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Showing posts with label water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water. Show all posts

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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STEM Lesson Features Water and Sheep In A Jeep

Ok, people...some of you are on break already, some of you even get done by this next week, but for me...I have to teach until December 22nd. STEM after school classes for the second quarter start up this week which leaves me two weeks before a break.

I have been getting a lot of great questions from educators about finding time for science and STEM in their classrooms which to me can go hand in hand with language arts. However, in our district our language arts curriculum is set in stone, so then what do you do? Finding time to tie in a picture book along with a science concept...followed up with a STEM connection is the way to go!

Here is this week's  plan:
1. Start with a concept you need to cover is science...let's just say water. I have to teach this in 3rd grade.

2. Find a book that can tie it to a lesson on that topic. Let's just pick Oil Spills...

3. Now for an anchor chart...How do we use water? How do we hurt water? How do we protect water?

4. From taking a dropper with one blue drop of food coloring dropping it in a glass of water, you can add more water and dilute it, but that blue is still there.

5. A writing lesson can come of it such as a public service announcement for kids to help kids make good choices about protecting water, you can do a letter to congress, or even a poem.

6. How do you add STEM? We give 20 minutes to create a pipeline that goes from Canada (one side of the table) to Gulf of Mexico (the other side of the table) that is made out of cups, different types of tape or putty, and straws. They are the oil companies and I am the American People. They need to make sure there are no spills so that the water is protected.

STEM Challenge:  Can you create a safe pipeline from one side of the table to the other to show the importance of protecting our freshwater from oil spills?

Objective: Learn about the distribution of water on Earth and the importance of keeping fresh water clean.


  • Oil Spill! by Melvin Berger
  • styrofoam or paper cups
  • straws of various types
  • tape of various types
  • modeling clay/ sculpy (if you want to add this component)
  • towels

I give each group time to draw and design a leak proof pipeline picture. They need to discuss how important it is to be very careful and accurate in their cutting and connecting the pipeline. I ask them where do they think leaks will occur and how can they  make sure it is sealed properly.
Supplies to build a pipe line...

I give them time to create. Most groups have leaks. We share, clean up, reflect and then talk about how important it is that we look at all points of view when determining if it is worth creating something that could have a negative or positive impact economically.

Now, if this is too controversial, I also do an oil spill in a bucket. I have rocks as land, plastic animals are real animals, and sticks and paper leaves that are placed in the rocks as trees. You can also use just three paper bowls with water and a spoon full of oil. You can have a demonstration or in groups where they get three different ways to separate out the oil from the water: skimming: by using a spoon they can try to skim the oil off the top...collecting and measuring how much they were able to skim off the top. Next, you can test absorption: give them cotton balls and have them absorb the oil off the top, squeezing it out to measure this method, and then finally dispersal. Use Dawn dish washing soap to disperse and then collect the oil to measure.

What they will see is that none of these ways are 100% accurate. What could be invented that might be better at skimming, absorbing, or dispersing so it is a better solution to an oil spill?
Cleaning Up An Oil Spill Isn't Easy 

Now show Steve Spangler's video...

Technology is ever changing and this is a new solution to an oil spill. This is a great way to learn what a polymer is! What a great way to have them find ways to help protect the water even as a kid...

I have included a the lesson plan and record sheet for you and your learners HERE!

Looking for more STEM water activities? This pack is where it is at! From Hurricanes to shoreline protection that focuses on erosion...these are the extra resources I use during my FOSS Water Unit!

If you are a primary teacher, I have another great way to integrate something real fast through your rhyming lessons...grab Sheep In A Jeep by Nancy Shaw.

Here is this week's plan:

Objective: How can you create a force that will push a Hot Wheel to a specific location?


  • Sheep In a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
  • Hot Wheels one for each person
  • a rainbow paper road/race track
  • color words to pick from so they know where they will push to

What a great way to teach rhyming words, but to also teach about force and motion in the process! Grab some hot wheels, create a road out of the colors of the rainbow papers taped together, write the colors are note cards for the kids to pick from...then set up a race. Discuss giving a force to something...it means a push or pull. The harder you push the more force is acted on it. If I need to get my car to go to the orange on our road, I will push it soft, but if I need to push it to purple I will need to push it hard. What if I had a bigger car to push? I would have to push harder to get motion going because of the mass.  We make this a bit of a challenge...who can closest to the color chosen! They love it!

