Science Resource: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles!


Brief Teaching Notes:

The following activity is a simple lab that teachers can use when teaching about mining, the Earth’s crust, rocks and minerals, or human land use issues. Depending on the position of this strand within the annual science curriculum, it could potentially be the first lab students experience that year. Reviewing (or even teaching for the first time) the scientific method is useful, even though students are not required to produce a formal lab report upon completion. Using this as one of the first labs of the year helps students practice their skills at following simple procedures, collecting data, analyzing data, and making inferences based on their observations and the data obtained. Students really enjoy this activity as it is one of the few science labs where they are allowed to eat the results! Prior to beginning, however, check for food allergies. If food allergies are present, different cookies can be substituted. Teachers should use their discretion whenever they are dealing with food in the classroom.

In this lab, students must mine as much chocolate from the chocolate chip cookies as possible. In the first attempt, students can break apart and crumble the cookie to extract the “ore,” but in the second case, students must attempt to keep as much of the cookie intact and damage-free. Students will learn the consequences of mining on the environment and how mines must disturb the environment as little as possible.

Materials Required and Instructions:

Each student will need to receive two chocolate chip cookies, 2 paper towels, and 2 toothpicks. Two digital scales will be used to weigh the chocolate.

Explain to students how the chocolate will be mined (draw a diagram of a cookie on the board to demonstrate):

With the first cookie:

1. Look at the first cookie and fill in the first three parts of the chart.

2. Extract as much chocolate from the cookie as possible using toothpicks. You may break the cookie up if you want. Crumbling the cookie is allowed!

3. Weigh the amount of chocolate and the amount of leftover cookie separately. Fill in the next three parts of the chart.

4. Fill in the remainder of the chart. Eat the cookie.

Repeat steps 1 to 4 with the second cookie, but make sure there is as little damage to the cookie part as little as possible. The goal is to leave as much of the cookie intact as possible, while extracting the chocolate.

Feel free to use the following worksheets during this simple and fun lab!

Think Aloud Strategy

A lesson put together for the Primary Division

(Questioning, Predicting, Connecting, Inferring)

clip_image001

Book: Puddleman

by Ted Staunton, Illustrated by Brenda Clark

Cover

I’m looking at the cover of this book and I wonder what it will be about? Maybe Puddleman is the child’s last name. Or maybe, the story is about playing in a sandbox. (Strategy: Prediction) When I look at the picture I think about the park that is close to my home and where all the children play. (Strategy: Connection) I wonder if this story takes place in a park. (Strategy: Prediction)

On the first 2 pages, the main character (Michael) is depicted in a yard of some sort with other children(including his younger brother) around him and he jumps into the sandbox which is wet and muddy.

A sandbox, I remember playing in those when I was young. (Connection) There was one in the park and I played with all of my friends. I wonder if Michael will get as dirty? (Question) Will he land in the sandbox or outside the sandbox? (Question) Everyone has surprised looks on their faces, where is his mom? (Question) I wonder if his brother will jump in with him. (Prediction)

Page 5&6 Michael got so deep into the sandbox, which is muddy, that he buried himself in it. The children cannot see him any longer, when something in the sandbox starts moving. The neighbor girls run, the neighbor lady faints and the little brother starts to cry.

Why are they so scared? (Question) What happened to Michael? (Question)

Maybe they can’t find Michael. (Inference) What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Is he really that scary? (Question) Fainted? What does it mean to faint? Well the picture shows the neighbor on the ground, maybe it’s when you fall. (Visualize, Infer)

Pg 11 & 12 Puddleman (Michael) gets hungry but when he goes to his mom, he is told that Peanut Butter sandwiches are for boys and girls. Puddleman looks like a muddy monster and they do not eat anything but mud pies. Michael’s mom shuts the door and tells Puddleman to tell Michael that his sandwich is ready.

