Monday, January 27, 2014

Magnets for 2nd Grade

Here are the STEM activities for magnets for 2nd grade.  The first four activities in this set came from Janice Van Cleave's book called Magnets (1993).   She has written many books with great activities.  The four used below are all tried and true, and have been used for the last 6 years in class.  These activities try to get the students thinking about the strength of the magnetic field and how it can be disrupted.  The last activity is from the Exploratorium snacks page.  Three magnets are placed on a platform and a fourth is suspended from a string and the magnet on the string is set in motion.  The magnets cause the motion of the hanging magnet to be chaotic.  Second graders obviously will not have a good grasp of this idea, but is a fun activity and they do understand the idea of predictability.

Virginia Standards

2.1 Scientific Investigation
2.2 Force, Motion, and Energy

Next Generation Science Standards
K-2-ETS1-1 Engineering Design
2-PS1-1.A Matter
3-PS2-3 Magnetic Interations

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First Grade: Playing with Liquids

Staying on the water and liquids theme, here are four experiments for the first graders that mostly came from Janice Van Cleave.  She has lots of great books about various science topics.  For these activities I started with some of her ideas and expanded on them.  Again, I set up four tables and had a volunteer at each table to oversee the experiments with the students.  For the liquid density experiment, I would have the volunteer  run the experiment because it could get so messy.  However, the kids love to see all of the liquids poured into one container and see them separate just as they predicted on their data sheets.

These meet the following standards:

Virginia Science Standards

  • 1.1 Scientific Reasoning
  • 1.3 Matter
  • 1.8 Resources

The Next Generation Science Standards

  • K-2-ETS1.1 Engineering Design
  • 2-PS1-1.A Matter
  • KESS3.C Human Impact on Earth

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kindergarten - Water Exploration

This is a unit that I do with the kindergarten classes.  In Virginia, the students study water and do the classic sink and float experiments.  In this unit, I introduce prediction and observation through water play.  There are many concepts in here that are a bit complex for kindergarten students, but you can get the ideas across using simple examples.  Some of the children will "get it" right away, and others might not understand very much, but they will remember the experiments.

Here are the standards that these experiments address:

Virginia Standards

  • K.1  Scientific Reasoning
  • K.5  Matter
Next Generations Science Standards
  • K-2 ETS1-1  Engineering Design
  • 2-PS1-1.A  Matter

I try and do these experiments outside in the fall or spring.  Depending on how much you let the children do they can get a bit wet.  I use square wash tubs to hold the water.  All the materials are readily available.  I have seen various versions of these experiments in books and through the web.   I have a set-up of four stations per classroom, which means there would need to be four adults available. The session is set to run in 45 minutes with about 10 minutes at each station.  The files are loaded as jpg files.  If you want them in a pdf format or word you can email me for those files.

Changing Focus

As time has passed, my kids are growing older, and my son is midway through middle school and my daughter is almost through elementary school.  I am still running sessions at the elementary school, but not as many.  I have decided maybe the best way to get more people involved is to start posting all of my work on the site in hopes that other people will take it and use it.  My work has mainly been a compilation of experiments from books, the web, and many that I have developed.  Where the experiment is unique, I have given credit for the experiment or idea.  Experiments that I have found in multiple locations, I have not referenced one or the many, and in most cases I have modified the experiments to suit our needs.  The experiments range from science related to various topics to design exercises.

I hope that people will find them useful.

I will try to load one or two a week until I get through them all.  I will start with Kindergarten, go through the grades until I have all of my work uploaded.  They will be uploaded as jpg files.  If you find them useful, you can contact me and I will be happy to email you a pdf or word file.

I will still teach workshops for teachers and run sessions at the schools when asked.  Just contact me if you want more information.