Friday, September 30, 2011

Growing Brain Comparison

Here is our brain after one day. It is hard to tell in the picture but there is a difference in size. Considering our measurements in Kindergarten are based on relative size I thought it might be a good idea to have a second brain to compare the growing brain to. This helped the children see the brain had actually grown but it did not grow very much. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Growing Brain!

If you have followed my other blog then you know my obsession with Growing Brains since the summer. I was finally able to hit the jackpot and find them just in time for this activity. 
This is how we started our activity. We compared the brain to a decorative rock so we could have an idea of the size of the brain. We also thought of different items the brain was similar in size to. 
We added our brain to our jar, added water and added our magic yellow tablet. We observed the reaction. 
We added another magic tablet and observed the changes and made predictions. 
This activity provided us the perfect opportunity to observe, discuss, notebook and communicate our understandings with each other. 

We even had a little fun pretending to be The Scientist of the Day! 
I think we are ready to start some serious investigations! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sid the Science Kid and Pumpkin Investigations!

I love all things Sid the Science Kid but this time of year I was thinking pumpkins and found this video! And this video reminded me of one of my favorite pumpkin books Pumpkin Circle! When you combine the video, the book, investigation and notebooking it looks like a science lesson in a snap, so who wouldn't like that? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Science Teacher Resources

This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me but in honor of Science Week and celebrating books that help teachers teach Science, in a developmentally appropriate way, I have to mention my favorite Science Supplements from The Lawrence Hall of Science.  I have used almost every book available for Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten age children. The books that are marked "peaches" are by far my favorite because they are the most developmentally appropriate books for this age group. My two personal favorites from LHS are:
GEMS Tree Homes 
GEMS Penguins and Their Young 

These books usually run under $25.00 each and are the perfect addition to any unit you already teach. Each of the books is presented in a thematic approach and math and science are integrated in a very meaningful way for young children. If you are uncomfortable about teaching science and need to know what that "looks" like in an early childhood classroom these books are a great way to experience an entire thematic unit while focusing on science. Each book is developed and field tested before released so you never have to worry if it will actually work in your own classroom. I have never once been disappointed in this series. If I lived near LHS I would apply to work there... no kidding. Additionally, these books would work very well as a homeschool resource. If you follow this blog you will see GEMS Tree Homes postings in the month of October! Once you see the pictures, I swear you will be hooked. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aquariums In The Classroom!

As I said previously, I have been focusing on setting up a classroom science center. Part of that process has been deciding exactly what living things I would include in this center. Call me crazy but I really wanted to move beyond furry pets... I have already had that experience and I was looking for something a little different this time around. I kind of wanted to give examples of pets that were manageable to teachers who would ordinarily not consider a pet in the classroom at all. Through many conversations with friends, family and coworkers I kept coming to the same old point... the Beta fish. It just did not seem so darn exciting but it did fit some important criteria. Beta fish are cheap, they can live in a very small space, they can live in the classroom all year and maintenance is a snap.
It was not until I visited my local Petsmart that I started to get a little excited. I was able to give them my pet criteria and find out all of the options. Once I heard and saw some of my non furry options, I kind of got excited. I already knew the main pet I wanted to get but now I was really interested in a Beta fish, go figure. I quickly moved from a fish in a cup to an aquarium after my first glance at Bluebonnet my Beta fish.
I was able to get Bluebonnet for around $5.00 leaving me some funds to purchase a proper small aquarium for my new fish. 
As I was setting this aquarium up, I was thrilled to realize that it has a light. I was able to purchase this starter aquarium for $24.00. Now I was very excited and went on the hunt for some accessories. Beta fish need a place to hide so I was able to get this decoration for $4.00.  
I needed some gravel and I was glad that I had some options here. I was able to get glass stones for $2.00.
And finally, I got a few plastic plants to provide another place for my Beta fish to hide. I got three at $1.00 each.
The pet care associate talked me through each item I needed and I was able to ask tons of questions. And I just had to ask... what else can live with a Beta fish? Everyone says nothing can live with a Beta but that is not true... Now I could not wait to see what else I could get. My Beta will soon have friends. 
Here is my favorite addition, my yellow Mystery Snail. And I am sure going back for another one! This guy moves in the aquarium and you never know where he will end up.
And we have a White Cloud fish that is very, very active. The addition of the White Cloud really livened up the Beta! And last we have a tiny sucker fish to keep our tank clean. I love the ease of this small aquarium, the accessories that you can get to customize it and the variety of different living things that can live together in a small 2.5 aquarium. I would have to say for my secondary pet, I love this as much as the first. This little tank set up offers a year of observation and notebooking for young Kindergarten Scientists. I am thankful for Petsmart for sponsoring my classroom pet and walking me through the steps to help me learn about pet care and habitats that I can share with my class. I would recommend this as a wonderful and very manageable pet addition to any classroom. 

