Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Science Penguin at CAST in Dallas!

 I am so excited to present again at CAST this year!  We will be in Dallas and I absolutely cannot wait to learn from my fellow teachers and share what works with others.   Last year was so fun and CRAZY.  I can't believe the hundreds of people that were in my sessions.  This year, I worked with CAST to set up a couple of things for you!  I will present two sessions, one is a paid short course (3 hours).  The other is a one hour presentation in a ballroom.

Getting Active with Interactive Science Notebooks

My short course is a workshop I normally do for schools and districts, so this is a sweet deal for those of you who want to attend one of these.  Notebooks are one of my favorite topics to talk about.  Getting Active with Interactive Science Notebooks is hands-on and packed with management tips, teaching strategies, and planning methods.

To attend Getting Active with Interactive Notebooks, please sign up at the time you register for CAST.  The first 50 attendees to sign up will be able to participate.  While it costs $20 to cover resources, you will leave with so many ideas and materials to use with your students!  Learn more about registration for this course below.

Reach for ALL of the Stars! (Individualizing Plans for STAAR)

This hour-long session is first come, first seated!  Reach for ALL of the Stars is a presentation about my review strategies that reach all learners and help them do their best on STAAR.  This is ideal for 5th grade teachers, but ALL are welcome!  Of course, there will be a terrific giveaway!

Exhibit Hall
Jennifer from 4mula Fun will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall featuring some amazing work from teacher-creators on TpT.  I hope you all will stop by and see her!

Where to Find Me
My CAST profile is located on the hubb website for all of the registered participants.

Ready to Register?
Early Bird Registration goes through October 15 and is only $125 for three great days of sessions.
Register on the STAT website soon.

To register for Getting Active with Interactive Science Notebooks, be sure to click the arrow for PAID SHORT COURSES to view the options while on the Registration page.  It will be below the field trips.
Select "Getting Active with Interactive Notebooks".


Will I see you there?  I hope so!

Time to Teach: Variables


Teaching students how to identify variables is tough, but necessary.

I usually introduce variables during our first experiment the second week of school.  However, I don't dwell on it.  Identifying variables is something that will take time for most students.  I haven't seen very many students that have it down the very first time we go over it.

Paper Airplanes Intro Lesson
Here's a fun lesson to introduce variables.  This could be done whole class or in groups with guidance.

Question: Does changing the size of the paper affect how far a paper airplane flies?

1. Start off by preparing three pieces of paper with the same ratio of height and width.  In my photo, I papers that are 8 1/2x11 inches, 7x9 1/2 inches, and 5 1/2x 8 inches.
(This paper is all from the same pack and has the same weight, but I recommend using the same color paper to help make your point.)

2. Fold the papers into the same design for all three.  The design doesn't really matter.

3. Use the same force to throw the airplanes.  Measure how far each one flies.  (You may want to do multiple trials, although that is not the point of the lesson.)  Record data.


4. Discuss what was different about each airplane (the size).  This is the independent variable.  What changes based on the size?  The distance it flew.  This the the dependent variable.  What did we keep the same?  The force we threw it with, paper material, the design of the plane.  These are all control variables.  

Follow-Up Notebook Activity
To follow up the airplane activity, I like these fold-ups from my Process Skills Science Notebook.   There are three different fold-ups: Independent Variables, Dependent Variables, and Control Variables.  Each one has the same three questions to identify examples.  The first question is the same as the paper airplane activity.

During Every Experiment
During every single experiment that we use the scientific method, we identify the independent variable, dependent variable, and control variables.  I love this free file from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6.  I recommend reading her post about teaching variables, too.  It's very helpful and includes some fabulous ideas about applying the scientific language to everyday life.

Click the pic to see her post.

I hope this post is helpful.  Be sure to check out my other Time to Teach posts.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BIG Science Stations Units: Matter!



Many of you have taken the plunge into the BIG Science Stations Units.  These are fantastic and versatile.  They make great mini-lessons or small group lessons.  Or they can be used as intended to help students at various levels with various learning styles extend their learning in a fun, independent way!

I have a great new stations unit out for Properties of Matter.  There are 9 stations that include literacy, analysis, hands-on labs, and vocabulary practice!
Shown below is one of my favorite activities, making a density column.  It is such a fun way for students to compare the relative densities of objects and liquids.


Stop by TpT to learn more!

Interested in the bundle?


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Science Penguin is Coming to Orlando!

I am so excited to present at the NSTA Regional Conference in Orlando.  I know MANY of my penguin friends are in Florida and I hope to see you there!

Register for the conference today!  There are so many great sessions for all grade levels offered by amazing teachers.  I am offering two great sessions that have been very popular with Texas teachers!
If you're looking to beef up your science notebooks, increase student engagement, and get your students INTERACTING with each other and the content, this one hour workshop is for you!

Info
This event is BYON: Bring your own notebook (spiral or composition book).  The first 54 people will be admitted due to the size of the room that was assigned to me.  This course is ideally for teachers in grades 3-7.

Have you tried science stations in your room?  Are you brand new to stations?  A little afraid?  I've got you!  In this three hour short course, I will address concerns about classroom management, show you types of stations, and show you how to increase the quality of your students' work.

Info
You must register for this event ahead of time.  Select Short Course 3 (SC-3) when registering online or by paper.  There is a small fee of $16 for this workshop.  This course is ideally for teachers in grades 3-7.

Learn more and register soon at NSTA.

Are you planning to attend?  Please let me know!  :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Year, New Notebook: Physical Changes and Mixtures

I'm continuing with the New Notebook Blog Series to help make you make your notebooks as great as possible!  This post is all about physical changes, constant properties of water, mixtures, and solutions.

 Properties of Water PowerPoint and Notes
This page includes one version of the scaffolded notes that follow the Properties of Water PowerPoint.


 Thermometers from All in One Science Notebook
The left page is a follow-up to the PowerPoint.  Students calculate the difference between room temperature and boiling point and freezing point.  The right side is an example of student Output of what they learned during the lesson.


The left side is a sort for freezing, melting, condensation, and evaporation.  Students follow this activity by creating some sort of graphic organizer for the changes in state of matter.


 Mixtures and Solutions  PowerPoint and Notes
The left page has the scaffolded notes page for Mixtures and Solutions.  The right page follows an investigation that the class completes together.  Using the new information learned, decide how a mixture of salt, sand, and water can be separated.  Then, follow the steps in class.  


 The left side is the Output for the previous entry.  The prompt was to identify the physical changes that occurred during the investigation.  The right side is an introduction to simple mixtures.  The purpose is to see how some objects maintain their physical properties in a mixture, like marbles.  In this activity, students get two different colors of marbles, identify three physical properties of each.  Then, they mix them together, go back through the list, and see if those physical properties are still true.


  A Salty Dilemma from Experiencing Matter
The left page has the Output for the previous activity, where students make their own mixtures from items available in class.  They identify the properties of each substance, mix them together, then observe  if the physical properties change.
The right side has A Salty Dilemma task where a problem is posed and students work as a class to create an investigation to determine the solution.  


  All Mixed Up! from Experiencing Matter
The left side is the Output for A Salty Dilemma.  The right side includes a booklet for recording three lab activities about mixtures from Experiencing Matter.


Physical Change Fold-up from All in One Science Notebook
For the final entry for this unit, students use what they learned to identify what a physical change is.  The whole page should be filled with new learning from the unit.

What's next?
Force and Motion

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