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Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Winter Science and STEM Ideas

Maybe your like me where there is snow and freezing temperatures...or maybe your in a much warmer spot than me. When the weather starts to stop your students from heading outside because it is way too cold then let's just try some winter science activities inside! Avoid that cabin fever...help your students learn about snow and winter to keep them learning and playing! I am sharing some of my winter K-5th grade activities and ideas that I use in my science classes!

Winter Science Ideas:

1. Science and the Changing seasons is a great science lesson on patterns and cycles in the sky. We make models, I demonstrate, and we make connections with our birthdays!

2. Repel and attract with magnets and ice fishing...yes this is one of my favorites! I give my kinders "fishing poles" (otherwise known as dowels with string and a magnet. They "catch" objects that stick to magnets in a bucket covered with white paper and a hole cut out. We catch and release washer fish, paperclip fish...and more!

3. Animal adaptations, hibernation, and migration is always a great one for animal survival and animal comparisons. From building a den for bear, to learning vocabulary through games, littles love to learn about animals!

4. Polar Bear Blubber and how animals stay warm, add that crisco into a plastic glove and grab that bucket of ice water and learn about animal survival and adaptations!  

5. Snow and Crystals...we learn about how to separate mixtures and solutions. We separate out salt and water and sugar and water through evaporation. You can easily connect how snow is made to connect snow crystals! This year, we poured off some of the salt water onto blue paper to make the perfect salt crystal snowflakes! 

6. Water lessons are perfect for teaching vocabulary such as expand and contract! We have a whole frozen day where we do several fun stations which include: water in a vial with a lid on to see what would happen when soda in a can freezes, we place water in syringes and freeze them to see that water expands, we learn that ice floats and how to test temperature as well as read a thermometer, and we follow it up with water sinking and floating (cold water/blue and hot water/red). Many of these lessons come from FOSS Water Unit, but I adapt and change to help students make connections. We then learn about how real maple syrup is made! Mr and I make our own syrup every spring!

7. Why snow is white...go find that Mystery Science lesson if you have it. It really helps students learn quickly followed by making a snowflake! We then follow up with how to. make a snowflake!

8. What's the Matter Mr. Snowman? is always a second grade favorite! We get snow from outside, you can also use shaved snow from a snow cone maker or even ice chips, we then decorate a cup to look like a snowman with eyes, nose, and mouth, then we add our snow. We measure during our time in science. When we have science next, we discuss what we see. It started off as a solid, turned to a liquid, and now has evaporated. Perfect lesson for the changing states of matter!

9. Chromatography Snowflakes were a hit this year during our mixtures and solutions unit! We learned about chromatography and then tested black markers to see if we could get the colors to separate. We used coffee filters and a cup of water. You can also give them a dropper. We then learned how to cut a snowflake out of our design once it dried!

Need more snow ideas? Check out these packs for additional help. Grab your free snow activity by clicking on the link!

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8 Ways To Beat Cabin Fever In and Out of School

Next to my childhood home, we had a business that would plow their snow into a big pile and each winter I would have a huge hill to play on. I would make forts, snowmen, and my favorite sledding down what I thought was a huge mountain. Some of you may not have snow where you live, that is pretty lucky when it gets way below freezing here and all I want is to be warm again. 
Each winter, I see not only myself, but everyone around me, including my students suffer a little cabin fever. This year, I am going to be hosting an after school class called, Cabin Fever Club! 

Those of you that follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest know how much I love to share all of the fun after school classes that I facilitate and this club surely is a potpourri of everything I have done rolled up into one class. The key is to motivate my students and tie in learning tasks. 

Each one of the evenings will allow me to utilize reading whether non-fiction or a relatable topic followed up with a hands on activity that ties in science, social studies, math, and reading! It is sprinkled with STEM engineering design challenges that will have my students excited about February and March like never before...I also want to help you find ways to add some interactive activities to your day or after school or family night events. 

I offer three nights a week in six week increments of virtual STEM fun along with different hands on activities for students to do. Here are some of the ideas for my after school club:

1. Home Depot wood kits (we are doing tic tac toe), we reached out to them to see if they would donate to us. If your hosting a family night, reach out to local businesses to see if they can help!

2. We partnered with a garden center and are doing microgreens, flowers, and vegetable seeds. We received a donation by a gas station plastic containers for the plants to have their own little green house. I just asked them if they were interested in helping us, and they said yes! They will be doing virtual tours of a greenhouse, helping us learn about plants, and even taking a virtual tour of how they compost! Garden centers are often willing to help if you publicize where you received a donation!

3. Snowman making kits which include felt scarves and mittens and rocks for the eyes and mouth.  We had donated fabric so we found a way to use what we had! 

4. We included STEM goodies such as toilet paper tubes, tape, string, foil, white paper, cups, pink and red paper, and more. I used what I had around the classroom and in the recycle bin. We will focus on science and holiday STEM challenges to sprinkle into our week. STEM can be done independently, virtually, or for any family night. This year, STEM club events are held virtually. 