Grab the freebie. Want more? Grab the whole STEM pack here which includes more science activities, technology component with 12 rhyming slides with Sheep In A Jeep theme, 6 engineering lessons and two math activities along with record sheets and worksheets!

Sheep In A Jeep STEM Pack Found HERE
Five more days...Thursday's forecast is for over 10 inches of snow and Friday is a bonus school wide movie half day and celebration the other half. I think I can...I think I can...enjoy the freebies and ideas! I love your letters and questions...it helps me know what you need!
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Doesn't Have To Be Seuss Week To Make Connections in Science!

Every year, when I work with my 3rd graders on their FOSS Water Unit I can't wait until I get to water wheels. It is the only STEM related activity in many of the kits. Don't get me wrong, I do love having FOSS to guide me, but let's just say at times it needs some more meat.

This particular lesson though...is a great way to add in  a ton of ideas that are all water related and I have just the book that makes this lesson even better.

Dr. Seuss's book A Fish Out of Water is perfect. It has double meaning, too! What is it like to be a fish out of water? Have we all been there? (I also love the addition of Mr. Carp telling everyone that this always happens because the boys don't listen)

Here is how it goes...

1. I start off asking what does it mean a fish out of water? We make a list and then I explain that it kind of means the person is completely clueless or directionless when put into an unfamiliar surroundings or an unfamiliar situation.

2. Perfect time for you to ask if they have ever now felt like a fish out of water. Cue the stories!

3. I now add my what is sustainable energy lesson discussing non renewable and renewable resources. Here is how...What would it be like if you had to all of a sudden live somewhere where there was no electricity or running water. Could you let's say...live off the grid? We discuss tiny homes and the movement and what that would look like.

4. Now that they have thought a little about what they could use that is a natural resource or a sustainable resource...we generate a list. Sun...Water...Wind...we even add trees and corn. If we continue to plant them...

5. I let them know that today after our story they are going to be a fish out of water. I am going to give them only...cue FOSS lesson: 5 red wheels, 1 yellow dowel, three binder clips, a string, and Otto! Yes, Otto. A fish out of water. It is their job to get him in the bucket by only using hydro power!
If you do not have STEM, I have a supply list and alternative in My Water Pack on TPT found HERE.

6. I read the book and then share with them how they will, just like Otto be a fish out of water! They must work together to create a water wheel. I then pop up the google search results for images on Water Wheels. We talk about the shape of the wheel that looks like a bike tire. They are to work together as a team to see who can save Otto first.  Competition is what makes this extra fun!

7. Supply lots of towels. Stand back. Watch the magic happen. (I sometimes have to give clues as to what to do, if time is running out, but I wait a while and keep referring back to the water wheel pictures!)

Here are some freebies that you can use...writing connections, pattern, and reflections! You can download them as worksheets or download them for your iPads! I save them to my camera roll...air drop them to my students...then they place it in Explain Everything (you can use PicCollage) in order to be able to insert videos, pictures and text boxes!

3 Page Freebie Found HERE
Don't feel like a fish out of water every time you plan for a science lesson...grab a freebie...follow the plan...check back often!

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!


STEM Holiday Connections

Find the ELF Pack HERE!
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to find a way for all of the 400+ students K-5th grade be able to connect a fun seasonal book to a STEM activity.

Up until this point, we have been able to do some quick Halloween STEM activities, and a few NGSS STEM connections in a few of the classes, however using the FOSS road map that our district has developed is what often drives my theme or lessons. Lucky enough, I have been able to find ways to join some of those lessons together as well as integrate activities using our Ipads...so it allows me some flexibility to add NGSS...STEM...and extra activities that I create that go with our theme.

Here are some tips to integrate any of the fun STEM packs that I have in my TPT store!

