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Showing posts with label simple science ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simple science ideas. Show all posts

12 Ways To Help Students Retain Science Vocabulary

I remember when I was in fourth grade, and I had Sister Elrita for a teacher. She tried so hard to help us remember our spelling words. We had a special notebook just for spelling tests, and we had weekly lists we needed to take home, but looking back, those lists were just pure memorization. I didn't always know what the words meant, and I wasn't ever even a good speller. I was one of those kids that could see that it looked wrong, but didn't always know how to fix it. I still am that way as an adult. Now, to add vocabulary to the mix, yikes. I would use strategies when I got older such as pneumonic devices, or acrostics to support my memorizing of what a particular word meant. Do you recall how you memorized all of those words and what they meant when you were younger?


Science vocabulary is hard for students to retain. Whether you use the Freyer model or Sitton spelling or a district spelling program, here are some helpful tips to bring your science vocabulary to a new level of retention. What is even harder is that teachers have such little time to teach science in our very busy days and now with social distancing how do you even try to have enough time and supplies for each student. As you find new ways to add science into your curriculum, we also have to remember to focus on hands on and creative ways for our students to know what they are doing and what vocabulary words go with each concept.

You can use vocabulary within the context of a lesson or through a creative activity, but having new ideas to help your students understand those tough tier three words will surely inspire both you and your students!

Here are my top 12 ways that I help my K-5th grade students to remember their science vocabulary words and retain their meaning week to week:

1. Songs/Chants: I love songs and chants to remember vocabulary words. From Water Cycle to states of matter, songs help students remember words through popular songs and chants. 

2. Write the room with qr codes: I have students go from poster to poster reading vocabulary or answering a vocabulary driven question. Now with social distancing I have a bell that allows students to know when to rotate. 




3. Cloze Reading: I might give students a short reading with vocabulary words to focus on that are bolded. When they are done I give them a few questions to answer that allows for them to reflect on the words they are learning.

4. Boom Cards: I absolutely love boom cards for testing for understanding after we focus on a science concept and experiment. I just used mixture or solution and states of matter this week!


5. Word drawings: I use this when we have words that are a bit harder such as the water cycle and identifying the differences or solubility/saturation/concentration/diluted. When the word becomes the concept it makes more sense!


6. Google Slide Vocabulary Review Games: Some of my classes are not set up for Boom Learning because...well I teach over 230 students. I shift those classes to my google slides activities! This allows for them to look at picture association and determine which word represents the vocabulary we are learning. 


7. Science Experiments and See Saw Activities: I love when I can demonstrate the words and what they mean through an experiment or let students do the experiments independently right now. Once they are done, they work on a record sheet to use what they learned. They have to use the words correctly in sentences or phrases that show what they know and utilize their words in context.

8.  Vocabulary Board Games: I LOVED using these last year as a way to review our FOSS science units. Now that we are virtual and independent we have not been able to use the games this year. Instead, we now I have...who has which can be done at their desk. Kiddos at home review by some of the ideas above.




9. Art projects: We utilize science based art projects at times to create a picture or diagram using our colored paper and a concept such as the water cycle or landforms. We then label the picture (or even diorama when we could work in groups) to show what each part of our picture represents.

10. Memory/Go Fish: Okay...another idea that is very hard independently, but Educandy offers a way to play memory, word search and more. Here is the video on how to do just that!

 11. Poetry: I use acrostic poems and haikus to have students remember important science words. We take a picture and add it to see saw for them to use as a study guide, then I gather the poems and create a bulletin board. Two for the price of one!

12. Placemats: I use digital placemats for students to use to fill in the definition, picture, antonyms, and synonyms of the vocabulary words that are the main focus of our lesson. I don't always use this one, because I am crunched for time and this one can take a bit longer for us to fill out. I am sharing my digital placemat for you to download here!   

I hope that these ideas will inspire you to add some science vocabulary activities into your science lessons! Let's make science child's play!




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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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Groundhog Day Ideas For Your Classroom

Just a few more days until February 2nd (Ground Hog's Day) and I see many of my friends out there that have had snow days...summer break just ended for our friends in other countries... and some really wild weather is hitting us...  I would love a day to hibernate...or two or three! It is a perfect time however, to talk about and teach the weather in your classrooms! Time to talk Ground Hog's Day and finding some great ways to add science to your school day! Whether you add a fun language arts lesson along with shadows, or find a fun hibernation and migration lesson to share with your students...Ground Hog's Day is  a perfect fit to add some science and STEM!



As you add ways to find time for science make the most of a fun day such as Ground Hogs day to do that! Here are some ideas to help...

