Integrating Science Across the Curriculum: A Great Science and Phys Ed Activity!

One of the best strategies a teacher can learn is how to create cross-curricular units, lessons, and activities.  There are so many curriculum expectations to cover and you may begin to feel overwhelmed; however, cross-curricular integration will allow you to cover all your expectations in a timely manner.

Science tends to be an area that teachers may have a difficult time integrating into other subject areas.  Have no fear! There are so many ways to integrate science into Language Arts, Visual Arts, Drama, Math, Social Studies, and Health/Physical Education.  We recently submitted an article to TeachHUB.com on this very topic! Be sure to check it out for tons of great ways to integrate science across the curriculum!

The following activity can be used to integrate Science with Physical Education; specifically, this activity will allow students to learn about human physiology while taking part in a physical fitness circuit! It’s a fun, active, and engaging lesson that will get students up and moving!

So, how would you use these task cards?

  • Cut out the task cards and set them up around the gym or an outside space
  • Divide students into small groups, so that groups rotate between stations
  • Each student will need their own worksheet and a pencil
  • Each group will need a stopwatch or timer
  • Each station requires about 5 minutes of time, making this activity about 45 minutes long
  • Depending on the age and skill set of your class, provide them with the number of  sets and reps for the various activities.  There is a spot on the student worksheet to record this information.

The task cards take students through cardiovascular, strength training, and stretching exercises, while making connections to related human physiology at each station.

Just click on the image!

The Tuesday 12: 12 Stretches That Will Energize your Students

Welcome to today’s Tuesday 12!  This edition will provide you with great stretching activities that students can do inside the classroom. 

It is well known that students need intermittent breaks within the day to stretch and give their bodies a break. This will help their bodies and their minds allowing them to focus and continue working.  Show students how to stretch and energize all their muscles!

1. Sway like a Tree

This stretch focuses on the whole body.  Have students stand up straight, raise their arms way up above their heads and put their feet together.  Tell them to close their eyes and pretend they are a tree.   Now most of your students will probably start swaying but tell them not to and to wait for directions.  Start by creating a mental picture of the tallest tree in the pasture.  Then, with their eyes closed have them move to the strength of the wind.  Alternate between telling them the wind is a light gentle breeze on a warm summer day, to a strong, gusty wind.  I always end off with saying there’s a hurricane and let it get chaotic for a bit.

2. Windmills

Another great stretch is for students to pretend they are windmills.  With their feet slightly apart, students move their arms in unison and in a circular motion (clockwise and then counter clockwise) in front of them.  Alternatively, students can do shoulder windmills, where their arms move in opposite directions and from back to front. 

3. Kiss/Lick Yourself

I use this to stretch out the neck muscles.   Have students tuck their chins into their chests without pulling up their shoulders and hold that for 10 seconds and release.  I challenge students to kiss/lick their chests in this position.  Obviously they are not usually able to do the last part but it is funny to look at and sometimes you will be surprised!

4. Big Ears

This stretch focuses on shoulders and arms.  While students are seated have them place and link their hands behind their heads.   Ensuring they have their chest and chin lifted, tell students to stretch their elbows as far back as possible, hold for 10 seconds.  Have them stare at each other, as they now have big ears!  Repeat this a few times, and have them relax for 5 seconds between each stretch.

5. Palm Press

As we and students are using more of our fingers and hands (computers, touch pads, texting etc.), we are definitely more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome (a Repetitive Strain Injury).  To help stretch your hands, do the following:  place palms together and pointing upwards push against each other. Hold this press for 10 seconds, release.  Repeat, but this time ensure hands are pointing down to the floor (the base of your palms pointing up). Keep alternating between these two positions.  

 6. Hold up the wall

Students usually have poor posture while working at their desks, reading, and on their computers.  Ask students to pick a spot on the wall and stand as tall as possible.   Ensure their heels are up against and touching the wall.  While in this position, have students push their shoulders into the wall.   Students should hold for 10 seconds.  This will stretch their shoulders and help correct their alignment and posture as well.

