Tag Archives: science standards

The Enormous Turnip Meets Forces

Our second grade classes are exploring forces, especially the concept of push and pull. Georgia Standards of Excellence: S2P2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain the effect of a force (a push or a pull) in the movement of an object (changes in speed and direction).  I started thinking of books featuring a push or pull and thought of the traditional folk tale, The Great Big Enormous Turnip, written by Alexei Tolstoy.  I like the version illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

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After reading the book we talked about how the people pulled on the turnip, creating a great force to get that vegetable out of the ground.  We also made the connection to a similar experience they have every year at field day–the tug of war! I asked them to think of another person, animal or thing that could apply a force to get that turnip out.

Using paper and crayons they drew the turnip and how they imagined another version of the story.  For the most part they came up with different ideas, gorillas, trucks, shovels, even Big Foot (when I told them to thing of something very strong).  Some just illustrated the story (the old man, the old woman, grand-daughter, dog, cat and mouse); I guess I need to encourage them to think outside the box, use their imagination and get crazy!

 

 

I even bought a turnip as I figured few if any of the children would have eaten one.  Several had heard of turnip greens (we are in the south after all).

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Science in the Library

I have been reading  Roald Dahl’s The BFG to my fourth grade classes trying to encourage them to read (and finish) chapter books. After several weeks and realizing that I wouldn’t finish before the end of the year, I bought 3 copies of the book from the bookstore and gave them to the teachers after they promised they would read everyday until they finished it (I will be checking with the students and ask for my book back if they aren’t holding to their promise).

Hands-On Activities in the Library: Science Meets Literature

Sooooo…what to do next?  I was thinking of some sort of hands-on, maker space sort of activity and with our school system’s science olympiad coming up soon, I looked at the state science performance standards.  As a judge for the science olympiad I know a laser light relay is one of the events and decided to set it up in the library.  This would also give the students going to the olympiad some practice. The Georgia Standard of Excellence: Science: “S4P1 b. Plan and carry out investigations to describe the path light travels from a light source to a mirror and how it is reflected by the mirror using different angles.”  I borrowed most of the supplies from our science lab, but did have to scrounge up 7 flashlights!

Linda Sue Park’s Firekeeper’s Son

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I remembered reading a book that had something to do with fires being lit in a relay along mountain tops and after some key word searching in our school library catalog and came up with Linda Sue Park’s book.  I read her book, Firekeeper’s Son, which tells the story set in Korea in the 1800’s which relied on a series of firekeepers atop mountains who lit fires from the coast to the king inland at his palace. If the fires were lit, then there were no enemies invading from the sea.  The students became “firekeepers” using a flashlight.

A Temporary Science Lab

Students worked in small groups and each had 3 mirrors, a flashlight and a photo of a Korean palace (where the king lives).  They had to use all three mirrors to aim a beam of light onto the palace. So they were “firekeepers” relaying the message via mirror to the “palace” so the king would know all was well, no enemies in the land.

It really wasn’t a science lesson, but I just wanted to give the students an opportunity to play around and figure things out for themselves. I don’t think they have enough time with hands-on activities.  After they were successful with the mirrors, they had three prisms to work with. This was also another chance for them to practice team work and social skills. They were so excited and had a great time and they might just have learned something!

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Chatterpix about Virus and Bacteria

IMG_1772This year I started off the school year with fifth grade students researching either bacteria or virus, one of their science standards.  I curated websites (mostly our World Book Online, Britannica Student via Galileo) using Livebinders.  Using Livebinders reduces the amount of time students spend searching for information and I try to keep this project to a three week timeline!  One week for research, a second week for writing their script and recording with the third week finishing the recordings.

Chatterpix

Chatterpix is an Apple app that lets the user make things talk, by drawing in mouth.  The user then has 29 seconds to record.  I have the students write a script in first person so the bacteria or virus is speaking.

Research and Writing

I asked them to have 4 to 5 interesting facts.  Some students were able to just write their script in first person as they were reading the websites.  Other students took notes and then went back to write their script.

I found about 10 to 15 images of bacteria and virus and let the students choose from this group.  This cuts down on time and as I only have about 25 minutes with them each week and I need to find ways to save on time wherever possible.

Upload to YouTube

After they create their Chatterpix I upload them to YouTube.  This is time consuming for me, but it’s the only way to share their creations.

Check out some of their work:

 

We are a 1:1 school, however we have Dell tablets.  Fortunately, we have a small cart of old iPads from before the 1:1 initiative, which allows us to use this fun Apple app.

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Teaching Note Taking Skill and Animal Adaptations

I just did one of my favorite lessons with 4th grade students.  I turn one of the students into a frog!  Well, not really.  But I do transform a volunteer with adaptations present on a frog’s body.  I combine this activity with students practicing note taking.

Animal Adaptations -Science Standards.

Using a lesson developed by American Zoos & Aquarium in 2008 for the “Year of the Frog” activities, I put different things on a student, each of which represents a different adaptation.  We talk about frogs having a permeable skin, which is portrayed by my running vest, a mesh with holes in it.  The frog’s external ear drums, the tympanum, are shown by having the student wear ear muffs.  By the end of the lesson the student looks, not quite like a frog, but not the same as when we began!

Student dressed as a frog wearing ear muffs (ears), flippers (webbed feet).

Student transformed into a frog by donning items to represent adaptations.

The 4th grade classes are studying adaptations and how these help the animal to survive in their environment.

Note Taking Skills

I designed a graphic organizer for the students to practice taking notes as the adaptations are added to the volunteer “frog”.  There is a column for the student to list the adaptation (ears, eyes, skin, etc.) and a column for the student to write how this adaptation helps the frog survive.

Large photos of frogs, white board listing the frog's adaptations

I post many large, colorful photos of frogs and use a white board to list each adaptation as I introduce it.

We review what it means to take notes, as opposed to writing complete sentences and how it helps prevent plagiarism.  I cover 10 adaptations, but the students choose which 4 to take notes on.

Listening Skills & Common Core Standards

Having students take notes while listening to someone, helps them to develop a different type of skill.  Most of the time in elementary school, we have them take notes when they are reading text.  This is a skill covered in the Common Core English Language Arts standards:   ELACC4SL2: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

This activity demonstrates how library media specialists can combine teaching information literacy skills and science standards.  And we had a lot of fun doing it!

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