Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Week in Science

Monday - The main focus of the lesson was Tides. First we reviewed, updated our moon phase of the day, then I showed a Promethean slide show I made on the subject and embedded a short tide video clip from streamline. We read the left hand side information, looked at the textbook information about tides, and I had students draw a diagram of the moon pulling at the tides on the right hand side. One class was done early so we played vocabulary BINGO.
Tuesday - The main focus of the lesson was Shadows. I had students tell me what they already knew about shadows. Then students took turns being the sun and my shadow as I verbally went through how shadows change as the position of the sun changes in the sky. I showed a Promethean Planet download about shadows. We went outside to see if we could spot our shadow (no luck...cloudy all week...but it did get students outside :) We watched a streamline video about shadows and direction (approx. 15 minutes long). I did not do a left or right hand assignment for shadows. I think my brain might be ready for the holiday break because I could think of NOTHING students could do on the right hand side. Although, had it been a sunny day they could have sketched a partners shadow in their book with the time noted.

Wednesday - I was at all day Promethean Board training so I had a substitute. I had the substitute play a Magic School Bus video called "Out of this World" (they also have another one titled "Lost in Space") and then I had her get the students started on their SOLAR SYSTEM acrostic (rough draft). This is going to be their last page in their astronomy unit so I wanted them to rough draft it out first on recycled paper (I had the sub put them in clock partners).

Thursday - We had our science fair on Tuesday and I did not have time to get all the science fair projects presented last Friday so I put aside this day to present. All classes were at different stages of presentation so it either took the entire class period or about half. Those who were done early continued on their rough draft of the solar system acrostic. If they were done I would approve and they could do the final version in their notebook.
Friday - Guidance Activity during each of my three science classes so there was no science class.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bingo Markers - Great Idea

Our social studies teacher in fourth grade (Mrs. Amy Edwards - is trying notebooking in Social Studies this year and is enjoying it. We share ideas back and forth and this is one that she came up with for the organization of the BINGO markers that I really thought was good and will be doing next week.

She got the the snack sized ziplock bags and taped a corner of the bag to reinforce it. She snipped off a small part of the same corner to allow air to escape out (the tape reinforced the corners so the bag would not tear up the seam).

She taped the bag to the back inside cover of the notebook and put the bingo markers inside it.

Each child now has their own set of BINGO markers, which saves time when setting up the game, reduces student blowing air into the bags and trying to pop them, and makes students more responsible for keeping their BINGO markers off the floor, etc.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lesson Plans - Astronomy Unit

Monday - We just got back from Thanksgiving break so I did some review. Our science fair projects are due this week so I spent some time reviewing the requirements and I let some early submissions present to the class. This didn't leave a lot of time left but I was able to go over the difference between rotation and revolution. I got the kids up and moving rotating and revolving. The main lesson was really for students to learn why we have day and night. I showed a streamline video on the subject and taught them a poem I made up with hand gestures (will post video). The end results were that my students should have been able to tell me the difference between rotation and revolution, how long does it take Earth to rotate, how long does it take for the Earth to complete a revolution around the Sun, and why does that rotation give us day and night. The only thing we did in our notebooks was to record the current moon phase on the calendar in our notebook.

Tuesday - Students took turns reading the day and night notebook page that was glued to the left hand side of the notebook. We reviewed the poem and hand gestures we learned the day before. On the right hand side students wrote and illustrated the poem and then colored. We recorded our current moon phase and then played vocabulary BINGO in our notebooks.

Wednesday - Recorded moon phase of the day. Reviewed rotation, revolution, day and night, and our poem. Lesson today was on why Earth experiences seasons. I put together a PowerPoint that I showed the students with embedded video clips...which was the first time I had done that and it did not work that well. The video didn't keep pace with the audio. I was able to show the video clips by themselves but I was disappointed it didn't work like it was suppose to. Will try again...going to see if putting them in a Promethean flip chart might be better. Showed a short BrainPop video on seasons. We read the right hand "Seasons" Information and put together a seasons flip foldable for the left hand side. Taught students a kinesthetic way to remember why we have seasons with hand gestures (I have a lot of students who like to "move" and this is a good way to let them get their need to move out during a lesson).

