Super easy and inexpensive STEM Challenge

Sunday, November 15, 2020


Super easy STEM Challenge... all you need is colored card stock (regular paper will work also, but it will hold less books), tape,  and books! Create a circular/cylinder, triangular/triangular prism, and square/cuboid column. Have students predict which shape column will hold the most and why. Have students discuss or debate which shape is best and why. Ask them to consider real world applications of columns. What shape columns do they see holding up a bridge or a building? Students could even research real world application use of columns. Primary grades could take a class survey on which shape they think will hold the most. This would also be great to incorporate into a shapes math lesson for 3-D shapes. 

Any the winner was? The cylinder. It held sixteen books. The square held twelve books and the triangular one held eight books. 

Forms of Energy

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Yesterday, we started learning about forms of energy. Our district prefers the 5E lesson structure, so I began with "engage". We watched a 'forms of energy' quick video on Brainpop ( If you have a subscription, Brainpop offers quite a few videos and resources for different forms of energy. If not, StudyJams (, offers a good variety of short videos and resources for free!

Next, we moved into "explore" by using balloons to make
energy... static electricity!
Today, moving into "explain" we learned about three specific forms of energy: sound, heat, and light. We journaled and added energy vocab to our interactive science notebooks and students sorted pictures representing sound, heat, and light energy.

Later, we "extended and elaborated" by making a bracelet with 'special' (solar) beads. We then went outside to see which form of energy made our bracelets change color.  Students were amazed by the 'magic'!

Tomorrow, we will be wrapping things up with "evaluate". Students will journal a real world example of energy using newly acquired vocabulary and then we will play "Energy Scoot"!


Surviving and Thriving in Second Grade

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
It has been a busy transition from the science lab to second grade! I have also been busy in my personal life with my daughter in high school marching band and getting my health in order (70 pound loss so far!). I think I have been on auto-pilot for awhile, but something snapped me out of it today. I was in a PLC (professional learning community) today at my school, during my planning period (although there wasn't a lot of learning going on) when I realized that my district was mediocre at best and I had accepted mediocracy in my own classroom! Here was someone from our district (in curriculum) who has at our school to help us become better professionals and she was teaching us how to "cut and paste" from another state's standards website to create "our own" 5E model (another rant!) lesson plans. WHAT? Not only are we micromanaged, but we are taught to "cut and paste"? That doesn't sound like teacher common core 101 to me? Where is the "think for ourselves"? Are we not educated enough to come up with our own? Then, she practically begged us to come up with as many 5E lesson plans (cut and pasting okay) and submit them to the district, so that all teachers could use them. I think maybe, our district might be wasting some dollars on curriculum personnel.
I am going to use this as a lesson to not accept "cut and pasting" and to think for myself and what is best for my students!  

Coming soon... original 5E lesson plans in math and science for second grade! :)

New blog design, new grade!

Sunday, September 21, 2014
I have moved from the science lab to second grade! Busy, busy, busy about sums up my summer and school year so far! Moving and packing up a science lab is no easy feat! I am looking forward to second and can't wait to create new stuff for my new grade!

NSTA STEM Forum New Orleans

Monday, March 31, 2014
I am presenting and soooo excited! Earlier in the year, during football season, my colleagues and I were sitting in a professional development class, when we were toying with a new unit per our pd instructor and we got so excited about it, we decided to use it! We had a meeting after school the following week and invited the entire staff... Only a handful showed up, so that handful created an awesome unit and now we are going to New Orleans to present it! If you are going to the conference, stop by to check it out! More information to follow soon...

Need science fair project help?

Sunday, March 30, 2014
Do you need help looking for project ideas or you just need a completed project that you can use as a model? I am working on adding completed projects to my TPT store. I just added the first one: "Don't Even Sink About It"! It is about buoyancy and density with soda vs. diet soda. This experiment is more for the 3rd-5th grade groups. Below are pictures of a third grade class doing this experiment. After the experiment we weighed sugar vs. artificial sweetner and the difference amazed even me!

Rotation and Revolution

Monday, February 10, 2014
     I have been working the past two weeks on teaching my K and 1 group about rotation and revolution. Last week, we modeled rotation and revolution. First, we spin around and around and say revolution three times, then we switch directions. We do this on the carpet and if anyone feels dizzy, they get to sit down. This activity gets giggles and grins, galore! We also get my globes out and practice rotating them. Next, we all pull a chair out with plenty of space around them and practice revolving (or orbiting) the chair. Finally, I challenge them to rotate and revolve aroung their chair at the same time. In the past, I have had them make a sun to tape to their chair, and an earth (paper plates) hung around them with string, but this year I ran short on time. In first, we also discuss what earth looks like from space. We take a paper plate, fold it in fourths. I tell them to color it blue, however many parts they think the earth has water on and green for the land. They are usually amazed the the earth is 3/4 water. Then, for those that know their address, we travel from space to their house via google earth. This is always a big hit!
   This week, I cut up a black plastic tablecloth and used string to tie a piece around a large round tupperware container. Students get various balls and the tupperware container "our solar system" and have to orbit the smaller balls around a big one that they place in the middle. I saw this activity on a Bill Nye episode years ago and it is easy and fun! I have enough supplies for each table/four students per table. Balls from the dollar tree...I even found suns and mini globes! 

What does Rotation mean?
Rotation occurs when something is spinning around an axis.
What are some examples of things that rotate?
Tops, Ballerinas, Figure skaters, cyclones, Tornadoes, a merry-go-round, Earth
What is the difference between rotation and revolution?
Rotation occurs when an object spins around an axis.
Revolution occurs when an object spins around another object.

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