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Showing posts with label rocks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rocks. Show all posts

Dave's Down to Earth Rock Display: STEM Springboard Book

I think it is often difficult to add STEM activities to a rock unit, but sometimes a random idea can create a great activity! Every year I read the book, Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop(it is a perfect book for a rock unit because it really covers some great rock concepts), but this year I started to find myself needing to find some new challenges to add to what I have to already teach in FOSS Earth Materials for my third graders.

I came up with a way for all of the random rocks that get brought to me from my students because they get so excited about showing me a rock they find! Why not use the book and Dave's various displays to display our own rock collection! Here is what you can do to rock your geology unit, too!

STEM Springboard book: Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop written by Stewart J. Murphy is one of those perfect books for this kit or any rock unit. It allows for students to review properties of a rock and  the rock cycle as well . The book does a great job also using a ton of great geography vocabulary as well as it covers Moh's Hardness Scale which we do in class. Click here or on the book to find your own copy!
Dave's Down-to-Earth Rock Shop (MathStart 3)
STEM Activity: The beginning of the book shows a child's collection from pennants to marbles. He displays them in a variety of ways. Dave also displays his rocks to show them off. We used a collection of rocks that students brought in as well as some of my favorites. I asked them what we could do to show off our rocks just like the book. We decided upon a display.

Constraints and Criteria:  I set the constraints and criteria. It must be at least three inches off the surface, allow two or more rocks to be on display, and be made out of at least three supplies provided. I will say not all of our engineers followed the design criteria and in their record sheet it is a great place to be able to reflect.

Materials: egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, cardboard, cups, paper plates, paper and masking tape

What is so wonderful, it is an opportunity to have students bring in rocks they collect or find. It lets them learn how to describe the properties of their rocks and to be proud of their findings. It connects them to science and geology! When they got to display their rocks they got even more excited to let others see their findings!

I thought it would really "rock" if I gave you the sheet that I use with my students! Click on the link for my free Science School Yard Rock Resource!
                                                   Free STEM Springboard Book Activity

In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that with your purchase of items Amazon will pass on small percentages to me. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!
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Science Weekly Digital and STEM Fun!

My week begins on a Tuesday...yes not Monday...Tuesday. Why? Well we are on a day one through five schedule not day of the week schedule. So it is Tuesday and I wanted to share with you what my week looks like! Getting ready for the kiddos this weekend! I love using digital resources to help my littles show me what they know!


We are starting our first week of wrap ups on our five senses. To use all five senses we are using popcorn to do that! I will be starting with them at the carpet as I review our senses we already used. (I have the popper started!) All of a sudden we hear something! Then...smell something. By that time they figure out what we are making and we then go to the table that is a safe distance away from touching something hot.

While we wait for the popcorn to cool down we meet at the carpet area to use our popcorn slides as a review. They love being able to come to the board and move the pictures to show what sense we use when we see a magic word such as hot or salty.

When they are done, I send them back to their desks to get a cup of popcorn after I salt and butter it. We start with one sense at a time...with tasting being the last sense! As they use each sense I write down on our anchor chart the property words to describe each one.

I give them a popcorn shape to draw one or more ways they use their senses when it comes to popcorn! I play popcorn music as they work!

We finish up with a short story by Frank Asch called of course...Popcorn!

First Graders: 

This week in first grade, we continue to work with vertebrate. We are learning about Amphibians! My favorite thing to do is find a song that we can learn or listen to that will help us retain information! The amphibian song is one of my favorites...but before we start that we talk about what makes us a mammal. I show them pictures of amphibians and I ask them to tell me what they see. Do the animals have fur or hair...give live birth...Then I show the fun song...

We then create the beginning of our anchor chart. What animals did we hear about in our song? We then move onto our non-fiction book, What is An Amphibian? from Epic Books...free for teachers! We then play a game...Is it an amphibian? If it is...they hop like a frog!

We follow it up with a writing and assessment sheet found in my Animal Classifications Pack that is continually getting updated as I add more ideas and activities!

Animal Classification Pack: Mammals, Amphibians, Reptiles, Fish, and Birds!

When we get done we color a salamander pattern that I found on line!

