Friday, April 18, 2014

Earth Day Bulletin Board

With Earth Day coming up on April 22 I thought it would be a good idea to share a bulletin board I made last year with my grade 3/4 class. After reading the Lorax by Dr. Suess the students were inspired to write about what they could do to help protect our earth. They came up with ideas about recycling, composting, picking up trash, walking, biking, or carpooling instead of driving, planting a garden or a tree, and other great ideas. As a class during lunch time we read 'Judy Moody Saves the World' which is a cute book about the theme of protecting the earth by recycling, protecting endangered species, and rain forests. 

We also made coffee filter earths by colouring coffee filters with blue and green felt markers, and making the felt marker colours blend together by adding a small amount of water on top of the coloured coffee filters. We used straws by dipping the straw in a cup of water holding a finger over the top of the straw and putting the straw over the coffee filter and then lifting your finger, so that a small amount of water goes onto the coffee filter and blurs the green and blue colours together. We then let our wet coloured coffee filters dry over night. 

Inaddition we also made a promise that we would each make one change that will help our environment. This change might include: recycling, composting, not littering, turing off lights or electronics when they are not in use. We made this promise by painting one of our hands blue and green and then making a handprint to include on our bulletin board. 

Make sure to check out my new Earth Day product: Celebrate Earth Day With 21 Task Cards. This product contains 21 Earth Day related task cards and all of the supporting worksheets, graphic organizers, and activities needed to complete the tasks on the 21 task cards. Each task card includes directions for an interactive and engaging activity or includes a question that will encourage thinking about our impact as humans on our environment.  

This products includes:
Earth Day KWL
21 Earth Day task cards. 
My three healthy habits promise.
Making a list graphic organizer
What might go in a compost? Art Activity
Earth Day Letter writing page
Earth Day writing paper
Earth Day collage pages
Learning about my local recycling facility page
Helping the Earth true and false worksheet (includes answer key).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jeopardy Game Maker

For those of you who have Smart Boards in your classroom there is this awesome website called: Super Teacher Tools that has a classroom jeopardy game maker. It has cool sound effects and looks like a real jeopardy game. My current class and my last year’s class loved playing jeopardy as a review at the end of a science, social studies, or math unit.

We play jeopardy by first separating the class into teams of 4. I give the teams 5 minutes to come up with a team name and a team cheer. I then remind the class of the jeopardy rules. The main rule is that the team needs to come up with an answer before the timer goes off. The game does have a built in timer and you can adjust the timer to whatever you like, I think 50 seconds is the perfect amount of time. And everyone on the team needs to agree on the answer or else the team does not get the points. I also like the teams to cheer when they get points. I like the Kagan cheers. My favourite Kagan cheer is the one where the students say great, great, great, and pretend to grate cheese, or the round of applause where the students clap in a circle. Or students can make up their own cheer. If you type in “Kagan Cheers” into youtube you can see more cute cheers. The teams then take turns choosing a category and points value until all of the questions have been used. The team with the most points at the end wins.
This game does need to be set up by the teacher before the class can play, and it does take time to type in or copy and paste all of the questions and answers into the game template, but it’s worth doing once in awhile as this is a fun review game.
Check out this Jeopardy game that I made for the end of our plants unit: Plants JeopardyGame

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Science Experiement Comparison Lesson

 Recently my class did this super cool science experiment comparison lesson. We compared the chemical reaction of mixing diet coke and mentos with the chemical reaction of mixing baking soda and vinegar. Before we did each experiment I showed them the ingredients and the supplies needed for each experiment and they predicted what would happen for each experiment. After our predictions we did both science experiments, one after the other, stopping to take notes on our comparison sheets. (The comparison sheet can be found below). The class loved predicting what would happen and they loved the excitement of the reaction or “explosion” involved with both experiments even more.

Experiment #1: Diet Coke and Mentos

What you need:
1 bottle of Diet Coke
1 package of mentos
1 jar and 1 large bowl (for the diet coke spill into).

1. Put the empty jar into the bowl.
2. Fill the jar with diet coke.
3 Add mentos into the jar and watch and see what happens!

 Experiment #2: Baking Soda and Vinegar
What you need:
1. 1 tbsp of baking soda
2. Vinegar
3. a piece of paper towel
4. 1 jar and 1 large bowl (for the vinegar/baking soda to spill into).

1. Place one tablespoon of baking soda into a piece of paper towel and fold up the paper towel.
2. Place the jar into the bowl.
3. Fill the jar with vinegar.
4. Place the baking soda in the paper towel into the vinegar and watch what happens.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Plants in the Classroom

Last week we started our plants unit and we planted pea seeds! The class enjoyed monitoring and caring for their germinating seeds. Each student germinated 2 seeds by placing their seeds in a folded piece of wet paper towel. (Make sure to keep the paper towels wet over the whole germinating time which took our seeds about 5 days). To better keep track of what seed belonged to who I kept the germinating seeds in a cups with the student's names on them. I also made sure to germinate a couple of extra seeds just in case there was a student whose seeds did not start to grow. In previous years we have planted seeds in styrophone cups, but this year I found these little biodegradable pots at Wal Mart that students can take  home and then plant their plants into their gardens. We will be monitoring the growth of our little pea plants and practicing our measuring skills with rulers for the next few weeks or until our plants become too tall and need to go home with the students. We’ll also have to add "watering plants" to our classroom job list. 

Check out my Plants Unit on for other worksheets, activities, and ideas for teaching your students about plants.