Thursday - Recorded moon phase of the day. Promethean review of everything we have learned this week. We watched Bill Nye video on Seasons. Gave students a quiz that accompanied the video. Recorded moon phase in the notebook.

Friday - All science fair projects were turned in so we spent the class periods presenting. This went well with two out of the three classes and was a disaster in one of my classes. The students in that class do not do well in a "sit and listen" environment so I spent most of the class period frustrated that students weren't listening, staying in their seats, etc. I should have given that class some focus during the presentations...i.e. given them a review sheet to fill out, or limited presentations to two minutes and had a timer, etc. Oh well, live and learn :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Catch Up Grading

Another grading technique I use for the notebooks is assigning a "catch up" day (usually a Friday and in conjunction with a quiz). As students are finished their quiz they get their notebook and work on completing the required pages. Then they come to me to get their notebook checked. I have a spread sheet and I mark off that we met and what grade they received. I can do a lot of grading quickly that way. I am usually left with a handful that I still have to get after class to grade but it is less cumbersome. This is a great way to get the coloring done, which is the one thing that tends to get pushed to the side if we are running out of time.

If you periodically grade this way it is important to have something for students to do when they are finished. For forth grade that is can have them make a poster of some topic you have been studying to put up in the classroom, you can let them check out the nonfiction section of your bookshelf and read up on any topic they are interested, you can make word searches or crossword puzzles to work on (if you have taught students how to make them they can go onto the computer and make them on their own). I have even found some science themed coloring sheets online and used that. As long as they are engaged and not bothering other students I am generally happy :)

This is a great way to get stragglers finished with their work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lesson Plans - Astronomy Unit

Monday - Showed a PowerPoint I made comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the Earth and Moon and discussed with students. Showed an excellent ETV streamline video (A Closer Look at Space - The Moon. Approximately 20 minutes.) on the subject. No notebooking activity.

Tuesday - Read the left hand information reviewing characteristics of the Earth and Moon. Showed Brainpop on both the Earth and Moon. Worked on Earth/Moon popup books (I made the books and students colored and cut the moon and Earth gluing it in the popup location. Students had to list five ways the moon was different from the Earth and five ways the Earth was different from the moon. They also had to trace a path from the moon around the Earth in the popup and note the number of days it took to go around).

Wednesday - Lesson - Why do we see different phases of the moon? Right hand assignment was to start a moon calendar, which we will update daily until Christmas break. I made the calendar full page size and shrunk it to 76% on the copier.

Thursday - Reviewed the moon, Earth, and phases. Watched Bill Nye Moon video and had students take a quiz to go with it. Finished pop up books.

Friday - Students took quiz then cut out phases of the moon for match up game (which didn't turn out as I hoped...pieces too small. I made a larger set, which we played with on the board with plans to make 5 sets for students to work at with their table grouping).


Monday - Reviewed upcoming science fair requirements. Had early turn ins present. Reviewed phases of moon. Had students put them in order. Reviewed lyrics to the Sun, Earth, Moon rap song, which is in their notebook, and played several times.

Tuesday - Last day before the holiday break combined with a going away party for our student interns. Managed to get computer lab for two out of the three classes. Taught students basics of how to use Photostory and let them play with recording their voices, adding music and changing font with intention of giving them a project to do in science hopefully before the Christmas break. No notebook activity but my back up plan...had the computer lab fallen through...was to catch up any missing work and "on the spot" grade as students finished (which is a good grading technique).

