Check It Out! Paper Helicopters

Cut and fold paper to create a helicopter that spins as it’s dropped to the floor. Create a second helicopter but this time change the size or mass of the helicopter. It can be hard to time a helicopter as it drops so consider dropping the two helicopters to determine if the change affects how the helicopter falls to the floor. For more about this activity, check out these resources: eGFI Dream Up the Future or a FREEBIE created by Bryce Hixson. My students enjoy this activity so much I included it in my Pushes and Pulls product at TpT. Add this activity …

Check It Out! Leaning Tower of Pasta

Here’s another activity to consider that requires less common materials, raw spaghetti and miniature marshmallows. You’ll want to set aside time if your students love this activity like mine do. Suggested grade level is sixth. Younger students might struggle with being patient and handling small materials. If you have younger students you might use tape instead of marshmallows to create towers. After your students complete their structures consider, if space allows, leaving them out on a shelf. As the marshmallows dry the structures remain intact. Kids love seeing their work displayed in the room! You might view this TED talk to find out why kindergarten students are better at this kind of …

Check It Out! Build a Tower

Need a quick activity that requires only newspaper and tape? Maybe an activity for a family science night? www.flickr.com/photos/vinzcha/ / CC BY 2.0 Consider this online resource adapted from PBS that combines science and engineering. It includes a clearly written procedure, vocabulary, background, and suggestions for an assessment. It could be completed by teams of engineer/scientists in your classroom!   My students love this activity. The site suggests 20 minutes but my students always ask for more time to try variations they’ve seen other teams attempt. That’s what scientists do right, build on each other’s work?

How to End the Year Right

Check out this great article Justin Minkel wrote for Education Week with practical suggestions for ending your school year. Consider signing up for a free subscription to three articles a month so you can read the article he referenced about building a parachute for a thrill-seeking gummy bear. I hope you enjoy the end of your year! Note: The photo was taken by Justin Minkel.

Mess Up On Purpose!

It’s 1985 and I’m a “new to science” teacher. The principal and the parents haven’t expected me to teach science, just the basics, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Then a life changing event occurs. Marie came to see me to talk about her son and offered to teach anatomy. Sure, I’m not teaching science, why not let her? Students who couldn’t pass a spelling test learn how to spell the muscles she was explaining. (Did you know the levator anguli oris, levator labii superioris, orbicularis oculi, risorius, zygomaticus major, and zygomaticus minor make it possible for you to smile?) Students who couldn’t focus in my lessons focus during hers. I …

Routines, Procedures, and Expectations

  Establishing clear procedures is key to a successful classroom. Every class of students is a bit different so having a variety of options for this will give you an advantage as you support your students learning.   Here are resources I think you might find useful as you collect options for setting up routines and procedures: Dr. Fred Jones – proactive versus reactive management Scholastic – check out the narrated slideshows with images of a variety of great suggestions! Fern Smith – she uses a “Yes Line” to get students from place to place Denise Young – a quick checklist of what and when This …

Put Your Team on Display

It’s the first day of a school year or the first day with a new group of students. Routines aren’t set, classes like music or PE haven’t started, and you don’t want to spend every minute explaining expectations. What to do with this initial time that’s provides you with information about your students, gives them a chance to be creative, and begins the process of building a team in your classroom? Have your students make people to be posted on the wall. Maybe up high, above your bulletin board? You have a chance to talk to students as they decorate their person. You might have …

Trouble with Tattling?

Do you have students who aren’t clear about the difference between reporting and tattling? Is tattling driving you and your students crazy!! I searched for resources you could consider using in your classroom to help students understand the difference between being safe and getting a classmate in trouble. I also found forms and created a couple more that you could use or adapt for your classroom. I tried to make a primary form that doesn’t require words and a form from students who are able to describe the situation in writing. Let me know if you have suggestions for modifying …