Grab Some FUN and Perfect Theme Based Books and Videos
Don't have a copy? Use Youtube! I always like to see my options for books on Youtube!
Another way to use You Tube is to find a great science video connection to share with your students solid facts. Always watch your video first to make sure it will work for your kiddos!


Use NGSS or Standards to Guide You!

The Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten have a specific standard for Weather and Climate.

Here are the guidelines:
1. Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth's surface

2.  Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.

3. Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.

4. Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to severe weather. 

What can you do now to utilize standards that are out there? 

1. Learn about animals that hibernate such as groundhogs. When the sunlight doesn't hit the surface of the Earth in winter like it does in summer in some habitats then animals must hibernate, migrate, or adapt.  As early as kindergarten, they can learn about the tilt of the Earth.

2. Use tools to design a burrow, cave, den...for an animal that hibernates. Instead of just thinking about the warming effects, which is a great tie in to the standard, how do all animals adapt to heat or cold...a change in temperature?  This is also a great time to talk to students about how they adapt to the cold or heat.

Make visors to shield eyes from the sun and make mitten patterns to show what we might need in the cold. Connect how animals do the same by adding blubber or fat...or shedding their coat.

3. Use the local weather map to track the temperature and weather patterns in your town. Make and use a simple calendar pattern to show patterns over time or a change in weather. Discuss what animals might be doing or what they should wear.

4. Discuss natural hazards in your area that can occur and what might occur in other parts of the country or world. Why is it important to look at the forecast. Use your calendar to add what might be in the forecast and what would they do it that were to happen. (Snow days due to blizzards, tornadoes that can come during certain times of the year, hurricanes and how we prepare...)

5. Teaching the concept of living and non-living can fit in this time of year as well. Finding ways to add science concepts can be as easy as showing them pictures from a book, magazine, or with objects found around your home or classroom.

Utilize Science Lessons That Are Simple With Few Supplies and High Impact

Shadows and shadow puppets require very little to teach about the groundhog and a science concept. Grab a flashlight, some popsicle sticks (or rulers if you want to reuse or don't have the funds/supplies), and some paper. 

Learn about how shadows are made by teaching the concepts of transparent, translucent, and opaque. Then figure out what type of materials: plastic baggies, wax paper, aluminum foil, black and white paper, lamination film, plastic glasses in all different shades from clear, to cloudy, to colored...all will work. Have them use flashlights or mini lights in the room to test out the different materials. 

Use your smartboard for them to create shadow puppets (my students do this all the time stand up or put their hand up to see their image...go with it and teach a science concept)

Make sun dials. I went to our lunchroom and got some cans that were going to be recycled. I filled them with some sand and put a dowel in the center. Presto...a sundial!

Find Resources To Help You

Don't have time to look around for some lessons on ground hogs or even a quick activity to add...don't worry you can grab my resource! It is filled with STEM, science, language arts, and math activities for your primary students!


Teaching science concepts can be easy with a little help from the Science School Yard!


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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!


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Marvelous Magnets...FOSS...NGSS... and More!

We just finished up our FOSS Magnet portion of the kit that we need to cover in fourth grade each year. I love the activities and supplies that FOSS offers, but at times the fun of magnets is lost in the FOSS lessons. Our science standards that we are using in our city are based on 1991 standards from our state. This seems a bit outdated even though many of these concepts are seen in the new NGSS standards. Because our state has not adopted these new standards I like to take what we already have to do and integrate the new NGSS standards where ever I can.

The great thing about magnets also is that the 3rd grade NGSS science standards of Forces and Interactions fit perfectly within the FOSS Magnet unit. 3-PS2-3 has students: ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. So for example you could have students take two permanent magnets and see the relationship between steel paperclips with one magnet vs. the relationship between two magnets and those same steel paperclips. FOSS gives you the magnets, but how you use them to cover other standards is the key.

You can also use the FOSS lesson of the farther apart magnets are the weaker the force...by testing and using the NGSS standards to prove the cause and effect relationships and how they culd show that the distance between objects affects strength of the force and how they orientation of  magnets affects the direction of the magnetic force.

Using what they know about magnets can help you figure out how to take the curriculum that you have and how you can add the NGSS standards to existing lessons. Here is what I did...

As I focused on creating extensions of our magnet unit, I focused on 3-P S2-4. I created one of the activities that students can create a simple game design that can solve a problem as they apply scientific ideas about magnets. Maybe they could make a game that uses a latch to keep something shut or create a game that can keep two moving objects from touching each other... this then takes once again the FOSS Magnet section and extends it with activities that tie in NGSS standards.