Unfinished Projects - Astronomy

I had quite a few students who did not use their time wisely while working on their planet accordion project. I could not dedicate any more class time to finishing so what I did was seal an envelope and cut it in half. I glued it into the notebook and put their cards inside of the envelope. On the outside of the envelope I gave them their grade, based on amount of work completed, and listed everything that was incomplete. I am giving students until we break for the holidays to complete for a better grade on their own (giving them the opportunity to come into class early, work on it during homeroom, or stay in for recess to complete if they wanted). The completed project will then be glued over the envelope once complete.

So far I have only had three students take me up on the offer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lesson Plans - Astronomy (Planets)

Whew...this week was one of those topsy turvy weeks that threw us off schedule slightly. We had H1N1 shots administered Monday, a field trip Tuesday, no school on Wednesday.....looking forward to a "normal" week :)

Monday - Showed students the International Year of Astronomy Trailer on YouTube and explained how 400 years ago Galileo used his telescope for the first time. Played the song "On the Shoulder of Giants" for students (video with the song can be found on my website - my students last year LOVED the song and had it memorized!). Showed a PowerPoint I made about the planets in order (had students line up as planets with smaller ones being the rocky inner planets and the taller students being the gas giants - threw some students in there to be the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. I picked a student wearing red to be Mars and I lucked out with twins in one of my classes so I made them Venus and Earth). Students got to practice trying to say the planets in order (My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nachos). Showed students the accordion project (which I talked about in an earlier post) they will be making this week with notecards and I went through how to share resources (planet books I checked out of the local and school library) and how to use nonfiction reading strategies to find the information they are looking for.

Tuesday - No science classes due to field trip. Made an adorable video of our trip using (which is free to teachers) and posted it on my classroom blog. Teachers met with their reading and ELA groups.

Wednesday - No school. Veterans day.

Thursday - Students worked on their planet accordion project independently (I have a checklist for grading and I take points off for excessive teacher intervention if I continually have to refocus students...which didn't happen too much...I isolated my easily distractable students and they worked fine). I was very pleased at how well all the classes worked on this project. I told students that all the facts and pictures needed to be done by Friday, which meant five cards each day needed to be done. I sat at the front of the class with papers I was grading and just looked around in awe at how the students were borrowing books from each other, staying focused and on task, following directions, etc. I wasn't feeling that well (ended up going to the doctor that evening for a sore throat I thought might be strep...which thank goodness it wasn't!) so it was nice that all the students were working so wonderfully.

Friday - Students continued to work on their planet accordion project. They needed to get the final five cards done (most met the deadline). Monday they will finish coloring and tape them together. I have a handful (three to four students) done in each of my classes who will be helping the other students finish up and tape. I will have to have some extra work for those completely finished students to do. If I have time left over in class I will show a Bill Nye video.


I have several resources students in my classes and I just have them look for two facts per planet (and the sun) instead of the five the other students are required to find. You could even drop this down to one fact (I have a child that writes incredibly large so he only had to find one good fact per planet).

If you teach GT or are adapting this project for an upper grade level you can have them write out a paragraph about their planet incorporating three to five facts about it and citing their source (just keep in mind how small 3x5 index cards are).


This is a really cute project idea (thanks to Mrs. Tressler who shared it with me). It could easily be adapted to other subject areas (report on various presidents, timeline of something in social studies, book report, etc.). My students in my writing class will make one for Mother's Day spelling out the word MOTHER with one letter per card and writing a little note on the back of each card having to do with the letter, example M - "Makes wonderful pancakes" on one side and then a short note on the other - Thanks mom for taking the time to make pancakes on the weekend for us. They are yummy and I love them!).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lesson Plan - Start of Astronomy Unit

We just got back after a week long fall break and it was a short week for me. I attended and presented at the South Carolina Science Council Convention in Myrtle Beach Thursday and Friday (notebooking and blogging) so there was sub work for the students.

This is what we did in the notebooks this week.

Monday - Put together the astronomy title page and reviewed the standards for the unit. I also went over the vocabulary for the unit with a Promethean slide show and, as I was reviewing the vocabulary, students were filling out their bingo boards for the unit.