My Five Senses Unit!

I am so happy to finally finish my first official Science Unit for my Teachers Notebook store. If you are looking for a resource to help guide you through teaching children Science and Independent Investigations then this is for you! This is a sure fire way to kick off Science Week while using My Five Senses! Your budding little Scientists will be blooming before you know it. 

My Science Lab Dream

I should title this post Beyond Leaves and Acorns... At the end of last year I was looking forward to the next and began setting my own personal goals and trying to decide which or what area I would focus on so that I could improve in that area. I have always wanted to create a Science Center or a Mini Classroom Lab. Over the years I have searched high and low and low and high for inspiration and ideas and I always have come to the same dead end... leaves and acorns. First, I am a biology girl and yes, I love leaves and acorns BUT it this truly the only idea or inspiration available for developing young scientists? This summer I finally decided to take action on my dream of a Mini Classroom Lab and decided to allow time for this process to grow and develop over time but keeping to my own personal pact that I would move beyond the leaves and acorns and learn through trial, error, success and failure and finally discover what inspires young children to question and inquire and help them move beyond valid and valuable questions that remain unanswered and sometimes unanswered for a lifetime... And finally, I would stop focusing on what I did not have or could not get and permanently remove those stumbling blocks from my mind so that I could focus on what I could accomplish beyond leaves and acorns. As we enter into Science Week on TBA, I will take you through the steps and decision making process I went through to set this up in my own Kindergarten classroom. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How a Seed Grows

This is a wonderful book to use as you are teaching how a seed grows. What I like about it most is that the children are young children in the book and it walks you through the investigation steps and guides your investigation day by day. I wanted to post this before Science Week just in case you needed time to gather your materials so you can join us as we post our progress. 
You will need:
egg shells
potting soil
It would be ideal if you could have the book as reference as you work through the stages. 

My Five Senses!

When I saw this post I fell in love with this so much that I had to ask for permission to post this! I found the following fabulous stuff at Pencils, Glue and Tying Shoes. In fact, I loved this post so much I asked for permission to post twice! 
Anchor Chart
Student Anchor Charts
Now you see why I HAD to share this fabulous stuff! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pets In The Classroom!

As our pets in the classroom continue to grow, we are all excited and waiting the arrival of our Mystery Snail. He will live with our Beta fish, Bluebonnet, when he arrives. 

Meet Mr. Crabs!

Meet Mr. Crabs. He looked like this just yesterday. Last night he had a pretty exciting night in his new crab shack because when I went to get him to take to school this morning he was actually in a smaller shell. He had  his first introduction to my class today. I really can't describe the excitement. Considering he had quite the car ride with me this morning, he was wide awake once we got to school. I was able to introduce him to the class on my document camera so everyone could see. I was able to show the children how to set up a habitat safe for a hermit crab. 
I got this extra kit along with their aquarium habitat because we will be taking the crabs home for house visits. Additionally, I needed a safe place for crab baths. Yep, you read that one right. So, do I have you thinking about pets in the classroom? Not all pets have to have fur or feathers to provide enjoyment, excitement or observation opportunities. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Here is our new class pet. I am happy to say Bluebonnet is doing fine. We are waiting for her new roommates to arrive. We are getting some sort of sucker fish to clean the small tank and a mystery snail. I was not able to take them home on the same day. I cannot wait to get these new additions and add this to my work in progress new Science Center in the classroom.
This is the aquarium I decided on because it was small and it had a filter and a light. It runs about $25 dollars. I really did not think I would be so excited about a Beta fish but I have to say I love it. This aquarium is large enough to add decorative rocks and something for the Beta to hide in, plus some small plants. It is also very easy to set up. I was pretty excited to learn that with this Beta I could have a snail and another fish. If you are interested in pets in the classroom, I encourage you to go into a PetSmart and  talk to an associate. I found this was very helpful to learn about all of my options. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Science Week On TBA!

Science Week
Use the code to grab the button to help promote Science Week on TBA! We would like everyone to help make this a fantastic event filled with the best ideas and inspiration for all! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Science Book Talk

I never really knew this book had a hidden message, so now it is one of my favorites. I hope you join me for Kindergarten Science and setting up my own Crab Shack for my developing scientists. 

Science Week

OM~gosh I am so darn excited about this I can't stand it!


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