The Tuesday 12: Feel the Love with 12 Fabulous February Science Freebies from TPT!

During the month of February, The Tuesday 12 will be featuring 12 FREE resources available on TPT! Click on the title of each resource to be brought to the TPT listing.  You need a TeachersPayTeachers accound to download the free items.  If you don’t have a TPT account, what are you waiting for?! It’s free!  The description for each item is taken from the listing description on its TPT page. Don’t forget to check out the other awesome resources from these teacher sellers!

12 february science freebies

1. “Going on a Matter Walk” by Martha Sosa

“{FREEBIE} This product was one of my top sellers! Now it’s free for you and your students to enjoy! 🙂 Students use this booklet (copy front to back) to record the solids, liquids and gases they observe while on a discovery walk around the school.”

2. “Life Cycle Sequencing Cards—Butterfly, Frog and Ladybug!” by Curriculum Castle

“These sequencing cards are a great visual aid for children who are just beginning to learn about the life cycles of a butterfly, frog or ladybug! Simply have them color, cut and arrange the cards in the correct order. They can even make a mini book about each animal’s life cycle.
These simplified cards are perfect for Pre-K and K students!”

3. “Weather Unit (Science Fun for Pre-School – 3rd Grade)” by Living Life Intentionally

“This Weather Unit is intended for Preschoolers – 3rd Grade. It includes a wide variety of activities, experiments, worksheets and more:
– Water Cycle (including experiments)
– Seasons (including creative writing)
– Temperature (differences in sun/shade, morning/afternoon, here/other countries)
– Weather Graphing
– Hot/Cold
– Hibernation
– Clouds (including experiments)
– Wind (including experiment & activity)
– Disaster Preparedness (including drill ideas)
– Preschool Skill Practice (letters – upper/lowercase, shadow match, counting, pre-writing, colors, numbers, which is different, fine motor scissor skills, addition, sentence structure, and more)
Kids learn best when they are having fun!! My goal is to provide a fun way to reinforce, review and teach sight words to kids.”

4. “Polar Bear Science” by Crayonbox Learning

“A fun science experiment where the question “Does ice melt faster in salt or fresh water?” is answered. Geared toward ages K-2nd grade.
This freebie includes a teacher guide, pocket chart graphing including header card and answer cards, tally mark sheet, record sheet, observation sheet, polar bear facts, polar bear writing practice!”

5. “Super Science Experiments” by Sparkles Smiles and Successful Students

“Looking to spruce up your science curriculum, or have an AWESOME science fair project well you have come to the right place!
This collection of truly Super Science Experiments is just for you! It contains chemistry experiments, experiments on matter, physics, and much more1
Includes:
– 70+ science experiments and demo guides
– detailed descriptions
– pictures of experiments
– material lists
These are only the experiments I thought would be the absolute coolest ones and that students would enjoy doing!”

6. “Penguins” by Penny Waddingham

“Interactive Penguin story along with science activities,recording sheet and physical education game.”

7. “Scientific Method for Young Learners” by Wild About Teaching

“Young students love to act like scientists!
This pack includes posters, 1/4 page cards to sequence and a generic science experiment recording sheet.
If you enjoy this pack, check out my other science packs I have available!”

8. “Science Acrostics Freebie” by The Science Penguin

“Thanks for checking out this file, Science Acrostics Freebie! I hope that these 12 pages will help your students use their higher order thinking skills to find phrases that describe each item. With an acrostic poem, you use each letter of a word as the first letter of a phrase.
Ideas for Use:
~ Create a bulletin board with your acrostics.
~ Use along with a craft.
~ Use after a lab activity.
~ Use after reading the textbook or a read aloud trade book.
~ Use as partner work in a center.
~ Fold and include in science notebooks.
~ Use as review before a quiz.”

9. “Science Fair Project Planner” by Upper Grades are Awesome

“This science fair project planner is designed for group science fair projects. In the past my students struggled with each component and how to put them together to design and create their science fair project. Using this as a guide students are more confident through the process and complete higher quality work. Included is an agenda of target due dates that the students fill in to help keep them on track. Each step of the science fair project is included with a brief description/directions and a space for students to fill in. Students will also benefit from guidelines on putting together their science fair board. Finally, I have included the scoring rubric (based on the one my district uses).”

