Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Year, New Notebook: Force and Motion

 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 force, motion, friction, experimental design, magnetism, and calculating velocity.

 Forces Vocabulary Fold-Up from All in One Science Notebook
The left side includes a photo from a track student teams designed for a marble.  After completing the right side to learn the vocabulary for forces, students go back to the photo on the left side and identify how the vocabulary fits with the activity.

 Balanced Forces Activity from Grade 3 NGSS Notebook
The left shows the output from the Marble Coaster.  The right side shows an activity on balanced and unbalanced forces done as a whole class.  Students fill out the fold-up as output.

 Magnetic Force Activity from Experiencing Force
These pages include input and output for a Magnetic Force mini-lab in which student teams measure how close a magnet can be to a paperclip to attract it with and without a piece of cardboard in between the two objects.  Then, they draw a picture of the activity to reflect on the activity.

Testable Questions and Hypothesis Fold-Up from All in One Science Notebook
For a day, we take a break from force and motion to work on asking testable questions and writing hypotheses.  They need to practice this before starting their friction experiment the next day.  

Hypothesis/Not A Hypothesis Sort from All in One Science Notebook
The left side has a sort for students to identify what statements are hypotheses and which are not.  The right side has output in which students practice posing testable questions, identifying why they are good questions, and writing hypotheses.

  Friction Experiment from Experiencing Force
The left side is a booklet for students to record their work and data for "Does friction affect the distance a toy car will travel?"  The right side is student output where students draw a picture of the experiment.

Calculating Speed Fold-Up from All in One Science Notebook
These pages show the input and output for calculating speed (which is used interchangeably with velocity at this grade level).  After practicing on the left side, student test two wind-up cars to see how far they go and how long it takes (rounded to the second).  Then, they explain how to find velocity in their own words.

What's next in the series?
Forms of Energy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Classroom Management Solution: You Need List


I read somewhere that being a teacher means repeating yourself.  I don't know where I read that or if it's true, but I know this: I don't like repeating myself.  I make as many things in my classroom visual and written so I only have to go over it once.  Then, if someone has no clue, I can point at the spot where it's written down.

My cooperating teacher used "roadmaps".  It was a list of things that needed to be accomplished and this list could be written at the board at any time.  For after tests.  For after an assignment.  But ALWAYS for when class first starts!  The "You Need" Sign part of the roadmap was something I added to help some of my students who struggled with being prepared and organized.

One of my favorite Classroom Management Solutions is a "You Need" Sign.  I've used this in 4th and 5th grade even though I know these are mainly used in primary classrooms.  These are cards with every supply, book, folder, or notebook that they might ever need.  I put them on the board and voila.  I'm done.  Students know what they need and can get busy finding those things.  At first, I used index cards.  Then, I started using the pretty ones shown in the photo.

When I was self-contained, I would change out the cards during our transition from one subject to another.

When I was departmentalized, I had the cards up all day for my classes as they arrived.  We had a lovely routine and part of it was checking this list and having everything ready to go!  It was USUALLY the same things most of the time, but occasionally it was different.

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?


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