Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five Resources to PREP Your Room!

It's about that time of year.  One of my favorite things has always been getting my classroom ready!
If you teach science, I have some amazing resources for you to make what you put on your walls purposeful and attractive.

Let's get started!

#1 "You May" Board
This resource (shown in the photo above) was so useful to me last year with my 5th graders.  When students finished their work, they could choose from the activities on the board.  I put velcro on the cards so I could change out what I wanted them to choose from, too!

Click the pic to download from GoogleDocs.  

#2 Lab Team Roles
Oh my gosh, I thought the "You May" Board was really useful, but I could not LIVE without Lab Team Roles.  This kept every group assignment meaningful, my classroom clean, and students WORKING.  I hung the posters on the wall, then made the small ones into necklaces for team members to wear while working.

Click the pic to download from GoogleDocs.

#3 Big Money Words
These 28 word cards were used all year in my classroom.  Students started out slowly, but by the end of the year were using the terminology regularly and comfortably.  You can't beat that.  These come in two color themes to match your room style.

Click the pic to view on TpT.

#4 Mad Science Room Decor
This is the big one!
It includes:
- Think, Explore, Discover, Observe, Create Posters
- 3 Choices of Rules Posters
- Science Tools Posters
- Lab Teams Roles Posters and Information
- 6 Group Numbers (for hanging from the ceiling or labeling tables)
- “You Need” Visual Supplies Signs
- I (heart) Science! Letters (for a bulletin board)
- Scientific Method Posters
- Objectives Sign
- Engineering Design Process Posters
- ABCD Diagram posters

My room looked amazing with these resources last year!  Adults and students would always comment about how beautiful it was...and it was.  These resources served as a year-long reference for students, kept us organized, and provided a clean, bright look for the room.

Click the pic to see it on TpT.

#5 Fun Science Posters
These didn't serve much of a purpose, but they looked great in my room over the sink!

Click the pic to download from GoogleDocs.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

NEW Interactive Science Notebook Website

My new website is ready to be unveiled.  Welcome to Notebook is a Verb!

This website is a user friendly way to access ideas and photos for Interactive Science Notebooks.  I don't know how this site may evolve over time, but I hope you enjoy it!


Friday, July 18, 2014

4th Grade NGSS Interactive Science Notebook

Hello again Penguin Friends,

After completing the 5th grade NGSS Interactive Science Notebook, I made the 4th grade version.  I'm pretty excited about this one!

Which states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards?
California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, DC, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Vermont

Can this be used if you teach in other states?
It's really up to your professional judgment based on the standards that you are required to teach.

What does this resource include?
There are 29 activities to help prepare students for the 4th Grade Performance Expectations.  The activities combine hands-on experiences, inquiry, research, mathematical thinking, vocabulary study, and visual representation to address the standards.

What topics does this resource help us teach?
Speed and Energy
Energy Transfer
Sound Waves
Reflection of Light
External and Internal Plant and Animal Structures
Nervous System
Physical and Topographic Maps
Fossil fuels
Alternative Energy
Resisting Earthquakes

Does this include all the engineering and inquiry activities I need for the year?
No, it doesn't.  Part of NGSS is generating questions and testing them.  A prescribed program for inquiry and engineering doesn't necessarily fit with the intent of the standards.  However, ideas for the performance expectations are included.

How long did it take to make this?
I'm glad I didn't count the hours, but I would estimate anywhere about 60 hours due to the research required.

Are examples included?
There are recommendations for use and sample photos of my notebook for all activities.

What is required?
Computer access for students or a computer hooked up to a projector will be very helpful.  Basic lab supplies that I would find in my science closet are included, as well.  You can use less paper on this if you have students write their own information for some of the activities in their notebooks and just use copies to help students with an IEP or 504.  I also recommend having Snap Circuits available for an activity.

I don't care about 4th grade.  Are you doing this for other grades?
There is one available for 5th grade.  I am not planning to make one for any other grades yet.  All NGSS resources can be found in my TpT Store.

I need it!  Where can I get it?
This resource is in my TpT Store, The Science Penguin.

Click the pic to check out this awesome resource.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coal Camp: A Guest Post

One of the fab things about blogging is I can find other teachers who has done something awesome and ask them to share their experiences on my blog.  This post was written by Charitie Wright who participated in Coal Camp this summer.

Charitie is a fifth grade teacher from Tyler, Texas who helps me from time to time with Science Penguin stuff.  You know how sometimes you can just tell a person is an awesome teacher?  She's one of those so it's great to have her on my team!

Now, for Charitie's experience...

Flip flops, shorts, and the beach? No thanks! I chose safety vests, hard hats, and a coal mine. Yes, a coal mine! I just spent a week at the Texas Wesmorland Coal Company mine in Jewett, TX for of Texas Mining and Reclamation Association's (TMRA) teacher workshops. The best thing about this camp? It was totally FREE! That's a magic word for a teacher.

