Friday, September 9, 2016

My Five Senses Reports!

Welcome Science Friends,
We have had a great week learning about our senses as tools for investigation. I think that our Science Notebooks just might be our favorite tools in science so far. Once the labels were put on our notebooks and safety contracts were signed and glued inside, I think we all felt like official scientists just ready for our first hands-on investigation.
We were looking forward to the end of the week because we knew that on Friday we would be investigating bubblegum, Not only were we going to be able to practice safe investigations but we were able to use all of our senses to investigate bubblegum.
I was surprised at how well everyone listened as I walked through the process of recording our findings for the first time. I thought it might be a struggle considering everyone knew we were going to really investigate bubblegum with all of our senses. To my surprise, the children were listening and answering questions as I went through it step by step. We recorded what our bubblegum looked like, smelled like, tasted like, felt like and sounded like. We learned how scientists "waft" a scent safely and came up with some pretty good descriptions of what our bubblegum smelled like. And we were not sure if our bubblegum would actually taste like what we thought.
I did have to help with the recordings and thought everyone did a great job for the first time out and for so early in the year. As we ended the day the children were excited and pretty quiet with gum in their mouth! We are all looking forward to more investigations in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Describing Properties Freebie!

Hey Science Friends,
As part of our Science standards we describe properties of objects. Setting up this investigation can really be pretty simple. You do not need any expensive materials and you can keep this investigation going all year long. After some guided practice and a little gradual release, you will find that this can be one of the best independent investigations to have around. What I love is that a simple nature walk can provide enough materials for several investigations. Add in a hand lens and your kids will begin to discover their inner scientist.
After the investigation and inventory, your scientists will be ready to report their findings to the class. You can even have fun with this for Science Show and Tell! A perfect way for them to have some fun at home finding the perfect object to bring in and investigate. To set this up for independent investigations all you need is a box, hand lens, clipboard, copies of the inventory and objects. It just can't get easier than that!

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Hey Science Friends,
It is that time of year that has us dreaming of sunny summer days as we learn about plant parts and life cycles. No unit could be complete without taking a closer look at sunflowers. What is it about sunflowers that we all love so much? My class thinks it is the color that we love so much and it makes us feel happy. Another thing my class has loved this year has been notebooking. They ask me before going to PE if we are going to use our Science Notebooks in science each afternoon. They love it if we cut and glue something in but also love illustrating what we have learned.
Our notebooks are simple...just spiral notebooks. After trying out different notebooks over the years I always come back to simple spiral notebooks. I buy them in the summer when they are on sale. I used to worry if I would have enough to fill them up for the year but now I worry that I will have a second one for each child within a year!
With so many great books to read about sunflowers it is easy to keep the interest going. Our favorite this year was Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. I think it's my favorite every year because I just love her books so much. As I read the book this year, I got a little misty. I asked the kids if when I was reading it made them feel a little misty too. I really enjoyed hearing their responses. I wished I had had a text to self response sheet with me ready to go. Instead we all listened to each other and had a rich discussion. So many great connections were made with this story.
We still have some fun stuff to do with sunflowers before the year is over. We are gearing up to go to visit a farm and we are preparing for that. We are hoping to see some sunflowers along the way.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Is It Living?

Hey Science Friends,
I am always on the hunt and lookout for the perfect book. You know the kind of book that can say and illustrate a concept that presents a concept that is easily understood by young learners. I am so fortunate that I work with teachers that not only share that passion but share it with me and share their books! This week we have been discussing living and nonliving and this book just added to that discussion. But what I love about the book the most is that it also lends to a discussion about offspring. 
Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?
Our objective is to differentiate between living and nonliving things based on whether they have basic needs and produce offspring. I couldn't have been passed that book at a more perfect time because it not only added to our discussion but everyone was eager to share what they were thinking with each turn of the page. The book also gave us plenty of ideas to generate a great shared writing list and when it came time to notebook about it, we all had a lot to pull from. This year the children love notebooking in both math and science and if I tell them we are using our notebooks they are pretty excited and totally engaged.
As we were just about to leave for the week someone took note of one of the last slides we had looked at and asked...
Is that seed living or nonliving? Is that a baby apple?
This question gives us a great starting point for next week as we justify our thinking and discuss basic needs of plants and animals and examine evidence that living organisms have basic needs such as food, water and shelter for animals and air, water and nutrients, sunlight and space for plants. 
We used this PowerPoint about living and nonliving to help with our discussion and provide us with real world examples to discuss living and nonliving. Next week we will be justifying our thinking by posing the question...
How do you know?
I am sure we will all have fun discussing our favorite living and nonliving things and sharing with each other how we know it is living or not! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Data and Graphs!

Hey Science Friends,
What a great week we had and the end of the week had me excited for the next when a teacher friend brought me some books to look over. It made my day. I have looked the world over for appropriate books about graphs and never could find what I was looking for...until now!
Believe it or not, concept books are my favorite. They always have been. And these books came at the perfect time just as we are comparing numbers in math and looking at weather data in science. We have gotten so good we had to increase the quantities that we are comparing. And when those quantities get larger we need some helpful tools to organize it all...graphs!
There are several in this series and you are going to want them all! There is just no way to get just one. I searched Amazon and was able to find all of the books in the series. What a thrill it was to put these books into my cart and know they will be at my doorstep within days. Just in time for me to look them over, take a few notes and plan how I am going to use them in class. And I will carry them to the library and beg my librarian to order them all because we need them there too. 
My kids already know that I read the same books to them more than once so I know that these books will be worth every penny to me. I read with a different purpose or focus. And another reason I had to have this set of books is because it has longevity. We can use these books all year long. And if I needed another reason I know I can use them for math and science and that just seals the deal for me. I feel like I hit the jackpot! 
I will spend time modeling, practicing and talking to the children about how to read these books independently even if they can't read all the words. The pictures are good enough to support some independent thinking when children browse these books. So, in the independent browsing bins these will go when I finish using them. Just think of all the opportunities for the children to use comparative language when looking through these! 


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