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Showing posts with label engineering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label engineering. Show all posts

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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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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Shark STEM Connections

They can be scary from their movie stardom to their sharp teeth and bad reputation...sharks are like the big bad wolves of the ocean! However, their reputation shouldn't really be as bad as they are portrayed! Only 100 people each year are attacked by sharks and only 25 out of the 368 species of sharks actually attack people. To get to know sharks better, my students who live far from any ocean celebrated a bit of a shark week sensation!

We started off with a great EPIC book connection, Sharks! by Ilene Tremble which helped us develop background knowledge. We proceeded to learn even more about sharks by creating a lapbook that had us researching habitats, food chains, and characteristics for survival. These are all part of the NGSS standards that are woven throughout elementary school!

Once they were finished with their lapbook, the students had an opportunity to create one of the sharks they learned about. It had to have the same features that the real, researched shark had and needed to be able to float in a bucket of water. These were some constraints that they had to follow.

For the last STEM sensation the students worked in teams to be able to build a shark cage that allowed a person (plastic figure) to be submerged in a shark (fish) tank...equip with our very own sharks (plastic)! This activity surely stumped my higher level thinkers, because it had to sink in the water, but it had to be made out of something water proof!

Some issues that came up was that fact that many designs tipped over when placed under the water. Some of the cages didn't allow for the diver to even see the sharks swimming in the water!
Here is a cage that tipped over on its side. The shark is getting a bit close for comfort!

Want to celebrate your own shark week? Follow this link to get all these ideas in one place: Shark Lapbook and STEM Connections Pack

What a perfect motivator for any time of year! STEM and Literacy Connections, writing, and research as well as engineering, a perfect theme for intermediate grades!

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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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ST. Patrick's Day STEM Stations

As my kids were growing up, the leprechaun visited our house every year! He would turn our milk green or even our toilet water. He would sprinkle green glitter in our hair as we slept. He would leave a mess in our room with remnants of his trickery! I love having kids learn about another culture, other traditions, even have a little o' fun in Science as well as STEM club!

 I am so in love with this new STEM Pack. I was trying hard to find ways to keep my STEM station supplies all in one spot and not have to purchase something for it. So when I saw a box of Manila envelopes in the office I needed to figure out how to utilize them in my organization.

So now it's time to find ways to utilize them...meaning new STEM stations! Some of my favorites yet!

Why am I so excited about them? Well...

  • They include activities that can be used within other science concepts such as motion and simple machines.
  • The materials are easy to find and affordable! 
  • This pack can be used with primary and intermediate classrooms because the sheets for each station are differentiated!
  • All the sheets you will need are included: Teacher set up and materials list, stduetn materials list, student guided questions, primary and intermediate record sheets...all in one pack.
  • It reinforces teamwork and problem solving!
What STEM Stations are included?


  • tubes
  • masking tape
  • pom poms
  • pot o gold or cup with pattern for catching the pom poms
We made a game out of it. Each group competed to see who could get four pom poms in the cup fastest. If it missed the cup they had to keep trying! We discussed inclined planes as each group had to have three bends in the maze!


  • cups
  • masking tape
  • egg cartons
  • spoons
  • tongue drepessors
  • bowls and plates
  • beans, popcorn kernels, rice  (something to fill it to make noise
  • any other items you can think of to make an instrument...a shaker (WE CALL THESE SHAMROCK SHAKES!)
They had to create a Shamrock Shake that could add to our band! We talked about sound energy along with volume, vibrations, pitch. Another great way to add a science concept!


  • cups (we used Styrofoam)
  • spoons
  • masking tape 
  • pom poms
  • rainbow pattern
They made this into a game as well! We put each rainbow on a different rainbow color. They had to hop over each color in order of the rainbow and at the end they had to get their pom pom into a pot o gold! We talked about rainbows and their colors. We added the milk and Skittles, water and Skittles  and Mt Dew and Skittles activity to see how colors blend! Here is the idea for a Variable lesson...

This week, we also created pulleys.


  • tubes
  • rulers
  • string
  • empty school milk cartons/ cups for riders
  • you can give them binder clips, big paper clips...for a harness (these are my littles so I didn't)
We discussed simple machines and pulleys. We also with my littles talked about push and pull and motion. We discussed friction as we figured out what would support our pulley better at the top!

Next week, we will continue more engaging March themed STEM activities and Science connections so stay tuned. You might be lucky with more easy and engaging ideas you can use this ST. Patrick's Day...until then sign up for my newsletter and in your in box you will get a ST. Patrick's Day freebie!

Want all of the supply lists, differentiated sheets, teacher guide? Here is the complete set! Follow the link for this STEM Velope Pack!!
Give it a pin if you want to remember the activities...or try it out in your inbox with a free language arts connection activity STEM -Velope Style! 

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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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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Science and STEM Connections and a FREEBIE

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important day to celebrate diversity and peace in your classroom. Important lessons of racial and social justice can empower teachers and students. We can explore those concepts on this special day or throughout the school year. Science is a great way to provide the concept of black and white, civil rights, and social awareness. This post can help find ways to integrate science to teach Dr. King's message.

Activities that can help students learn through science:
1. Yin and Yang Symbol Activity to show how two opposite sides, different people can work together
2. Balloon Expansion to show how black and white containers can create (positive) energy
3. Radiating Heat by testing how different colors such as white and black can radiate heat and warmth
4. Light and Color Experiment to use a quote and connect with research and writing
5. STEM connections that include building a bridge and a monument in Montgomery, Alabama to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

I love this pack because it allows me to add science and STEM lessons to reading and writing activities!


       Want 28 pages of Science, STEM, Writing, and Research for your classroom? Find It here!

One way to connect with the Science and STEM pack or during your writing time is to watch some of his famous quotes. I will be re-watching the video and stopping to read the quotes to the students. I am including the quotes here for you to use!  Find the Free Quote Sheets HERE!

Whether you read a story, show a video, connect a science or STEM activity or continue each and every day to teach tolerance, peace, and the message that someday that all of us can be "brothers and sisters" no matter the color of their skin you are helping to keep his dream alive!
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