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

Flat Teacher Adventures!

As we move toward summer break...which mind you we all sure could use...I wanted to keep connected with my students over the summer. I found some great ideas online and I am ready to help you make yourself flat and go on adventures with your students, too! Here is how to do it...

You might be seeing the Flat Teacher posts all over. This idea originated with the book Adventures of Flat Stanley, if you haven't see it...it is about a boy who gets flattened and goes on adventures all over the world! I am giving it a little twist for my own students, many who never get to go too many places. I want them to share their Science and STEM adventures threw posting videos and pictures on our flipgrid Classroom!

Let's Go On A Flat Teacher Adventure!

6 Easy Steps: 

1. Before you do anything, you need to make yourself flat! How to do that? Download the bitmoji app from the App store.

2, Now, head on over to your computer and get the chrome extension: Bitmoji Extension for Chrome

3. At this point you can edit and create your very own Flat Teacher! This is the fun part! For just the right pose such as your full body, search Pose, don't be too specific. Watch out for the space bar...don't do it. I used the words: wave, look, point, jump, run and walk for bitmojis that were without other images. I then right clicked and saved the image to my desktop to insert.

4. I first download my bitmoji  You can also save as a png which will make your background transparent. I copy and paste 6 bitmojis on one page to print and cut out. All I did was right clip and save my pictures to my desktop.

5. I printed mine on cardstock so they were stronger. Didn't have time to laminate because time was valuable...(four hours and out).

6. I used flipgrid for my virtual learning and WOW what a great free program on your computer with use with microsoft and google! I will have all of my students post their pictures or videos within our summer science spot within flipgrid!

If you are using flipgrid you will need to create a new banner. The dimensions are: 1500px x 500 px.

Want to download my science letter? Here you go...Free Bitmoji Summer Science Letter, even if you want to use the idea, you can print, sign and attach your bitmoji!

Have fun connecting this summer with this fun and easy activity that I can't wait to see the response. Flipgrid has allowed so many of my students to have their voice! Let's make Science and STEM child's play...together!


End of The Year Science and STEM Ideas

This weekend, we took a little trip to the top of one of the  highest spots here in Wisconsin. We trekked up flights and flights of stairs to finally reach the top. There I was overlooking miles and miles of forests, watching the sway of trees as they danced to the music of the wind. It game me a totally different perspective. 

I guess it reminds it reminds me so much of the last few months of virtual learning. I have always seen the importance of adding subjects such as science into a schedule because science and STEM  can reach students differently through creativity and problem solving...different that reading, math, and writing...we need to take a look at that perspective, too.

  • I now have a whole new perspective of what I do for my students when I am in school. 

  • I have a new perspective of the impact we have as educators and the way we can help our students learn in new ways.

  • I also have a totally different perspective of the tools that I can utilize to meet the needs of my students. 
  • I bet that you have a different perspective of teaching as well! There are aspects that work and also some that do not!

Let's find a new perspective on end of the year celebrations then...head on over to my blog for some great end of the year tips and tricks as well as a free resource! Home learning/distance learning/remote learning/virtual learning just to name a few...whatever you are calling it these days, it is all new territory to most of the classroom teachers out there.  It is definitely new territory to me. Now, it is time to reflect and finish up the school year, from the confines of our own homes. Let's find some spectacular Science and STEM opportunities to connect with our kiddos!

Virtual End of The Year Ideas For the Science and STEM Classroom

Have A Virtual Field Day Event
We are hosting ours on flipgrid by making copilots so that more than one person can host on a grid where kids can add their field day event. Perfect for sharing and watching other friends in one spot!

We are housing our ideas and videos in flipgrid along with five challenges for our students and families. The five challenges we included are:
  1. Sock Toss
  2. 3 Legged Race
  3. Book Balance
  4. Spoon Walk
  5. Cup Toss and Catch

Have A Virtual Field Trip

What a great way to end the school year by taking a field trip. Virtual field trips are amazing! There are lots of different online field trips, which I am sharing my go to's down below:

STEM/Science Tic Tac Toe Board

This was a fun way to host a weekly event this last few months. Students were given a tic tac toe board that allowed for Science concept reinforcements. This share out can be digital as well! 

Virtual Award Ceremony
Students can get an award from you through a a google slide celebration. You can utilize google slides in order for each student to get a special science award to showcase what they have shown this year in class or at home. 
I made a free science reward pack for you if you sign up for my newsletter!  I will be sending each child a special slide within the awards that when they click on the link it goes right to their personal award. You can also send a page directly through email, when you copy a specific page a new file with that child's name. 