7. Hula Hip Circles

Have students imagine they have hula hoops around their waists.  With their feet spread wider than their shoulder-width and hands on their hips, have students move their hips in a circle, in a clockwise direction. Do this 10-15 times and then have them repeat in a counter-clockwise direction.

8. Leg Stretch

This stretch is to alleviate lower body problems even in students. Tell students to position themselves seated on the edge of their chair and straighten out one of their legs in front of them resting the heel on the floor. Students are to bend forward at the hip until they feel a stretching sensation at the back of their thigh. Be sure that they keep their back straight. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position and repeat the stretch with the other leg. Also ensure that students do not bounce as this quickly shortens and lengthen the muscle which could cause it to tear.

9. Standing on the Quad

Standing tall and holding on to the back of their chair, have students raise one heel toward buttocks and grasp ankle (not foot) joint with same side hand.  Have students tilt their pelvic inwards and squeeze their buttocks in order to extend hip back slightly.  This should create a stretch in the front of the thigh. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds at a time.  (Repeat with other leg)

10. Step over the Pothole

Ask students to find some open space and imagine there is a pothole on the ground.  Ask them to straddle over the “pothole” & reach to touch with their fingers the outline of the pothole in front of them.  For students who find this easy, have them straddle farther apart or instead of finger touching the outline, they can place their palms to the ground.

11. Frankenstein

Frankenstein, or walking toe-touch, focuses on stretching the hamstrings. Students are to begin by standing tall and keep their arms extended in front of them at shoulder height. Ask students to begin walking straight. They are to keep one leg locked out and planted into the floor and kick their opposing extended leg up toward their opposite hand’s fingertips. Alternate legs as they Frankenstein walk for 10 to 15 steps.

12. Rolling Ankles

We cannot forget about this part of the body!  Stand on one foot while you have the other raised above the ground.  Students are to rotate their ankle 10 times clockwise and 10 times counter clock wise.  Repeat this with the other foot.  This is also a balancing exercise.  If students have difficulty, they can hold onto their desks, or place the rotating foot on its toes and rotate it against the floor.

 

The Tuesday 12: 12 Green Initiatives for Your Classroom and School!

One of the best things about a new school year is the ability to begin with a fresh start and now is the perfect time to explore some green initiatives for your classroom and school.

Simple steps

1. Take your class outside! My kids love to have Phys Ed outside, but how about taking them outside for other subjects? Oil pastel drawings of the fall foliage, reading in the warm September breeze, or nature-based science activities are all great options! Here are some great websites that have outdoor activities for students of all grade levels:

2. Make an Eco Pledge! On the first day of school, my students and I come up with our code of conduct for the year, so why not add in a promise about respecting the environment and becoming green? If students see this commitment as part of their pledge for the year, then they may begin to make more environmentally conscious choices.

3. Lights off! Appoint a different student each week to turn off all lights and computer screens before recess, after lunch and at the end of the day.

4. Recycle! Make sure that your classroom has an appropriate recycling bin and that students actively use it. Have a discussion with your students regarding the types of materials that are recyclable in your area.

5. Waste-Free Wednesdays! Students are to bring their lunch and snacks to school in a reusable container. Any organic waste can be composted at school (if a program is available) or brought back home for composting or green bin.

Got a bit more time?

6. Start an Environmental Club! Students love to be part of clubs and many kids already have tons of eco-friendly ideas for their class and school.

7. Ban the bottle! Explain to students that plastic water bottles are no longer acceptable in your classroom; instead, encourage them to purchase a reusable water bottle that they can refill throughout the day. A great video to watch with your class is “The Story of Bottled Water.” It makes an awesome media literacy lesson (I love cross-curricular lessons!) and really helps students understand how marketing by companies has drastically altered our perception of drinking water sources.

