This STEM lesson was more fun than I had anticipated. We picked up ice cubes with a piece of string. There are few materials needed. The materials are cheap and it doesn’t take long to carry out the lesson in the classroom.
You will need:
- an ice chest or freezer
- ice cubes (the kind you freeze in ice trays) make about 5 per student to make sure you have enough
- string (like the kind you fly kites with)
- styrofoam bowls
- table salt (one container should be enough for a class of about 20)
- small cups or containers to distribute the salt
- paper towels
First, we watched a video about how salting roads helps salt trucks melt ice and snow on roadways here:
Then I explained to the students that we were going to make a string stick to an ice cube and that they would be able to pick it up. I had the students predict how long they thought that it would take to attach the string to the ice. I realized mid lesson that the kids thought I wanted them to literally tie a string around the ice cube. I had to clarify that we were not lassoing the ice cube, but that the salt would make it stick if they were patient (insert lesson about perseverance and patience here, wink wink).
These are the student directions in order.
- In your bowl of water put 1 ice cube (I passed these out when I was ready for them to begin).
- Put a pinch of salt on top of the ice cube
- Lay the string on top of the ice cube
- One team mate needs to watch time (I had this on smart board). The other team mate needs to watch the ice cube and pull on the string when the predicted time is up.
- If your string doesn’t stick, make a new prediction and try again. Switch partners.
I had a sheet in which the students predicted, and I also took some of their predictions and wrote them on the board. Some students predicted up to 30 minutes. Eventually, I reeled this in and said it wouldn’t take 30 minutes. In honesty it takes somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute. Also, I reminded students that they would only need a pinch or so of salt on the ice cube. Some students think that the more salt they use the better the string will stick and end up using WAY TOO MUCH! The important part of this experiment is the waiting. I told students that if they added salt that they would need to add it a pinch at a time.
For those students who are successful, I challenge them to make more than one ice cube stick and predict how long it will take for more than once ice cube. I walk around with a ziplock full of ice cubes during this time. When students get more than one ice cube to stick it becomes a contest about who can get the most ice cubes to stick at one time. The most I had students able to stick was 5 ice cubes. Not many kids were able to do this.
After this experiment, it is fun to discuss more of the science behind why this activity works. Because I did this during a 30 minute slot at a summer camp, we didn’t really have time to talk much.
I hope you can enjoy this experiment with your students, too!
Happy September! Here is a fabulous September giveaway to help you get going with your instruction in the new school year!
Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher),
Co-hosts: An Apple for the Teacher, Mickey’s Place, Just Ask Judy, Ms. K, ZippadeeZazz, GlisteningGems, La-NetteMark, and GrowingGrade by Grade.
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 9/16/16and is open worldwide.
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller whowants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media? Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!
I did this with a group of kids during my summer camp, but this could just as easily be done during a classroom engineering lesson. We built soda straw rockets to land on Mars.
What was Mars you ask? Mars was a simple circle taped to the floor with masking tape.
You need is the printable which consists of rocket fins and body, and then you need straws, tape, and a sharpened pencil…and of course Mars!
Here is a synopsis of the building directions. Students take the rectangle and wrap it around their pencil lengthwise to make a tube. Then they tape the fins at the bottom. Next they scrunch the top of the tube around the point of the sharp end of the pencil to make a cone.
Next, they pull out the pencil and insert the straw. Now they are ready to blow through the straw to make the rocket land somewhere.
I could have made it more difficult by using rulers so there would be some conversation involved, but I just made it simple and let them use yardsticks. Surprisingly, some students had the yardstick turned around and measurement still proved to be an issue.
If they didn’t reach Mars, they had to go back and redesign their rocket to make it fly closer. Now, what if they did land on Mars the first time? Well, I just made them see if they could make their rocket fly differently, for example, could they make the rocket spin while it flew.
The best part is this whole lesson and rocket parts printable are here free on the NASA website.
Here is the tool you never knew you desperately needed! I finally finished my classroom wall number line. I measured it to be nearly 41 feet long. When I put this together at home it went down my hallway and then some. This number line spans from 1-120 and has base ten blocks underneath each number. There are also gray half marks in between the numbers so that the teacher can begin introducing students to fractions while still talking about whole numbers. This is sure to be a visual reference tool which will be useful ALL year long!
You can discuss comparing numbers, greater than/less than, ordering numbers, rounding numbers, ten more and ten less, one more and one less, etc!
This number line has clear instructions for assembly, can be printed on card stock, and laminated for durability.
Tell everyone you know about this great new free animated website iknowit.com that helps elementary kids practice math skills by playing games. This site will remain FREE for at least the next year while improvements and more lessons are added. Iknowit was built by the makers of Super Teacher Worksheets and Modern Chalkboard, a SMART board lesson site.