Tip 1: Pick a theme

This week's lessons  look like this...

K-weather connections using Three Cheers for Tacky, building a structure for the Penguin to keep him warm using toothpicks and marshmallows and a fun penguin pattern...they sure are Tacky!
1st Grade- How to Catch an Elf...we are learning about size and property words.
2nd Grade-FOSS Solids and Liquids and the Gingerbread Man
3rd Grade-FOSS Water...make a boat to float on water to keep the Gingerbread Man from having to rely on the fox to get across the river
4th Grade-FOSS Human Body and Elf on a Shelf... Mr. Bones style and Elf Traps
5th Grade-FOSS Mixtures and Solutions and Mr. and Mrs. Clause and separating mixtures

 Tip 2: Pick a Picture Book

With the opportunities to integrate some STEM lessons, I always try to find a fun picture book that will help set the tone. Here are some of the books I am using this week.

Tip 3: Find ways to integrate what you are already doing in your classroom...Look at the standards and find a way to incorporate them into a hands-on STEM project! I also challenged my older kiddos to finish something that was in our road map before they could work on a STEM project, and you should see how fast they start to work to get to be able to build!

Looking for some winter or New Year STEM or some Christmas alternatives? Check it out at my TPT STORE. Follow the link HERE.

Hang in there...just a few more days for those of us that have to teach right up until break! Happy Holidays!


Pipelines and Oil Spills

Connecting Science to the classroom can be easy if you find links. Our third grade teachers were reading a story about an oil spill and the effects it has on the environment...we are in our FOSS Water Unit and so....connecting water to oil spills and pipelines is a great fit for older kids.

With a few simple supplies students can connect...water travels downhill, water beads on the table if there is a leak, oil and water do not mix, there is surface tension in the cup of water...

However the best part is that you can have the students engineering during a water unit! Here is a quick video on the building of the pipeline...then we discuss pros and cons of oil traveling a great distance over land and water. We then discuss our need for this fossil fuel and alternative sources of energy and its benefits.

We read a quick chapter from two EPIC books using an overview and quick write in their notebooks(write and draw what you see and hear)...
Chapter four is about Drilling for oil...

The picture of the pipelines in this book help make connections....

Here is the quick video we watch...it gives them a chance to see what a pipeline looks like...

Now...it's  time for a pipeline...we discuss the importance of sealed pipelines so that there are no spills and the consequence of the spill. We then have them design a model of what they will build. Everyone is assigned jobs...

Here is what they get...
Here are some of their designs as they work together...
I walk around and remind them...water travels down hill...

Have you sealed all pipeline connections????

This activity is a great way to use STEM with reading and writing! When we were finished we wrote the pros and cons of creating pipelines to get crude oil. Discovering how difficult it may be to ensure no spills addresses issues that effect us today! Whether it is oil spills or pipelines these activities allow any Water Unit to have hands on learning experiences!


This last year was filled with a lot of great changes in my classroom. I took my FOSS lessons and made sure that I could add a STEM lesson for each kit that I use. I am happy to say that my students are interacting and engineering each month kindergarten through 5th grade. It isn't always easy when you have to stick to a road map, but here are some great ways to find a spot for STEM:

1. Using a great picture book, you can have students connect to the story by interacting in a building activity that coordinates with what they just heard. For example, we are learning about Solids and Liquids in our 2nd grade FOSS unit. I took the book Up Goes The Skyscrapers by Gail Gibbons. We used solids to create the tallest tower. We then wrote about it and reflecting on what worked and what could be modified. Then we tried again! 
2. Another great idea is using an anchor chart to help you set the stage for learning. Use what you have to teach science and then pose a problem to the students so that they have to create a solution. Here is an example... I have to teach the FOSS Water unit. We created an anchor chart that has us try to figure out why water is so important in our lives. I posed the problem..."What would happen if there was a major catastrophe that would cause the water to be unsafe...like an oil spill? How could it effect the environment? What could be environmental engineers and figure out what we could do to clean up a spill." That started a great engineering lesson and an oil spill clean up. It was a great way to also start our water unit.
Oil spill clean up supplies and environmental engineering challenge...Can you clean up an oil spill? How does this affect our water supply? 