STEM Connection Celebration
I hosted several STEM events during virtual learning this last quarter. I asked students to bring certain supplies to the meet which can be on ZOOM or google meet. 

The first week: make something to share
  • paper, spoon, fork, cup and one item of your choice ...the goal was to make something to share out
The second week: the tallest tower
  • we used two pieces of paper and tape...the goal was to create the tallest tower
The third week:  Building Bridges
  • Legos, building blocks, cardboard boxes saved ...the goal is to build a bridge for a small stuffed animal or figurine

Find a great STEM challenge that you can host on a virtual meeting. The kids can build right in the meet and share out individually within the meet. It is engaging and the supplies that you suggest can be easily accessible around the house. Want to find your set of Google Slide Packs for your students? Find them here!

Enjoy your end of the year. It wasn't easy, but when we can celebrate, show how to persevere and be resilient it will help model for our families that we can get through this together and we do have lots to celebrate!

Let's Make Science Child's Play!


Remote Science and STEM

As we are learning how to teach remotely, we find ourselves learning how to be even more flexible than before. We see our students and families struggling and may even be struggling a bit ourselves. Our district last week, asked us to take a step back from the rigor of what being in school is like. We stepped back to reflect on what is so very important right now, the mental health of our students and parents. To continue to provide learning opportunities, our encore team chose to celebrate this week through a STEM challenge! We are creating crazy hats and then wearing them at our google meet with our students!

This is just a start to the STEM challenges that can connect us all!  We want to find ways that students and families can do something fun and hands-on together with the supplies they have around the house.

Here are our challenges for the next few weeks:

1.  Crazy hat design and share with the focus on how we know that this is a big crazy, but how can we make the best of it? How can we support you? What do you need?

2. Make it move and dance party, connecting what we need to do to stay active for our health and our mind

3. Building Connections: blocks and Lego or recyclables and share your favorite virtual lesson so far

4. Tower Talk: building towers and talking about positives and how to make lemonade with lemons

5. Bridge Building problem solving session share what might be hard and what we can do together to support each other

6. Future's so bright I gotta wear shades sunglasses challenge and what we want to see for the future

7. It's getting warmer, let's make some summer shoes to share and have a virtual runway show and summer send off!

Supply List From Around the House:

  • egg cartons
  • junk mail for paper
  • empty food boxes
  • toilet paper rolls
  • plastic cups, forks, spoons
  • rocks
  • sticks
  • pencils
  • cans
  • toys
  • Legos
  • jars/bottles
  • tissue
  • plastic bags
  • paper bags
  • baggies
  • aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap
  • wax paper
  • paper towels/napkins

Want to find this distance learning pack already to go? Follow the link here for Distance Learning STEM pack 1.

What can your students do with simple supplies found around the house? Have fun finding ways to connect remotely with your students! If you want more virtual STEM ideas check out these packs, too!

Outdoor STEM Digital Resource
Diversity/Positive Growth Mindset STEM
Distance Learning STEM Volume 1
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Germs, Bacteria, and Virus Science

Wow! What a week. I have to say that I typically don't research germs and viruses, but I can't stop watching the news or reading an article about the Coronavirus. This last week, a long term substitute who went to Italy for a few days, stepped into our school to help the newly hired teacher get ready for her new job before she arrived this next week. Needless to say, our school was heavily disinfected and it now has impacted us right in our classrooms and in our community. Thank goodness she didn't have contact with any children or adults! 

I wasn't going to address the virus in my class, but it has become so much a part of our school conversation Friday, so as the science teacher who works with each student in my school, it was time for me to make sure that we had lessons that could help our students with the understanding of what germs are and how to stay germ free. So, this weekend, I spent a ton of time organizing a new germ unit that I started right off the bat on Monday! 
We have been using Mystery Doug for the germs video. It is pretty good and I am using it for grades K-5th grade with supplemental activities and sheets included in the link below.

Extension Activities and Ideas...
K-1 Activity: Glitter Germs
  1. Get a small bottle of hand sanitizer (good luck if you don't have any now, stores are getting sold out fast...). Fill the hand sanitizer with glitter. I use bigger pieces of glitter and not the small stuff. It is easier to wash off.
  2. Describe how the glitter represents germs. We need to wash away the germs by washing our hands. 
We wash our hands with water first, then with soap and water. I line them up at the bathroom and practice as we wait for someone to finish

    K-5 Cinnamon Test:
  1. I practice hand washing with the cinnamon test and petroleum jelly, too. This one isn't as messy. I ask for 3-4 volunteers, then on their hand they shake with I rub petroleum jelly on it. I sprinkle the hand with cinnamon which represents germs. 
  2. We then shake and give high fives seeing how easy the germs spread. 
  3. We then wash our hands for 20 seconds!
I have used this song to inspire them...