8. Celebrate Earth Day every day! Although Earth Day festivities usually take place during the week of April 22, why not incorporate small activities on a daily or weekly basis? Assemblies with an environmental focus, eco-conscious tips on the morning announcements, and picking up litter in the school yard are some possible suggestions.

9. Calculate (and then reduce) your EcoFootprint! There are many websites available that guide you through a series of questions to calculate your ecological footprint, while also providing suggestions to reduce your impact on the environment. It is best to visit these sites to ensure choosing a quiz that is appropriate to the grade level you teach.

http://myfootprint.org/

http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/online/bigfoot/ (includes teacher resources!)

http://calc.zerofootprint.net/youth/ (includes a teacher’s guide!)

Bigger projects

10. Waste-Free Wednesdays school challenge! We created a month long challenge among our grade 1-8 classes. Each Wednesday after lunch, members of the EcoClub went around weighing the amount of waste produced by each class. The results were recorded and tallied over the course of a month. The class with the lowest total amount of post-lunch waste won a prize!

11. Green schools are Healthy schools! Join up with your school’s health action team to take on greater initiatives to promote diet, exercise, recreation, and green choices related to healthy living.  Check into resources in your city/town/province/state to see what programs are available.  For example,  the Toronto and Region Conservation Schools Programs has a variety of programs, including Sustainable Schools, Watershed on Wheels, field centres, the 20/20 Clean Air partnership, and stewardship programs available. Research programs that are available in your area and sign up early as some programs may have limited spacing!

12. Green your school yard! Some students are lucky to attend schools set on beautifully green landscapes and surrounded by towering trees, but not all students are so lucky! Although school yard greening may seem like an expensive task, there are many organizations that provide grants for school yard greening projects once an application has been submitted.  Over the last few years, we have planted several trees and shrubs around our school yard. We received six trees to plant from Environmental Earth Angels (www.earthangels.ca) after we submitted an online application, while a local nursery provided some more trees and shrubs at a discounted price. Our students had a great time digging, planting, and caring for the trees!

Medieval Activities

From my experience, teaching a unit on Medieval Times is one of the best parts of the curriculum.    There are so many ideas, activities that can be done.  I find that organizing my ideas for the upcoming unit helps me plan out my activities and see the cross curricular aspects of my lessons.  The concept map below lists some activities/learning opportunities I have done in the past.

Graphics:

The 3AM Teacher: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-3am-Teacher

http://the3amteacher.blogspot.com/

 

Keeping Parents in the Know!

Keeping Parents in the Know! Parent Communication Form! Freebie! www.teachingrocks.ca

 

How many times have you sent a graded test or assignment home in order to communicate with parents regarding the achievement of their son or daughter?  More often than not, that vital piece of information was never shown, and more than likely lost forever!  I find this very frustrating.  I haven’t been able to communicate with parents and at the same time have lost essential documentation for my student files and portfolios.  Instead, I use my notification form (attached below) to communicate with parents/guardians  of their child’s achievement.  Should this form be lost or never returned, you need not worry as you have the evidence on hand.  Enjoy and use as you please!

Teaching Students Healthy Living Skills: A Case Study Approach!

The following activity is a great culminating task once you have taught your students about healthy meal options, physical activity components, and why it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices.  Instead of simply asking students to explain the previous concepts, students take on the role of a nutritionist and personal trainer who has to provide recommendations to one of two fictional teenagers.  Students are to analyze their subject’s lifestyle choices and provide the following;

  • an analysis of his/her lifestyle choices and the importance of a healthy lifestyle
  • a sample three day meal plan (3 meals plus 2 snacks per day)
  • a sample three day exercise plan (cardio, strength training, and stretching)
  • some tips and strategies to help their subject incorporate these healthy choices on a regular basis

Students are to create a pamphlet/brochure to provide the information in a creative manner.  I have used this with my grade 8 students in the past and the results are amazing! They do an excellent job providing healthy living advice and produce some very professional looking pamphlets!

I’ve included the student handouts and rubric!  Click the image above!