2nd Grade:

We are using our FOSS Air and Weather Kit. I need to follow a road map that indicates which lesson I should be on at a given times so that our eight other Science Educators and I can cover the same "Big Ideas". At times, I can find ways to add some STEM activities that tie in what we are learning about such as last week's parachute lesson and a Jack and the Beanstalk connection...however this week is air pressure. Not quite as exciting for an hour long class. So, sometimes I just can't make my own extras I call upon the help of Ms. Frizzle! I found a perfect video...Goes On Air... and sheet from Scholastic along with our FOSS syringe lesson. This is okay for me because they can't watch videos in their rooms due to the strict road map they are on for virtually everything. I am glad that I have that flexibility!  Here is the link for the video: Magic School Bus Goes On Air. Here is the Scholastic Classroom Activity Site: Scholastic Magic School Bus Activity Page.

3rd Grade: 

Once again FOSS gets me...we are using our mock rocks to learn about crystals. I brought in a crystal for them to see...we read a crystal book from Epic Books called What Are Crystals...ok I just skimmed and paraphrased for them. That is the beauty of using the smart board to project stories. (As a science teacher with no transition time, I can even put on the read the book to me button at times, allowing me to set up supplies on tables).

Once we are done with an intro to crystals, we review what a geologist is and what they do. Geologists use different experiments and techniques to break apart rocks or look more closely at what they are made of. We share how our mock rocks are used to compare what geologists do to real rocks and then we look at our vials to see what ingredients I might have put in our "recipe". I stress the idea of a recipe so they know that rocks are more than one ingredient and minerals are only one ingredient...just like a recipe.

We discuss evaporation, which I taught last year. We then do the FOSS lesson, but we use our iPads to take pictures and not draw the vial. Once done with the writing, this helps me get them finished...I then let them come to the crystal table which has hand lenses set out as well as the identification chart. We need evidence as to why I put in the ingredient I did! How do you know...is the big question of the day!

We celebrate our learning by eating a bit of rock candy and writing in our crystal ball! Here is the sheet that we used! Enjoy the quick and easy freebie I use with crystals to check for understanding. I take a picture of this with my iPad, then air drop it to them. They put it into Explain Everything!
Free Crystal (Ball) Facts Sheet

Fourth Grade:

We just finished up on our FOSS lessons with magnets. This week, we are reviewing with magnet stations! I set up eight stations that I made in my Magnet Pack using all of the supplies from my FOSS magnet kit, however I also use other supplies that I have for this unit to add some added magnets and magnet toys. Once they are done reviewing they assess their effort and then we review the answers. This helps them focus on getting a certain amount done in the time they have to finish the stations and it also helps my lower level learners understand and review what they might not know yet. Take a look at the stations in action!
I love these Magnet Stations Found HERE! They keep our FOSS magnet lesson more engaging and allow for more assessments!
Fifth Grade:

We are learning about life boats so what a perfect time for this History minor to teach a history lesson! I give each fifth grader a steerage ticket that I made as they walk in the room...of course to the Titanic Theme Song as an instrumental.

I let them pick from my hand to get their fate. First class has nice cushioned chairs and a glass of water. I get them their supplies all ready as well and they sit up front. My second class ticket holders sit at tables away from the front and get pencils, and the third class passengers sit on the floor in the back and share a few pencils between them. They love it!

I use the Book National Geographic Titanic to read to them on the smart board, which once again is from  Epic Books! Once done, we discuss what a life boat is and what capacity means. We share what we know about boat size and capacity! I get them all together and we watch a quick video on what happened on the Titanic and the capacity of the life boats that were launched. It is a perfect connector!

I then share that we are making our own life boats using a controlled experiment model.  I give them each a piece of aluminum foil the same size, the variable how they build and form the boat. We then test how many "penny passengers" fit in the life boat. What a great STEM lesson to tie it all together!

Next week, our FOSS life boat lesson and another STEM project found in my Titanic Pack!
Find the STEM Titanic Pack HERE

So that is my week in review. I didn't mention yet that I am also teaching an after school STEM class...that will be another post this next week!

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Rocks CAN Rock: 5 Ways to Engage

Do you ever have to teach a unit that might not be your favorite? Did you ever have to pretend to abso-lutely love the topic you are sharing with them? Try to ever make a weak unit EXCITING and AMAZING?

Rocks are one of those topics that I have had to really work at in order to create engaging and fun lessons to get my students engaged.  Well having to teach FOSS Pebbles, Sand, and Silt as well as FOSS Earth Materials was my BIG challenge.

So how do you make science lessons more engaging? 

1. Find hands on activities to get them actively engaged! Hands on fun exploration! Bring in resources, dig around your house for ways to get your kiddos digging in and learning from letting them play with a purpose!

For example, bring in shells and sand from the beach to learn about sand. Let them play in it as a reward for working so hard! Have lots of great samples for them to learn from....rocks, rock! Introduce fossils...volcanoes...and even scavenger hunts around the school looking for how we use rocks!

