Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chemistry Experiments with Household Materials

Did you know you can do some cool chemistry experiments with just some household materials?  Science activities do not have to cost a lot of money!  kids can have lots of fun with hands-on science using easy to find materials. 
Here are a few of my favorites:

Turning Pennies a Greenish-Blue

This lesson only takes a few pennies, vinegar, water and paper towels.  

Simply place the pennies in vinegar and observe the changes over the next couple of days. 

These lessons along with interactive notebook flaps and nonfiction articles are available in my store. Chemistry with Pennies
Lesson 1: Turning a Penny Greenish-Blue (oxidation)
Lesson 2: Cleaning a Tarnished Penny (chemical reaction)
Lesson 3: Turning a Nail Copper Colored (includes information on atoms and negative and positive charged particles)

Chemical Reaction With Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid with Baking Soda is another inexpensive lesson to do.  Use plastic cups and a paper plate underneath to make clean up easier. The students love the dramatic results of this lesson. And all you need is a Kool-Aid Packet, a tsp. of baking soda and water.

The lesson and follow up pages are available in my store. Chemical Reaction With KoolAid

Elephant's Toothpaste
Elephant's Toothpaste may require one extra trip to the beauty supply store, but the results are dramatic and you get a great example of an exothermic reaction that the kids can feel.  The materials needed are dish soap, a packet of dry yeast, water, and hydrogen peroxide 20 volume.  

Available in my store with all the flaps and folds and nonfiction articles to explain the science behind the fun and step by step directions with safety information.   Elephant's Toothpaste

These resources are available individually or you can purchase them in a bundle and save 20%.

The following NGSS are addressed:
5-PS1-1. Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. 

5-PS1-4.Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances. 

Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. 

MS-PS1-6. Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.

Crosscutting Concepts: 
Cause and Effect
Scale, proportion and quantify

Science and Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying Out and Investigation
Analyzing and Interpreting data
Constructing explanations
Communicating information

Reading Skills Addressed Include:
Quoting text and explaining meaning
Reading back in the text
Answering Text Dependent Questions
Author's Purpose

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you will tryout some of these great experiments.  It does not have to cost a lot of money to do some really cool hands-on science.  

Remember if you purchase something on TPT to leave a rating and review... you will earn TPT credits that you can use for future purchases.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Teaching About Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Students love watching the process of a caterpillar turning into a chrysalis and then hatching as a butterfly!   It is a fascinating process to watch!  

I usually order my butterfly larva from Carolina Biological Supply Company.  The ship the critters quickly and will let you know if the species you order can be released in your area.  (We do not want to release an invasive species).

Even young children can observe and record their observations.  We begin our observations while the insects are in their larva stage. This is a painted lady butterfly caterpillar or larva.
The caterpillars will feed on the food they come with and they will molt several times while they are growing.  
The students can record their daily observations in a butterfly observation book 

Soon the larva climb to the top of the jar and hang upside down in a J shape.  

This means the larva is about to shed for the last time.  A chrysalis will be revealed with the last molt. 
When the larva have all changed into the chrysalises, they cloth covering the top of the container can be removed and attached inside the habitat. 
The chrysalis will hatch in about 7-10 days and a painted lady adult butterfly will emerge.   The insect will need several hours to un wrinkle and dry their wings. 

If painted lady butterflies are native to your area, you can release them and they will do just fine.  Make sure it is a moderately warm day.

I like to have Kindergarten and other young students practice the concepts surrounding life cycle of a butterfly with centers.  

These centers can be purchased as a bundle or individually.

 For the older students studying butterflies, I like to use a CLOSE reading activity along with a nonfiction article on the life cycle of a butterfly. 

Butterflies are also excellent pollinators.  You can read more about butterflies and how important they are to pollination in my blog post Citizen Science and Monarch Butterflies

Check out my other great resources at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Lynda-R-Williams

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Rabbit Life Cycle Close Reading of Nonfiction with Interactive Notebook Inserts

I have just had the delightful experience of watching baby bunnies grow.  This happened because a female rabbit made her next in a place where I had daily access for photographs.  I decided to take daily photos of the babies from Day One to Day 14.  The development if the babies was quick and amazing. 