10. “Trash to Treasure—Free Activities & Lesson Using Recycled Items” by SciPi

“This FREE Trash to Treasure handout is an eight page booklet that features clever ideas, fun and engaging mini-lessons in addition to cute and easy to construct crafts made from recycled or common, everyday items. In this resource, discover how to take old, discarded materials and make them into new, useful, inexpensive products or tools for your classroom.
Learn many out-of-the-ordinary ways to use milk lids for math. Did you know two plastic beverage lids can be made into card holders for kindergartners or for those whose hands are disabled? Discover how to use butter tubs to create a fun indoor recess game that practices math skills. How about practicing math facts using egg cartons?
Because these numerous activities vary in difficulty and complexity, they are appropriate for most classrooms, and the visual and/or kinesthetic learners will love them.”

11. “Biology Lab: Simple DNA Extraction” by Science Stuff

“This is one of my favorite labs/activities that I do with my Biology I students. It doesn’t take long to do, it uses very simple, household materials, and it works every time! There is no number crunching or data analysis, but just a fun activity that your students will really enjoy.
NOTE: This product is also available in a bundled product called Biology Labs: 15 Must Do Labs for a Biology Class .
You will use ordinary Dawn dishwashing detergent and alcohol to extract the DNA from the cells of wheat germ. The download will include a lab handout that is ready to be copied and passed out to your students. Includes: Title, Introduction, Purpose, Safety Precautions, Procedure, and Follow Up Questions.
I have also included a “Teacher Preparation” page with answers to the questions and some additional set up information.
I use this with my high school Biology students, but this activity can easily be done with middle school students.”

12. “Luring Leprechauns—A Simple Penny Experiment” by Jamie Woodward

“This science activity includes directions and explanations for the experiment, two recording sheets and a place mat for the pennies. This science experiment can be completed as a whole group or in small groups. Your students will love “luring leprechauns” into their classroom. I would love your feedback!”

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12:  February Freebies!

Wheels in Motion: A Fun Activity to Investigate Simple Machines and Linear Motion

Science is one of my favourite subjects to teach.  Although I love Language Arts, I really enjoy teaching math and science because students have so many opportunities to take part in fun, engaging, and educational activities that allow them to discover concepts and investigate different ideas.

As Elita previously mentioned, we have created another science unit to address the Ontario science curriculum when teaching a combined grade 4/5 class.

The following investigative activity is part of that unit, but it would be a great activity to use with students from grades 4-8 either as a way to introduce or review simple machines and motion.  I think it will be a fun way to review some key concepts with my grade eight students before we delve into systems in action and students design, build, test, and present their own devices.

In this activity, students will work in small groups to investigate both simple machines and linear movement.  The activity begins as a whole class activity where simple machines are discussed, to a small group investigation.  First, students will examine the car and layout of the experiment to investigate several simple machines. Next, in order to observe linear movement, the car will be allowed to travel down a ramp.  Finally, students will demonstrate how changes to the mass of the cart will then affect its linear movement.

Just click on the image below!

wheels in motion

Grade 4/5 Science Unit: Pulleys and Gears & Forces acting Upon Structures and Mechanisms

Gr 4:5 badgeWe have been hard at work!  Here is another great science unit for Grades 4/5.  Our first unit on Habitats and Communities and Human Organ Systems was a great success.  With great feedback from other teachers, we know that you find our products engaging, thorough and distinguished!

This new unit is a cross curricular Gr. 4/5 Science Unit  which allows teachers to meet the Ontario Science curriculum expectations all the while teaching a split grade!  Our science unit: Pulleys and Gears (4) & Forces Acting Upon Structures and Mechanisms(5)  combines the following overall big ideas:

  • Machines, mechanisms, and structures are designed to improve efficiency or simplify tasks
  • Forces act on and within structures and mechanisms
  • Mechanical systems have various impacts on society and the environment

Our Lessons include the following:

  • Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between four centres over the course of the activity (four types of centre activities: technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);
  • Whole class lesson/discussion followed by either small group activities or whole class activity

Our unit is cross-curricular and integrates the following subjects:

  • Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy)
  • Math
  • 21st Century Learning
  • Art

We have many activities that are both engaging and active.  Differentiated instruction is also key and diverse assessment methods are incorporated.  We hope you find this unit useful for your classroom.

Here is a preview of our Gr 4/5 Science Unit.  Click on the picture above and you will be taken right to the full product!

Grade 5 Science Human Organ Systems Cross Curricular Unit

We have been hard at work and have prepared a new and exciting Science Unit!