K-5 Activity: Black Pepper Activity
  1.  Discuss the importance of washing hands
  2. Get a flat tray and fill it almost full with water
  3. Sprinkle black pepper on the surface of the water (enough so that the surface is filled with pepper)
  4. Describe how the pepper represents germs and why it is important to use soap and water to wash our hands
  5. Demonstrate by adding a couple of drops of dish soap to the surface and have students observe ( I use a dropper)
  6. The germs will immediately cling to the side of the bowl to get away from the soap
  7. Remind them of the importance of washing their hands (demonstrate hand washing techniques as well as the 20 second reminder of how long it should be! I say two ABC's, the chorus to Frozen, or two Happy Birthday's!)
I am sharing my germ science freebie for the 2020 school year as more and more schools go to elearning. Help your students learn how germs spread, and how to stay healthy with my Germ Science Resource for you found here. 

Stay healthy and safe! Please feel free to share your ideas below if you have any ideas to add to our germ free lessons! Literally, as I was writing this post, we got a call letting us know we are going virtual tomorrow. No time to train our kids or even give them their bags of supplies...wish me luck!

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Leap Year STEM

In STEM club this week, we wanted to find a way to add some Leap Year Science and engineering to our hour. The funny thing is that no one really knew why leap year even exists. We generated some great ideas and then we headed over to Mystery Doug to find out the answers. We followed up with some great origami inspirations, which was taught by a student led team... and we finished it up with creating a game that needed to incorporate our frog in some way.

The criteria and constraints:

  • the frog had to be part of the game
  • you only have 15 minutes to prepare the game 
  • the game must have written rules
  • the frog doesn't have to jump as part of the game
  • you must use what you see around the room as the supplies for the game

The science components that we included in day two of our STEM club Leap Frog Theme was to create a controlled experiment using our frogs.

We tested the following variables:

  1. Does the size of the frog make the frog hop farther?
  2. Does the type of paper used determine how far our frog jumps?
  3. Does where we fold the bottom affect how far the frog jumps?
  4. Does how/where we push on the back of the frog affect how far our frog jumps?
Mystery Doug has a great video all about Leap Year, which is a perfect springboard for your leapfrog lessons in science! Find the Mystery Doug video here. 

Leap Frog Leap Year Science and STEM Pack Found HERE.
I am hoppy that you joined me here in the Science School Yard! Happy February 29th!
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Landforms In Science

A discussion came up in one of our second grade classrooms this week in regards to the 65 degree temperature that occurred in Antarctica this last week. When the second graders arrived I was ready and waiting to start a new mini-unit that can help my students understand some new vocabulary words along with hands-on activities that can allow them to make the connections they need to start to figure out the why's of the importance in learning about our Earth.

Landforms are one of those topics that at first our second graders and beyond struggle with. Given names to land and water so that we can decipher their similarities and differences. The best part is that at first they might say a park or road is a landform, or even name a landform around where they live, however as they get to see pictures of other habitats or biomes they start to add new vocabulary to their ever growing list.

To help you incorporate landforms into your science/social studies lessons, here are 5 quick activities that I was able to incorporate this week in science in my one hour with my second graders!

Idea 1:
Second graders don't know landform words...I used EPIC Books Landforms by William B. Rice which has some great examples and ways to teach what a landform is.
Landforms (Science Readers: Content and Literacy) by [William B. Rice]

Idea 2:
We then generate a list of words that we heard so far as well as words that describe what land and water words we use around us. We created an anchor chart that can support our new words.

Idea 3: 
We use a landform game that allows for students to get a review of the word landform and what it means. I love using qr codes for the students to access in a game format where they can at their own pace find answers in a scavenger hunt format, write the room format, or even just around the table time.

Idea 4: 
After we review what we found on our QR code activity, we follow up with a quick review from SciShow Kids. These videos are short and packed with a ton of great information, pictures, and vocabulary to support adding to what they already know.

Idea 5:
Now it is time to review again with landform cards that have the picture and words on them. We then set out cubes that they can build the feature that is on the card. We then travel the globe (classroom) to see the different landforms that are found on the Earth's surface.

These ideas help me reinforce the 5 E's of Science...
Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate

Engage them by asking what they know...explore what it means with our book, Explain with our QR codes, Elaborate by creating a 3-D model STEM creation, and I like to finish up by turning over our qr code record sheet and draw me three new words they learned followed by a drawing of each!

