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Showing posts with label balance and motion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label balance and motion. Show all posts

Winter Science Quick Ideas

Hey...it's Renee over at the Science School Yard where I teach 400 kindergarten through fifth graders science each week! I was asked last week what type of activities can I do quickly in my classroom with no supply budget that will actually teach a quick science concept when students are getting antsy for a break.
Time For Ice Fishing and Magnetism!

Seeing that winter is almost here, and a break is in sight here in the US let's take a look at some primary and intermediate ideas that won't break the bank unlike our Christmas shopping list!

For Primary Classrooms:
-Grab the book Snowflake Bentley and catch snowflakes outside on black paper, then come inside for a lesson on snowflakes followed up with making cutout snowflakes. (No snowflakes? Make them and hang them first! Here is a great video to share as well..

 Did you make snowflakes? Place a poem in the center or quick science facts they learned and you have tied in a writing lesson, too!

-Time to talk hibernation and migration! Lots of animals are getting ready for a long rest. Make a list of animals that might hibernate...ground hogs, bears, snakes... you can also grab a quick pack that will help you teach each part of STEM as well! Find a STEM Hibernation Pack HERE! Building a habitat for an animal to hibernate is can be as simple as getting 10's and 100's blocks out!

Technology connections with smartboard or iPad activities!

Tie in some math and you are set for a great hibernation station!
-Do you have some Hot Wheels or toy cars? Grab some boxes found around school, cut them into pieces to make some ramps, grab some dictionaries from the school library, and you have a lesson on force and motion! Predict what might happen if we make ramps that are steep or not as steep. Test how far a car will travel down a ramp. A tip with littles, if you have tiles...count the number of tiles it went. Then add another book, predict...will the car go farther or not as far? A great STEM connection...have them make their own cars out of milk cartons from lunch, straws from the lunchroom or dollar stores and tape. (You will need to make sure it rolls by creating an axle which could be one big straw outside a smaller straw taped to the bottom of your carton...don't forget the wheels!) Cut wheels out of boxes and you have a cheap way to add a force and motion lesson...or two! Make connections with a great book like Sheep In A Jeep or a great video with lots of easy facts!

A quick video on what ramps are helps them visually learn about simple machines, too! It sure makes work easier!

Back to force and motion...I even taped paper together with the colors of the rainbow and taught them force and motion through a fun and interactive race! They pick a color out of the bucket and then have to push their car to that color...the closest car wins. Did you have to push it soft or hard? Was it close or far? Again...a quick and cheap lesson on motion and positional words!

For Intermediate Classrooms:

-What would we do without water? There are lots of different activities that you can do to learn about it! Surface tension and how many drops can sit on a penny! What do you need? Droppers, pennies, and water. Try salt water and soapy water, too. Want more water ideas? Try surface tension and how water acts on different surfaces. Try what water drops do on paper towel, wax paper, white paper, foil...whatever you have laying around your kitchen or at school. Try a water bead race after making a track on paper. Can they get a bead to follow a path on wax paper? A fun follow up on what a bead of water does on different surfaces! There are some great books out there so give Scholastic's Book list a try!

-Let's look at those Hot Wheels! The fourth grade NGSS Energy Standard has students looking at energy in motion and what happens when objects collide or meet focusing on change of speed. Get those books and set up a way to create a slope with older students, but utilize the standards set for intermediate learners. The NGSS site is a great place to get ideas, here is a great start! How can you tie the standards to a quick energy lesson? If you have cups and string, can you add a sound lesson and make telephones to show how energy is transferred through solids? Could you use flashlights to test how light travels through a glass of water, on a wall when your close and far away? How does this relate to stars in the sky and how distance can cause a star to look bright or dim?

-Use a hanger if you don't have a scale. Place baggies with objects in them to weigh different items. Show that air has weight by having air in one baggie and a flattened baggie on the other end. You can  teach the three states of matter.  Show  ice, water, and steam from a coffee maker. Go on a matter hunt in magazines and make posters. Easily, you can make pancakes which also shows all three states of matter! Mix=solid, Water=liquid, Steam=gas. You can even tie in that it was a liquid, but now a solid! A cheap treat and a science lesson!