This grade 5 unit meets the Ontario Science Curriculum Expectations for Understanding Life Systems Strand (Human Organ Systems). We strive to create units that are cross curricular and engaging for all students.  Furthermore, technology integration is key in meeting our 21st Century Learning Goals!

Here’s an overview of the unit:

Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between three centres over the course of the activity (five types of centre activities: iPad integration, technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);

Whole class lesson/discussions followed by either small group activities or whole class activity

Cross-curricular integration with other subject areas, including Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy), Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Health

A focus on Assessment For and As Learning through student self-assessments and group assessments, KWL charts, exit slips, anticipation guides, and project planning sheets

Reading strategies addressed include making connections, inferring, determining important ideas, drawing conclusions, and cause-and-effect

Differentiated Instruction is achieved through Learning Centres, choice board for the end of unit project, RAFTS assignment, and a variety of hands-on activities and labs.

The entire unit, including lessons, assignments, assessments, printables, and centre activities comes to over 140 pages!

Want to see a preview? Click on this link!

We hope you and your students will enjoy learning about the Human Organ Systems! Just click on the image and you will be brought to the unit!

 

 

 

 

The Tuesday 12: 12 Wonderful Resources for Teaching Students about the World’s Water Systems

In this week’s edition of The Tuesday 12, we’ll be looking at resources focusing on the world’s water systems.  I love to teach this unit to my grade 8 students because there are so many interesting and vital aspects to consider; for example, students learn about personal water conservation, the global water crisis, weather and extreme weather events, climate change, pollution, the chemistry of water, and the role water plays in economic, societal, political, and health issues. Just click on the title to be brought to each resource!

1. Operation WellFound. “Water: A Precious Resource.”

The activities in this lesson plan help students to understand how much water they use on a regular basis and how that compares to other people in the world.  I’ve done this activity with my students and it is an eye-opening experience for them.  It really helps to put into perspective how lucky we are.

2. The United Nations. The Global Water Crisis.

This site has excellent resources both for teachers and students.  In addition to the teacher lessons plans, there are many interesting links for students; for instance, there is a water alert game, a quiz, various people tell their stories of water related issues (e.g. there’s a video clip of Jay-Z exploring the water crisis in Africa), and ways to help people around the world gain access to clean and safe drinking water.

3. Strauss, Rochelle. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth. Toronto: Kids Can Press Ltd, 2007.

This is an absolutely gorgeous book and the content is just as good.  One Well: The Story of Water on Earth incorporates information of water statistics, conservation, our reliance on water, and the vital role water plays in our lives; however, the information is conveyed in a captivating manner.  Throughout the book, the theme of how all the water on Earth is connected and how we are all connected to that same water is emphasized.  Excellently written and beautifully illustrated!

4. The Story of Stuff. “The Story of Bottled Water.”

Bottled water is all around us.  Unfortunately, not many people know the implications of drinking bottled water.  After watching this movie, challenge your students to ban the bottle!

5. And of course, our resource to go along with “The Story of Bottled Water”!

A great way to integrate media literacy and science!

6. Water 1st International. Water 1st Curriculum.

During this lesson, students learn about the water cycle, their water usage, water facts, how lack of access to clean water affects people, and how they can make a difference.  It also includes writing assignments, art activities, and science activities to make this lesson cross-curricular.

7. The Water Project. The Water Crisis- Lesson Plans for All Grades.

A great way to bring social justice and activism into your classroom.  After learning about how the global water crisis has a severe impact on many people in the world, students can work together to raise funds and awareness for various water projects.

8. Water.org. Learn About the Water Crisis.

This website provides complete units on the water crisis and they are divided by grade levels: elementary, middle school, and high school level curriculum.  There is an extensive amount of resources on this site and the activities are great!

9. WWF. Grade 8 Water. Schools for a Living Planet.

You need to sign in to access the units on this site, but I suggest you do so, since signing up is free and the WWF has great science unit plans! This is an excellent unit plan that takes you through the chemical makeup of water, to the difference between salt water and fresh water, climate change, water conservation, and the need to protect water resources.

10. Water Systems Information.

I’ve used this site as an introduction to my water systems unit.  Not only does it provide a good review of concept students have already learned, but it also gives students a great repository of information about oceans, lakes, rivers, currents, the water cycle, climate, and the chemistry of water.

11. 22nd Annual International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment. This year’s theme is “Water: Where Does it Come From?”