Tuesday - We started with information about the sun and its importance to Earth. We did a fun activity that I had done at space camp last summer (with a sheet, a bowling ball, tennis ball, and ping pong ball) showing how the mass and gravity of the sun cause planets to rotate around it. We read our left hand sheet about the sun and watched a Brain Pop on the subject. On the right hand side of the notebook students had to list four ways that the sun is important to us and illustrate/color it.

Wednesday - I designated this our science fair review day (the requirements for our upcoming science fair went home with students on this day). I went over the scientific method and what makes a good science fair project as well as the board layout. We watched a Brain Pop on the subject of science fairs and I also showed an episode of Food Detectives pausing the show to ask what part of the scientific method were they engaged in, identify the variables, etc. I referred back to the notebooks and the three mini science fair boards we had done earlier in the year.

Thursday - Put together a sub astronomy packet (using the catalog feature in Publisher), that will be graded and glued into the notebooks, using the text book to review vocabulary and information about the sun and preliminary information about the planets, which we start next week.

Friday - Continued and finished the sub astronomy packets. Classes that were done watched a Magic School Bus on Gravity.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tech Week in Science

We had a short week (four days) to accommodate parent/teacher conferences. This also coincided with the start of our Fall break here. Students and teachers are off for a week. Our district has Extended Learning Time for students who have been identified as needing remediation and they will have school next week (small groups focusing on reading and math).

Since I had a short week (that also combined an "end of quarter" party Thursday) I choose not to start any new material in the notebooks. We will be starting Astronomy when we get back.

I designated this week "tech week" and had the great idea of teaching my fourth graders Photostory. Sadly if it could go wrong it did. Photostory had been removed from the computer lab computers and our laptop lab during summer re-imaging and I failed to check it assuming it would have still been on the computers from last year. Lesson learned!

The original plan was for students to choose one of the following and create a Photostory complete with music and a voice over (for those of you who have never tried Photostory it is very easy to teach and for students to learn how to use):

- Water Cycle
- Characteristics of Severe Weather and Associated Safety Tips
- Weather tools and their uses
- How clouds form and the three basic cloud types

We spent a day logging in and discovering the Photostory problem. Day two I changed it to a PowerPoint project but experienced so many computer problems that I decided to try again after the break. Day three I decided to teach students how to make their own review games using (suggested by Mendy Gannon in the social studies blog under "blogs I am following"). This was much better and students created "fun games" with their clock partner based on kids tv shows (this was to get them use to using the system). The plan is next quarter they would make and share their own review games for astronomy. While some students were typing I was filming the other students conducting a weather review video (will do the same for all future units). I used a Flip camera I had bought last year.

I created a weather review using the same program and linked it on my website for students prior to their test last week. They really enjoyed telling their parents that the arcade style games were part of the science test review!

We made it to Thursday relatively intact and all our class were shortened to accommodate the end of quarter party and AR movie reward (that reduced my last class of the day to seven students). Since most students were excited about being off for a break I decided to show a Mythbusters video I have and had students look for vocabulary they are learning - variables, constants, control, etc. and had them review the scientific method and tell me which part of the show was what part in the scientific method.

I am using my coveted week off to plan through Christmas as for as notebooking goes for the next unit and also what I am going to do in Reading and ELA (as well as organizing my classroom, laminating posters, moving student desks around, etc.).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans (Review/Test Week)


Students worked with their clock partners to complete a "fill in the blank" study guide. We played a couple of review games and worked on vocabulary BINGO.


Reviewed for test and completed a simple dew point experiment - does the size of the container affect the dew point temperature?


End of unit test


We caught up on our notebooks. I was grading and students needed to make sure they had finished everything on the pages I had listed on the board (including coloring).


Students watched a Blizzard video. Kind of fun since we don't get blizzards down here in the deep south.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans (Clouds and Fronts)

We are ending our unit on weather this week. Next week will primarily be filling in the study guide and a few review games.


