Category Archives: Science

NSTA 2015

I had the pleasure of attending the National Science Teacher’s Conference last week in Chicago. While I was hoping for warmer weather, I had fun making new friends, and learning lots more about Science and STEM.ย  Here are some pictures I took while I was there:

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So this happened…

I generally hate talking about myself.ย  I like to share ideas on this little bit of blog space, but just this once, I’m going to share something that happened last Friday because I’m just so darn overwhelmed by all the kind words from colleagues that went into making it happen. ๐Ÿ™‚

I found out on Friday, at a whole school convocation that I am the National recipient of the Shell Science Teaching Award!ย  I was completely shocked, humbled, and awed to be chosen.ย  Needless to say, I cried.ย  A lot.ย  I couldn’t get it together! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I was surprised…completely surprised!ย  I knew I was going to be recognized for being one of three finalists nationally, but had no idea that I was going to find out that I was the National winner!ย  In front of the entire school!!ย  I can’t do what I do without the entire group of people who were there to see it happen, the kids, the staff, and my family!

In order to get this award, I went through three rounds of judging.ย  In November, I submitted a paper talking about my philosophy of teaching science and what some of my favorite lessons were.ย  I made it through that round and found out I was one of 10 finalists nationally, so I had to submit a video of me teaching.ย  Then, I found out I was one of three finalists nationally and had a team of three teachers do a site visit.ย  They spent the entire day watching me teach, talking to my colleagues, administrators, and parents.ย  That’s the last I knew of anything–that I would be hearing about the results near the end of February. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Totally caught me off guard!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Here I am with our Superintendent. ๐Ÿ™‚ (See the blotchy red eyes?ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  )DSCN9637

Our Director of Elementary Education. ๐Ÿ™‚DSCN9639

And everyone!ย  My Principal, Assistant Principal, Director of Elementary Education, me, hubby, my son, school board member, and our Superintendent. ๐Ÿ™‚DSCN9641

This is my family…I can’t do what I do without them!

As part of this award, I get an all expense paid trip to Boston for the National Science Teachers Association conference, and I won $10,000!ย  Can you believe it??ย  I knew that going into the whole thing, but the reality of actually winning–well, it took awhile to set in!

I am so humbled to be chosen as the recipient of this award and can’t wait to get the message out that young children and learners can participate in Science and they can be very successful at it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best. Day. Ever.

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

More Science

We are quite on our way with our science!ย  We are using the National Geographic science kits we adopted a few years ago.ย  I like them a lot, but I personally think there is not enough content to each lesson, so I add my own things in.ย  I also have my kiddos notebook when ever we can and this lesson about properties was perfect!

IMG_1007We were looking at how scientists (and mathematicians too!) use non-standard items (unifix cubes in this case) to measure objects.ย  We first predicted how long we thought the object would be.ย  I placed one cube at the end of each object and we made our estimates from there.ย  We then went back to the next column and collected the actual amount.

We also talked about how we know when to round up to the next cube and when its fine to call the object even with the cubes.

I created this recording sheet for my kiddos to take notes on as we went (setting them up to do this on their own in a few months!!).ย  They sat on the floor with their papers on their clipboards while I had each of the objects up on my visual presenter.ย  I wanted to demonstrate how we measure before turning it over to them.

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Our First Science Experiment

As I mentioned yesterday, we had the film crew in last week to video tape our first science lesson.

I decided that we would put M&M’s into water and learn about observation.ย  We placed the M&M’s into the water at the same time and the reactions were priceless!

Here are some pictures of what it looked like afterwards.ย  I always say science is a success if it was loud and messy!

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We set the cups on the counter so we could come back and observe them after a few days. IMG_0938

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Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Bird Beaks

About a week ago, we explored different kinds of bird beaks.ย  I attended a workshop at NSTA in April that was all about My Big Backyard where the presenters shared an exploration of bird beaks.

I collected a variety of materials that birds might eat or use:

Fish (found in the bait section of Wal-Mart)

Worms (found in the bait section of Wal-Mart)

Birdseed

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We also used wooden skewers, spoons, and clothespins to represent different kinds of beaks.

The kids then had a chance to test out each beak.

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I buried the worms in a little bit of soil to make it more realistic. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_5013

The string that a bird might use to make a nest. IMG_5014

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The kids put what they were able to pick up in their stomachs (cups)ย  ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_5021

The “warm” sticker on the cup above was from another activity we did–I needed more cups so each kiddo had one. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_5022

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The kids loved it and we created a chart in our notebooks to show what each beak was able to pick up easily.

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Tadpoles

The tadpoles have arrived!ย  I set up my tank a few days ago to let the water acclimate and they arrived today!ย  The kids were so excited!ย  I’ll post some pictures of our visitors soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Ooey Gooey Lady

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop held for free at our downtown library.ย  I was there to see Lisa Murphy (aka the Ooey Gooey Lady).ย  If you haven’t seen her or heard of her, you need to check her out!

Lisa brings a funny story along with a serious message–KIDS NEED PLAY! AND THEY NEED LOTS OF IT!!

We got to watch her make some of her crazy concoctions and talk about the ideas we could use them for in our early childhood classrooms.

My favorites are Flubber and Oobleck (guess what I’m making Friday for Dr. Seuss Day??)

We got to learn about edible paint, cheap musical instruments, and ways to teach young kids about science and Non-Newtonian fluids.

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Here is Lisa doing her thing!ย  She’s hysterical to listen to and tells it like it is! ๐Ÿ™‚

Check her out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Simple Science

Here is some simple science that happened yesterday in my classroom:

 

I have this Discovery Toys ball run from when my son was younger.ย  The kids really like hooking the road track up to it and watching how far they can get the balls to roll down it.ย  The track is also from Discovery Toys (although I’m not sure they sell either of them anymore).

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The kids began with the straight track and I asked them if they thought about measuring to see which ball had gone further (had to get some math in there too!!).ย  We laid the ball along side the track next to where it had stopped:

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We noticed that every other time the red/yellow ball would go the furthest and opposite of that, the purple ball would go the furthest.ย  We never did figure out why, but the kids loved when I suggested that we make the track curved a little:

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So we tried again and noticed that the balls were not rolling as far as they did on the straight track.ย  Innocently, I asked why they thought that was happening.ย  They stared at me for a few seconds…silence…they then stared at the track…silence.ย  Then…(insert angelic noises here)…I think it’s because the curves slow it down!ย  The ball can’t go as far because it’s sticking to the sides of the track as it rolls down and it takes a lot of time for it to do that. BINGO!

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We then made the track into a circle.ย  That wasn’t so exciting, but the kids had fun betting each other how far the ball would go.ย  They then started experimenting with putting different things under the track and the ball run to make them lean different ways.ย  I slowly backed away and watched as they suggested all kinds of ideas to each other and to listen to their conversations…

 

I โค science. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

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