Archive for the ‘K-8 Science Education’ Category

Junk Drawer Science

Junk Drawer Science is a new science curriculum company started by teachers with great resources for teachers.

Welcome to Junk Drawer Science: a result of years of frustration with the out-of-touch, and often-out-of date resources that have been available to us as teachers. We believe that it is time for a revolution in science education. The textbook should be relegated to its proper place. It should be a resource and no longer the focal point of our science classes!

Our mission is to provide engaging materials that stimulate learning in your students. We believe that science should not be expensive, and that the simplest lessons are often the most profound.

At the moment, they have three products available for purchase: a book full of great activities for middle and high school life science classes, a guide to using interactive notebooks in science class, and the game they created called “The Game of Evolution”.

I happen to teach with the Junk Drawer Science owners and can guarantee that their products are worth every penny. They have worked hard to develop curriculum and lesson tools that are effective in the classroom as well as easy to implement on a low (to non-existent) budget.

I guess that makes this a shameless plug: all in the name of providing the world with great teaching resources!

Unfortunately, they will not be at the NSTA conference in San Francisco, so for now, you will have to check them out online.

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My First Prezi

There have been many things going on lately, most of which I’m halfway through blogging about – I promise they’re coming soon!

Anyways, I’m so excited to announce I just finished my first Prezi. Check it out here: http://prezi.com/ejc0vugrqdc_/heat-transfer-basics-pos/

It was so incredibly easy – even faster than Power Point! And much more engaging…I’m interested to see how my 9th graders react!

First Week of School Science Activities

Since it takes awhile to get all of the administrative things out of the way in the first week of school, I am planning on focusing on mostly Nature of Science type activities. The following are some of the things I’m most excited about:

Science Is – Students brainstorm their own lists of things that Science Is and Science Is Not. Then a large list is generated and students sort words on a t-chart into what they believe science is and isn’t. We did this activity using construction paper and glue sticks to make colorful Science Is Charts!

Tower Building – Students work together to build the tallest tower of cups they can without speaking. The second time, students are allowed to talk. This encourages students to think about the importance of communication in science.

Which Is Better? – As a student guided scientific method activity, we split the students into two groups. One had to analyze which bouncey ball is better and the other which bubble wand is better. The students defined their own definition for “better” and their procedure. Afterward, they listed their steps and quickly realized they used the scientific method without realizing it!

Letter Writing – Students wrote themselves a letter setting goals for themselves for the school year. I will return their letters at the end of the semester or the end of the year.

Lab Safety – For lab safety day, we handed out the Flinn Safety Contract and students wrote short skits demonstrating 5 safe lab techniques and 5 safety violations.

Wiki-Teacher

Wiki-Teacher is a fabulous resource for all teachers, regardless of content area. It was actually started by my district, but has more users from outside of Nevada than not!

One of the great things about Wiki-Teacher is that it has lesson plans and ideas as well as videos to give you some ideas of how to implement certain strategies.

There’s not much else I can say since even just a little time exploring will get you hooked!

Online Engineering Resources for Kids

My dad – a Civil Engineer by trade – was participating in a middle school career fair the other day and wanted some input on his presentation. He did a great job of giving kids exposure to all the different types of engineering.

I was particularly impressed by the American Civil Engineers Society page for kids, parents, and teachers! There are fabulous resources and games for all ages about the opportunities associated with becoming an engineer.

Check it out!

Photo Wall

One of the things I want to incorporate into my classroom is a photo wall of science. It will include pictures from myself, my students, and any other contributor of pictures of what science means to us. I have had quite a few opportunities to take some pictures for it over the last few weeks between driving across country and settling in Las Vegas, so I wanted to share some with you:

A GM Factory in the MidWest

Mesas in southern Utah

GPS technology brought us safely 2700 miles away from home and found us food and cheap gas!

Spring gardens at the Bellagio

With the generators at the Hoover Dam - my happy place!

The Michael O'Callahan-Pat Tillman Bridge (to be finished November 2010)

I think using a photo wall will be a great way to initiate conversations about the Nature of Science and perhaps some debates over what science is!

Digestive System Monologues

We finished up the Digestive System by having students write monologues as if they were a part of the digestive tract (accessory organs such as the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, etc. included). Here’s the finished product:

Students presented their monologues in groups of two or three (there are two classes worth on monologues posted) and wrote them on colored paper for the bulletin board. This would be a great activity for any age group. With homeschoolers, you could even have each child write a monologue for each part – a great way to reinforce the content!