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Showing posts with label catapults. Show all posts
Showing posts with label catapults. Show all posts

Learning With Pumpkins

I just love this time of year, when the outdoors can come indoors! I know not everyone might have a school garden, but our pumpkins are ready to pick and we are ready in science to do some pumpkin integration!

Pumpkins are a great way to tie everything together! Grab one of the many amazing pumpkin themed books, I love to start with non-fiction to tie in the pumpkin life cycle, then we start with our many stations!

Here are ways to use pumpkins in each one of your disciplines!


1. Does a pumpkin sink or float?
2. Life Cycles and Pumpkins
3. Labeling parts of a pumpkin
4. How pumpkins are grown and harvested


1. What is the circumference of a pumpkin?
2. How much does a pumpkin weigh?
3. Pumpkin graphing such as your favorite pumpkin food, or try a food and vote

4. Counting pumpkin seeds and ribs of a pumpkin
5. Pumpkin shapes


1. Pumpkin song connections:  listen to Spookley The Square Pumpkin song and write about point of view or compassion
2. Write the steps to planting and harvesting a pumpkin
3. Write about the life cycle of a pumpkin
4. Write about what the five senses and the pumpkin inside and outside


1. Pick a great book to read to your class that can connect any of the above ideas such as From Seed to Pumpkin
2. Let students share the stories that they wrote in the writing center with each other or in an app on an iPad.

Here are a few of my favorite read alouds:

This is the PERFECT time to bring the outdoors into the classroom! Read and write about pumpkins and investigate them inside and out! This post is full of book suggestions and ideas for pumpkin math activities that you can easily do with the students in your classroom.
Math: Weight, Height, and Circumference

This is the PERFECT time to bring the outdoors into the classroom! Read and write about pumpkins and investigate them inside and out! This post is full of book suggestions and ideas for pumpkin math activities that you can easily do with the students in your classroom.
Time to Count Pumpkin Seeds

Image result for pumpkin picture books
Time to Learn about Life Cycles From Seed To Pumpkin

Image result for pumpkin picture books
Another great book on the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

Image result for pumpkin picture books
I have used this one, too! Pumpkin, Pumpkin!

Let's not forget to add some STEM!

1. Build a fence for 10 Little Pumpkins
2. Pumpkin Catapults
3. Pumpkin picker upper with pumpkin candy
4. Pumpkin Bowling 
5. Pumpkin Elevator
If you want to save some time, I have also created a few new Pumpkin Themed Packs that I will be using this month for my own Science integrated lessons!

Want some pumpkin ideas for this week? Check out these pumpkin themed packs for your pumpkin themed lessons this week HERE!

Time for your little pumpkins to have some science fun!



March Madness Begins...

March is a long month for me. Winter can be done and Spring break seems sooooo far away. However, each March our family sets up brackets for March Madness for a little friendly...yet competitive March Madness Challenge! We always pick our teams and see who wins March Madness! Competition is healthy...so I love at times to create so fun engaging STEM competitions!

Starting on March 13th this year and going until April 2nd, college basketball teams compete for the chance to win the national championship which starts with 68 teams! This is a great time to add a little sports challenge to recess, after school, or even in math! This can be done with some fun and engaging competitions!

Challenge 1:

Basketball Percentages and Pie graphs

  • Each student has 10 tried to make baskets. Record out of 10 how many shots were made. Allow them to divide by 10 to make a pie graph or record percentages. This is also a perfect way to add mean, median, mode, and range!
Challenge 2:

STEM Challenges

  • Catapults and Basketball hoops are a perfect way to have them writing how to's. They can create a basketball game that has someone coming to their "court" to play, but they must write directions on how to score, how they win, how what supplies they must use...
  • Allowing students flexibility in their catapult designs helps them create unique game pieces. Here are some of our examples: 
What are the materials that you will need to make hoops?

Prosthetic hand...

straws -cardboard pieces -string -plastic spoons -binder clips -toilet paper tubes -cotton balls for basketball -baskets/buckets

Basketball Hoops...

-masking tape -cups (different kinds) -cardboard pieces -popsicle sticks -pipe cleaners -straws 
Sports Science Pack

Basketball Free Throw Shooter ...
-tongue depressors -popsicle sticks -binder clips all sizes -rubber bands -plastic spoons -masking tape

Challenge 3

 Reading and Writing Lessons:

Last week of February:
Persuasive writing essay convincing class to read your favorite book. Advertisement: create a poster to advertise your book

First Week of March Battle of the books start.

Battle of the Books Link

Students can share their essay and poster. The class can vote on the Sweet 16 that will make it to the tournament.

Throughout March Students continue to read and clock their pages read. If you have AR tests, you can include this in your overall score

Looking for the complete pack? STEM March Madness Pack is ready and waiting for you! 3 STEM stations, sheets, writing connections and more! Or if you are looking for a sports theme with a science twist...STEM Sports Stations! Options are always good!

                              Sports Science Pack
Hoop Happiness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third...Set them up for successful STEM Lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here's That Peek...

First Grade geologists... just a little something for their interactive science notebook. Here is the sheet I started with to use as an assessment.
Geologists in 1st

Sorting rocks is fun. We sorted them by shape, size, color, and texture.  This is our writing part of our science activity. We predicted where our rock came from.
 Look what happens to our rocks when they get wet...they change. The firsties were amazed at the colors they could see!

We started our water unit. I love this activity. Came up with it on the fly. I read the book Simply Science Water.  The students took 6 pieces of paper in different water shades. I read the story and they listened and took notes.  They glued the pieces on the paper and Viola, a great visual for them outside the Science room!

Our 5th graders, finished their Variable Unit. They were able to finish with a fun day, Engineering Style. Each group was given 10 tongue depressors, and 4 rubber bands. They each build a marshmallow catapult using what they knew from the lessons. They had so much fun! You should see how good some of them are at catching marshmallows in their mouths! 
 Different designs ...
These boys had some great techniques to catching marshmallows. 
 We finished off the hour building a control designed airplane. Then, we changed one thing to see if it made our planes fly better. We then went outside. See that bloggers...snow. It was hard to see some of the planes. It was like they got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle. The winner got airplane designs and a pack of paper to build some new models.

So, there was a peek at my week. I started the lessons on Thursday and will finish the other classes by the time we get back from break. My kinders, 2nds, and 4ths are learning new lessons, too. I will include some pictures as we go. This was just a little peek of my week.


Junk Yard Science and Flying Marshmallows

Found a great website to use to help the students use FOSS and yet connect it to what we are learning...variables. Here is the sheet I made to go with it and a quick video to show.
I included the answer key on the second page, and the link to the lesson I am using for the activity. 

Now, onto 5th grade. Here is the idea and sheet for my bigs as they build catapults for marshmallow shooters. I can't wait to see the marshmallows fly. 
                             Marshmallow Catapult Directions

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