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

Day of the Dead Traditions and STEAM Connections

This year, our school is focused on finding ways to celebrate our diverse cultures at my city school. Out of our 300+ students we have a large Hmong and Hispanic population, as well as African American and Native American students as well! I love the rich diversity that our school represents in our district, which mind you is the absolute opposite at my country school. This is what makes our district so unique. This is what makes my job so unique!

In my after school STEM club, it allows me to find creative ways to celebrate the variety of traditions that our students celebrate! Each week, I have focused on a new tradition that came from our survey that we asked students and families at the beginning of the year. From pumpkin patches and corn mazes which traditionally are visited in our town, to finishing up with the Hmong New Year in November we are finding ways to bring in ways to show how we are all the same...yet we are all different.

This week, we are celebrating Dia De Los Muertos in STEM club! We created tables and marigolds.
The tables were made simply from blocks, Jenga, 10's sticks, and tongue depressors. We created tissue paper marigolds and learned through a great video that that reminded us of the movie Coco! This is a great springboard to share this tradition with your students.
Grab the Day of the Dead STEAM Pack to add a little tradition and cultural diversity to your school day!

This week...$2.00 for four STEAM Stations! Find the Day of the Dead STEAM pack here!
Enjoy your October traditions!
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Pumpkin Time STEM Quick Pick

This week, my kindergartners are learning about pumpkins. A quick and easy STEM activity is just what my little pumpkins need to learn how to be creative! You can either grab a book such as the Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin which I love... or even the 5 Little Pumpkins that have a springboard that you could use to have them build a wall, gate, or step that the pumpkin can sit on!

I love to use the little pumpkins we grow in our school garden, but any little pumpkin can do! Here are the other materials that you can use...

Materials:  tongue depressors, cubes,  ten number blocks, blocks, and book such as the Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin

I use a tray to place all of the different choices on and then I set out the blocks at their table tops.

 Quick Pick Ideas: A quick pick for me is an activity that can take less than 30 minutes including a book a STEM challenge. We were able to learn the life cycle of a pumpkin, as well as read a story then pose the challenge. I then have the trays set out at the tables for the students to go to when I am done with the book and science lesson. I also set out one little pumpkin per table for them to test their designs with. We learn about modifications real fast when a pumpkin doesn't balance.

Links You Might Like:
Fall STEM Ideas
Fall Flip Book
Pumpkin Themed Activities
Digital Pumpkin Activities with STEM and Math Connections

Time to make Science Child's Play with this quick pick! Your little pumpkins will love it! This is an easy activity to "patch" together as well.

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that with your purchase of items Amazon will pass on small percentages to me. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!
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Dave's Down to Earth Rock Display: STEM Springboard Book

I think it is often difficult to add STEM activities to a rock unit, but sometimes a random idea can create a great activity! Every year I read the book, Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop(it is a perfect book for a rock unit because it really covers some great rock concepts), but this year I started to find myself needing to find some new challenges to add to what I have to already teach in FOSS Earth Materials for my third graders.

I came up with a way for all of the random rocks that get brought to me from my students because they get so excited about showing me a rock they find! Why not use the book and Dave's various displays to display our own rock collection! Here is what you can do to rock your geology unit, too!

STEM Springboard book: Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop written by Stewart J. Murphy is one of those perfect books for this kit or any rock unit. It allows for students to review properties of a rock and  the rock cycle as well . The book does a great job also using a ton of great geography vocabulary as well as it covers Moh's Hardness Scale which we do in class. Click here or on the book to find your own copy!
Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop (MathStart 3)
STEM Activity: The beginning of the book shows a child's collection from pennants to marbles. He displays them in a variety of ways. Dave also displays his rocks to show them off. We used a collection of rocks that students brought in as well as some of my favorites. I asked them what we could do to show off our rocks just like the book. We decided upon a display.

Constraints and Criteria:  I set the constraints and criteria. It must be at least three inches off the surface, allow two or more rocks to be on display, and be made out of at least three supplies provided. I will say not all of our engineers followed the design criteria and in their record sheet it is a great place to be able to reflect.

Materials: egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, cardboard, cups, paper plates, paper and masking tape

What is so wonderful, it is an opportunity to have students bring in rocks they collect or find. It lets them learn how to describe the properties of their rocks and to be proud of their findings. It connects them to science and geology! When they got to display their rocks they got even more excited to let others see their findings!

I thought it would really "rock" if I gave you the sheet that I use with my students! Click on the link for my free Science School Yard Rock Resource!
                                                   Free STEM Springboard Book Activity

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that with your purchase of items Amazon will pass on small percentages to me. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!
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Six "Apple"ing Apple Science Connections

Apples this time of year can be an "apple"ing way to teach students about so many science related topics. I love to grab some apples from a the store or a local orchard, any way you organize it...I apple-aud you!

Here are just a few ways that you can add apple themed ideas to your science lessons...

10 Apples Up On Top

I use this really fun video to tie in math and STEM! I use toilet paper tubes, red pom poms, and green tongue depressors to have student balance the apples up on top of their tree that they make. Before we watch the video, we learn the parts of an apple tree! It is actually amazing that the students in kindergarten and first grade don't know words such as bark, trunk, stem, and leaves.