These ideas, sheets, cards, and lessons can be found in my landform pack. Find the landform pack here!
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5 Snow Themed STEM Activities That Are Sure To Engage

Winter is now upon us here where I live  and as we prepare for more snow and even a possible snow day...we can anticipate those white flakes falling down from the sky!  I know I am not the only one watching the weather forecast as we prepare to head to school or curled up under a warm blanket and spend the day sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall.

Snow Themed STEM Activities

There is nothing so thrilling to watch beautiful snowflakes that fall from the sky. The ones where you put out your mitten and catch on to see the fascinating shapes that the one little snowflake reveals.  Here are my top five activities that I utilize in my classroom as well as in my after school STEM club!

STEM Idea #1: Snowflake Building Station

Supply Suggestions: 

*white buttons
*white cubes
*white pompoms
*cotton balls
*white straws
*packing peanuts

Book Connection: Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake video connection:

STEM Idea #2: Symmetry Snowflakes

Supply Suggestions: 

*Cotton Swabs set on a blue sheet of paper (or white cubes on a blue sheet of paper)
*or rubberbands and geoboards (we use the app geoboard which is great)

I give them only one supply...I suggest cotton swabs or white cubes

I like to play this powerpoint video that shows different beautiful examples of snowflakes so they can generate ideas and have  relaxing music as they work.

Snowflake Video Connection:

Book Connection: The Story of Snow

STEM Idea #3: The Shape of a Snowflake 

Supply Suggestions: 

*each student gets 25 small marshmallows that have been set out for a day...not so sticky!
*each student gets 25 toothpicks

Book Connection: Curious About Snow

Image result for curious about snow book

STEM Idea # 4: Snow Day Fun 

Supply Suggestions:

Snow forts-toothpicks and marshmallows (I like to reuse supplies that I already have from the last activity...to use them in a different way is always fun!)

Sled-straws, cardboard, popsicle sticks, egg cartons, and masking tape

Snowball Launcher- rubber bands, popsicle sticks, bottle tops or the bottom of cups, hot glue

Book Connection: Snow Day (favorite book ever! Perfect for teaching point of view because it's the teacher that wants a snow day and the kids don't get that until the last page!)

Image result for snow day book

STEM Idea # 5: The Tallest Snowman

I love this challenge because the book shows that even if you are small you still can do BIG things! This challenge is fun to watch as the students work together to create a 3-D snowman...but the challenge is to make the tallest, best snowman!

Supply Suggestions: 

*two pieces of typing paper
*18 inches of masking tape
*brown for arms, black for eyes and mouth, orange for nose...

Book Connection: The Biggest, Best Snowman

How To Build A Snowman Video Connection:

The beauty of using seasonal STEM activities is that you can integrate reading, writing, social studies, science, and math into your school day, keeping "fun"...academic.

Want to get these activities and sheets all in one spot? Here are the links!

Snow Day Winter STEM Pack
Snowflake Science and STEM Pack

Grab this resource this week for free (1/26/20-1/31/20) before it goes on sale on my TPT site!

Follow the link to this  snowman science and STEM resource HERE!


New Year...New STEM Ideas

Happy New Year's Eve eve! I hope you are busy soaking in the last few days of 2019. I'll make this short and sweet so that you can back to enjoying your much deserved break. I have been taking some time to breath this break. I have watched a ton of Netflix and played many games of scrabble. I even took some tests to see how the new year will go for me! I am a rooster born in 1969 and they say 2020 is going to be my year! I also learned on another test that I am a type 2 on my enneagram test which means I am a supportive advisor...so I guess that means I am going to help my teacher friends a lot this new year! So let's get started!

I have a bit of time right now to plan for Thursday, back to school. I thought I would share some New Year STEM ideas to get you ready for the new year!

New Year STEM Idea 1: Confetti Thrower/Popper

Suggested Materials: 
  • balloons
  • toilet paper tubes/cups
  • rubber bands
  • little papers for their resolutions
  • things to decorate the tubes such as markers, stickers, pompoms...

Book Connection: Squirrel's New Year's Resolution

Big Idea:

Students can build shooters in order to fling their resolutions to a circle, where each resolution gets picked up by someone else and read out loud. This gives them an audience and gives others great ideas for the new year!

New Year STEM Idea 2: Ball Drop

Suggested Materials:

  • different types of paper
  • string/yarn/fish line
  • cardboard tubes
  • binder clips/paper clips
  • dowels/rulers
  • tape, scissors, glue
  • variety of small balls or have them create their own
Big Idea:

Teams create a new year's eve ball drop after learning about the history of the ball drop. This is also a perfect time to talk about traditions in your classroom after students come back from a break and often have just participated in a tradition. 

