Thursday, October 30, 2014

Energy Interactive Science Notebook Photos

I'm continuing with the New Notebook Blog Series to help make you make your notebooks as great as possible!  This post is about forms of energy, sound, light, electricity, thermal energy, light, reflection and refraction, and circuits.

Output Note: I don't show many examples of output here because at this point of the year, students are making their own decisions for output.

Notes from Energy PowerPoint and Cards from All in One Science Notebook
The left side shows a notes booklet from an intro powerpoint.  The right shows cards that have the forms of energy associated with each listed.  

 Fold-ups from All in One Science Notebook
The left side shows sound vocabulary.  The right side shows types of sound waves.  Students identify the Big Idea at the bottom of each page.
Morse Code Page from NGSS Grade 4 Science Notebook
I love this activity!  After students practice sending and receiving morse code online, they form their own messages and identify how they can use Morse Code.

 Left Side from NGSS Grade 4 Science Notebook and
Right Side from All in One Science Notebook
The left side shows the different effects of light and heat from the sun.  The right side shows convection, conduction, and radiation.  Symbols for each are drawn at the bottom of the page.

Light Vocabulary Intro from Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction
Students explore light energy by shining a flashlight on foil, black paper, and through a lens.  Then, the right side shows notes for new vocabulary.  Students go back to the left side to write more about their observations using the new vocabulary.  The revisiting of the page is shown on post-its.

Light Fold-up from All in One Science Notebook
The left side has notes before and during an observation of reflection and refraction.  Students also watch a StudyJams video on light.  The right side shows a sample I Learned page.

 Circuits Vocabulary Intro from Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction
Students use available materials to make a closed circuit that lights up a bulb.  Then, they take notes on four new vocabulary terms.  Finally, they revisit the page and label the picture using their new vocabulary.

Conductors and Insulators Fold-up from All in One Science Notebook
Students test different materials to find out if they conduct or insulate electricity.  The right page shows a Venn Diagram of conductors and insulators.

Free Circuits Download on GoogleDrive
Students make series and parallel circuits.  Then, they use the cutouts to make a series and parallel circuits in their notebooks.  Using a sticky note with an X, students make predictions about what bulb would be lit if they cut a wire in certain places.

 Free Electromagnets Investigation on TpT and Cutouts from All in One Science Notebook
Students complete an electromagnets investigation testing how the number of coils around the nail affects the strength of the electromagnet.  The right side shows an illustration of both with the conclusion.

Station Activities from Energy! {A Science Stations Unit}
These are two of nine differentiated station activities that students complete to reinforce and extend their learning of energy.

I really hope this was useful! Please let me know if you want me to continue this series.  

Next up: Natural Resources!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Milestone Celebration Freebie

Hello Penguin Friends!

I'm writing this from New Orleans, one of my favorite food cities.  Noms galore.  I may be working my way back into the clean plate club!  If you want to follow along with my trip, stop by Instagram feed.

Today, I'm celebrating my third TpT milestone!  It took a lot of hard work, but there's no way I could have done it without YOU.  My penguin friends have been loyal and supportive along this journey and you will never know just how much I appreciate you.

For the celebration, I'm offering a limited time freebie of 8 different science notebook activities for a variety of physical, earth, and life science from my existing notebook packs.  Hopefully there are a few activities you can put to use soon.  Download it on TpT.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Bookmark: The Science Penguin Inc.

Want an easy way to navigate through everything The Science Penguin has to offer?

Stop by the NEW!  I worked hard to make sure that this site will help you find what you're looking for.  I'm updating it as I have time to make finding ideas even easier!

I have information about me, free samples, popular post links, and links to top products.

One more thing!  Be sure to sign up for my monthly Newsletter Club for exclusive content and exclusive freebies.

Monday, September 22, 2014

7 Ideas to Teach Students about Moon Phases

Here are some common misconceptions I've heard from students.
1. You can only see the moon at night.  (Let's go outside tomorrow morning and take a look.)
2. The shape of the moon changes.  (The APPEARANCE from Earth changes.)
3.  The moon does not rotate. (Dark side of the moon, anyone?)

My Massive Fail
Who has sent home the moon calendar where students are supposed to draw what the moon looks like every night?  Who has ever had 1/4 of their students complete it? I would have been thrilled at 1/4.   I tried my first two years teaching and I think maybe 2 out of 120 students did it.  The third year, I made it optional for extra credit (the ONLY time I've done extra credit).  One student took me up on that.

So clearly, students wouldn't be making these observations on their own at home and joyfully bringing in their observation sheets with their expert analysis to discuss.  Fine.  So, I took a new approach the next years.

A Different Approach
1. StarDate Website
This website will flat out show you the moon phases for each date: You can use the site to make observations and analyze patterns.

2. Oreo Vocabulary Introduction
To introduce the names of the phases, I love the Oreo activity.  Be sure that students correctly have "Light start on the right" and label "waxing" and "waning" correctly.  I have additional information in Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction about introducing new terms.