The contest is open to students aged 6 – 14 years old from the United States and Canada.  Submissions are due March 1, 2013. I definitely want to do this with my students!

12. Alaska K-12 Science Curricular Initiative. “Hands-On Lessons”

This site has some great hands-on science lessons on a variety of water topics, including the water cycle, glaciers, water scarcity, streams, and evaporation!

Don’t forget to check back next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

 

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

Understanding Concept Maps: A Vital Tool to Help Students with Concept Attainment

concept maps

What exactly is a “concept”?  According to Joseph D. Novak (1996), a concept is a “perceived regularity in events or objects designated by a label…[while] concept maps serve to show relationships between concepts, and it is from these relationships that concepts derive meaning” (p. 32). In the 1970s, Novak and his team developed the technique of building concept maps with science students, in order to link ideas, build connections, and represent knowledge. Concept maps help students better understand and organize new ideas, previous knowledge, and connections between the two.

As an elementary school teacher, concept maps are used in various settings and across the curriculum. One of the benefits of being an elementary school teacher is that I teach the same group of students a variety of subjects, so some students who may not do well in science may excel in art, some who may struggle in Language Arts may blossom during science classes; as a result, it is interesting to see a student’s understanding in various subject areas. An activity that demonstrates this beautifully is the concept map. I usually introduce concept mapping as a whole group brainstorming activity; this way, students can build on ideas and make connections together. Teachers can begin by modelling what a concept map looks like and how to connect the various ideas together and then provide students with a template to fill in with words provided. This gradual release of responsibility will allow students both the experience and confidence to begin a concept map of their own from scratch. I like the idea of sharing concept maps in small groups either by having students explain their concepts and connections or by having them merge their ideas into one larger map. This type of rich activity would foster excellent reflection, discussion, and evaluation.

Although concept mapping appears to be a simple activity, it is actually quite complex and difficult for some learners. According to Novak (1996), concept map can be an empowerment tool for both teachers and learners as they can use concept mapping to “facilitate meaning-making and to facilitate a sense of personal control over meaning-making for future citizens” (p. 41). This seems to be a significant benefit to using concept maps in the classroom; however, I believe that it takes a lot of time, practice, and discussion to attain such a benefit. Novak (1996) explains that “students need practice and experience in becoming skilful in concept mapping, and this requires patience on the part of both teachers and students” (p. 40). This could be problematic as teachers are constantly stressed over not having enough time to cover the curriculum expectations in the allotted time, so finding extra time to teach, model, and practice using concepts maps may not always be attainable.

As I mentioned earlier, teachers must use the gradual release of responsibility model with concept mapping as it is a difficult task for students to comprehend. To me, it appears that concept maps may be difficult to students because it is so open-ended that they need some form of structure, which is why some suggest providing students with a list of terms to use in the mapping and students must determine the relationship between the words (Novak, 1996, p. 39). Novak (1996) does state, however, that although the initial experience may be daunting, students who genuinely attempted to produce a hierarchical structured concept map did so with practice (p. 35).

One thing that I find problematic with concept maps is the need for evaluation. I personally do not think that concept maps should be used for evaluation, as they are meant to help a person organize their thoughts, determine their preconceptions, and allow them to make connections. I do not feel that this form of thinking should be evaluated, as it is more of a self-assessment tool to help a students understand their starting point and what they already know. I would prefer to use concepts maps at the beginning of a unit to activate prior knowledge and inform my teaching, to organize ideas learned during lessons, and throughout a unit where students keep returning to a concept map to add on more ideas and connections as they learn.

Work Cited:

Novak, J.D. (1996) Concept mapping: a tool for improving science teaching and learning. In: Treagust, D.F., R. Duit, and B.J. Fraser (Eds.) Improving teaching and learning in science and mathematics. pp. 32 – 43 London, Teachers College Press.

For more info please refer to:

Novak, J. D. & A. J. Cañas, The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them, Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 01-2008, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, 2008″, available at: http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.pdf.

Plotnik, E. Concept Mapping: A Graphical System for Understanding The Relationship between Concepts. ERIC Digest, 1998.

Saskatoon Public Schools. Instructional Strategies Online. What are Concept Maps?

Vanides, J., Yin, Y., Tomita, M., & Ruiz-Primo, M.A. Using Concept Maps in the Science Classroom.  Science Scope, Vol 28, No. 8, Summer 2005 (p.27- 31).