5. We will be creating a winter animal out of recycling to focus on adaptations, hibernation, and migration. We play science scavenger hunt, which allows students to run around to find items that they can use in their homes! Kids are very creative with what they find and can use.

6. We will also be focusing on making bird feeders out of a water bottle (full of water) for them to use, this can also be a great greenhouse. This is an inexpensive solution to making sure kids have items to use that is safe and clean.

7. We are doing an egg hunt in our school neighborhood after painting rocks that with paint we send home. We will have an egg hunt for prizes after they hand in the rocks in March! They can win baskets of goodies along with the students at our school. You turn in a painted egg that you turn in for a prize. One prize per family. 

8. We are also going to the zoo on vacation! The San Diego Zoo has a great variety of animals that have live cams and we will be taking a trip per week that will go along with what we are learning about. I am thinking we can go somewhere warm and plot it on a map for us to link technology and social studies! Each student is getting a map and a record sheet to be able to find out how many miles we are going on our trip and we will determine how long it would take us in a car. We will be utilizing places that our families can go for free and providing a list for them so that they can get out of the rut of being indoors.  Check out the San Diego Live Animal Cams!

Along with the supplies: think about themes such as Winter, Snow, and Valentines. We will focus on recycling projects, but also include Valentine's Day STEM from my Valentine's Day STEM pack found here!

No matter how you involve your students in the dull drums of winter or in our case two months without a break, I hope these ideas inspire you and motivate your students as well! 

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Five Fun Gingerbread Science and STEM Ideas

One of my favorite cookies when I was a kid was the gingerbread man that I would make with my grandma. It was always fun to read the story and then make the cookies hoping that the gingerbread man would actually jump right out of the oven so I could chase him!

Who doesn't love as gingerbread man or baby stories that we can share with our students! This week, we used the gingerbread man story to review several reading, math, and science concepts. 

Check it out! Five of my top favorite Science and STEM Gingerbread Connections: 

1. STEM gingerbread houses to tie in story mapping

2. STEM gingerbread bridges to teach problem solving and what if's

3. Solids vs. liquids and what happens to gingerbread when they get wet? (use water in a dropper or test different types of liquids such as water, oil, vinegar, and milk) 

4. living vs. non-living review (Is a cookie living or non-living? What makes something living?

Digital see saw activity!

This is a great science video connection, perfect to talk about the living characteristics that the gingerbread man had in the story and what living means scientifically:

5.  Building a boat for the gingerbread man (test weight in a boat to see capacity with pennies for your weights/cubes) 

Want more fun and engaging gingerbread man themed lessons? Find them here:

Gingerbread Digital SeeSaw and Google Slides Pack This is my newest pack that I used in kindergarten and first grade this week! It was perfect with my virtual and in person kids!

Want a great song and story retell? This is my favorite with just the best melody and graphics! 

I love that my students can review science using one of my favorite stories that connect to my favorite person...my grandma! Run...Run...as fast as you can to your lesson plan book to get started on your gingerbread themed activities today. Let's make learning Science and STEM child's play!

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5 Snow Themed STEM Activities That Are Sure To Engage

Winter is now upon us here where I live  and as we prepare for more snow and even a possible snow day...we can anticipate those white flakes falling down from the sky!  I know I am not the only one watching the weather forecast as we prepare to head to school or curled up under a warm blanket and spend the day sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall.

Snow Themed STEM Activities

There is nothing so thrilling to watch beautiful snowflakes that fall from the sky. The ones where you put out your mitten and catch on to see the fascinating shapes that the one little snowflake reveals.  Here are my top five activities that I utilize in my classroom as well as in my after school STEM club!

STEM Idea #1: Snowflake Building Station

Supply Suggestions: 

*white buttons
*white cubes
*white pompoms
*cotton balls
*white straws
*packing peanuts

Book Connection: Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake video connection:

STEM Idea #2: Symmetry Snowflakes

Supply Suggestions: 

*Cotton Swabs set on a blue sheet of paper (or white cubes on a blue sheet of paper)
*or rubberbands and geoboards (we use the app geoboard which is great)

I give them only one supply...I suggest cotton swabs or white cubes

I like to play this powerpoint video that shows different beautiful examples of snowflakes so they can generate ideas and have  relaxing music as they work.

Snowflake Video Connection:

Book Connection: The Story of Snow

STEM Idea #3: The Shape of a Snowflake 

Supply Suggestions: 

*each student gets 25 small marshmallows that have been set out for a day...not so sticky!
*each student gets 25 toothpicks

Book Connection: Curious About Snow

Image result for curious about snow book

STEM Idea # 4: Snow Day Fun 

Supply Suggestions:

Snow forts-toothpicks and marshmallows (I like to reuse supplies that I already have from the last activity...to use them in a different way is always fun!)

Sled-straws, cardboard, popsicle sticks, egg cartons, and masking tape

Snowball Launcher- rubber bands, popsicle sticks, bottle tops or the bottom of cups, hot glue

Book Connection: Snow Day (favorite book ever! Perfect for teaching point of view because it's the teacher that wants a snow day and the kids don't get that until the last page!)

