Thursday, July 18, 2013

Science is Cool! Project

This year I think I may have my students create their own section modeled after this...



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dollar Store Deals ~ Water Marbles, Orbs, Jelly Balls, etc...

Have you ever heard of Water Marbles? maybe Orbs?  or even Jelly Balls?  I gave a presentation at NSTA this year in San Antonio and I was surprised how many of the participants had never heard of them!  You can buy them on-line through Ebay or Amazon or even some science companies.  They can get a little pricey!  Here is a deal, though!  You can actually find them super cheap in the floral/craft department of the dollar store!  At my local Dollar Tree, one jar of them is $1!  WOW!


You can find them already hydrated or as tiny little balls (they almost look plastic).  Add water and they swell and become a little squishy and a lot of fun!

You can get these in almost any quantity on Ebay (and at a great price)!  These water marbles totally capture the kids attention!   They are always amazed by how they change once they are placed into the water.  While they are expanding in size, they contort into all kinds of weird shapes.  We hang up large sheet of white paper and the students write ANY questions they have about the water marbles.  We then decide which questions are testable and which ones are not.  If you are looking for a detailed water marble science lab packet, click here!

Make your Science Pop with Pop Rocks!


Who doesn't love Pop Rocks?  They were one of my favorite candies as a kid and I still like them now that I am all grown up!  They provide a cheap and fun way to get kids really psyched about science class (and even writing)!  I really like the Steve Spangler website, you can find very detailed directions and pictures of some great science labs there and they also have great must-have items to buy for your classroom!

One of his posts suggested trying Pop Rocks in different types of soda pop.  Here is the link to this FREE lab activity from Steve Spangler's site!


I love watching the kids' faces when they see this experiment firsthand!  One of my favorite things to do with Pop Rocks is to have the kids test not only soda pop, but WATER!  You will be amazed at the reaction the Pop Rocks have to the water!  Most kids will assume the soda pop produces the most gas...this extension to this experiment should generate a lot of questions to test!


Pop Rocks are also a great way to discuss adjectives!  Have your students come up with a list of words that can describe Pop Rocks!  You will find yourself immersed in all sorts of great words and you can discuss onomatopoeia (pop, snap, bang, boom)!

Let's get Poppin'!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glow Stick Science Labs ~ Super Easy Set-Up & Cheap Materials!



Glow sticks have to be one of my favorite dollar store finds!  My own kids love them and my students also love them!  Why not try an experiment with glow sticks in your classroom or at home with your own kids?

Question -->  How does temperature effect the brightness of a glow stick?

Materials Needed:

- 3 clear glasses or beakers
- 3 glow sticks (same color)
- water (hot, room temperature and ice cold)

Start with a hypothesis... ask the kids what they think will happen!

Crack each glow stick and then place them into each glass of water. Wait about 5 minutes.  Make observations as you wait!  Here is the link to a great FREE lab for this experiment.


Can you guess what water temperature is in each glass?  

If you are interested in a more detailed lab packet with three glow stick labs, posters, etc. click here for the link!

I hope you will try this lab!  If you have your own ideas of science labs with glow sticks, please share below in the comments!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

STEM Engineering Kit Set-Up

I am really trying to be organized this year!  As the STEM Coordinator for my building, the biggest thing teachers say they need to be successful are STEM resources.  I am working on creating kits for each of my STEM Engineering Challenges for the teachers to use throughout the school year.  I am using really sturdy cardboard boxes from Staples as well as plastic tubs (depending on the amount and size of the materials needed for each challenge).

Here is an example of a STEM Engineering Challenge Kit.  I used the title slide (laminated) as the label since it has the question on it.


I tried to put each individual item into a ziploc bag in order to keep the kit more organized.  I am going to ask teachers to place a post-it on the outside of the box if there are supplies that are needed (mainly the disposable items).


I used pocket envelope folders from Staples for the lab sheets.  I copied the lab sheets onto white cardstock paper, so hopefully they are more durable!  I glued this page onto the front of the folder and placed the rest of the lab sheets inside the folder.



I really hope the kits will be used this year in a lot of classrooms!  We will be doing some of the challenges during the first 10-15 minutes of our monthly staff meetings, which I hope will get teachers excited about trying the activities with their students!


This picture is of another engineering challenge that fit into a plastic tub.  The envelope folder is inside the tub!

Hope this helps you stay organized!  I will be having a GIVEAWAY for one of these Engineering Challenge kits during the month of August!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Build Your Own Robot Template

As I was browsing on Pinterest this evening, I came across this really cool idea!  You can check out the blog post by clicking here!  Now this freebie is for personal use only, but I think there are a bunch of ways for teachers to use it in their classrooms!  Click the picture of the robot parts and it will take you to the FREE download!



I think I am going to print them off for my student table groups and have them create dichotomous keys!  How cool is that???   She suggested printing the template off onto magnetic sheets!  You can find these magnetic paper sheets by clicking here.  I have already got them in my Amazon cart!  I can't wait for school to start!  :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

STEM Challenges ~ FREE Student Role Sheets!!!

We complete a STEM Engineering Challenge once a week in our classroom!  I compile all of the materials I need for the challenges into plastic tubs along with the lab sheets.  For each STEM Engineering Challenge that is not individual, the members of the team need to have specific roles.  These are the sheets I use for these roles.  I post them in the classroom after I print them on colored paper and laminate them, of course!  I also make smaller card versions to use with each table (these are also laminated and printed on colored paper).  I use the cards both when students randomly choose their roles and when I assign the roles.  Having the card with the role expectations with them during the challenge solves a lot of the issues that occur during a STEM challenge!  Click here for the link to this freebie!


I hope you can use this freebie in your classroom!

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