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Showing posts with label freebie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freebie. Show all posts

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!


Water Cycle Ideas and Diorama Freebie

Sometimes it's nice to just take a break from the experiments and all the set up of activities in order to stop and make connections in a completely different way. Water is essential for life on earth and learning about the water cycle through a diorama is just the way to show what they know. Follow this simple activity and grab your free resource at the end!

Four Easy Steps to the Water Cycle Connection!

Step 1:

Gather your materials. All you need is:

  • paper: green (grass/land), brown (the ground/earth), yellow (sun), blue (water and rain), white (clouds and snow)
  • a box such as a shoe box...I use empty juice box boxes that we have at school for breakfast and after school classes
  • string or fish line to hand the clouds or precipitation
  • cotton balls if you want them to make puffy clouds
  • Sheets from my Water Cycle Freebie! Would love for you to rate it if you like it:)
Step 2: 

I like to start off by teaching about the water cycle. I use a great video linked below.

When finished I have them learn the six major words we want to see in the diorama. I have hand motions to help with those kinesthetic thinkers. 
  1. accumulation (hands move around in a circle with fingers down)
  2. evaporation(fingers wiggle up toward sky)
  3. condensation (hands go together to form a cloud shape, hands folded together)
  4. precipitation (fingers wiggle down)
  5. run off (fingers flow from high spot to low spot)
  6. ground water (fingers are moving down as if playing a piano)

Now...a bit of a trick question...which word starts the water cycle? There is no beginning or end! So as you teach it pick one and make sure that you go in order 1-4 from above. There is an order to it. 

Step 3:

Learning the vocabulary is very important so we then work on our vocabulary sheets after playing a game. 
How to play the game:
  1.  Gather blue cubes... a ton they signify precipitation/rain
  2. make cloud finger puppets

Literally, the best game to see the water cycle in action. We have some kids have their hands be the clouds with the finger puppet clouds on. The other kids gather the cubes placed on the ground. It is their job to pick them up and put them into clouds hands. They will fall. You now have the four key words. As they pick up it is evaporation, in clouds condensation, falling is precipitation, and on the ground accumulation.

Step 4: 

Diorama time! I assign numbers on each table. 1's do accumulation, 2's do condensation, 3's do precipitation, and 4's do run off. We then have them finish and then work on something off of this list...sun, evaporation with arrows, labeling and gluing. This helps everyone focus and be part of the team effort!

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8 Moon Landing Anniversary Projects

July 20th is coming up next week! It's a very special anniversary...it is the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight that landed on the moon!

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans into space. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American. They landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969! How do we use this to springboard a great science and STEM lesson? Here are 10 ways to engage students in this celebration!

Idea 1: Virtual Race to the Moon

Virtual Race To The Moon is for you...the teacher! Keeping yourself healthy and your students healthy is important! Check out this challenge!

Idea 2: Show the Lunar Landing

Have your students watch the moon landing. Littles can start with Astronauts can, have, are... Bigs can discuss why some thought it was a hoax or they can even take a poll to see who would want to fly to space and why.

Idea 3: Read a Great Book
I love using the book One Giant Leap written by Robert Burleigh. 

Find that book here! 
I also like to use the book If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty. This is a great springboard for having kids really helps kids relate to how you would pack, how you would feel, and how you get home.
Find this book here!

Idea 4: Do a STEM activity

I love using toilet paper tubes to have the students create the moon landing! We use the tubes as a ramp system to get from Earth(a picture representation taped on the wall) to the moon (another picture) They must have three bends, and land safely in a bucket or on a tray. I use pompoms or ping pong balls as the spacecraft. 

Idea 5: Oreo Moon Phases

I love having my older students (bigs) create moon phase posters using Oreo cookies. They love this project! Gail Gibbons has a great book, Moon Phases that you can use, but I just love the rap to go with this project!

I use cheap dollar store cookies because they don't get to eat them and it saves some money. I give them plastic knives so that they can scrape off the frosting as well. I want them to take what they know and create a representation and then we analyze if their model is correct and if they can explain how the cycle works.