2. Use digital devices to connect your students to their activities on line!

Not only do we use Explain Everything to upload our activities to our background, our first through 5th graders actually take pictures to include what we are learning about, record their voices to share what they learned, and even make animation!

 I have to say...now that we do this...my students are more engaged and are more excited about the topics.

3. Use resources that are unique to spur excitement.

Lava rocks...fool's gold, STEM activities, real fossils, dinosaur puzzles so they can be archaeologists, great video clips, great picture books, and interactive theme based games that are educational. (Write the Room, SCOOT, Vocabulary Go Fish, Match Game...)
4. Grab a great picture book and get to reading and engaging through the message of your non-fiction book! From rocks...to volcanoes...fossils...to sand... bring in an engaging story to springboard an activity off of. See the fossil puzzle above? See the play dough and an easy way to make fossils? See the buckets of sand and shells? Our rock unit is a great way to bring in the idea of soil and dirt as well as worms!

5. Find the time!

Be excited and find a small corner of time in your week to make YOUR science school yard...child's play! Need some help finding great resources that will rock?

Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, Silt, FOSS, Digital Resources, iPad, Computer, Resources, Rocks


Science Rock and Roll

It was that time of year...time to finish our FOSS Earth Materials Stations...Moh's Hardness scale... Calcite Quest...Properties of a Rock...It isn't always the most exciting and at times it loses the kids. The kit can be loooonnnnggggg.

I know I am not alone. We all have units that make it hard for us to keep the kiddos attention. Units that we have to follow because of district initiatives. We follow the plans...we try to add a fun twist...we think "how can we shake it up a bit?"

To finish up on the Rock Cycle lessons that I added, I also mixed it up with a little "ROCK" and roll. QR codes are a great way to get kids actively engaged in concepts such as vocabulary, studying for a test, and reviewing concepts.

Sometimes my students scoot around the room....sometimes they have the cards at a station...other times like this we make it a competition.

Here is how it works...
1, Playing some rock instrumental music sets the mood. I just have it playing in the background lightly.
2. I share with the group that they are going to be rock stars today. Each time they pick a new card, that lead rocker will read the question, working as rock stars to try to figure out the answer.
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Rock Cycle Questions and Record Sheet...my students ROCKED IT!
In a group of 3-4 they take turns reading, having everyone record, checking the qr code for the correct answer, changing it if they are wrong,  and passing it to the number 2, then 3 rocker.... Each leader must also make sure that the same process is followed each time. Read, record, check, correct, pass to next rock star!

3. When each box is filled in with the correct answer, the band of rock stars must come up to me and show me that they rocked it out together. If they are all finished...first...I give them rock candy and a polished rock.
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The Rock Stars LOVED the candy rocks! 
4. We finish up by reviewing the Big Ideas of our FOSS unit and I continue to find other students that are "rockin' it" with sharing what they know about the scratch test...vinegar test, the difference between a rock and a mineral...

Here is a link to your own Rock Star Rock Cycle Review Freebie!
Rock On My Friends...we all can be rock star teachers and get our students to be excited about what we are teaching! Sometimes it's nice to get a little help from your back up band (with a freebie!)

We LAVA Science!

For the next two days...check out my TPT STORE for 28% off of EVERYTHING! Don't forget to use Code: Start16 at the check out! Time to be inspired to add some science into your school day!

Here is some motivation...We finished up our rock unit...FOSS Pebbles, Sand, and Silt with volcanoes. We focused on labeling our pictures just like non-fiction books...learning to listen for facts from our non-fiction books....and to connect volcanoes to rocks. Rocks are made because of volcanoes such as basalt, obsidian, and pumice. We learned the difference between lava and magma...and that a volcanologist is a scientist who studies volcanoes! Check out our simple science lesson!

1. We wrote what we already know about volcanoes...
2. We read a fun volcano story and tied it into our pop up book (EPIC books...Volcanoes)
A look at the book we use with our EPIC book...and what you would need to make science simple. 
3. I give them a sticky note to write one thing they learned about volcanoes to add to our chart...
Teaching kiddos text features and writing non-fiction is a great way to tie in language arts into science!

4. On trays...while my students are watching the short Pixar Film, Lava, I set out a tray with two cups...one with baking soda and soap...and one with red dyed vinegar.

Here is the cute...and I mean cute...video...
5. We then talk about the difference between magma and lava. Then...one...two...three...we erupt a volcano!
Volcano fun! Easy clean up, too!