There is only one real way to teach them effectively with whatever standards you are working with...hands-on. Loving the magnets of FOSS, but not loving the lack of fun interactive activities...I made my own! When the students were done exploring the different lessons I had to do... such as permanent magnet interactions with a bag of objects to discovering the forces of attraction and repulsion there is so much more you can do with these concepts they could work on stations that were set up around the room.

What I loved to see was how they worked hard to make sure that their FOSS sheets were done (requirement before they got to pick a station in the room...) You might also see in some of my activities that we did...we used the idea that FOSS had, but made it more kid friendly and connected it with their lives. This connections help them understand the WHY of why they are learning about magnets! Check out the activities and stations that were set out for my students to choose from!




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Need Science Ideas? Go Back to College...

Did I get you? Hope I did! Are you looking for some hands-on science fun? Look no further than your local universities! There are some amazing opportunities to use theme based science trunks filled with an array of amazing educational material and props! From puppets...to specimen...puppets...to lesson ideas your local university might be a great place to start.
Just a few fun and batty finds in the Bat Trunk!

Living here in Wisconsin I didn't realize that the UW-Stevens Point has some amazing environmental science trunks for teachers to check out to utilize in their classrooms...until this year!

When I received the trunk, I couldn't wait to dive in to see what my first grade bat lesson might be able to add to make it even more hands-on. My students love the "real" brown bat that they can get a closer look at. Is it a mammal? It has fur, it feeds its babies milk, it breathed air...but most importantly we can see it up close and personal!


The books that are included have found our way to a station in our room for students to enjoy them in the bat cave!

I even decided to use the lesson idea books to create a pack to include as my little gift for letting us borrow the kit for free! YES...my teacher friends these kids found at universities around the country are most often free to use if you are an educator!

Not only does our own UWSP have a bat trunk, but you can also check out the bear trunk, bird monitoring kit, energy trunk (that one is mine in May), Watershed (aiming for that when we do FOSS Water with 3rd grade), Fishing For Fun Backpack, and a ton of fun forestry kits that I can't wait to check out when our 5th graders go to our local school forest overnight!

If you are here in Wisconsin and want to check out these amazing tools to use in your classroom, go to UW-Stevens Point Educational Trunks and Kits or their direct site at http://www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/wcee/library/Pages/trunks_kits.aspx to book your trunk or kit today!
I also included in the trunk a free bat pack for teachers here in Wisconsin can use. Not able to utilize this fun BAT themed trunk...no worries pick up your  Science-Based Bat Unit here!
What can you do to go back to college to help teach science without even having to take a course? Check out your local universities by calling or searching in their library catalog for trunks for kids for educators. You might be pleasantly surprised!
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Science Brag Bracelets

We use PBIS for our positive behavior plan. We implement "Jaguar Paws" when we see students showing our core values of work...respect...be safe. As a specialist, teaching science to everyone of our K5 students, I only get to see my 400+ students one hour per week. After being at the same school for four years now...I have build great relationships with my students...however...

Our state has also implemented Teacher Effectiveness and with being a "specialist" I can't always create the parent communication and the motivation from my students allows them to work toward their academic and behavioral goals each week, not to mention the retention of scientific information.

As a mother of four, with two in college, I can't always spend a ton of money on prizes and treats and I don't really like the idea of "buying" good behavior. So, going back to Teacher Effectiveness...I needed to find ways to continue to make connections...motivate my scientists...and create positive communication!

What are brag bracelets?
Brag bracelets are a positive incentive system that will be used to create an inexpensive reward that will celebrate and promote positive academic and behavioral classroom goals.

How will students wear the bracelets?
After earning a brag bracelet that focus on:
1. teamwork
2. problem solving
3. STEM
4. kindness (yes, kindness is one of our biggest issues when students work in teams...)
5. science star
6. doing their best
7. observation skills
8. team leader

I will be watching for positive behaviors as well as encourage students to focus on our goals. When I see a student exhibiting something to brag about, I will take a bracelet and place it on their wrist. You can either glue or tape it on. It is important to share with everyone why the student earned the bracelet!

Will you keep track of who earns a bracelet? 
I will not be keeping track of who gets one. Our school is at 82% free and reduced. Many of our students need all of the positives they can get. They also need to be motivated as well as find ways to motivate themselves. Just like any behavior plan, at times some students need more encouragements while our leaders also need to be celebrated, too! Keeping track of over 400 students with only having one hour with them a week could use up way too much of my time when I need each and every minute for teaching.

