Category Archives: Cheap Science
You know I love all things Science (well almost all things!!) and helping my students explore the world around them is right up there!
I wanted to share this super simple idea that allows students to explore the idea of camouflage and helps them to understand why camouflage is so important to animals, insects, and sea creatures. With some nature themed fabrics and some super cute critters, my students were able to explore why animals are camouflaged.
We spent about an hour exploring all the ways we could best camouflage all of these animals and insects. It was very interesting to hear my students thinking about why they placed some of the animals and insects where they did to help hide them. We had fun after this taking those same animals and insects outside to try to camouflage them there!
Click here to read more about our fun adventures in camouflage and to get everything you’ll need!
On Saturday I presented a two hour workshop in Bloomington Indiana and promised that I would post the Power Point here for everyone to see. 🙂 It was a great chance for me to share some inexpensive science ideas and we got to make most of them! 🙂
Thanks to all 26 of you wonderful teachers who came to my session!
Here is the Power Point for you. 🙂
If you attended my Science workshop today, here is the Power Point I shared (and if you didn’t, it’s okay to look too!). Please e-mail me or contact me by e-mail (email@example.com) or by leaving a comment below. 🙂
Thanks for coming! I hope you got lots of inexpensive science ideas to use in your early childhood classrooms!
During our last full week of school (last week) I got out the magnets for us to explore. The first day, I gave the children a pile of things on their table to explore with. That’s all we did! We just experimented with how things stuck to the magnets and what things around our classroom were magnetic. The kids LOVED it! I can tell when they are into something because it either gets really loud due to all the conversation going on or it gets really quiet due to their intense concentration. During this time it was REALLY loud! 🙂 The kids were shouting out all the things they were finding that were magnetic and letting each other know what wasn’t magnetic.
We experimented until someone asked the “magic question” I’d been hoping for! “Mrs. Poindexter, why doesn’t my magnet stick to this metal thing?” Aha! Inquiry at it’s finest!
That moved us on to finding out what metal objects will “stick” to a magnet and which ones won’t.
I quickly made up this sheet (I’ll share a cleaner version below) so that my students could write down their predictions. We predicted as a whole class first about what we thought would happen and then I sent the children off to write their own predictions down next to each picture on this sheet. I also created bags of materials I had at home and in my class room for them to test. In their baggies I had a square of aluminum foil, a silver cupcake liner, a roofing nail, a paper clip, and a screw or nut. I think it might of cost me $5 if I had to go buy everything–which I didn’t because I had everything already! 🙂
Wednesday, we got out the objects and tried out our magnet wands to test our predictions. We drew either a happy face or a sad face next to indicate whether or not it was magnetic or not.
Here is the sheet I’m going to share with you:
We also read a book about magnets:
What Magnets Can do by Allan Fowler
Check out my great find at my local Big Lots store… I was able to get this greenhouse for $30! It has four shelves and doubled our growing space! I let a teacher down the hall borrow my two shelf model so she could grow some plants of her own. There was also a walk in greenhouse model available for sale and if I would of had a place to put it, it would of been mine!
In keeping with the green theme here, we (the kids and I) decided to use as many recycled containers as possible to grow our seeds in. We used both halves of a cardboard egg container, complete with egg shell half cups! We also used a plastic cupcake tray that one of my students brought her birthday cupcakes in last week. We used some old cookie sheets I got at the Goodwill Outlet Store for way cheap as trays to put our containers on.
One of the sessions I was able to stand outside the doors of at NSTA this year was about gardening with children (or something to that effect). I can’t remember the presenters name right now, but I’ll try to find it and come back and add it. The room was PACKED and I got there just in time to see this idea about Garden Monsters–they are cute monsters, I promise!
Here’s what you need to make them:
1 bag of soil (this is a 10 qt bag and I had plenty)
1 bag of grass seed (I hear rye grass works well)
1 10 x 10 piece of tulle for each child (make sure it has tiny holes not large ones)
roofing nails (2 per child)
glue dots (at least 4 per child)
wiggle eyes (2 per child)
mini zip ties (one per child)
lids (any lid will work, but the deeper the better for watering purposes)
Place the tulle on a scrap piece of paper. Put 1-2 spoonfuls of grass seed in the middle of the square of tulle. Cover with 4-6 heaping teaspoons of soil. Gather up the sides of the tulle and form into a ball. The extra tulle will be on the bottom of the garden monster. Pull tulle tight and secure with a zip tie. Pull tight, snip off the extra. Using glue dots, secure two wiggle eyes to the roofing nails and push into the side of the garden monster’s head, creating eyes. Use the other two glue dots to secure the monster to the lid.
Here’s what they will look like:
The Three Stooges! 🙂
I set them on this lid and poured some extra water on the lid so I don’t have to water for a few days. The grass will grow out their heads and then the children will need to give them hair cuts. I made these today (4/2/11) using much smaller pieces of tulle (5 1/2 x 5 1/2) so if you use 10 x 10 yours would be twice as big. I’m also thinking that you could grow different kinds of herbs out of their heads for different looks. Couldn’t you see chives or parsley or even cilantro garden monsters?? 🙂
I think I’ve spent about $30 for a whole class to make these and will have enough materials left over for next year’s kiddos too (probably even the class after that as well)
($5 for the soil, $7 for grass seed, $1.50 for roofing nails (100+ nails), $2.35 for 100 zip ties (I bought 2 packs), $4.00 for two rolls of tulle (36 yards long each), $2.50 for 124 wiggle eyes (I bought two packs), and $4.99 for 250 large size glue dots (great time to use your Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s 40% off coupons!)