Video Connection:

New Year STEM Activity 3: Noise Makers

Suggested Materials:
  • rice/dried beans/popcorn
  • toilet paper rolls
  • popsicle sticks
  • egg cartons
  • plastic spoons
  • paper
  • glue/tape/markers/crayons
Big Idea:

Sound science lessons can fit nicely here. Each student creates a noise maker using the supplies set out after generating a list of instruments they use in music class or have seen being played. 

Book Connection:

A great book that shows all of the cultural celebrations that New Year's brings. I use black-eyed peas to signify good luck like the book!

New Year STEM Activity 4: New Year Hat


I will only let them use paper and glue this year...last year we used way too many pipe cleaners! You have to say we all can learn! I think they are amazing out of pipe cleaners though...your call.

Big Idea:

I teach cycles and patterns in our universe for a science lesson. This is a great book to talk about new beginnings and about how cycles of events continue to come and go. This book can be read all year long!

Book Connection:

All of these ideas can be found all in one place! Grab the New Year STEM pack this week for a great hands on way to add science and STEM to your first week back! 
My whole store will be on sale to ring in the new year from January 31st-January 1st! Perfect time to get it on sale and to also grab the Chinese New Year Pack for January 25th!


Christmas STEM Wish List Ideas

I am trying to be better prepared this holiday season because traveling between two schools my friends stinks...bad! I set out my supplies, teach a half a day, pack up and drive to my next school over 20 minutes away...to unload, and teach in the afternoon, packing it all back up and starting all over at the other school the next day. I do that two times a week. When it was just one school I could set out everything and it just stayed there ready for kids and lessons. Now, I share a room with another teacher and dragging everything with me is so not fun!

So, as I plan, I started to think about all my teacher friends out there that struggle with just one science or STEM lesson per week. They worry about finding supplies...worry about fitting in an activity that is meaningful. We worry that school isn't quite as fun as it use to be at times...

I compiled a list of packs that I am using this December to not only make our time together a bit more memorable and fun, but I just love when I can tie in what I am teaching in Science to a STEM activity.

Here is a list of activities that I am using this month to bring a little holiday fun into my Science and STEM classroom as well as my after school classes that you can put on your wish list!

Wish List Item #1: STEM Christmas Stations

*Packaging Presents
*Gumdrop Chimney
*Treat Table For Santa
*Mystery Bag Toy Making

These stations I use with my kindergarten and second graders. When we learn about solids in second grade, I love adding the mystery bag toy making activity where everyone makes a gift for someone and we do a secret snowman exchange! My kinders love gumdrop chimneys!

Wish List Idea #2: STEM Elf Adventures

*How to Catch an Elf...Elf trap
*Elf Adventures 

I love this activity and I will be doing this with my after school classes, but I have done this activity with 2nd through 5th graders for many years. I love seeing their elf traps!

Wish List Idea #3: STEM Christmas Tree Challenge

*Christmas Tree competition
*Building a Christmas tree
*creating a Christmas ornament

This pack I use after I teach about conifer and deciduous trees to make some fun connections with holiday trees! The kids love building the trees and making an ornament to hang on their tree at home. It's a great way to make something for families!

Wish List Idea #4: STEM Candy Cane Challenge

*a "tacky" red and white chained garland
* candy cane sleighs
* a device that picks up candy canes!

I love this pack for my after school classes because I can then send a fun candy cane treat home with them! I can't always do that when working with over 60 students or more per grade level. We use the garland on our tree in our hallway and the sleighs are taken home as an ornament or present!

*14 cards that students measure along with an answer key and record sheets
*12 slides that review metric units such as mass, volume, and length, record sheet and answer key
as well as STEM volume activity

Every year, I have to work with a grade level on their SLO, this year again I am helping our third graders with their measurement chapters in their math book. I tie in STEM along with measurement, but it isn't always easy to do. Around the holidays, I have a bit more flexibility to be able to tie in a different theme. My students all love the digital activity and when their done with the cards and digital activity they can focus on the STEM connector! 

Wish List #6: Holiday Block Building

*16 cards for building with blocks
*3 STEM connections
*1 writing connection

This pack is used with my kindergarten and first grade students the last week right before break. We learn about shapes and seasons and even tie in some special traditions that our friends might participate in!

Want to find all of these wish list ideas and more? Head over to my TPT store right this way... and watch for more ideas in my next few posts that will show you how to set these Christmas ideas up and what they look like in action! Happy December!

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