Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lunar Eclipse! Oct. 8th, Wednesday - Look up!

Lunar eclipses are beautiful!  Wednesday morning, before sunrise, you can watch the moon pass inside the shadow of the Earth. The moon will turn an eerie shade of red. Totality begins at 6:26 AM, EST.  I'll be using my phone's video camera to record the event so I can show my students. The next lunar eclipse is in April 2015 so remember to look up Wednesday morning!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kindergarten NGSS - Weather Forecast Fun!

I just completed my weather packet, “What’s theForecast?”  & I’m so excited to do the activities with my Kindergarteners! 

I wrote this lesson plan to address one of the Weather & Climate Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Kindergarten, specifically:

K-ESS3-2:  Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather.

Talking about severe weather with young children can be a little tricky I don’t want to scare them but I want to make sure they understand the importance of why we prepare for severe weather. I found a great picture book to be used as an intro and in conjunction with my lesson plan. It allows me to cover the importance of weather forecasting, it discusses a specific type of severe weather (a blizzard), and it shows how important it is to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather -- everything I need to address the K-ESS3 2 standard! The title of the book is Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard. It’s written by meteorologist, Janice Dean.
Janice Dean, known as the "Weather Machine", is a meteorologist on Fox News Channel. She is the mother of 2 young boys and has written this book to introduce young children to the science behind blizzards and chilly weather patterns. It tells the story of an adorable little frog who loves to forecast the weather. He knows how to prepare for a blizzard and he tries to help his friends do the same. The illustrations in the book are adorable! Can you use this lesson plan for your kinders? I'll send out a free packet to the first 2 who comment below!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Freebie! Science and Cultural Diversity

  Use this to emphasize cultural diversity - your students will learn about scientists from all over the world – both male and female. I send this home as a research assignment but it can be done in class if you have internet access. I have my students share their knowledge with the class and then we create a bulletin board (photo included). You can have your students pick a scientist or you can assign them a scientist. Possible scientists included. I did this with my second graders last year as a part of our cultural diversity curriculum - they had a great time learning about their individual scientist and they loved presenting their info to the class!! You can pick up this freebie by clicking here or on any of the photos below. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Jersey Girls Blogger Meet Up!

I have finally met another teacher (actually 10 other teachers!!) that blog and are also TpT ( sellers!

It was so great meeting up with these talented ladies & hearing about their blogging & TpT ideas & experiences. Click below to visit their stores!

Left side of the table bottom to top: 

Right side bottom to top:
Lauren Kenny - Lauren Kenny
Maria - Jersey Teacher

We start school here after Labor Day. Hope you're enjoying the rest of summer! Or if you already started your school year, hope you have a great one!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)- Grade K

Has your state adopted the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)? Or are you at a private school and your school has adopted the new standards? I just put the set of NGSS "I CAN" posters up for sale at my TpT store (click here). I have each poster laminated & I display them on one of my bulletin boards. I keep the black & white copies in my lesson planning binder. Included in this set are the 13 Kindergarten standards (in color as well as in black & white) along with the 3 grades K-2 engineering standards. If you would like a set, just leave me your email below & I'll send out copies to 2 random people!
If you're looking for Kindergarten NGSS resources, these are the ones I use with my students - all are available at my TpT store, just click the pics below!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Colonizing Mars STEM Challenge

Do you know that NASA has plans for a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s & Mars One plans to establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023??!! Over 200,000 people have signed up for a one-way ticket to Mars!! I was amazed when I heard about this and right away I designed a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) lesson called "Colonizing Mars". My 4th graders surpassed all my expectations with this STEM project - I am soooo proud of them!! I challenged them to create a Martian colony that would include everything we would need if we landed on Mars tomorrow.
I began the unit by addressing misconceptions using the anchor chart below:

We used pink stickies for misconceptions (Mars has liquid water, Mars is our neighbor so it must be a short trip away, etc.) 

As we went through facts, we added green stickies to represent our facts:

Then we used an iPad augmented reality app called Aurasma - this is such a fun way to present new info/ review facts!! I made up a worksheet and I attached every picture on the worksheet to a short video about Mars.

    Next, I had my students brainstorm - what would you need if you were to live on Mars? There is no food, liquid water, or oxygen there!! It's cold on Mars! There is not a lot of gravity! The answers ran the gamut from the necessary structures such as a hospital, food store, habitats; to the unnecessary but fun malls, movie theaters, arcades. We narrowed it down to the absolute essentials and then everyone started discussing their ideas with their partner. Designs were drawn and labeled and then it was time to start building. 
We followed the Engineering Design Process:
My students were soooo excited to start building their prototypes using recycled materials. I keep a huge 42 gallon contractors garbage bag in one of my school closets and throughout the year, I'm constantly filling it with things people would normally throw away but that I see as building components: toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, plastic cake covers, milk cartons, cereal boxes, etc. My kids were so excited to turn this "trash" into structures. We set some design parameters - the structures couldn't be too big, the perimeters had to be <297 centimeters (approx. the size of 3 pieces of paper). The structure also had to hold the weight of 3 humans, represented by a bag of pennies with a mass of 150 g.

Here are some of the completed designs:

All structures included an oxygen tank and had connecting tunnels so humans could walk around freely indoors without needing spacesuits. Some of my students got so creative with their thinking- adding greenhouses to their structures to provide oxygen, adding a machine that can split the frozen water on Mars into oxygen & hydrogen - their creativity amazed me!!!
I love doing STEM challenges with my students - it's really a time for them to SHINE!! What are your favorite STEM activities? I would love to hear about them. To everyone that has finished the school year: Happy Summer!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I am teaching the Grade 1 NGSS biomimicry standard this week & I can't wait to see what my students come up with when we do the Mystery Box challenge!

This is my FAVORITE first grade NGSS standard – biomimicry: using nature to inspire design. Nature has perfected so many things- want to walk up a wall? Mimic gecko feet. Swim faster? Mimic shark skin. Assess damage after an earthquake? Send in tiny drones that mimic one of the most efficient flyers – dragonflies! Invention inspired by nature – the possibilities are endless! I created this packet to help my students start to look at nature in a different way – using its perfection in design to solve human problems. That’s what biomimicry is and that’s what NGSS:1-LS1-1 standard is all about. This is a really creative standard and I LOVE encouraging kids to be creative in their scientific thinking. Our nation’s future scientists and engineers are sitting in our classrooms – let’s encourage, challenge, and empower them!! 

The whole lesson can be found on TpT. If you would like me to send you a copy for free, just leave me your email below. I'll send it out to two random winners! Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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