6. Finally, we watch a real volcano erupt and follow it up with drawing and labeling a volcano which we add to our bulletin board...We Lava Science!


The Three Bears Rock!

So after four years of teaching the different names for the different sizes of rocks...I finally...finally figured out a better way to teach the three major rocks in our lesson...Pebbles...Gravel...Sand.

Why not take a story that they know...the Three Bears and make it add up! We have three different sized screens...A papa bear screen...a mama bear screen...and a baby bear screen! I retold the kiddos the story of the bears, but I added that Goldilocks also took their rock collection they had from a trip to the beach and mixed up all of their treasures! Papa Bear's Pebbles, both large and small are mixed up with Mama Bear's gravel, both large and small...and you know how Baby Bear just loves playing in the sand and now his sand he brought back from the beach is now all mixed up!

What should they do? Can we help? Let's take Papa Bear's BIG Screen and use it to separate his pebbles...and the medium sized screen to separate Mama Bear's gravel and then the little screen to separate the little gravel from Baby Bear's sand!

I model it for them...then we play a matching game with the pictures of the outcome I want and the word cards...miraculously they matched them up almost immediately!

Who would have thunk?


I am Thankful For Teaching Science

Every day that I come to school, I hear teachers frustrated with the new math and reading programs. Their canned lessons do not allow for creativity and the joy of reading at times is being sucked right out of the classrooms.  I see teachers testing each week and progress monitoring ALL the time. I watch them as they drop off my kids and routinely say, "at least they will have some fun in science today...". I feel so fortunate to teach science to over 400 Kindergarten through 5th graders at my school. I guess I have made it my personal mission to bring joy...creativity...imagination... challenges... and hands on learning to each lesson I create each week.

Now...let me tell you...it isn't always easy.  I have a road map to follow with FOSS as my main lesson. The science teachers that teach the same lessons...now have a common assessment...so I do have to stick to the plan...but.....

it is really how I deliver it to my kiddos. Calcite detectives sure sounds better than we are now doing the calcite test.   Adding a fossil lesson to our Earth Materials lessons sure pays off...with Harbor Freight puzzles for 2.00 and the EPIC Book... Each team got a bucket of sand with the puzzle pieces in it. They had to dig for the bones...figure out what dinosaur they found...then just like the book make sure different people had jobs! The curators got to work setting up a museum for the dinosaur. It was EPIC!

Digging For Bones!
Researchers trying to identify their find...

The paleontologists putting their puzzle together!
 The excitement was contagious.  I am thankful that I am able to find ways to make connections with my FOSS lessons. Take for example the catapult lesson. Can be ok, but if kids know the background of catapults and then have a reason to learn about the variables so that they can storm the castle...well now we are talking. Here is the introduction video I used...they loved it!
Now for the connections...
Their castle calculations...what variables will they use to scale the castle walls?

The finished castles...

               These resources can be found in my Variable Pack...check it out at TPT. I also made a new STEM Fall Into Thanksgiving Pack along with five other STEM packs. I did this primarily because my teachers are able to have a 45 minute reward time twice a month and they needed some easy ideas. They are so excited to be able to add STEM into their classrooms and allow the students to learn and have fun! Here is the pack we are using this month!

What are you thankful for? I am thankful for everyone that comes to visit the Science School Yard. Let me know if there is anything you ever need!

Science: Inquiry Based Learning...Rock ON!

Our new inquiry activity in the library based on what we are doing in science and I love how excited the kids are. This time, we focused on the rock cycle and shells! Check out our corner...
I wonder...the students are writing I wonders, but not based on rocks or shells...so we are reteaching:)

If you were a geologist, what question would you ask about these rocks? Inside the binder, we had some great questions that we will make into a book for the library!


Rock On! Three Types of Rock...and Light it Up!Fi

There are three types of rocks in geology...igneous...metamorphic...and sedimentary! Sing it folks...

Great song to get kids flowing...I mean going!

Onto the book of the week for rocks...
What a great book for explaining the 3 types of rocks!

Now...onto the hands on part...I got this idea form Momma Owl's Lab. This is the easiest one for me to do five times. Crayons I have! This is just one of the grade level lessons of the week...

Next grade level FOSS fun...Let's see how electricity works...starting with this short, educational video...
Finding electricity conductors and insulators is a fun FOSS activity...but what can we do the rest of the time???? How about this website... BBC Conductors and Insulators Practice and... this great free worksheet...Conductors and Insulators Worksheet. Gotta keep planning...Have a great Wednesday.

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