I learned about the camp at the Convention for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) last fall. Over 600 teachers apply to attend one of the five camps offered by TMRA (three coal camps, industrial minerals camp, and uranium camp). Each camp holds around 15 teachers.

From the time we arrived at Texas Westmorland-Jewett Mine on Monday, we were greeted and treated like celebrities--total VIP treatment. In the classroom we learned about the mining industry, and the basic steps needed to plan and design a lignite mine. From permits to aquifers and soils to land reclamation, we learned more in one week about the mining industry than anyone could imagine.

The fieldwork we participated in was beyond words. We saw first hand how the coal was dug from the ground and transported to NRG's Limestone Electric Generating Station next door to create electricity for the Houston area. We also were able to see reclaimed land that had been restored to better than its original condition. This part of the tour was absolutely breathtaking.

We ended the week with a mock public hearing in which each teacher was given a role to play. Whether a mining employee or a townsperson, we had to use the knowledge we learned throughout the week to play our part. This was our opportunity to show what we learned as well as have a little creative fun too!

This whole experience will help me in the classroom tremendously. I had the opportunity to see it, touch it, and experience it myself. I can now pass that knowledge I gained on to my students. I can explain to them that coal is more than just "a fossil fuel formed from dead plants". From classifying matter to weathering, erosion, and deposition I learned so much more than I expected. All of the activities we participated in can be performed or modified to use with my students.

Needless to say, this week was the perfect vacation for a science teacher!! 

The Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (TMRA) is an industry trade association of approximately 100 state and national mining industry members representing several thousand employees. Texas Westmoreland Coal Company - Jewett Mine is a 35,000-acre surface mine complex located between Dallas and Houston. It currently operates four active pits. It supplies lignite (a grade of coal) under a lignite supply contract to the adjacent two-unit Limestone Electric Generating Station owned by NRG Texas. A low-cost, base-load power plant utilizing emission control technologies, Limestone was designed and built specifically to burn lignite from Jewett.

Interested in applying?  Stop by TMRA.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Time to Teach: Properties of Matter

Continuing the Time To Teach Blog Series, this is a jam-packed post with ideas for teaching your students about eight properties of matter.  Properties of Matter is my FAVORITE content to teach at the beginning of the year because they will use and apply what they learn all year long!

“Mass”ive Rocks: Double Pan Balance Lab- Students determine the mass of five rocks using a double pan balance. Extend the activity by putting gram cubes on the side with the rock and having students subtract to find the mass.

Double Pan Balance Cut and Paste Notebook Activity- To follow up on the extension, students cut out a double pan balance, gram cubes, and a toy car.

Journal Reflection: How did you determine the mass of objects with the double pan balance?


Under the Sea: Displacement of Water Volume Lab- Students determine the volume of sea animal toys by calculating the displacement of water. Students record and graph data.

Journal reflection: How did you determine the volume of the objects using the displacement of water?

Relative Density
Relative Density Lab: Will Coke and Diet Coke both react the same when placed in water (sink or float)? Students make a hypothesis, plan, and conduct the experiment. Students record observations and results, then write a conclusion. (We know the volume of the cans is the same...I will make sure we determine the mass using a triple beam balance.)

Journal Entry: Draw a labeled diagram to explain the results. (We have been working on sentence stems as a reflection. We are now working on diagrams.)

I also LOVE Submarine from Experiencing Matter.  Students have to determine what will make their "submarine" sink and float, leading to them drawing conclusions about mass and relative density.

Electrical Conductivity
This is a fun and easy station activity.  Students test various materials to determine if they area electrical conductors or insulators.  

I recommend this great activity, "Conducting" Investigations from Experiencing Matter.  Students practice how to determine if an object conducts electricity with some guidance.  

Thermal Conductivity
For thermal conductivity, we tested which materials insulate and conduct heat best with ice cubes in various containers in a tub of warm water.  We timed how fast each melted.  We also used Candy Labs to observe how different materials allowed chocolate to melt.

Solubility is a lot of fun because students can test candy (!) and other items to see if they dissolve in water.

Physical States of Matter
Create States of Matter Anchor Chart as a class

Solid, Liquid, Gas StudyJams Video 

Show students marbles in a petri dish to represent molecules in each of the 3 states of matter.

Students act out the states of matter in groups, moving and spreading out to represent the states.

Students complete states of matter fold-up in pairs with examples, definitions, and diagrams.

Journal Reflection: How do we classify substances by state of matter?

This was a station activity for students to test various materials for magnetism.  They made predictions, tested each material, then recorded their data.  A great way to take this to the next level is to explain what the SIMILARITIES and DIFFERENCES are among the items that are magnetic or non-magnetic.

I REALLY recommend "Are All Metals Magnetic conductors?" from  Experiencing Matter.  In this activity, students plan an experiment with your guidance.

Extras and Great Resources!

Click the pic to download a free page of science analogies related to properties of matter.

Experiencing Matter

This was a fun activity my after school tutoring group did to review properties of matter with rock candy.

Properties of Matter PowerPoint and Activities

Properties of Matter Science Weekly Five Centers

iMatter Review Project

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