3. Moon PowerPoint and Styrofoam Ball Model
I love this Moon PowerPoint and Activity.  This is an old-school activity, but it sticks around because it's a good one.  You go through some basic information about phases of the moon and observe changes using a model (styrofoam ball on a pencil).

4. Visual Interactive Notebook Explanation
I love this notebook activity from Grade 5 NGSS Interactive Science Notebook Activities.  These illustrations show two things: the part of the moon that is lit by the sun at any given time AND how the moon appears from Earth.  Students need to understand that half of the moon is always lit, we just can't always see that half.

5. More Than One Cycle
Students need to understand that once the moon goes through the phases once, it begins again.  This cut and paste activity from Super Science Test Prep Lessons is great.  You can also just have students draw circles in their notebooks to show the changes in the appearance of the moon.
6. Making Predictions
In Texas, students in 4th and 5th grade need to be able to make simple predictions in the lunar cycle.  The math is pretty simple because these are just approximations, but some of my students have struggled with this.  I teach students how to make predictions for new moon, full moon, first quarter moon, and last quarter moon.

The illustration and chart below help show students that it takes approximately 15 days for the moon to revolve halfway around Earth and about 30 days for the moon to fully revolve around Earth.

While I worked with some struggling learners on making predictions, I challenged my other students with more complicated situations.

7. Clock Approach
So in the middle of an evaluation lesson my third year teaching, we were using styrofoam balls to look at a model of the lunar cycle, and a student asked, "Why is it called first quarter when we see half of it?"  Legit question, bro.  By some miracle, I was quick on my feet that day (while sweat beads dripped down my neck).  I drew a clock and showed them why we might refer to phases as "first quarter" and "third quarter" or "last quarter".

Note: Be careful with this because you don't want to confuse students as to which direction the moon revolves around Earth.  It's just an explanation as to why some phases are called "quarters".

I hope these activities help you and your students in your study of the lunar cycle!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Introducing Science Vocabulary: An Interactive Approach

The Problem

Students copy definitions from the overhead.  Yeah, that was my class.  They were quiet... but only because they were falling asleep.

About a year ago, I was sitting around thinking about science vocabulary.  (What else would I possibly think about?)  I felt like I was a strong teacher when it came to reviewing science vocabulary, but my introduction was missing something.  A lot of my struggling learners needed something more concrete, something they could get their hands on.

Last year, I taught my 5th grade students about properties of matter as our first big unit.  I remember how my struggling learners were still getting some of the parts confused.  Really confused.  We had done labs.  We had drawn pictures.  We had motions.  We had games.  But they needed something else.

In a small group, we did hands-on examples of the vocabulary terms.  Relative density, physical states, physical properties, mass, volume, all of those concepts that were so far above their heads were now in reach.  Quiz scores went up that week for those students.  They felt better; I felt better.  I vowed to do this at the beginning of units instead of waiting until it was time to re-teach.  Hands-On Science Vocabulary Instruction was born.

This was a very informal process for my class last year.  Over the summer, however, I worked to make a complete eBook with ideas, photos, and printables to introduce new science terms.

Why does this work?
  • Students with little science background knowledge get a foundation on which to base the new terms.
  • Students use Interactive Science Notebooks and complete Output for each activity to reflect on new learning.
  • The activities are quick, engaging, and to the point.
  • Direct instruction is collaborative and interactive.
  • After direct instruction, students APPLY their new learning to the activity they just did.
  • How can you understand the terms regarding solutions (solute, solvent, dissolve, mixture) if you don't really know what a solution is?
How does it work?
There are four parts to a lesson:
  1. Activity Time: Complete a brief activity (10 minutes or so).  Students draw a picture of it in their notebooks.
  2. Direct Instruction: Teach students new terms using motions, partner talk, and writing in notebooks.
  3. Application: Students go back to their drawings from the activity and label and describe parts of their drawings using their new vocabulary.
  4. Student Output: Students complete and I Learned page in their notebooks.  
What does it look like?
Let's keep with the mixtures and solutions example from earlier.

Step 1- Activity
Give students a bottle filled halfway with water.  (I add food coloring because it's more awesome.)  The students pour in sand and salt.  Put the top on and shake, shake, shake.  They put it down, let it settle, and drawing their observations.  

Step 2- Direct Instruction
Use motions and call and response (from Whole Brain Teaching) to teach new terms.  Students write definitions in their foldable or on the next notebook page.

Step 3- Application
Students go back to the page with the drawing and add labels and information using their new terms.  The part that was added is shown in the above photo on Post-its.  (Students don't need to use Post-its, necessarily, but it helps to show y'all what I mean.)

Step 4- Output
During Output, students show what they learned in any way they choose.  I have more information on my blog about Output.

Want to learn more?
Find my eBook at The Science Penguin on TpT.  

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