Quick Science: Optical Illusions

  Extend your unit on light into a study of optical illusions. Your visual kids will love it and your more capable or interested kids can be challenged to create new illusions. Here are a few resources to make it easy to add optical illusions to your science class. Optics 4 Kids – The Optical Society for great resources – Check out their activities! Easy Activities explore the basic concepts of light and color, suitable for five and older Medium Activities are recommended for scientists ten and older Advanced Activities are suggested for scientists fifteen and older Examples of Optical Illusions from …

Idioms and Position Puzzles

   Why doesn’t “a piece of cake” simply mean a yummy dessert? Why does it also mean a task that’s very easy? What about “let them eat cake“, “slice of the pie“, or “icing on the cake“? “Half-hearted” means lack effort or enthusiasm. “Big deal” means something important or consequential. “Wake up” means, well, stop sleeping! All these idioms mean something very different than their literal interpretation.   Idioms can be a challenge for English language learners because they’re not literal. They can be puzzles to solve for all students in your classroom.   I just posted seven new products that are …

Poetry for Light

Poetry can be a great way to integrate language arts with science! Here are suggestions for connecting science and poetry when your students are studying light, reflection, refraction, shadows, or rainbows! Something Big has Been Here, Jack Prelutsky “Denson Dumm” A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein “BATTY” “SHADOW RACE” “SIGNALS” Every Thing On It, Shel Silverstein “THE RAINBOW THROWER” Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein “AFRAID OF THE DARK” “JOEY” “IT’S DARK IN HERE” Do you have poems about light to share with us?

Quick Demos for Light

Need an idea to introduce light to students in your classroom or their parents at an open house or after school meeting? I’ve collected a few for you to consider. From the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco Bird in a Cage – color Hole in Your Hand – illusion Magic Wand – reflection Exploratorium Science Snacks are fun activities in many areas of science. They have suggestions for family friendly science activities you might suggest for your families.   From SteveSpanglerScience Magic Arcs  – video – illusion Disappearing Color Wheel  –  video – color Science Clips at the BBC are great although they’re not being updated so check them …

Poetry About Sound

Here are several poems that feature sound written by familiar poets whose books, if not already on your shelf, might be found at your local library or poems online! A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein “DEAF DONALD” “MY GUITAR” “ROCK ‘N ROLL BAND” Every Thing On It, Shel Silverstein “HORN” Falling Up, Shel Silverstein “MUSIC LESSON” “NOISE DAY” “SCREAMIN MILLIE”   Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein “WHAT A DAY” The Butterfly Jar, Jeff Moss “The First Musician” “Rachel” A Pizza the Size of the Sun, Jack Prelutsky  “We’re Loudies” Something Big has Been Here, Jack Prelutsky “Benita Bean” “Don’t Yell at Me” …

Quick Demos for Sound

You’re starting or finishing a unit on sound and you need a fun demonstration to share with students. Maybe parents are coming for an open house and you want to impress them with a science activity. What will get kids excited about sound? How can you integrate science into an open house conversation about school? Consider these suggestions from SteveSpanglerScience: Singing Glasses Singing Glasses Toothpick Mover – video Musical Straw  –  video Screaming Cup Talking Cups –  video Water Whistle – video In addition to Steve’s resources, here’s a few great videos you might add to your sound unit. I actually own a Chladni Device and, …

Sub Folder

You’re really, REALLY sick! You arranged to get a substitute teacher who needs information so your students can have a successful day and you can take care of yourself and feel better. Instead of laying in bed at home feeling sick AND guilty because you’re not sure how the day is going for your students, feel a bit better because you’ve left a sub binder for the teacher who is taking care of your students while you take care of yourself. Create your sub binder with enough information for a successful day. Try to avoid too many words that would require a lot of reading …

Is Your Energy Sink Coordinating a BIG Event?

Is there a large event you’re responsible for planning? A math night? A science night? A reading night? These events are great at creating memories that last for a lifetime. Does it seem to take a lifetime of planning to coordinate activities, gather materials, prep volunteers, hold the event, and then clean it all up?   I have some advice for you to consider. Recruit colleagues, capable students, and parents to help with the event. That might be obvious but my suggestion is give each person just one task to do – this can avoid anyone feeling expected to “do it all” or wondering …

Ask the Parent

At the beginning of every school year I would ask my parents to fill out a survey that gave me very important information. It was sent to parents separately from the packet of papers the office needed completed and returned, usually on brightly colored (yet easy to copy or read) paper. I bribed my kids to get it back to me promptly. Why send out a separate survey? Some of the information was redundant with the information the office wanted but this way I had it for the file I created for each student in my class. I didn’t always get information about health or …

You’re vacationing without me?

Sometimes I have parents who pop into my classroom and announce an impending trip. They need me to provide them with a packet of work for the student to do while on the plane, when there’s a few minutes of spare time, or to keep up the routine of practicing skills while on the trip. I’ve found that the trip is usually pretty exciting, time gets away from everyone, and my carefully constructed packet of activities takes much more of my time to prepare than my student has time to complete while on the trip. And, I wasn’t even invited!!  😉 …