-Finally, salt as well as sugar can be a great way to teach solubility by testing which one can dissolve more in water? Sugar is more soluble! Can you place the liquids in lids and evaporate the liquid off? Take a look a the crystals! Observe what is left behind. Older students love snow flakes crystals, too! Snowflake Bentley...here we come!

It is never easy balancing everything you need to teach in a given day...from reading, to math...from writing to science, with a mix of some social studies, how can we make it a bit easier? I will always say integrate when you can. Grab that picture book or non-fiction resource and take a look at the science standards you need to be using...take a look at school for free or inexpensive options. Add written observations, a story, or even a poem and you tied in literacy and writing!

Another great strategy for your supply list... I love putting a donation box outside my classroom with a list of needs. I get egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, and an occasional ball of yarn and even some surprises at times. (a parent donated sparkly silver paper!) When you are creative and resourceful, you can make it work! If you need a bit of guidance...the http://www.scienceschoolyard.com/ is ready to help you make science child's play!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Dr. Seuss Connections in Kindergarten through 5th Grade!

Read Across America week and do we have things planned! My Media Specialist and I have come up with some clever ways to integrate Dr. Seuss into library and science time! Teaching K-5th grade science allows me each and everyday to see the rotation of grades...so each day I see bigs and littles.

Sometimes, my bigs come in (3-5th grade) and they see all of the projects with art connections that my little are doing (K-2) and they get a little jealous...funny I also think my littles get jealous of the fun science activities that my bigs are doing, too!

I decided that I would challenge myself to find a Dr. Seuss book and idea that fits into what we are already doing!


Building Blocks Stations: Playing With Purpose

The week before spring break and all through the school...there's a full moon in the sky and the teachers didn't know what to do...

Our little kiddos have a look. You know what I mean. It's a crazy kind of wild eyed look they get when they need a break! I try to finish up all of my FOSS kits right before break so that I can finish the school year with the last kits I need to do, so one last week of FOSS Balance and Motion. I wanted to find a great way to tie in the concepts of rolling, spinning, and sliding and wanting to make it completely hands on! I LOVE Legos and so did my son. He is now almost 14 and the Lego box has not come out in a while. Why not pull them out and take them to school for my first graders to play with.

Did I say play? Okay...what I really meant was learn with. No...I really did mean play! I am so very fortunate to be able to use my time to integrate fun ways to tie in our concepts through toys and STEM activities! I try to find ways to play with a purpose whenever I can!

So what I did was planned 6 stations that had the students rotating once they finished the building and reflection sheet...they could move onto the next station.

What I didn't realize as my first graders started working and playing with the Legos is that on average 4-6 students per class had never played with Legos before. Legos are expensive and I teach at a school that is 82% poverty. Sometimes I forget that the opportunities that my own children had are not accessible to my students. I realized that these stations meant more than I originally thought!

Wanting to set up these fun Stations in your room? Here is the linkto my TPT store...Give these stations a try!

I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite poets..."It is a happy talent to know how to play." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Roller Coaster Theme Park

Time for some simple science. Here is a great way to get your little scientists to build a simple roller coaster. Here is what you need:

1. Pipe insulation tubes 3/4 size cut in half (I used a carving knife)
2. cup for the marble to land in
3. marbles (be prepared to lose some passengers
4. The book Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
5. cut strips and colored construction paper for an art project
6. Anchor chart
7. colored roller coaster pattern (included at the end of this post)

Now, for the lesson:
1. I always start off with a question, "How many of you have ever been on a roller coaster?" They are directed to pick a ticket for the ride based on the answer yes or no I have been on a roller coaster. I let them know they are going on one right now...I then let them into my room and I "buckle" them up for the ride using ribbon attached with tape to a wall. I let them know that all hands and arms must remain in the roller coaster at all times. I collect their tickets and while they are on the ride I glue their "tickets" down on our anchor chart.
2. We discuss that some roller coasters have straight flat areas, curves, hills, and loops. Some have them all. However an engineer wants to build a roller coaster that is safe for everyone. They use the idea of motion to get them understanding it is a push and a pull, momentum has to occur, and gravity slows you down.  I then show them this video... It shows loops, curves, hills, and more!

