Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Autumn Leaf Experiment-Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

This is a great chance to use phenomena to start a science lesson.  Show them a photo...and ask Why do leaves change color in the fall?

Ask them to generate other questions about fall colors:

Why do some locations get more vivid colors than others?
Why do some trees do this an others do not?
Why do leaves fall from the tree?
Why are some years in the same location different in the amount of fall colors from other years?

To start with answering these questions I would begin with a great inquiry based science lesson.

Pick some leaves that are still green from a deciduous tree, like a maple or aspen that will turn colors in the fall.

Next tear the leaves up into bits and grind a few agains something to really mush them up.  Place in glass jar and cover with rubbing alcohol.

Cover with foil and place the jar in a cup of hot water.

Next attach some paper towel strips to a pencil or stick with a piece of tape.

Place the end inside the jar and observe.

You will see greens and other shades of greens and even some yellows and oranges.

The next thing I do is have students read some nonfiction text or watch a presentation to find out more about the scientific process.  

I have them write up their experiment results and understanding in their interactive notebook. I also have them place some leaves in the interactive notebook.  Securing them down with clear packing tape helps them keep their color.

The full lesson including the nonfiction article, the interactive notebook folds, the slide show and the scientific explanation is available in my store.

Thank you for reading this post.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Water Cycle In a Jar

This was really cool! 

Pour 1 cup of hot water into the jar.
Swish the water around to warm the glass.

  • Place the foil on top of the jar and loosely seal making a slight
    indent in the foil that will hold the ice.
    Loosely seal the jar with the foil, pushing the foil into the jar slightly to make room for the ice cubes on top.

  • Place the ice cubes in the indentation in the foil
  • Have students observe for moment. They may see water vapor as it rises from the hot water. They may see condensation on the underside of the foil. 

  • Next, light a wooden match and blow it out..blowing smoke into the jar.  Quickly seal again with the foil and ice. 
  • You may see a cloud begin to form!                                                                                        

I then ask students a bunch of questions about the water cycle?  What parts did they see?  What was the match for? 
Students record their observations.
Next I provide them with some nonfiction text to read to which will help them connect to more of the concepts. 
We have another discussion and students fill out their response questions for the interactive notebook. 

This lesson along with the nonfiction article, interactive notebook flaps and folds and response pages is available in my store. 

Or in the complete unit

Monday, July 17, 2017

Science With Engineering Education Standards (SEEd) Lessons, Units and Resources for Teachers


Utah has a new set of science standards.  They are implemented this year in 6th through 8th grade. 

Three Dimensions of Science
Science education includes three dimensions of science understanding: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. Every standard includes each of the three dimensions.  

Many 6th, 7th and 8th grade teachers in Utah are feeling nervous, but I love the way the new standards are organized. Each strand like the one below (Stability and Change in Ecosystems) is broken down into standards.  Notice that the Science and Engineering practice within the standards is in bold and the crosscutting concept is underlined in orange.

It is my personal belief that interactive notebooks go nicely with both the Utah SEEd and NGSS.  Providing students with a place to record data, process their thinking and develop ideas. 

I also think that reading nonfiction after a hands-on inquiry lesson can increase understanding and integrate literacy standards with science standards. 

I found some excellent resources for Utah SEEd 6th grade on this website.


I have been working hard to create lessons and units aligned with the Utah SEEd.  My science resources include inquiry based lesson plans, interactive notebook flaps and folds, nonfiction text for CLOSE reading, response pages and scientific background for teachers.  

Here are a few of the resources I have so far:
6th Grade SEEd

and 7th Grade

More resources for Utah SEEd are available in my store Lynda's Store and more resources are being developed weekly.  Just search Utah SEEd on TPT to find lessons and units aligned with the standards.  

Lessons are also aligned with NGSS. 

Remember to leave feedback on your purchases to earn valuable TpT credits that you can use to purchase other items. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How To Shop Like a Pro on TPT and Save Money!

This blog post is going to provide you with some tips and tricks for shopping on Teachers Pay Teachers and getting the most bang for your buck!

Tip One: Freebies!  Every teacher author has at least one Freebie available.  The teacher authors make these available so that you can sample their work and see what kind of quality they provide.  Be sure to check out Freebies.  

One of my current Freebies Jelly Bean Science Lesson 

Tip Two: Sign up to receive the newsletter.  With each TPT newsletter there are ten free downloads highlighted.  The TPT app also features a daily freebie.  

Tip Three:  When you purchase and item on TPT be sure to leave feedback.  Leaving a rating and feedback not only helps the teacher author by giving them information about their product, it also earns you valuable TPT credit that you can use for future purchases.  
After you download your item, simple click on the item again and scroll down and their is a place for you to leave feedback and a rating.  See under account where it says TPT credit balance? That is where you can locate how many credits you have earned.   Have you forgotten to leave feedback in the past?  No Problem!  Click on My Purchases and you can still leave feedback for the items you have downloaded.  Leaving feedback for Freebies does not earn you credit but it is still really helpful to the teacher authors and they certainly appreciate it.  

Tip Four:  Consider purchasing bundles.   Teacher authors often group several of their resources into a bundle and mark it down 20%.   You will usually save 20% compared to if you purchased these resources individually.  Read carefully the description of the resource so that you know exactly what you are getting in your bundle. (And remember to leave feedback)  Below is an example of a bundle.

Tip Five: Follow Blogs or Facebook Pages of favorite Teacher Authors and also follow their store in TPT.  You will receive information about sales and other discounts as well as new products.

Tip Six: Watch for hashtag sales. A hash tag sale is when a group of teachers decides to sell some of their resources at a discounted price for a limited time using a particular hashtag such as #savethissummer  You simply put the hashtag for that sale into the search engine on TPT and you will see all the great resources that are participating in the sale.  You will usually find out about hashtag sales through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

Tip Seven: TPT Site Wide Sales   A couple of times a year TPT has a Site Wide sale that lasts a couple of days.   In addition to the savings the Teacher Author offers, the Corporation usually kicks in an additional discount for big savings to you the buyer.  These sales are usually announced through social media about a day in advance so you need to be following some of these teacher authors on social media.  

Tip Eight:  If you are a teacher in the United States, be sure to claim your purchases as teaching expenses when you do your taxes.  TPT conveniently keeps track of your purchases in the My Purchases section.  Be sure to access that at tax time.  

Teachers, Here are some gifts for you!  Be sure to check out these terrific freebies from participating TPT teacher authors below! 

Lynda R. Williams Teaching Resources

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Transpiration Experiment for The Water Cycle

As you probably know 90% of the moisture in the atmosphere comes from evaporation of our oceans, lakes and rivers.  Did you know that 10% of the water in our atmosphere comes from transpiration? Plants take in water through their roots and send it up to the leaves and stems.  Some of that water is released in the form of water vapor through special structures in the leaves called stomata.This process is called transpiration.  

We do not normally see this happening, but there is a simple experiment you can try that allows you to see the water being released.  

On a warm day put a clean dry baggie over a branch with leaves on it.   Seal the baggie closely to the branch.   

Just ten minutes after I placed the dry baggie over the branch I can already see water vapor in the baggie.

Two Hours Later and I can see accumulation of water at the bottom of the bag.

Three hours later by evening, I can see more water accumulation in the bag.

The next morning there appears to be less accumulation as some of that water has evaporated and condensed on the baggie.  

The whole lesson with interactive notebook folds, a CLOSE reading activity, and response pages is available in my store Transpiration Lesson Aligned with NGSS

Visit my store to see more great science experiments Lynda's Store

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