Idea 6:  Moon Crater Painting

Very simply, I cut out grey paper circles. I set out trays and white paint. We used circular objects to make the craters. You can use bottle tops like we did. This is a quick and fun little follow up on what craters on the moon look like and how they are made. We used our sentence strips to show what we know.

Idea 7: Moon Crater Ball Drop

I love this activity for my littles. Grab black paper and a plate. Add flour to the plate. Make sure you have plenty of floor covering so that you don't make too much of a mess. Grab different sized balls that can create different sized craters and you are good to go! Each ball represents a different sized meteors and asteroids that hit the surface of the moon and left a crater.

Idea 8: Moon Phase Games

I made this free resource for you to help with the phases of the moon! Grab your free copy here ! Use it as a memory game, a review, or even for an anchor chart!


Want to find these ideas, sheets, activities, and a few bonus activities all in one place ready for you to just print and go? Check out my moon phase packs by following this link: Moon Phase Science Pack and STEM Connections

Because I teach both primary and intermediate, I have packs for both age groups! Check out my pack I use with my K-2nd graders! You can find that pack HERE!
                                     Science Stations: Solar System and STEM for K-1

I love you to the moon and back! Let's make Science and STEM child's play!

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                       Some of the links are affiliated links, meaning in no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through to purchase.

The 5 E Model In Your Science Classroom

If you are just joining me, welcome to the Science School Yard. I have been teaching for 27 years. For the last 7 years, I have been teaching Science and STEM to K-5th grade students here in central Wisconsin. Our district uses FOSS to guide our road map and lessons, however adding STEM has always been important for me because of the amazing benefits that I see in terms of thinking differently as well as growth mindset! Last year, we adopted the WI Science standards that are almost identical to NGSS. This change comes after having to use standards that were developed in 1994.

When something new comes my way, I try to look for ways to learn all I can to be able to be the best science educator I can be. This year's focus was on learning the 5 E method of planning my science lessons. I watched countless videos, read a ton of articles, and even did some professional development classes to really get a grasp of this student centered approach to planning my science lessons.  The 5E Model of Instruction was exactly what I needed to help me learn a  more inquiry-based learning method. Let me help explain what I learned!

What is the 5E Method?

In the 5E Method of Instruction there are 5 key components that help the teacher guide and facilitate a lesson, starting with the foundation ending with assessment. The role of the teacher and student work in tandem. The teacher's job is to facilitate by eliciting responses that allow students to use their background knowledge to learn a new concept. By posing questions, observing and listening to student responses the teacher is also able to ask inquiry-based questions that will not only generate curiosity, but also interest. Following the lesson format allows for deeper understanding of key concepts because you are engaging students in a systematic activity based approach.

The 5E's

Engage: During the first part of the lesson, students are introduced to the concept. This is a perfect opportunity to motivate learners and create interest!

Teachers ask questions and engage them in making connections and helping generate prior knowledge making the connections between past and present which leads to a new learning experience. Teachers take note of any misconceptions, but at this time are not corrected. It is the framework for the new concept they are learning.

Explore: It is time to discover new skills, probe, inquire, and even examine their thinking. As teachers generate interest, students now explore the new concept that was presented.
Investigations and experiments are explored by the students at this time. Probing questions are asked so that students can make observations and collect data.

 This can be done in small teams for as a large group. As the team creates a hypothesis, they start to use the scientific method to use inquiry based questioning. Answers may not yet me established. Our role is to not provide answers yet, but to guide.

Explain: During the explanation stage, the teacher now asks probing questions that will help encourage the students to find patterns from the data they collected and start to verbalize their understanding of the new concepts. They also put together what the vocabulary means.   Students use their words to explain what they observed again either in a small or whole group.

This phase allows for students to connect their prior knowledge to their new discoveries through explaining what they now know or observed.

Elaborate: In the elaboration phase of learning, students start to make connections and apply what they learned to the world around them. As teachers, we provide them with ways to apply their knowledge so that their is a deeper understanding. We can do that through STEM connections, other experiments that extend what they already learned, or do research to explore more on the topic.

 As they gather new data they can start to draw new conclusions as they share what they learned through writing and connecting with others.  This step is where they learn about the world around them and get a deeper understanding and skill set.