3. Now it is time to build and test our roller coasters. I give them each a check off sheet, a cup and a marble, and one track to start with. We practice how to get the marble passenger in the cup. Not too much momentum and not too little. We try the straight track...then the curve...then the hill. Finally...
4. I give them one more track to add onto their coaster. I use masking tape to tape it together. Now it is time for the loop. We talk about safety and how engineers need to create a coaster that is safe for the passengers.
5. I give the kiddos time to work on their coasters with teams to collaborate...
6. We follow up with a share out of what we learned by showing the different types of coasters. Finally, we create an art activity that shows loops, curves, hills, and more!
I have them write: Roller Coasters Can...go straight, curve, go down a hill, and loop. The words go on each piece of paper. We also display our tickets to the ride...Yes I have been on a roller coaster...No I haven't been on a roller coaster...

Have fun with this simple science activity! Science is fun in any school yard!

Science Circus

First graders use the FOSS balance and motion kit and let's just say sometimes balancing a pencil on your finger is just not enough. Last year, I made a fun Balance Pack that helps me extend and enrich the balancing lessons with a creative circus theme. Last week, we focused on the book Mirette on the High Wire...
We used the shapes from the kit...the triangle as Mirette (it looks like her dress), and the semi circle as Bellini, (it looks like his arms or legs). We set up a high wire in our room...just a piece of painter's tape on the floor and play circus music. We do the wire walker's salute and a trick! The kids love connecting to the story.  We then make pictures of us walking on the high wire and write a time when we had to do something hard or get over a fear just like Bellini. This is a great writing connection!

This week, to wrap up our balance part of the kit, we used a fun circus theme and my pack to start off with. I set the stage to engage...

First...we read the book Circus by Lois Ehlert. I set up around the room some of the acts that are in the book to set the stage to engage! I have zero minutes between 4th grade leaving and a first grade class coming in...so I have to keep the circus theme up all week for the five classes of 1st grade that I have.

All of the students K-5 seem to love all of the circus acts around the room and the bigger kids can remember when we learned to balance.
Here are the balance stations we worked on this week:
1. Review of balance point by making a clown that has many points to balance on when we change the location of the counter weights.
2. What does balance mean? Defining stable and unstable by making a chart to see who can balance on one foot for one minute.
3. Performing the balancing bears act...using scales to balance objects in a cup of one side and bears on the other and charting what we learned.
The balancing bear act...

4. In our notebook, we finished up by getting a clowning around sheet and filling in what we know about balance point and counter weights after we finished today. I went around and assessed the students and had them point where they were located using their make and take clowns.
5. We left the room by balancing across the high wire to circus music!  The Circus Pack Can be found (HERE)! Join the fun!

The Science Circus and More

This week...is conference week. We are here until late...late...late. Today, we are hosting a baked potato bar for our classroom teachers. As a science teacher...I am seen as a specialist...ENCORE is what they call us! So...I have a few minutes to share what I have been doing this week in science...and to link up with a fellow science teacher... over at Teachers are Terrific.

Here is what is going on in my science classroom this week...

Kinders are taking a tour of the solar system. Here are the videos we are using before they get to blast off into space and find all 8 planets in our room...

Here are the kiddos going around the room actively searching and coloring in the planets...

First graders are participating in a circus adventure. We start off with Circus by Lois Ehlert.
Image result for circus by lois ehlert

We then move on to balancing for one minute on one foot and doing a graph in our science notebook. I made a pack specifically for our balance unit in FOSS and we used 4 activities from it. You can find it at the Science School Yard Store. We then worked on the balancing pencil trick...followed by the symmetry pictures...and a make and take clown balancer.
The magic balancing pencil...

Could we balance for one minute without wiggling? 