Another great idea that was sparked by our Animal Adaptation unit was to create our own animal using the book What If You Had Animal Teeth? or What If You Had Animal Hair? by Sandra Markle. Both great introductions to how animal parts help them survive and defend themselves. It followed with an anchor chart of how animals have different hair and teeth and how it helps them. We then created an animal that protected their food... a piece of candy. A great internet game to connect is Build Your Wild Self ( I showed it on our smartboard and they drew what adaptation they wanted on their own drawing as I built my wild self. I discussed why picking that adaptation might help me. This helped them then create their 3-D model).
Great books to integrate reading, writing, and STEM!
Here is their wild selves after picking ideas off the smartboard interactive as a large group.

Here are the 3-D models. This is a great writing connection as well as an engineering project for any kindergarten and first grade classroom!

3. Another great way to integrate STEM into your classroom is incorporate it right around a holiday! I love integrating STEM during a change of seasons as well. STEM Winter Stations and STEM Valentine Stations are in the future and my students can't wait! Here are the STEM packs I made this last month to get ready for winter and Valentine's Day. I am already getting set for ST. Patrick's Day and Easter! Stay tuned!
STEM Penguin Winter Antics Stations great for theme days or reward days!

STEM Valentine's Day Stations to integrate four fun STEM stations into your school day!

STEM Winter Stations 2 is a great way to have some winter indoor fun! Find a great book, create an anchor chart, and then set up a supply station or have the supplies already set for the kiddos and you are set! Science made simple!
Have a STEMtastic New Year! And remember there are always ways to add science and engineering into your school day!

The Science Circus and More

This week...is conference week. We are here until late...late...late. Today, we are hosting a baked potato bar for our classroom teachers. As a science teacher...I am seen as a specialist...ENCORE is what they call us! So...I have a few minutes to share what I have been doing this week in science...and to link up with a fellow science teacher... over at Teachers are Terrific.

Here is what is going on in my science classroom this week...

Kinders are taking a tour of the solar system. Here are the videos we are using before they get to blast off into space and find all 8 planets in our room...

Here are the kiddos going around the room actively searching and coloring in the planets...

First graders are participating in a circus adventure. We start off with Circus by Lois Ehlert.
Image result for circus by lois ehlert

We then move on to balancing for one minute on one foot and doing a graph in our science notebook. I made a pack specifically for our balance unit in FOSS and we used 4 activities from it. You can find it at the Science School Yard Store. We then worked on the balancing pencil trick...followed by the symmetry pictures...and a make and take clown balancer.
The magic balancing pencil...

Could we balance for one minute without wiggling? 

How is symmetry about balance?

2nd graders are working on wrapping up their FOSS solids and liquids pack. We used a sink and float book from EPIC which is great for teachers. Wonderful non-fiction science books! Then we did our sink and float sheet in our packet...followed by the lima vs. pinto bean competition. I make it a big deal...with a graph...winners have their hands raised as if they won something big...and we then figure if my game was fair. Such a better way to get them to remember why pinto beans always win...not just that lima beans are gross and shouldn't win.

3rd graders are learning about hydro energy. We made the FOSS water works...water wheel. They love this one. We start by introducing renewable vs. nonrenewable. We talk about how we use water. We then watch a quick video....
See... a water wheel right away! We finish up with a reflection sheet that I have for you...

Water Works Freebie

4th graders are working on the respiratory system and next week, will participate in different events that show how their lungs work. I will share a separate post next week when I have everything together. This week, we are introducing the system and watching Bill Nye as well as creating a diagram for our science notebooks. We have been doing one day intro...next day building a model...

5th graders are wrapping up the mixtures and solutions unit so we made our lapbooks and did our scavenger hunt using qr codes. We talked about the importance of studying and how to utilize a lapbook at home and in class. We shall see how they do on the test. It is documented for my Teachscape evidence. I will share the success rate using these study tools next week.

Have a great rest of the week! Friday is payday!
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