Checked our evaporation experiment. Reviewed water cycle from last week. Sang the song. Presented a PowerPoint I made about clouds (which includes careers that need to know about clouds - pilots, astronauts, professional fisherman, etc.). Read a notebook page about how clouds form (students drew pictures of each stage) and about the three basic type of clouds. Went outside to look at and identify cloud types (pretty disappointing...all stratus clouds but students enjoyed being outside).


Checked our evaporation experiment. Did the "cloud in the bottle" with the class. Showed a YouTube video of something similar. Introduced fronts. Used to show map, map symbols, and talked about air masses affecting the US. Acted out air masses meeting. Made inferences about our upcoming weather and checked out the 10 day forecast. Read our notebook pages on the subject and drew the air masses in and the front symbols.


Checked our evaporation experiment. Checked map reviewing the following - direction weather travels, fronts, high and low pressure systems, and made inferences about our upcoming weather (this will be daily for us). Went to the computer lab to complete a hurricane webquest and play weather related games online (found on my website under science and then weather).


Checked our evaporation experiment. Checked weather map online. Reviewed clouds and fronts. Students watched Bill Nye the Science Guy Water Cycle video and we played vocabulary bingo in our notebooks.


Checked our evaporation experiment. Quiz - Fronts and Clouds. Notebook catch up. Vocabulary Bingo.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Create Your Own Puzzles

I often create my own crossword puzzles and word searches for my science class. These can be assigned for homework but more often I use them as extra work students can do when they are done a test or quiz. If you type in "make your own word search" lots of different websites come up. I usually use the Discover Education site to make mine.

Three years ago I made test shields out of two taped together file folders (they have held up pretty well). Inside the folder I put the test/quiz and a puzzle. This keeps earlier finishers quiet and engaged while others finish up.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans (Water Cycle)

This week in class we have been looking at the water cycle.


Introduced the water cycle with a Promethan Planet flip chart. Taught the steps of the water cycle song (click here to see a TeacherTube video of some of my students from last year singing it with hand motions). Watched a BrainPop on the water cycle. Read a left hand notebooking assignment about the water cycle. Students started working on the right hand assignment which was a flip picture of the water cycle where students had to write which step of the water cycle each flip was and what it does. For a couple of classes I made cut and paste cards that students had to match and glue under the flaps (faster and helped with students who write large).


Reviewed water cycle and water cycle song. Showed short Streamline Video recapping the water cycle (approx. 15 min). Gave students a "fill in the blank" brochure I had made to go with the textbook chapter about the water cycle (the inside flap was vocabulary definitions and the other two flaps were questions that they had to answer reading the text. Back turned in flap was a picture of the water cycle they got to color when they were done. Made it with Microsoft Publisher - brochure option). The brochure got glued into the notebook (I should have glued this to the right hand side of the notebook but accidentally glued it to the left) and lyrics to a water cycle rap song was glued onto the other side.


Students took their mid-unit weather test. Reviewed the lyrics to the water cycle rap and made connections (song has terms that are slightly more advanced then they need to know for this grade level but it is fun and the general idea of the water cycle is conveyed). Played song several times for students. Rest of class was used for catch up work (brochure, water cycle flip, or anything else they need to complete in the notebook).


Set up an evaporation experiment in class that will run through two weeks. We are answering the question "Does salt water evaporate faster then fresh water?". We live by the ocean and I was able to get an empty gallon milk container and fill it with salt water and filled another gallon with fresh. Those went in to containers and we set up our lab paperwork in the notebooks (I learned from my last experiment that I needed to scan my lab paperwork into a Promethean flip chart and save it each time we added data. It is easier for the children to see). We also started the mini science fair boards to go with the experiment (went on left hand side of notebook and we filled in the spots we could) on the right hand side I glued a WEATHER acrostics and had students get with their clock partners to start filling it in.