Evaluate: This is such an important phase because it is an opportunity to evaluate learning. Students prove their own learning by writing, conversing, or demonstrating what knowledge they acquired through the 5E process.

Students can not only demonstrate their learning, but they can pose new questions, and even through formative(ongoing and dynamic) and summative (end of lesson final test or product) assessments show what they know. This is a way for students to self assess, peer assess or be evaluated by their teacher. I love to see evidence of accomplishment as they demonstrate what they now know. Not all of my students make huge gains in understanding, however where they started and where they are at the end is much more substantial now that I use the 5E method.

Now that I am the facilitator to their learning, it allows for larger growth in accountability for all students to learn and take part in that learning!

I made these 5E posters that I hang in my classroom. It helps me remember my role and it really helps my students know the process that they will be taking during a science lesson!

 If you would like a free copy you can find them here! If you haven't already signed up for my newsletter, it is a great opportunity to grab more free resources in my member's only free resource library!

I will be continuing to share what I learn and implement along that way. It is certainly easier to adapt and find ways to integrate something new in what you are already doing when someone tests it out for you! Try the 5E model as you plan your next science lesson. Watch for the next blog post...
the 5 E lesson plan for your next free resource!

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Back To School STEM Starters

For many teachers it is time for back to school. A time when you prepare your classroom for a new group of learners. You start planning your lessons and creating new ways to inspire your class!

We each come back to school with new passion for our positions, new goals set, and along with that you want to find ways to get to really know your students right away.

I love starting the year off with STEM challenges! Not only do they allow me to see how my students work in groups or teams, I can see their personalities shine through when given a challenge!

When starting the year, we often search for great ice breakers that can also allow us to see if our students have the growth mindset that will allow them to persevere and problem solve when faced with challenges.

A STEM challenge can do all of that in a very short period of time. Although going through procedures and expectations are a must, an engaging STEM challenge can be the perfect insight into getting to know your new kiddos!

Here are a few tips to get your STEM Stations ready for back to school!

Tip 1: Supplies

Get organized by finding bins or buckets that can store your supplies. I was able to get plastic tubs donated from a local hospital to keep many of my STEM and science supplies in. Shoe boxes or even pencil cases make great STEM storage supplies more organized.

Tip 2: Designate a Spot

I like to designate a spot in my room for STEM and science supplies. When it is time for your students to get materials, they always know where to go. I call it the STEM store. I assign numbers each time they come in the room. When it is time to get supplies, they know where to go to get them, and then when it is time for clean up a student's number is called to return any supplies that can be reused. It cuts down on waste, time wasted, and it help you stay organized especially if you have back to back classes like I do!

Tip 3: Ice Breakers

Starting off your year with a team builder is always a great way to kids actively engaged! I love this free pack from Smart Chick. Can You Save Fred?

 I love creating my own activities, but this activity was one I used when I started six years ago so I guess it is my go to for getting my students working together, however as we progress into our back to school challenges, I love my differentiated back to school  lessons for my K-5th graders!
For kindergartners and first graders and first graders I use Jenga or the blocks from the FOSS Tree unit. Perfect for little hands! As the students get a bit older I add other supplies for them to create with!

Tip 4: Free Supplies

Often, I get asked how you can find cheap or free supplies for your STEM stations. I first create a box for outside my door that says donations. We are an 82% poverty school so those supplies might be egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, empty boxes, or even newspaper. I have a list for you to hang up for your donation box!
Free Donation Sign
Tip 5: Activities For September

I like to have all of my activities for my STEM lab set to go before I get back. I love that we can readily find apples and I can usually find apple donations for our STEM labs. I created some fun free apple activities to help my K-2nd grade teacher friends found {HERE}.

If you are looking for more STEM-tastic ideas...Check these Apple-ing theme packs {HERE}

Whether you have been in school...already back...or preparing to go back...the Science School Yard can help you make Science and STEM child's play!
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Sustainability and The Three R's

This isn't new to us at our school...teaching about sustainability, energy, or even reducing, reusing, and recycling. We are a Green and Healthy School and with that comes some responsibilities when it comes to these concepts, but how can a classroom teacher integrate these ideas in a quick and effective way?