How is symmetry about balance?

2nd graders are working on wrapping up their FOSS solids and liquids pack. We used a sink and float book from EPIC which is great for teachers. Wonderful non-fiction science books! Then we did our sink and float sheet in our packet...followed by the lima vs. pinto bean competition. I make it a big deal...with a graph...winners have their hands raised as if they won something big...and we then figure if my game was fair. Such a better way to get them to remember why pinto beans always win...not just that lima beans are gross and shouldn't win.

3rd graders are learning about hydro energy. We made the FOSS water works...water wheel. They love this one. We start by introducing renewable vs. nonrenewable. We talk about how we use water. We then watch a quick video....
See... a water wheel right away! We finish up with a reflection sheet that I have for you...

Water Works Freebie

4th graders are working on the respiratory system and next week, will participate in different events that show how their lungs work. I will share a separate post next week when I have everything together. This week, we are introducing the system and watching Bill Nye as well as creating a diagram for our science notebooks. We have been doing one day intro...next day building a model...

5th graders are wrapping up the mixtures and solutions unit so we made our lapbooks and did our scavenger hunt using qr codes. We talked about the importance of studying and how to utilize a lapbook at home and in class. We shall see how they do on the test. It is documented for my Teachscape evidence. I will share the success rate using these study tools next week.

Have a great rest of the week! Friday is payday!

Science...This Week

I use to do peek at my week, but wow is life busy...so busy I get my lessons done, get supplies for 6 science preps, and we are full speed ahead! I am sure glad last year I did that. I can look back and get some ideas, find my links and videos and more. So....I figure, I better post a peek so that I can once again get back on track to showing what I do each week in my science school yard!

Kinders- We are learning about the stars. We start with a great online book from We Give Books called Starry Sky. I made constellations from Full of Great Ideas Blog. As I read, I had the constellation cards shining on the ceiling when we saw it in the book. The kinders actually remembered them!

Our project consisted of giving each one a piece of black paper, 6-7 pieces of popcorn, and a piece of chalk. They tossed the popcorn on the paper, picked up a piece, ate it, then placed a star in its place. Then the  kids were able to see a constellation. When everyone was done, I played a virtual camp fire, they got a story stick to pass and share their pictures. We finished with a five little astronauts song.


First Graders- Are working on balance once again. I created a pack that took the picture books I could find, the FOSS lesson concepts, but added a fun circus theme to it. There are a ton of great balancing videos that kiddos love to watch as well. Balance: Science Circus Fun is a great way to teach balance, add math, reading, writing, and more to your FOSS balance and motion kit and then some!

2nd graders-Are all about the Non-Newtonian Fluids. We once again used our What's The Matter? Pack to supplement mixtures and solutions. Last week, Oobleck, this week...toothpaste!

3rd grade- My middle children are finishing up on the water cycle. We are working with ice cubes. We used ice cubes to learn the three phases of matter. Here is a great time lapse I showed as they worked on the phases of the ice cube sheet...this fun 15 second you tube video Life Cycle of An Ice Cube.  This sheet is from my FOSS Water Extensions Pack.
Ice Cube Life Cycle FREEBIE

4th grade- The Digestive System...what a fun way to learn about our body... engineer a model of it! Take a look at what they did!
We used the site Kids Health: Digestive System to get information and a fun...quick video...
Then onto the team activity. They got 20 minutes to include the parts of the digestive system and then share it with the class. It was a great way to remember it!

5th grade- We are working on Chemical Reactions. The kids loved theses reactions and could remember examples pretty easily after watching this...
We then did this great penny polishing activity that had the kids reacting, too! Did you know that ketchup is a great polisher? Who knew...We also used BTB to test a color change in water as we blew into it and tested for acids and bases. We always do a ticket out the door...this one was 5 examples of chemical reactions and what does BTB indicate. They got it!
Using BTB...showed a color change from blue, to green, to yellow!

BTB showed cola to be an acid... and it cleans pennies!

But the winner...hands down...was ketchup!

It was a great week in the Science School Yard!
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