A fun tip is to have them hug their trunk, stretch their branches, sway their leaves, and wiggle their roots!

Apple Senses

Apples are a perfect way to teach the five senses! Not only can they look and observe...they can feel how wet and sticky they are...they can hear the crunch...they can smell the sweet or sour...and of course they can taste!

I love to give them options to even add some math for a quick survey! Do they prefer green, red, yellow, or a mix of color such as red and yellow?

                                 Here is a link to a free apple themed pack for you! 

Apple Layers vs. Earth Layers

An apple is a great way to teach the layers of the Earth! The outside skin is like the crust of the Earth. The next layer the pulp or the flesh is like the mantle, and the thin line that separates the flesh from the seeds is the outer core. The outer core can represent the inner core.  You can even connect the stem to relate to the axis.

Apple Perspective

I love this activity for older students...I get a jug of apple juice. I dye a pitcher of it red, a pitcher of it green, and a pitcher I leave plain apple juice. I then ask them to use their sense of taste and let me know what kind of kool aid the red and green are. Then I give them apple juice and ask them what this drink is. We discuss perspective because the color changes what they seem to taste.  This usually blows them away! This activity and apple perspective can be found HERE!

Apple Preservation

We use lemon juice, Milk of Magnesia, baking soda, lemon juice, and water to test how to keep an apple from turning brown.  We learn why apples turn brown through a fun controlled experiment! This is a quick way to teach variables and controlled experiments.

Apple STEM Connections 

Apples are great way to build structures with. I cut the apples into small pieces and give each student a cup of apples and some toothpicks. We look at objects and nature or how fall is represented: in hay bails, pumpkins, football...then they build that structure. Students then try to identify what someone built!

Another fun STEM connection is to make an apple picking maze on the wall with toilet paper tubes and  red/ green pompoms. The students must make an apple chute/maze to get the apples from the tree or top of the chute to the cup at the bottom for collection. They need so many turns and so many tubes.

This pack is ready for you! Find Apple STEM Connections HERE!

Flipping Over Apples

One of my favorite ways to teach lately is to use flip books. I use to feel that I needed to use every page of my flip books, but I love using two sheets printed out on one page to have students use as stations! I love that I can also use it through multiple grade levels and pick certain pages for a specific class to use, which allows me to utilize the apples on our school apple tree in a more diverse way!

I use to feel that I needed to use each sheet  with a class, but time is really valuable and I only have an hour per week with each grade level. Find this Flip book by following this link...
Together we can make Science Child's Play and much more...APPLE-ing!

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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!

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Electricity Lessons That Help Learners Shine

Each year we start and electricity unit which allows students the ability to work hands on and to problem solve as a group...that to me is so electrifying.

The major focus in our electricity unit is to learn about the parts of a circuit. Whether that be the source meaning... the battery... the pathway... meaning the wires or the receiver which can be either the light bulbs or a motor.

We want them to be able to figure out ways to problem solve by learning what an opened and closed circuit is! We also want them to be able to work together to create a way for a switch to turn on and off the light or motor better yet... as we develop our skills in putting a circuit together  we can even add how to be able to work with insulators and conductors! 

 I love giving them a bag of insulators and conductors for them to test from spoons to sponges washers to paper clips they are able to connect and understand that all metal objects are conductors! 

The next big focus is to understand the difference between parallel and series circuits! By adding different light  bulbs to our circuit we can see the difference between the two, We really emphasize that series circuits work together one after the other after the other... just like a series of books or movies!  I like to use movies or favorite books like Avengers.  It sure can get kids to connect to the understanding of the difference between series and parallel easier!

 Here’s how I did it: Series vs. Parallel

For series circuits... I like the different types of movies that are put together one after the other so that if you miss one movie you might miss something really important in the story line. Why do Captain America and Iron Man have an issue with each other for example. 

For parallel circuits...We can look at the movie Avengers and see that there’s a parallel universe that can work separately from each other. What other movies show two things happening simultaneously without interference? That is the key to making those connections!

Think about a Series of Unfortunate Events. If you miss one of  the books, you might miss out of something that happened that led to it coming up in another book.  Using movies and books to be able to share the difference between a concept that might be a little bit more difficult is an important strategy to use in any classroom setting. 

Adding lesson such as static electricity as well as electromagnets are also really fun and hands-on ways to help students understand the concepts of electricity as well as magnetism and how they can go hand in hand. 

One of my new found favorites to finish up the unit...bristle bots.  I was able to use grant money to purchase this kits from Brown Dog Gadgets called Bristle Bots. There are some great step by stem picture tutorials that we used from PBS Kids site with video help, too!  

I love ending the school year with this unit because when these kids are so worn out from being tested they can be able to really work to gather any fun and engaging way trying to find an electricity pack that can work for you grab this pack below right here!
Electricity Unit and Resources

Hope I helped you find ways to add electricity activities to your science lessons. Thanks for joining me in the Science School Yard!
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STEM is Hopping With Easter Stations!

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

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

Jelly Bean Picker Uppers! 

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

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

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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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