Things to think about:
I am storing them in a word chart. Each bracelet fits perfectly in the pocket.
I am printing up quite a few so that I am ready to go the first day of school.
I will not give any student a bracelet if they ask for one...just like we don't give any student a PBIS behavior ticket if they ask.
I thought about why this method will work better for me than the coupons that our PBIS team wanted us to give out...bracelets have a better chance of getting home so that parents can see how they are doing in science!

Ready to try science brag bracelets?

Here is a free copy of my brag bracelets that will be for sale in my TPT store. Enjoy getting your students motivated in YOUR science school yard! Let me know what you think...leave a comment to share the love!

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Science On The Fly

On Spring Break, my family traveled to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, WI. I wasn't sure how exciting it would be for my middle schooler, but we all loved it! It was so interesting to see all of the different planes throughout history, how we used planes during war times, and the story behind flight. Lots of hands on activities to make it fun for all ages! Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration! Sometimes it's where you go...or what you can find in your school library...or that special time of year!
Inspiration from the library!


Planes everywhere! Inspiration on vacation!

Wilbur and Orville Write at Kitty-hawk!

War planes from every era!
As I looked around it really started my wheels turning....STEM Flight Activities!
 Things that fly...helicopters, parachutes...airplanes...rocket ships! Teaching a flight unit is so much fun for all ages. There are great picture books and simple science activities that can facilitate STEM activities that have flight in mind! STEM is a great way to explore things that fly in a hands-on way!

Here is some STEM inspiration for you STEM Flight FUN and Airplane Stations on TPT!

                                              Let's your students soar with this pack!
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Cricket Capers: Simple Science Lesson

It is insect time in first grade! Sorry...we can't find any outside right now, we still have snow, but that doesn't mean we can't invite some to join us. Introducing...crickets! This is a great way to compare non-fiction and fiction books about a topic. Here is a simple science activity for you...


What you will need:
1. Crickets (about 16 cents per cricket)
2. Containers from the Dollar Store with little holes poked on top for air
3. Sponges for water
4. Egg Cartons to climb on and hide under (they are nocturnal)
5. a potato or carrot for liquid and food

There are some great non-fiction stories out there...I use Myon or EPIC Books. The one we used is from MYON that our district purchases.

What to do:
1. Introduce insects...
2. Sing a fun song like "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes..."
Head, Thorax, Abdomen
Head, Thorax, Abdomen
2 Eyes, 2 antennas, and and exoskeleton
Head, Thorax, Abdomen

3. Discuss rules for working with live animals (no shaking, share the container, be respectful...)
4. Let them observe and write them down, draw what they see (I set up my sheet using Insects: In and Out of the Classroom to help. I also use a word bank on the board for their observation words)



5. I also play cricket sounds as they work...


6. We make a circle and share what we learned and observed. The students love being able to tell the difference between make and female. It is also fun to hear what they were able to see as they watched the containers.

7. We also watch the Very Quiet Cricket...

8. Finally, we wrap up with a symmetry activity where they draw the other half of the cricket and write at least three things they learned.  I use this as an assessment on what they know.
Going Buggy can be fun! With some help from our Cricket friends!

Symmetry and Sentences! Math and writing in one activity! 
If you need anything...you know you can bug me...email me or write a comment! I would love to hear from you!
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Simple Science Series: The Wind Blew

So many people ask me, "how can you fit in science into a very busy school day?" Well...I am here to share with you some simple ways to sneak in 20-30 minutes of science and have big impact to boot!


This is my first Simple Science Saturday Series! I am very excited to be sharing with you a quick video to show you how to add science into your school day in a simple way. All you will need is the free sheet, baggies filled with a kleenex, a cube, a feather, a spoon (metal works best), a toy car, and a straw.

The Set Up...









I start with asking my students, "What can the wind blow?" We add it to the wind anchor chart. I always share my story of how when I was five my grandma and I were walking and her wig blew off. I had to chase it like tumbleweed down the road.

STEM extensions  based on the book!
We then review what a prediction is. We sing the prediction song and then I tell that that this book is going to let them do a lot of predicting. They should look for clues on each page. They do a great job predicting. When we are finished I let them know we will predict once again when we do our experiment.

I always number the kiddos because it shows them how to take turns and that there is a process to an experiment! It keeps things orderly as well! After predicting and recording...experimenting...then recording again we complete the task.

I then show the kids the back of the book with the sailboat. I then give them the foil, paper, straw, and tape and ask them to work together to make a boat that will successfully sail across the water. I give the students just a few minutes...I use a timer because this lesson is only 30 minutes...

We then share using a box fan and a long under the bed bucket with water in it. The kids love to see if their boats will float or sink...get across the water or get stopped up. If you have more time you can create a bar graph with the results to add some math to the lesson as well!
                                         The Wind Blew Freebie



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