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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just Can't Get Enough...

of Steve Spangler's Amazing and Captivating Science ideas and workshops.  He has a true knack for engaging learners.  When I heard he was performing (I mean presenting) a workshop in Greensboro, NC, of course I signed up.  As usual, it was time well spent re-energizing and re-building my science repertoire.

Steve shared a cool new toy (I mean chemicals for studying properties of matter) called Vampire Slime.  It isn't your ordinary slime.  This slime appears to be a dark green color until you shine a light on it and then it turns red, but that's not all.  As soon as I got mine home, my kids wanted to check it out. One of the first things they asked was if it was red in a mirror. We all know that "vampires" can't see their reflection in the mirror right? So if this is vampire slime, we shouldn't see the red, should we?

I shared the idea with Steve and he thought the results were just as interesting as my kids did.  In fact, he was so intrigued by it, my idea was featured on his blog yesterday!  Now that is exciting!  If you want to know more, you'll need to check out his blog.

Steve says that if the learning makes it to the dinner table, we've done our job. I'm pretty sure that if we use Vampire slime to teach NC Essential Standard 5.P.2.3 (Summarize properties of original materials, and the new material(s) formed, to demonstrate that a change has occurred.) the learning will make it to the dinner table and stick with our students well beyond the EOG at the end of the year.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Conservation of Mass - 5.P.2.2


I love using Page Keely's books "Uncovering Student Ideas in Science".  The probes are written at an 8th grade level but with a little adjustment they work great with 5th grade students.  One of the probes is called "The Cookie Crumbles".  This is an excellent example of a probe that can engage students in a topic via critical thinking and discussion followed by the exploration as they re-enact the probe themeselves.
Last week, I used this probe to introduce the concept of Conservation of Mass.
Watch the video of one student pair as they explore and learn.
Conservation of Mass - 4 min. video

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing a Garden One Stepping Stone at a Time

This is a year of change. Our state adopted the common core and is implementing essential standards in science and social studies. The teacher evaluation system added a 6th measure. If this isn't enough, we (our school) moved into a different building this summer.

The move prompted a really big DonorsChoose proposal, that I am excited to say was funded in August.
You can read the proposal here.
The art teacher and I were thinking alike.  The courtyard area of the "new" school would really look great with some stepping stones and the students would feel a sense of ownership with the addition of their stepping stones.
The materials have arrived and we have begun the project.  It will take awhile to complete in full, but the first set of 21 stones have been designed.  The concrete will be poured soon and then the stones will need a month to cure before placing them outside.  The pictures show students tracing the shape of their mold onto  clear contact paper and creatively designing their stones.