What does this Puddleman look like? (Question) Well from the pictures, there is a lot of mud on him. (Visualize, Connection) Who do I think Puddleman is? (Question) Why isn’t Michael’s mom looking for Michael? (Question) Its lunchtime, I think Michael will be very hungry. (Infer) I wonder where he has been, and what he will think of Puddleman. (Connection) I wonder if he will be scared like the others. (Prediction)

After reading the story and doing the Think Aloud with my students. I will make the following comments:

The Puddleman got caught in the rain, and after I looked at the picture Puddleman started losing his mud, and it sort of looks like a boy underneath. From looking at the clothes in the picture, I recall that those were Michael’s clothes.(Evaluation) I think that the Puddleman got his peanut butter sandwich. I think he really was Michael with a lot of mud on him. (Evaluation)

 

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link.  All views expressed are the author’s own. Thanks for supporting our website!

Teaching Proverbs

When introducing proverbs to my students, I would start with a general discussion asking them to think about a major crisis, decision they had to make, or problem they had to deal with.

The following would be a few of the directing questions:

· Do you prefer facing those kinds of problems alone, or does it help to ask others for advice and direction?

· Who do you trust with some of your most difficult problems? Why?

· Do you try to follow their advice, or do you tend to ignore it?

 

I would then discuss with them the book of Proverbs and what they are, for example:

· The book of Proverbs is a collection of short statements that express truths about human behavior.

· The proverbs found in the Old Testament can be a source of inspiration, counsel, and direction to those who read and ponder their messages of wisdom.

· They are a collection of wise sayings, many of which were inspired by the Lord, which can help us with many problems.

 

I would then switch gears and present a modern day proverb and elicit some from my students (if they know any)

List of modern day proverbs: (just a few) (see worksheet page 1)

· Don’t count your chickens before they hatch (proverb)

· Birds of a feather flock together

· Keep it simple silly

· Actions speak louder than words

· Six in one hand, a half dozen in the other

· A chain is as strong as its weakest link

· A friend in need is a friend indeed

· A place for everything and everything in its place

· A rolling stone gathers no moss

I would then ask the following questions and have students respond in their notebooks:

  • What is a proverb?
  • What is the purpose of a proverb? What kinds of messages or lessons do the proverbs teach?
  • Where do you think proverbs come from?
  • Why do you think proverbs are easily remembered?

Then introduce the Book of Proverbs and read the first few lines highlighting Proverb 1:4

Discuss with students that proverbs utilize figurative language and making a connection to similes, and metaphors.

Define figurative language: Appealing to the imagination, figurative language provides new ways of looking at the world. It always makes use of a comparison between different things.

Strategy #1 (see worksheet page 2)

To deepen understanding & meaning, students could utilize a comic strip approach.

Students are to choose one proverb from the everyday list. In the first row below (of max 4 boxes) they are to depict the literal meaning of the phrase.

Then in the next row directly below, they are to depict an everyday situation in their life where this would apply (the figurative meaning) to demonstrate their understanding

Example:

Literal Depiction
Application

Display their depictions and discuss as a group. This class discussion would generate ideas being shared and deepen meaning and reasoning skills.

Students are to then choose a proverb from the bible and communicate the meaning in their own words. They can utilize a drawing to help them express how this proverb can be useful in their life.

Strategy # 2

Play “Charades.” Write some of the everyday proverbs on a 3″ x 5~’ card. Give each child a card to pantomime for the group. Record the proverbs on the board and discuss meaning. Have students in groups of 3 choose a proverb from the bible and prepare a charades version of that one to act out in front of class.

Have students write in their notebooks what the meaning of the proverb they worked on means to them.

As a closing for both strategies have students respond to the original questions:

  • What is a proverb?
  • What is the purpose of a proverb? What kinds of messages or lessons do the proverbs teach?
  • Where do you think proverbs come from?
  • Why do you think proverbs are easily remembered?

Accommodations:

In both of my strategies, students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a multiple format (creating comic strips, writing, communicating with discussion, movement). Furthermore, students are supported by working in groups. I would make sure to have balanced groupings. While discussing, I could stop and re-iterate the concept. When students are working on their own, they could have peer or teacher assistance.

The following worksheets can assist you in teaching about this topic:

Using Famous Speeches

During the month of January, I usually begin a public speaking unit with my students. Public speaking is an excellent method of integrating various curriculum expectations into a single unit. How does this happen?

