So my school district decided to have the kids come to school the Monday before Christmas. This was the ONLY day the kids came. Because of this I decided to do some fun science and Christmas stations. In one of the stations the kids were able to decorate Christmas cards for veterans. When it was time to clean up this one child who definitely made his share of mess with glitter and paper shreds decided to fool around for a while instead of cleaning. Finally, when he started cleaning while picking up pieces of paper with his hands, he said, “You need a vacuum cleaner!” I said, “That’s what I have you for :).” The next thing I know this fourth grader is literally picking up pieces of paper off the carpet with his mouth.
Giveaway organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), The Chocolate Teacher, Ms. K, Teaching in the Heart of Florida, It’s a Teacher Thing, Jackie Crews, Momma with a Teaching Mission, Planet Happy Smiles, Katie Roltgen, A Plus Kids, Heart 2 Heart Teaching, Tried and True Teaching Tools, Growing Grade by Grade, Peas In A Pod, Pam’s Place, Teach with Hope, Teacher Gameroom, Amanda Kristofferson, Elementary at HEART,Teaching Biilfizzcend, Jewel Pastor, Kamp Kindergarten, Rebekah Sayler (A Better Way to Homeschool), Claudia’s Classroom, and Reading and Writing Redhead.
I wanted my students to enjoy their last class with me before the Christmas break, so I planned several stations for them to work on. The students really enjoyed the engagement of every station.
Station 1: Students picked out a pine cone and were instructed to find seeds inside the pinecone. I showed them a picture of what pine cone seeds looked like. I gave them magnifying glasses so they could look closely and deeply into the pine cones. I instructed them to draw a picture of their pine cone and to draw a picture of the seed. In preparation for the next station, I instructed them to find two more pine cones that were really “pretty” and “tree shaped”. I really wanted them to find two that were opened up really well so they could see the difference in station 2.
Station 2: I had students place two nice flared out pinecones in water. Students made predictions before they placed one pinecone in cold water and one pinecone in warm water. I have no sink in my room, so I had a gallon jug set up for the cold water and a crock pot set up with warm water for them to dip from with a measuring cup. Make sure to have paper towels on hand for any water that is spilled. Now, students can watch the pinecones for a while, but it will take about 30-45 minutes before students will see any changes. I make students look and notice what happened. I don’t tell them. Now the last group that does this station probably won’t notice what happens. They won’t have enough time in an hour long class period to notice the pinecones change.
(So what does happen? Pinecones close up when wet. Why does this happen? Pinecones don’t want to release their seeds when weather is wet because they want to allow their seeds to fly as far away as possible during drier weather so that they won’t compete with the parent tree.)
After students have noticed the pinecones closing up, make sure you leave time at the end of the stations to ask the students why they think the pine cones are closing up in the water.
In case you are wondering, yes the pinecones will open back up when dried out.
Station 3: What happens when you place a peppermint under water? After students have watched, then what happens when you place M & M’s under water? This experiment wasn’t that impressive in my opinion, but the kids loved it! The experiment works best in a white bowl. The plates were way too messy when kids tried to throw out the water. Water, of course, spilled everywhere.
Students predicted first what happened with the peppermint. Most guessed it would turn white, but few guessed it would streak the way it did. You must keep the dish still and not shake the desk to get the full effect of this.
After students watch the peppermint for about five minutes, have them predict what would happen when they place out M & M’s around the bowl. I bought the small ones so there would be more color. If students place them around the edge of the bowl, it makes a dramatic rainbow like this. Again keep the bowl as still as possible.
Station 4: Light up a Christmas light with alligator wires and batteries. This station by far had the biggest WOW factor for the kids. I didn’t give kids many instructions with this station. I wanted them to do experimentation to figure this out. I made the kids predict which type of batteries would work to light up the battery. They lit up a small LED bulb. (this wasn’t actually a Christmas light bulb). To get these bulbs I bought a $1 LED flashlight at War-Mart and banged the flashlight with a hammer until I broke it enough to get the lightbulbs out. It’s cheaper to buy bulbs that way :0. To light up the bulb students need at least three batteries placed end to end with at least two alligator clip wires–one each touched to the positive and negative ends of the battery. I used D batteries because I had a bunch in a science kit, but this will work with smaller batteries. I hovered around this station because I knew students might struggle here. I made it a point to talk about how scientists struggle until they figure things out. We talk about how Edison didn’t give up the first time his improvements of the light bulb didn’t work and they shouldn’t either. Now in reality, it would have been a lot cooler if I actually did have Christmas light bulbs, but I already had LED bulbs on hand so we used them.
ChristmasScience Here is an editable document I used when students visited science stations. This is nothing fancy, but you are welcome to use it for your classroom and make it your own.
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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! 🙂
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I know at this point in the year many of you have already taught expanded form. How do you get your students to maintain their understanding of expanded form? You could leave a reminder up all year long which doesn’t take up much space. Use your classroom number line, and add these special signs to your number line. Ta-da! This is even better than an anchor chart! You can choose from space saving triangular ones…
or longer ones so that the numbers are easier to see from a distance.
If you hang your number line low enough students can help add the cards to the number line, and you can print the signs on card stock. This way students can easily attach and reattach them with velcro onto the number line (great for long term use). Tape works fine too!
You can use your own store bought number line, or you may enjoy using this number line especially created for use with these signs that includes base ten blocks already attached like shown in the instructions above.
You can go here if you are interested in purchasing this product.
“Miss _______ (insert your name here), how do you spell ________(insert your number word of choice here)?” I always have students ask how to spell different number words, only to tell students, “The best way you can.” Now you will never have to tell students again how to spell number words. Simply point to your number line. You can now have access to word cards for you number line right here:
There are smaller triangular size cards to save space. There are also larger/longer cards that can be seen more easily from a distance.
That’s not ALL folks! We have a giveaway this week! I am teaming up with Erin from A Library and Garden to offer a $50 Amazon gift card give away! This giveaway is on until Friday, October 21, 2016 so hurry and enter below now!