Reduce time in teaching these concepts by integrating a fun picture book that gets at the heart of helping the earth, conserving energy, or living a healthy life style.

Reduce time by using an activity easily found on the internet or use this freebie from my Earth Day Pack to help start you out!
                                         Grab you freebie here!

Sometimes it is nice to reuse an old lesson, but you just need a little refreshing! If you have a lesson on helping the Earth...how about save milk cartons, cut up cardboard boxes, and toilet paper rolls and now you have reusable supplies that build great towers! This is great for so many grade levels!

Teaching kids how to recycle and what to recycle is a great way to encourage a life long way to help the Earth. A fun game you can play is Separate the Trash. Bring in recyclables. Make cards labeled: glass, plastics, paper, garbage. Have teams take turns separating the trash and learning what is recyclable! You can even have them share ways to reduce or reuse items that are brought in. A great art project can stem from this activity, too!

Teaching sustainability is a great way to help kids become green and healthy.


When Outdoors Meets Indoors: Camping Fun and Prizes

It has been such funny weather here in Wisconsin! It has rained for two days so indoor recess is always fun and then yesterday it snowed. So, lucky me, I have some leeway as to what I can teach our kindergartners.

What do you do if you need a quick, easy, fun and interactive STEM project? Grab a few simple supplies, a fun picture book, and maybe even some toys and you are all set!

 I decided to bring the outdoors...indoors  with camping activities and of course a quick and easy STEM activity with 4 simple supplies:

1. playdough or non-hardening clay
2. straws
3. paper or paper towel from school
4. A camper

If you haven't tried EPIC books, it was free when I signed up for it...if you are a teacher. So, we popped up this fun story that is on EPIC books!
Image result

Give this fun STEM activity a try with the camper freebie here!
 Get these cute campers HERE!
If you would like to add some fun Camping themed Science packs check these out...
Now for the fun part...we are a Green and Healthy School and with that I became Energy certified which means sometimes I get some great opportunities that come my way to test out some toys that go along with our focus on saving energy. Not only does this amazing toy allow my students to learn about ways to create light through other means than electricity, but this toy is also a STEM activity!

So here is the fun part... because I am testing this toy out for this amazing company Tenergy...they are donating 6 of these lanterns on my blog! If you sign up and win, they will send you a free lantern for a quick review of the product! Pretty simple! Click on the link HERE to sign up!

Whether your indoors or outdoors camping can be fun! Add a little STEM, a fun Tenergy Powered Toy and it's even better!

STEM and Easter Connections Make Learners and Teachers HOPPY!

Sometimes it is just plain fun to plan for a holiday! I know that some people think it might be a waste of time, or it is just plain impossible to fit in...what if I told you that a small 30 minutes of STEM engagement is just what your learners need to develop problem solving skills, and team building strategies!

Why STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math expands to every part of our lives. Students are able to develop a passion for STEM challenges allowing them to be part of hands-on and minds-on lessons that will allow them to be exposed to potential occupations in the future. This can also help develop problem solving skills as well as help them build, modify, and share as a team!

Take for example, the four stations that I use with four different grade levels. If you just tuned in...I teach K-5th grade science to over 400 kiddos! LOVE it!

Here are three quick reasons that I use STEM around the holidays:
1. It allows for use of the engineering design model/process
2. It allows students to be able to use hands-on inquiry based strategies
3. It allows for students to apply science and math to what they are building which is real application to a given problem!

Our 5th graders make Jelly Bean Picker Uppers! Problem Solving and Team Building and under 30 minutes!

Our 4th graders work on egg protectors! Did I say problem solving and team building yet? I can get them to make and test in just roughly 30 minutes. Time constraints are key!

3rd graders are working on Easter Baskets with two pieces of paper and a small bit of tape! Problem solving using area/perimeter strategies is perfect for this team activity!

Finally, our 2nd graders build Peep Towers using paper and tape as well. Love to see their creativity added to problem solving and team building!

You can also use these activities with kindergarteners and first graders if they are up for a challenge!

I am also so HOPPY that you stopped by that I am sharing a fun Easter Freebie right here for you! Enjoy!

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