Image result for snow day book

STEM Idea # 5: The Tallest Snowman

I love this challenge because the book shows that even if you are small you still can do BIG things! This challenge is fun to watch as the students work together to create a 3-D snowman...but the challenge is to make the tallest, best snowman!

Supply Suggestions: 

*two pieces of typing paper
*18 inches of masking tape
*brown for arms, black for eyes and mouth, orange for nose...

Book Connection: The Biggest, Best Snowman

How To Build A Snowman Video Connection:

The beauty of using seasonal STEM activities is that you can integrate reading, writing, social studies, science, and math into your school day, keeping "fun"...academic.

Want to get these activities and sheets all in one spot? Here are the links!

Snow Day Winter STEM Pack
Snowflake Science and STEM Pack

Grab this resource this week for free (1/26/20-1/31/20) before it goes on sale on my TPT site!

Follow the link to this  snowman science and STEM resource HERE!


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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Winter STEM Is Here...Make Connections

Winter is finally officially here and now it is time for some winter science and STEM! This is a great opportunity to add Gingerbread...Penguins...Learning about Seasons and Snow (if you get that white stuff that comes from the sky like we do here in Wisconsin). It has been below zero here and indoor recess is expected all week!

We can't sit in front of a fire, curled up in a blanket...which I would love to do...we have to keep our students engaged after the holiday season! Winter can surely drag on for students and for teachers!

My favorite time of year to add STEM is in Winter! STEM activities keep learners engaged and challenged! This is one way to always bring a smile to my students' faces! Who doesn't love STEM activities. Not to mention we can sneak in a little learning of science along the way!
My littles just love using my digital activities on the Smartboard! We use it as an assessment and a way to keep them focused! This pack is on sale this week: The link is HERE!

This week, kindergartners will be working with the hot and cold theme. They are learning how to read a thermometer, as well as build shelters for animals that need to stay warm in the cold winter.

We will be learning about hibernation, migration, and adaptation. They will learn about weather after that. It is an NGSS kindergarten focus, but first when it is hot the red part of the thermometer goes up and when it is cold it goes down. The numbers show the temperature. What number is it closest to?
This winter pack is filled with digital science, math, and science lessons along with STEM stations! The link for this product can be found HERE.

Second graders are learning about solids and liquids so we will be learning about snowmen and what happens when they come inside out of the cold. I have to say that I have been using some fun sheets that I made and some that I borrowed from Bunting Books that I love...What's The Matter, Mr. Snowman.

Third graders are learning about water on a slanted surface from the FOSS kit, but let's be real here...that is NOT very exciting. How to tie to what excites kids...SNOW DAY! Here in our home town, we actually have a tubing hill that takes you and your tube up the hill. So to tie in the water down a hill lesson we tie it to a STEM tubing hill winter activity! Let's make science fun...add STEM and science in on lesson!

Winter STEM Stations are our theme for the next two weeks in STEM Club, too!

Fifth graders left for break with a solution of Borax and Hot water. They were hoping to get back to school seeing crystals form on their snowflake patterns. It worked! They are so excited to have a snowflake made of a solution! Again, using my FOSS Mixtures and Solutions kit to tie in an extension that is engaging and exciting. I find that their vocabulary really increases. I made a fun freebie sheet with directions for you and your learners!

All these activities can be found in the many packs that I have for the winter time!  Winter lessons for upper grades come from my Snow Science Activities Pack. This pack is filled with activities that help learners understand early explorers, solstice and equinox, Insta-snow activities, Borax Crystals and more!

Winter is in full swing. It is cold...we have indoor recess...the kids definitely could use some hands on science and STEM stations. Each pack is filled with so many ideas to keep them walking in a winter wonderland!  I would love to hear from you...how do you add winter lessons to your school day?
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Tacky Penguin Palaces

This week, we celebrated with a penguin antics winter fun reward party in 4th and 2nd grades. Second graders learned about working as a team after reading Tacky...then with tape and paper they started their penguin palaces to see who could build one as tall as possible that fits Tacky on top. They could earn bonus items after waddling over to get a vocabulary question...can they remember what opaque means....we shall see!
The planning stage...working together...listening to everyone's ideas before starting is key to successful teamwork! Modifying and adjusting is also important as you take a look at the raft below!

Fourth graders, for a motivational goal, they needed to pass their bones identification test to have an engineering reward. They could pick what materials they wanted to use in order to build their palaces. The other students worked with me on studying the bones...a retest...then an oral Simon says...game to help them remember.

I love the final results...the smiles....the team work!

With melty marshmallows...they decided Tacky could use a raft instead!

This tall marshmallow tower was a hit! Tacky loved his palace!

Love the smiles on their faces when they are successful team members and have fun to boot!

Noodles were a great addition to this tower!
 This activity can be found in my Penguin Winter Antics STEM Station Pack. Check it out...

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