You can see that this is a pretty inexpensive project to make with your students and it takes up very little space. The children can take them home after their first hair cuts. Think of all the directions the conversations could go with these little guys! 😉
Of course, we will be charting their growth in our own Garden Monster baby books (After I create it, I’ll post it for you) to keep track of their hair length and hair cuts. 🙂
I’ll try to post pictures as they grow and their successive hair cuts. If you try this out, please send me pictures to post! 🙂
Here are some more new pictures from my classroom:
Our Meal worms…
Meal worms are really easy to keep and you get to watch the life cycle happen over and over again. I just put corn meal in the bottom and some apple slices and carrots. You also will need to add some water in a dish that the meal worms cannot get in to keep the humidity up.
I got the 2 tanks, lids, a gram scale (for weighing the meal worms), 2 microscopes, and a hand held microscope from a Donors Choose grant in May.
Here are some new pictures of my Literacy Work Stations.
This is the ABC/Word Work Station.
Right now, we have letter cards on a ring in the bag with Wikki Stix. The children make the letters with the Wikki Stix.
The children also have the opportunity to put Wikki Stix on each others names at the ABC/Word Work Station. These are laminated.
Here is our Listening Station. The black and white bags hold the books and CD. The headphones are stored in a cleaning tote. I am using the head headphones from my non-working leap pads.
I also have several books and their CD’s available on the ledge just above the books. I try to put the newest titles on the ledge and the older ones in the bags.
The is our Pocket Chart Station. Last year, I used a full size chart, but this year, I decided to make it more kid-sized and used these pocket charts from the Dollar Spot at Target.
I took all of my kids pictures and glued them on sentence strips next to their names and then laminated them. The children sort the names by “Boy/Girl” or Alphabetical order. I’ve also added a poem about Pets (you can find it in the Interactive Charts Book that goes along with Building Blocks).
This is my Drama Work Station with the Chicka Chicka Tree in the top bag. Two other bags also now hold the drama props for Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Mouse Paint (I got them all through a Donors Choose grant).
A look inside the Chicka Chicka Bag. There is the large tree, the velcro letters, and an copy of the book.
The Brown Bear, Brown Bear bag. The book is missing…! 😉
Overhead Work Station
These are the overhead transparencies I made to go along with Brown Bear and Chicka Chicka. The children use the pictures of them I printed on transparency sheets (see two posts ago) and put them in the blanks. They then read the words and then put a new child’s picture in.
I also made some to go along with Cookie’s Week and I’ll post those soon.
Big Book Work Station
I found these cute pointers in the Dollar Spot at Target and we use them for pointing to words in Big Books and for reading the names and words at Pocket Chart Station.
Now for a few random things! 🙂
I got these puzzles at Wal-Mart for $3.00 each. They show the life cycle of a frog and a butterfly. We’ll be using the butterfly puzzle next week, when we learn about Monarchs. I’ll have it in my Science Work Station.
I also found these cute signs in the Target Dollar Spot. They are great for using signals rather than trying to talk over all the children! 🙂 I use them as reminders when we are sitting on the floor. They work really well!
I had a few questions about the kind of hooks I use to hang all the bags up around my room in my Work Stations. Here is a picture of them.
Here’s a close up of them.
I’ll be updating with more pictures in a little while! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! 😉
After we got over our fascination with worms, someone else mentioned clouds and so this last week, we’ve spent looking at the clouds. One of the first misconceptions they had was that clouds were air/wind. So we did some experiments to determine that clouds are not in fact air or made up of air:
I made Wind Bags out of items that were around my room:
Here’s a list of what was in the bag:
foam pumpkin shape
square of tissue paper
clear food service glove
The idea was for the kids to move the things in the bag with air. I just laid the bags on the tables and said, “Make the things in your bag move”. There were some interesting solutions.
After about 20 minutes of the children moving the materials around, we got back together and made a list of all the ways we moved each of the things. The one common thing was that everyone had tried blowing on all of the items to get them to move.
We then discussed all the things that air could help us do: move things, carry seeds, blow up balloons, help us drink out of straws, move weather to us or away from us.
The next day, I challenged the children to find a way to make a piece of paper stick to their tummies without using their hands, chins, tape, or by sitting down. After about 20 minutes, only a few of the children had come close to an answer, so I showed them how we walk quickly and air would hold the paper to us. Then we all tried it:
They would start out by holding on to the paper and then once they started running, they would let go.
After I had convinced everyone that clouds are not air, we moved on to learning more about clouds:
We observed them in the sky on several different days either from in our room (we has several days of severe thunderstorms) or from outside on the playground. We also made a KLO chart, but in a little different order from the usual KWL chart.
The K was first to determine what they Know, then the L to find out what they wanted to Learn, and the O was after we observed some things about clouds.
We are still in the process of filling in the O portion:
Here are some of the books we have read:
I’ll post some more things from this week later on. Next week is our last full week of school, then just two more days after that! 🙂