Thursday, March 26, 2015

Great Educational Video: How Paper is Recycled

This could be a good resource for Earth Day, or just science in general.

Watch a recycling center in Staten Island take A TON (or rather, many many tons) of waste paper and turn it into pizza boxes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Learning Experiences for Upper Elementary

Why should primary teachers and students get to have all the fun around the holidays?!

I decided to compile a list of ideas I could find for 4th grade and older revolving around Easter: eggs, jellybeans, spring flowers, bunnies, etc...and of course share them!  Don't forget a lot of these supplies are available from dollar stores too!

You've seen those cute Pinterest ideas where a teacher puts an addition problem on one half the egg and the answer on another half and the students have to match the problem to the answer right?  Why not do that with upper grade math?  Try equivalent fraction matching, an algebra problem with the solved part, multiplication tables, etc...  Just be sure to either mis-match the colors or use all one color egg so students don't know the answer just by matching the pink top and bottom, the blue top and bottom, etc...

You could also use the egg carton along with the plastic eggs to make the same types of problems.  Just put the answer in the carton instead of on the other half of the egg.

Or coordinate graphing with jelly beans!  You could have a set of coordinates for students to put jelly bean markers on, then reveal your own with answers so they can check theirs against yours. The one below even makes an egg picture!


Zentagles are easy to create.  Just find a clip art black line of an egg, cross, bunny, etc... and make it the size of a whole page.  Then Have students section it off and add their own designs and colors to each section.

Crayon resist also makes a statement. Use white or black crayon on a white page to draw an egg or spring picture.  Then watercolor wash it and watch the magic happen.

Social Sciences

Put numbers on the eggs and hide "artifacts" inside.  These could be miniature artifacts or little clip art pictures you find online.  List clues with the number for what's inside each egg.  Students can guess and then check inside the egg to see if they're correct.

There are a ton of jelly bean and egg science experiments out there!

How about this one from Martha Steward Crafts that creates geodes out of eggs?

Or try my recently posted Naked Egg lab where you use chemical reactions to dissolve the shell off an egg and then learn osmosis by creating situations where water passes into and out of the egg through the membrane!

How about egg drop soup?  When I was in 7th grade we had to do this project called egg drop soup. We had to engineer our own container that would keep a raw egg from breaking when the teacher dropped it off the top of a ladder (the container was homework, the dropping was done at school).  There were only 2 successful designs.  Mine was one of them. ;)  I'm still proud.


How about creative writing?  Put a few small objects in an egg.  Each one can be different.  Students have to create a story that uses all of the objects.  Even better, the setting has to be in the time frame you are studying in Social Studies. :)

Or you could have students choose the objects.  Then they write descriptive clues and trade with others to guess what's inside.

Those are just a few ideas that will hopefully lead to some upper grade fun!

Monday, March 16, 2015

New to my TPT Store...The Naked Egg Lab!

Have some serious fun with eggs while learning about chemical reactions and osmosis!

I've always preferred teaching science ideas and vocabulary through experiences rather than book work or vocal explanation.  This one introduces students to (or reinforces) chemical reactions and osmosis.

It's actually an easy lab that takes 4 days.  It uses stuff from around the house and definitely keeps interest levels high.

It starts with a chemical reaction that removes the shell from the egg.

Then it moves on to show how osmosis will let the water flow into the egg to even out the levels...

and that it works both ways!

You can get the detailed directions and a student lab book from my TPT store!

 Go get your downloadable copy in time for some Easter egg fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Take a Virtual Tour of the Museum of Natural History!

I've always wanted to go to the Smithsonian.  It would make a great field trip too.  But I live in California, and the expense is not really justifiable for a field trip. ;)

It's a good thing they have a website! 

The website for the Smithsonian is a great educational stop for classroom use.  You can tour the museum room by room.  You can also visit past exhibits, or you can go to the display room of choice by clicking it on the map and following the directional arrows.

Here's a shot of African mammals:

 Or maybe your class is exploring space:

Navigate zooming in and out on displays (although you can't read the plaques).  You can also control whether you're looking up or down, left or right. 

This could be a great website to find a picture of an artifact you're trying to explain to students.

It's also for desktops or mobile devices!

Check out this free resource for yourself!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review - The Next Time You See ... Series

When I was in Long Beach for the NSTA (National Science Teacher's Association) conference last December, I had a fabulous time in two separate classes with teacher and author Emily Morgan. 
In fact, I won this book:

It's awesome!

Her whole Next Time You See... line rocks.  It's full of fun facts, but presented in an earthy, emotional connection to life, just like our students often feel when they learn new things about our planet. They reflect the wonder of young minds and complex creation.

I love that these books get into tiny details that are interesting to read about, and also zoom out into the big picture that shows nature all working together.  And let's not forget the activities that are suggested!  Totally fun exploration ideas for both teachers and parents are found in each book.

When I won this book, I got first choice of a stack.   I love this one, but I had to admit that I was slightly sad because I was passing up these two awesome books that I had already written on my wish list:

and the brand new:

But we don't have many maples where I am and we have 0 fireflies (insert bawling mom and teacher here).  I chose the moon book because I could use it with my own kids that night. And I did.

Also in the line (and equally as fabulous) are:

I love them all.  These books were my favorite new addiction from this conference.  I hope she writes many more!

You can find out more about Emily Morgan and this Next Time You See... line here.