Picked two volunteers to measure evaporation experiment. Recorded our results We reviewed steps of the water cycle and vocabulary. Sung the water cycle song with hand motions and the rap song. Students took a water cycle quiz. We watched The Magic School Bus Water Cycle video (Wet all Over). Made connections to what we have learned this week after video was over. Students got to finish up acrostic.

NOTES - This week was a bit odd because we had an assembly and the GT students went on an all day field trip another day. All the above got done but necessary in the order I had originally planned. Only one class saw the 15 minute streamline video on the water cycle and because I was missing a lot of students in one class due to the field trip I showed that class a Magic School Bus video about storms (Title - Kicks Up a Storm).

NOTES FOR NEXT YEAR - Need to find a simple water cycle demonstration. Heard of one using blue colored water in a baggie taped to a window. If anyone would like to share I would love to know what works well in the classroom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans (Weather Unit)

This week was one of those odd weeks where I happened to be out for three days. Despite some typical "sub behavior" things seemed to go pretty well as far as using the notebooks.


Lesson plan focus was introducing students to different type of severe weather and related safety tips. Students read and discussed a left hand sheet that I had glued into their books before I left. They were encouraged to discuss their own encounters with severe weather. My sub, whom I spoke to before I left, brought in newspaper articles of Hurricane Hugo and was able to contribute to the discussion. For the right hand assignment students had to pull a safety tip out of a bag (I had put together 27 or so that I found on the internet covering lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes) they had to share the tip they pulled, discuss why it was a good safety tip, and then a draw a poster that went with the tip on the right hand side of their book.


Lesson focus was comparing and contrasting hurricanes and tornadoes. Students read and highlighted information on the left hand side and filled in a venn diagram on the right hand side on their own, using the information they had read on the left. If done they could finish poster from yesterday or complete a weather word search I had put together using a free online weather word search online.


Students watched a Tornadoes video, which actually they were getting into (two classes did not get to finish it and were begging to finish it this week). I came back the next day and during my review they were talking about super cells and the Enhanced Fujita Scale (all learned from the video).


I put together a PowerPoint review of severe weather, safety tips, hurricanes vs. tornadoes, and weather tools and went over it with students. I had them show me their safety posters and their venn diagrams (so I knew which classes needed some extra time to finish). I had them set up their weather bingo boards (see earlier post on the subject), which we won't play until closer to the end of the unit when all vocabulary has been introduced but it was a "low impact" activity that required some focus (and most importantly quiet :)


Students took a quiz after which was "make up day" for all classes. I really try to start and end the week with all three of my science classes on the same page so to speak. My first class (which has a longer time with me then the other three) is completely caught up. They will cut out their BINGO cards and glue in their books. I have a hurricane video they will watch. The second class is the one that needs some "extra love" they need to finish up their weather accordion books from last week and do their BINGO cards. The third class also needs to finish their weather accordion books and cut and paste their BINGO cards in the notebook. If I am very very lucky everyone will be caught up today and we can start the water cycle next week.

Colored Pencil/Crayon Problem (Solution)

I allow both colored pencils and crayons in the notebook and students started becoming sloppy using the crayons. I decided I wanted colored pencils ONLY. So I purchased five plastic shoe boxes from the local dollar store (one for each table grouping) and loaded them up with the colored pencils I had purchased this past summer when they went on sale for .25 a pack. Luckily I had asked for donations of colored pencils at the end of last year and got a TON (thank you Ms. Musgrave for that suggestion) and divided those up among the five boxes. I then added hand held sharpeners to each box (the ones that catch the shavings). Those were on sale at Staples this past summer for a penny each and I should have bought more. Ideally I would have three sharpeners per box but at the moment it is one (maybe two). Because there are so many colored pencils in the box I have not experienced any whining ("So and so has the only black pencil!") there has been some fighting for the pencil sharpeners but I think I will take care of that this weekend with a trip to Staples.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans


We kicked off our weather unit with a lesson on the layers of the atmosphere. Not technically a fourth grade standard in weather I still introduced it because the atmosphere comes up in our Astronomy unit. On the left hand side was a cloze note sheet that went along with a PowerPoint I made about the different layers. Students had to fill in as I went through the presentation. Students then watched a BrainPop on the subject. On the right hand side I had made a flip book for students to make and illustrate about the layers.