The lessons give children immediate feedback so that they know if they have answered each question correctly or incorrectly. There are drill lessons for basic math facts–addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These lessons are timed. Then there are lessons based on progress in which students answer a certain amount of questions. Right now the lesson topics include addition, multiplication, division, time, money, fractions, and there are many more to come!
In the future as a teacher, you can log in and set up a class roster. You will be able to assign lessons, monitor student scores, and track their progress. You will also be able to adjust the number of hints children are allowed to have on each problem. Teachers will be able to set the amount of time students practice drills and set the number of questions a student must answer for a lesson.
Because this small business was set up by teachers, they value teacher’s and student’s constructive feedback as they venture forward with improvements to this site. You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to give your input. Just imagine a website built with your feedback in mind
TPT is having a back to school sale on August 1st and 2nd. During these days, everything in my store will be 28% off.
Also, I’m giving away a $10 TPT gift card to spend. Just register below to win :). I will announce the winner Tuesday morning!
This past summer, I had an amazing experience teaching in a summer gifted camp. The kids were amazing, but even more so the people I worked with. Everyone had enthusiasm about teaching. With that enthusiasm came much creativity. There were dragons and castles everywhere. The front desk was decorated as a castle. All of the classroom doors were decorated as little drawbridge doors. I wish I could take credit for this marvelous idea, but the coordinators of the camp made us the materials and had the ideas. We just put the materials together. This is my door…
Now let me tell you about the gray rocks. These were an afterthought and another teacher friend made them and made enough for me. I used them, but after I started putting them on, I really didn’t like the look of them. See the other doors without the gray rocks. They look better don’t they?
Now the following door is the same door, but just with a different angle.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Those black paper chains are attached to the floor, and they won’t make it very long with kid traffic. You are correct! We did have an issue with those, however they mostly stayed in tact after three weeks of kid traffic–which was the length of the camp. One of my neighbor teachers attached the chains to the wall to keep them off of the floor. After the first day, the kids get the general idea of the castle theme and I think it is fine to attach them to a wall.
I hope this sparked an idea for your new door decoration idea for this coming school year!
To celebrate over 350 followers in my TPT store I am teaming up with a group of my blogger friends to host a July giveaway. We are teaming up to giveaway a $25 and/or a $75 TPT gift card! Woohoo! Here are the details:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card
Co-hosts: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), Peas in a Pod, KB3Teach,The Bender Bunch, Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching, The Chocolate Teacher, Ms. K, Knowledge Mobile, The Education Diva, Mrs. Roltgen, Samson’s Shoppe, A Plus Kids, Simone’s Math Resources, Evil Math Wizard, Mickey’s Place, Love Believe Teach with Jo-Ellen Foody, Minute Mommy, Kamp Kindergarten, Planet Happy Smiles, Sara Rucker, Jackie Crews, The Literacy Garden, Karmen, Teachers Are Terrific, and Paula’s Preschool and Kindergarten on TpT
Giveaway organized by: An Apple for the Teacher
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends 7/13/16 and is open worldwide.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
Before I tell you the name of the book, I must say that this book is second only to Fred Jones’s Tools for Teaching. I must tell you the whole story, though. I recently acquired a job teaching summer camp for GT learners. The heads of the camp have provided every child and teacher with a copy of a book and it’s associated workbook which helps teach character. I have seen this book for years on the shelves of bookstores at back to school time. I have thought to myself, “Self, you need to read this book!” However, I never bought it and never read it.
The book I am speaking of is Ron Clark’s The Essential 55. Have you read it? If not, YOU MUST READ this book before school begins. I guarantee it will change your school life! I have always known to teach procedures and even known that they need to be specific, but Mr. Clark takes his teaching a step further and teaches his children rules to be successful in life. Here is a peek at the table of contents:
While reading through this book, I have to even ask myself if I am following through with these rules in my own life. Teaching your students to follow these 55 rules for life will surely change your whole school year! In addition, Mr. Clark has written a workbook to accompany the book he has written so that students can have a chance to practice the specific procedures they have been taught–What a valuable resource! I will definitely use these next year.
Just look at this video, too, which emphasizes that school needs to prepare students for life which school seldom does.
One of the last things my principal asked me to do before I left school for summer is to make a bulletin board to advertise our need for “Watchdog Dads”. Well, that is exactly what I did, but with a creative flair! We had some clocks lying around, so I decided to use the clock to make a watch on the wall with a little riddle.
Then, I used push pens to attach the clock. The clock is just hanging on them.
I hope this gets lots of fatherly attention for back to school! If you want to learn more about Watchdog Dads, you can go here!