Thursday, December 1, 2016

STEM Challenge with Helium Balloon

Here is a fun new STEM challenge.  The students were given helium balloons, string, ribbon, dixie cups, tape and lego men.

They were challenged to make a balloon hover over one of the blue plants on a makeshift landscape.  They could use background knowlege about gravity and air currents to make the balloon craft move to the correct location and hover.
These Elementary Education preservice teachers had a great time!  

Research shows that students respond better to STEM challenges when there is a story connected.   The students were told that the landscape was a rainforest and that the blue plants had a rare medicinal plant that needed to be harvest. They had to hover over it to harvest it.

For more STEM challenges for Elementary see STEM Engineering Challenges for Elementary Education

Special thanks to Dave Francis, Utah State University

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Interactive Notebook Ideas for Science.- Making Sure It Is Meaningful

I have really been evaluating my use of Interactive Notebooks lately and have come up with a few guidelines.

First, Entries in Interactive Notebooks need to be more than cute.  Students need to have a space for meaningful content. Foldable and inserts that allow for lots of writing by the student give them the opportunity to process their ideas, explain concepts and articulate learning. 

Second, teachers need to provide good prompts or questions that allow for some critical thinking.

 What is your understanding of a chemical reaction? Give examples.

Third, inserts should be creative, but not take up so much time that all the learning is about making the elaborate fold. Older kids can of course do more elaborate folds than younger kids, but either way, the real time allotment needs to be for the content the students put into the insert.

Keep these guidelines in mind.  Making it meaningful and guiding your students with quality questions will help them create a great product to demonstrate their learning.

For more materials and inserts for Interactive Notebooks visit my store. Lynda's Store

Be sure to check out my newest project. Integrated Spider Project  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Introducing Teachers to Makey Makey in a Coding for Teachers Class

Recently I had the opportunity to guest teach in a Coding for Teachers Class.  I was asked to introduce them to Makey Makey.  

I started by reviewing with them what they already understand about an electrical circuit. Drawing a simple circuit on the board I asked them to tell me what was going on.  They quickly identified the closed circuit.  I explained that if we were working with actual k-12 students we would have several lessons on electrical circuits perhaps using LED Lights LED Lights or Squishy Circuits Fun with Squishy Circuits . 

Then I introduced Makey Makey by showing them the Makey Makey promo video.  

Next, I handed out the Makey Makeys and said let's get started!  We plugged them in and go them started using the How To tab on the Makey Makey home page to get them set up. Makey Makey Set Up

And then the real thinking, problem solving and troubleshooting began!  This I believe is the center of why Makey Makey is a great tool.  Everyone ends up trouble shooting something!  

My partner is grounded and the Makey Makey is not working for me? Why?  Is there something I can do to make it respond to me?
Makey Makey not responding to a particular person:  Are my hands too dry?

Which items will best conduct electricity?  Fruits and vegetables, play-doh, foil?

Lastly we brainstormed classroom uses for Makey Makey. What if you only had one? How could you use it in your own specific subject area? What are the benefits to students? 

Here is a finished Makey Makey project from one of my previous classes. Notice the integration of music into their project.

I had fun with this coding class.  Thank you Dr. Cox for letting me come play with your students! 

If you want more information on PBL with Makey Makey see my blog post here. Makey Makey for PBL

Other cool teaching ideas available in my store Lynda's Store

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pull Out and Sliding Inserts for Interactive Notebooks

I have new Teaching Materials to look at.  Please take a look at my store.  Lynda's Store

Favorite inserts for Interactive Notebooks must include the Sliding and Pull-out folds.  The students just love these and there is so much room for writing!   

Here we have a rectangle that slides from the top as well as one that slides from the side. 

Another popular sliding insert for interactive notebooks are the Triangles.  You can orient them any way you like!


You can find templates for these inserts and more Pull-out and Sliding Inserts for Interactive Notebooks Templates are easy to print, cut, fill in and use.  Can be used for any subject or grade level. 

You may also like my Mini Book Templates

Thank you for reading! Lynda

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Engage Students by Having Them Make Little Books

Have you tried Little Books in your elementary classroom?

Having your students make little books to convey their understanding is engaging and a great way to incorporate writing in all subjects.  Students can retell stories, write reports, explain what they know and invent their own stories.   

Little books or engaging for students and can be used independently or within interactive notebooks.  Just glue the back of the book on the page like these TopTab books.

Or you can create a pocket for the Little Book so that students can remove the book, look at it, and put it back in the pocket. Below you can see a little book in and out of a pocket.

More examples of Little Books in Interactive Notebooks

And the Popular Pop Ups!

So very many ways to use Little Books in your classroom.  You can use them again and again in different subjects and in different ways.  These little books and more are available in my store for only 6 dollars.  Click Here:

Be sure to check out the Freebies in my store. Lynda's Store