We discussed weather tools and their uses. On the left hand side there was a fact sheet about the basic tools that we read. I had a flipchart to go with it with plenty of pictures. I had samples in the class to pass around. On the right hand side students filled out an accordion foldable where they had to list the tool, give its use, and draw a picture (to make the accordion foldable click on the "video" label on the right hand side menu. I did not have students make since it is a little complicated but I was able to make 70 or so in front of the tv over a couple of days. One teacher got a parent to make them at another school).


We made anemometers and wind vanes in class. We went outside and used them (with the wind vanes they got to use some compasses as well). Students got to take them home. Students worked on finishing up their weather tool accordion foldable.


Students took a weather tool quiz, made rain gauges and then watched a "Nature's Fury" video. Student who were not done with their foldable had to finish it during the video.

PICTURES - Accordion Foldable, Anemometers, Wind Vanes, Rain Gauges

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekly Lesson Plans

This was a short week because we had Monday off for Labor Day and I had a substitute because I was selected for jury duty on Tuesday (and we all know how we just love making sub plans...ha!...luckily it was only for the one day).

This is what we did for the week.

Monday (with substitute) - They started a mini science fair board in their notebook for an experiment that we did involving soda and different types of coozies (this is an example of how I abandon the right hand/left hand rule....I glued mini science fair boards on both the right and left hand side because we had done two experiments).

Tuesday - Group review of everything we had learned to date (lab safety, observations / inferences / predictions, qualitative and quantitative observations, scientific method, and variables). I explained that while we had filled out lab data sheets for our experiments we still needed to present our information in a more user friendly format (hence the mini science fair boards - I was trying to show how easy it is to put together a science fair board since they have to do one in a couple of months). I let them work independently on finishing up the soda and coozie board. I put Big Band music on in the background to control the noise....if I can't hear the music it is too loud.

Wednesday - We had not finished filling out the lab sheet for a button experiment we had done last week so we did that. The experiment was to see who adapts faster to having their thumbs taped down - boys, girls or adults? All groups had their thumbs taped down and had to button five buttons on a shirt and were timed. This was my first time with this experiment and I would change some things next year but the students enjoyed it. When we went over the information I had students isolate the variables, review hypothesis, and we discussed how scientific data is graphed on the x and y axis (used "dry mix" to help them out), etc. They then worked independently on finishing up the coozie and coke mini board and started the button up board. Again played music and circulated around the room to make sure students were on task.

Thursday - Gave them the day to finish up both science fair boards. I am grading this weekend. Students who were done were to work on a lab safety poster for the classroom. Students who were done that were given a scientific method puzzle to work on. I had two hard charging girls compete everything with time to spare and set them up making a title for where I was putting the safety posters. They did a cute job and I was spared from having to do it!

Friday - We are starting our weather unit next week so we did our title page in our notebook (one block had a weather tool, one block had a picture of severe weather, the third block had a weather safety tip, and the last block had a pictures of a weather map symbols). I asked students to tell me some tools that you would use to measure the weather, what kinds of severe weather people experience, what are some good weather safety tips, and then we looked at the weather map on and made observations about the symbols. This is a great activity for informally pre-assessing what students know. I then reviewed the standards for the unit (in kid friendly terms). Discussed what we will be learning. Showed off some of the weather tools they will be making and took them out to our weather station.

PICTURES - Top - A look inside one of our mini science fair boards. Middle - A weather title page complete. Bottom - A look at the outside of the mini science fair boards in the notebook.