  • Media Literacy is addressed as students begin the unit by viewing three important speeches on YouTube and discussing the importance of the content and the effectiveness of the delivery
  • Students practice their narrative/expository/persuasive writing skills by going through the writing stages for their speech
  • Oral Communication is addressed when students deliver their respective speeches to the class in an effective and engaging manner, while also addressing  listening for understanding (as an audience member).

My students usually are very apprehensive about writing and delivering a speech, but they all end up doing a fabulous job!

To start off this unit, we watch three speeches on YouTube:

 

Severn Suzuki

Severn Suzuki “ECO’s Address to the U.N. Earth Summit”

Why is this a great choice? What Canadian doesn’t know who David Suzuki is?! Well, Severn is his daughter and in 1992 (at just 12 years old!) she addressed the United Nations at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.   Her powerful speech presented environmental concerns from a youth perspective at this U.N. Summit.  Her message still resonates today.

 

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch “The Last Lecture”

This 10 minute clip from Oprah is an abridged version of the popular “The Last Lecture” by Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch that answers the question, “what wisdom would you try to impart on the world if you knew it was your last chance?”  Randy Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer when he delivered this inspirational and emotional speech.  he passed away on July 25, 2008.

 

Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream…” by Martin Luther King Jr.

Many students have heard the famous line “I have a dream…” by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. during the American Civil Rights Movement, but they may not have heard his full speech.  Although this clip is long (coming in at over 17 minutes), students remained captivated by both the delivery and message of this powerful speech.

The following chart helps students jot down the ideas that resonate from the three speeches they watched.  Students are to focus on the importance of both the content and the delivery of each speech because it doesn’t matter if you’re a great speaker if your message is unclear, just as an important message is lost if the delivery is ineffective.

Resource Review: Spaces & Places by Debbie Diller

“Classroom space impacts everything: instruction, behavior, and our (children’s and teachers’) sense of well-being” (from Spaces & Places by Debbie Diller)


Spaces & Places by Debbie Diller

Debbie Diller’s 33 years in education spent as a preK – gr 10 classroom teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, workshop leader, classroom makeover specialist, consultant, and author of books and DVDs provides her with both theoretical and practical knowledge of effective classroom design and organization.

Although other resources provide information on classroom organization and design, Diller’s book actually has before and after pictures taken from classrooms she has made over, along with analysis as to why it did not work before and why it now does. The layout of the book is visually appealing, as Diller uses point form notation, colours, graphic organizers, large colour photographs, “post-it” notes with key points, and captions to make the pages clear and readable.  Since Diller is a literacy specialist, the book has a clear focus to make the classroom conducive to literacy; however, she also addresses specific issues like ESL/ELL learners, preK, special needs, open classes, and technology.

A few key points that are addressed:

· A cluttered classroom is detrimental to learning and creates a negative atmosphere that may lead to discipline problems.

· Backwards design principle: think about instructional goals, then design your classroom to achieve those goals.

· The components of a well-organized classroom (e.g. large-, small- and independent-work areas, word wall, library, writing and math centres) support instruction, provide opportunities for student independence, reduce discipline problems, and engage students in their learning.

· Teachers should not decorate their classrooms with store bought bulletin board sets; instead, they should plan their instruction and leave space for displaying student work!

· Teachers should plan spaces for students to become independent learners and thinkers—teachers provide the structure and then give students the opportunity to provide ownership. Instead of being “the teacher’s classroom,” it becomes “our classroom.”

Spaces & Places is an awesome organizational resource, as Diller provides guidance for every area of your classroom…she even has suggestions about where to keep your office supplies so that you never lose your stapler!  What I love best about this resource is that I can see myself succeeding!  The suggestions are realistic, the before and after pictures are inspiring, and the suggestions are broken down into easy to follow guidelines.  I love the simplicity and practicality!

I loved this book so much that I lost focus many times, as I kept formulating plans to reorganize my class!  I’m so excited to use the realistic and easy to follow plans (and the helpful worksheets at the back of the book!) to reorganize my classroom to make it more conducive to teaching and learning.

 

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link.  All views expressed are the author’s own. Thanks for supporting our website!

Science Organizations

As a science teacher, I am always on the lookout for science websites that will either help me improve my teaching practice or provide excellent classroom resources.

The following is a list of some science organizations and the resources they provide.

