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Use Chemical Reactions to Introduce Financial Literacy

Now, if you have already collected a bunch of pennies for the previous lemon battery experiment, you might as well do this experiment too.  This experiment will make pennies look new, but you can make them extra dirty–or oxidized before you make them shiny.  This experiment is quick and easy and has high impact.

First, to make your pennies oxidize or turn green, put your pennies in a shallow plate (see below) somewhere on a paper towel.  Pour just enough white vinegar to let the pennies sit in the vinegar.  You don’t want the vinegar to cover the pennies because you want the oxygen to reach them.  You could turn the pennies over after they touch the vinegar so that both sides are able to touch the liquid.  The combination of vinegar and oxygen will make them green.  I have only done this when leaving the pennies for several hours or overnight, but the reaction will still happen with less time.   The oxidation just won’t be as noticeable if done for an hour or two.

Note:  I only used pre-1982 pennies which are mostly copper as opposed to new pennies which are filled with zinc and only coated in copper.  This reaction I believe will still work with new pennies because the copper is on the outside.

Here is the end result below…they are all dried off.  When doing this with children make sure you let them know that the pennies are not “rusting”, but that this is a chemical reaction between the oxygen and the vinegar called oxidation.


Now this is what I did in my lesson.  I gave the kids an old green penny and a new penny (made 1982 and after).  I told them to drop each penny on the table and listen to the difference in sound.  Allow the kids to describe the differences in the pennies.

Next, I handed each child a small cup–in this case they are those little medicine cups.  I had each child drop their old green penny in a cup and walked by to pour lemon juice just barely over the top of the penny.  Then I had the children slide the cup from side to side to wash it in the lemon juice.  I bought my lemon juice at Wal-Mart for about $2.  If you have the leftover lemons from the lemon batteries, that juice will work too, but it is just easier to buy the lemon juice already made.

What is interesting is that the oxidation washes off in the cup and the lemon juice turns green.  This is a great time to bring in the social studies aspect of the Statue of Liberty turning green from the oxidation.

I took this science experiment a step further and discussed inflation with the students by showing them a a video like this one about penny hoarders.  We further discussed how the prices of goods and services are rising.  Next, I give the students a chart and have them find the purchasing power of a dollar over time.  We use this website to calculate the purchasing power of a dollar.  They watch inflation from 1913 to the current year.  This is very astonishing to them, and will organically lead to great discussion.  Further, I give them a long term homework assignment and tell them that they are to pick one grocery store item and watch the price over time (this could take years).  They are to see if the price of their item goes up or down and keep a record of this.

I hope you can enjoy using science to teach financial literacy in your classroom, too.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Use Your Old Cardboard Box for a Clever Bulletin Board!

I collect trash at times.  Sometimes because I always think, OH!  I could use that for something!”  Other times I collect trash for school projects.  In particular, I especially collect small cardboard boxes in which items are mailed to me.  One day, I had a brainstorm and the beginning of this bulletin board emerged.  Most of the time bulletin board ideas just come to me.  In this case I thought of this clever puzzle to put on the board using a box.  I used colorful tissue paper to put inside the box and hot glued it inside.  Next, I used different fonts of different sizes to make the words “Think” in different colors.  I attached these all around.  Now, what do you think this bulletin board says?


You guessed it!  Think outside the box! 🙂

September TPT Giftcard Giveaway!

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If You Teach 2nd or 3rd You Have Always Needed This!

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!


classroom wall number line

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.

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It is now available now on TPT!

Best Year Ever Back to School Sale on TPT! and GIVEAWAY!

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!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Is Ladder Division Causing Your Students to Struggle? Try This!

When students struggle with ladder division, many times it is because they learned a procedure and haven’t made sense of the procedure for themselves.  In this case students haven’t had enough experiences with division problems that are near friendly numbers so that they can reason about the numbers. Try giving students some problems that are near friendly numbers first if you notice that they aren’t using number sense to form partial quotients.  For example, if students continue to subtract only small groups of ten and aren’t able to estimate a larger number for partial quotients, then try giving students numbers that are easier with which to estimate, like in the picture below.  Slide1In the above picture, I started with some students in intervention who started solving the problem using groups of ten.  2499 divided by 25 is obviously close to 2500.  Why not start with 100 groups and reason about taking away one group so that the quotient isn’t too large.  When students look at how they could estimate to solve this problem, they have a lightbulb moment.  Give them other examples like this to get students in the habit of solving problems with reasoning and number sense as opposed to a procedure.

Do You Have this Testing Secret Weapon?

Last week we began our state testing for our 3rd-5th grade students.  We started with the 3rd grade group since we have to rotate children through our computer lab to do online testing.  Sadly, many of the students were coughing and we used almost two entire Kleenex boxes of tissue by the end of the week.  Because of this I decided to bring in my testing secret weapon!

(Star Wars music playing in the background.  Enter: Diffuser and Young Living Peppermint Oil!)



This helped students breathe better, freshened up the testing area, and best of all, helped kids focus on their test!  The proctors also mentioned how well they could breathe while smelling the Young Living peppermint oil! Since I have been made the testing coordinator this year, I needed a little happiness to help calm my emotional stress.  Peppermint helps me feel happy :), so I brought the oil for myself just as much as for my students!


There you have it folks!  My testing secret weapon!!!

If you want to learn more about the oils I did another post here about them.  If you want to buy some peppermint oil go here.

A St. Patty’s Day Giveaway!

For several reasons I teamed up with Growing Grade by Grade and Reading and Writing Redhead to host a giveaway!

  1.  I reached 700 Facebook likes!  Hooray!
  2. It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Pi Day all in one work week!
  3. Cristina a Jamberry Consultant contacted me about doing a review and giveaway.  She is a New York teacher!


Thank you to Glitter and Glue Designs, Pink Cat Studio, and Hidesy’s Clipart for the graphics above.

You can register here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is my review of Jamberry nail wraps:  When they were on the next day I really enjoyed looking at my fingernails and felt very spring time-ish since I picked a pretty pastel pink with polka dots.  I figured that they would match the nude colored polish I wear most often.  I definitely couldn’t have pulled anything off like this with the polish I have at home!

The reason I say that I liked them the next day is because when I first put them on, I probably needed to file the edges down a bit more and little wear and tear between days helped finish the edges off better.  This is the first time I had ever used these nail wraps.    I will see if the Jamberrys make it to their expected two weeks worth of wear.  Even if they make it to one week, I will be impressed. (I will post an update later.)

Now the drawbacks to the nail wraps.  They took me a long time to put on–more than an hour.  In fairness, I have never done this before so I don’t know if  this is normal or not.  If the wraps really last more than a week, then the extra time put in at the beginning will be worth the wait. The other problems I had with these is they didn’t fit perfectly in width to my ring finger.  From the side you can really tell.  I was surprised about this because I have generally small hands.

Overall, If I want to feel festive, the wraps are definitely a way to dress my nails up.  Just look at the possibilities.  I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of these looks without Jamberry. Oh, and FREE SAMPLES PEOPLE…whoever wants a free sample just go here.

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