow activities to the mix! What a perfect way to tie it all together with each concept having games, activity sheets, and a STEM engineering project using simple supplies!

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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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Sustainability and STEM

March blew in so very quickly! Time for renewable and non renewable resources lessons, tied to natural resources, as well as to wind and water powered hands on STEM challenges. I love using recyclables to let my kiddos create!

First things first, students need to know what sustainable resource means. Doing something in a way that minimizes damage to the environment and avoids using up natural resources, for example renewable energy. 

Here is a list of renewable resources: (can be created again in our life time)

  • wind
  • water
  • sun
  • wildlife
  • plants
Examples on non-renewable resources: (can not be recreated in our life time)
  • oil
  • natural gas
  • petroleum
  • coal
  • gasoline
An anchor chart can help you discuss the different vocabulary words and help them visualize the difference. Here is a quick video to help you also explain the concepts of being green in a way that kids can connect!

For older students you could use a little bit more detailed explanation to show it with a three pillar model as well as a global concept: global, economic and social

There are a ton of great activities that you can incorporate along with teaching your students right away at the beginning of the year how to live sustainably and help the classroom, school, community, and planet!

Great Ideas:
 -recycled paper is great and when you make a card for someone with it....so special
-toilet paper tubes can be used for so many great projects...from binoculars, robots, 
-cans can be reused as a pencil holder, but if you can get the big ones form your lunchroom, they make great robots, drums, utensil holders for a present, paint them and have the kids take it home to put their stray plastic bags in, and a great after school project you can  make games for a school carnival!
-start recycling efforts in your school. Think outside the box. Try recycling old markers!

-plastic bottles make a great plant holder, water filter project, bubble blower, car, bird feeder...
-Kurig Cups are in mass in our teachers' lounge. We could store our frozen herbs from our school garden in them, plant seeds in them, turkey or snowman craft, mini pom pom shooters for a STEM project, perfect for an anemometer...
-  egg cartons make perfect animals such as bugs and caterpillars, they make great seed starters, and rock collectors, even lovely flowers! These flowers were started in an egg carton for our school garden! 

For more great ideas that include writing, STEM, research, qr codes and more...check out this newly updated 30 page Sustainability Pack! Find this Sustainability and Earth Day Pack HERE!

I love teaching sustainability all year long! This is a great summer school, back to school, and science unit for anytime!
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