Here are just a few of the photographs I was able to take. 

As I worked on this project an idea formed to write a nonfiction passage about rabbits that I could use in a close reading strategy.   I did the research and had lots of fun creating this resource. 

In about 16 days my rabbit kits transformed from little naked, blind and helpless newborns to little rabbits hopping around and eating grass.
I decided to use this Close Reading Strategy that I like.  Students will read the passage several times.  Each time they get deeper into the content.  I use the below procedure for the initial reading of the passages.

I also make sure to provide text dependent comprehension questions.  

And lots of Interesting Flaps and Folds for the Interactive Notebook.
Science topics addressed include:

Animal adaptations
Life cycle
Animal Babies
Food Webs

Nonfiction Reading and Writing Skills addressed include:

Main Idea and supporting details
Vocabulary development
Text features
Text structure
Author’s purpose
How graphics support the text
Making inferences
Answering text dependent comprehension questions
Paragraph writing: descriptive and informative

Thank you for reading.  Please share this post!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wax Museum as an Engagement Strategy

I had the pleasure of visiting Sierra Bonita Elementary to see the sixth grade Wax Museum.  I visited two classrooms belonging to Mr. Peterson and Ms. Cope.  These amazing teachers told me that they:
  • Teach the students to write a 5 paragraph essay
  • Guide them in some research and selecting a person from history
  • Have the students write their essay.
  • Have the students create a display board.
  • Have the students write a 30 second speech as if they were that person.
  • Practice and memorize speech.
  • Dress up and present.

Visitors walk through and press a paper button and the wax figures come to life giving their speech.  

The results were pretty amazing!

Great job sixth graders!   Thank you to the teachers and Principal Andersen for allowing me to take photographs. 

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If you are interested in some fun and colorful science lessons check out this new resource: Bundle of Colorful and Exciting Science Lessons


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Make Lava Lamp and Learn About Density

We have all seen it!  The flashy science experiment that really is very exciting and certainly gets students to observe, but somehow falls short when it comes to actually teaching a concept.

I tell my beginning teachers, make sure you think about what concepts, skills or ideas you want to teach first and then come up with a great experiment to go with it.  

Take the Lava Lamp.  It is spectacular and easy to do.  The students love this one!  It is colorful! It happens fast!  It uses simple household materials!  But what are we actually teaching?

I think there are several great science concepts within this activity.  To me the most obvious one is the opportunity to talk about density.  Simply put, water is more dense than oil.  That is why the oil is on the top.  Another concept that you can teach through this exciting activity is polarity (why oil and water do not mix).

There are also skills that you can teach or have students practice:
Making observations
Making inferences
Reading informational text to learn new information
Arguing from evidence
Recording data
Comparing and Contrasting

Here is my procedure:
I have the students fill a bottle  3/4 full with vegetable oil.
I have them fill the rest with water.
(Even this much ends up looking really cool as the water and oil separate). Observe and Record Observations

Add three or four drops of food coloring.  Observe and Record Observations
Break up Alka-Seltzer Tablets into smaller pieces.  Add a few to the bottle. Observe and Record Observations
Give students a flashlight to shine on the bottle. 

Now that I have the students curious and excited.  I have them read some informational text to find out the science behind what is happening!  This works great.  They are suddenly interested in reading some technical reading because they have had this exciting hands-on experience and they want to know how it works. 

We have a great discussion and I then have them record their findings in their interactive notebook.

Here are couple of the folds I use.

Now I have really made sure my students did not just experience science magic!  I made sure they actually learned something and practiced important skills.  

This entire lesson plan including the Informational Text article that explains the science behind it and All the Flaps and Folds is available for purchase. 

Thank you for reading.  If you like this post, please share on social media.