Science Teachers Association of Ontario (STAO)
http://stao.ca/

Overall, I found the STAO website to be valuable to me as a science teacher in an elementary school.  This last point is of particular interest to me as my elementary colleagues and I are constantly searching for cross-curricular resources, lessons, and activities.  Although many of STAO’s resources are only for members, the public access material is quite abundant and pertinent to my teaching.  Another interesting point is that it is an Ontario based science website so it is directly connected to the Ontario curriculum documents.  I did notice, however, that several of the resources were still based on the previous Ontario curriculum documents, so this is an area that needs a bit of an update.


Alberta Teachers’ Association of Science Council (ATASC)

http://sc.teachers.ab.ca

Members are able to log into a secured database to access unit plans, assignments, tests, lesson plans, lab activities, teacher notes, worksheets, quizzes, and web links.  Unfortunately, I could not log in to view these resources, as I am not a member.  It does have an unsecured section with a variety of useful science and teaching links. There was however a useful section on Lab Safety that is available to all visitors.


The Science Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (STAM)

http://www.stam.mb.ca

STAM’s website is easy for teachers to navigate and the links are categorized according to the clusters for each grade.  I find this important as time is valuable and I do not want to spend all my time searching for classroom resources.  There is an extensive list of links under the “Resource Links” tab.  After exploring the grade 8 science links, I found that there was an excellent variety in the resources provided.  Most of the resources are links to various websites, so this would enable teachers to use technology in the classroom more effectively.  The resources listed under each cluster include: WebQuests, virtual labs, online guides, hands-on activities, teacher guides, unit plans, activities, videos, and worksheets.  I particularly liked the variety of resources because students respond so well to technology in the classroom and it really allows them to explore concepts that are not easy to grasp.  STAM’s well-organized website is user friendly and comprehensive.


National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA)

http://www.nsela.org/

NSELA appears to focus primarily on the development of science education leadership, educational reform, assessment, and systemic change.  Based on the previous PD Institutes described on the website, this organization would benefit science resource teachers, department heads, and administrators.


The Association for Science Education (ASE)

http://www.ase.org.uk

ASE has a fantastic website that is valuable to teachers and provides a variety of resources for use.  The website is user-friendly and meets the needs of a classroom teacher.  I found the teacher resources to be extremely valuable as they incorporated technology, activities, assessment, and theory.  The only problem with this website is that since it is based on the U.K. curriculum, teachers need to search for the curriculum units that align with those in Ontario.  This was very easy to do, however, and I found great resources on cells that I can use with my grade 8 students.  A critical eye is needed to ensure that activities and resources cover Ontario curriculum expectations. Fantastic overall!


Science Across the World

http://www.ase.org.uk/resources/science-across-the-world/

I believe that Science Across the World is a wonderful opportunity for both teachers and students.  There are a variety of topics listed for both younger and older students.  The whole point of the program is to exchange ideas and findings on the topic by groups of students in various countries.  Teachers are to find their own contacts either through Facebook groups, Factworld, eTwinning (Europe only), or English Language Teaching Contacts Scheme.  The easiest way for a Canadian School would be through Facebook.  Exchanges can take on many formats and be done in a variety of ways (Prezi, vimeo group, Blackboard, Moodle etc).  Teachers would be able to bring global perspectives into their classrooms in a way that other forms of media or study would not allow.  Students would be given an experience to communicate and learn from students from variety of cultures and backgrounds.  Not only would students have a new found appreciate for other cultures, but they will see how other children throughout the world live and learn.  Sounds amazing!


National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)

http://www.nsta.org/

NSTA has an excellent website that is easy to use and provides a tremendous amount of PD opportunities for teachers.  One thing that I like about this organization in particular is that they understand that teachers may not have the ability to travel to various PD opportunities.  These online seminars allow teachers to work at their own pace and choose from an extensive list of topics.  NSTA provides links to articles from several journals, including Science and Children, Science Scope, and The Science Teacher, that are thought-provoking and informative.  There’s a great list of “Freebies for Science Teachers” to check out!

Of course this list is not exhaustive, so I will be updating it as I visit new sites.

Teachers!  What are some great science organizations that I should add to this list?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Updated to add:  Don’t forget to check out “10 Excellent Science Websites” for more resources!