Saturday, December 20, 2014

Storm Stories - Severe Weather 10-Day PBL Unit

Looking for an authentic way to teach severe weather?  This Storm Stories project is a 10-Day Project-Based Learning unit that allows students to research the formation of four storms: tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and lake effect snow and is found in my TeachersPayTeachers store here

The first part of the project is for students to research how these various storms are formed.  The research compiled by the students is organized into a Storm Recipe Book.  Then, the students work together to create an informational newscast as if they are reporters live on the scene of the storm.  The students must incorporate the information they gathered in the recipe books and weave that knowledge into their broadcast.

This project includes QR codes on the handouts, which allows students to easily be directed to the websites for research as long as the devices they are using has a camera function because a free QR code reader can be installed.  The students simply open the QR code reader and hold the worksheet up to the camera on the device to be scanned.  The QR code reader will then open up to the website the student needs - no "www...." typing to worry about!

The final newscasts can be filmed with an iPad or a video camera - that is completely optional.  We've experimented so much with this over the years and tried to figure out what works best as our technology and expertise has improved.  You can have the kids make back drops by hand with paint and/or bulletin board paper, stand in front of a screen that has a clip of their storm playing in the background, or even try to use "green screen technology" to later go back and edit in a video clip of the storm to really make it seem like they were live on the scene of the storm.  It's never going to be perfect the first time around, but don't be afraid of experimenting!  The kids are really excited to participate in this project regardless of the high-tech editing and are even more excited to show you what THEY know about this area.

Here's a video edited together from the first year we tried this project out.  You can see that the green screen needed tweaked for it to work properly, so we just left the green background without the editing this year.  The students still thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and loved to watch their peers' newscasts as well!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TeachersPayTeachers Cyber Sale - Monday 12/1 and Tuesday 12/2!

300 × 300
Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity on TeachersPayTeachers - for two days Mon 12/1 and Tues 12/2 - you can save 20% off each item in my TpT Store plus an additional 10% off your total shopping cart when using the code TPTCYBER at checkout!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Classifying Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures {Think, Pair, Share} Sneak Peek

Watch the sneak peek above to see if this activity would be a good fit for your classroom.  If so, you can download the interactive SMART Board file, student handout, and detailed lesson plan in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here to visit my store!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Slinger - Fall STEM Activity

Students in 4th Period collaborate on a pumpkin slinger prototype.
Students got ready for fall while designing their Great Pumpkin Slinger!  Students followed the design process steps, which prompted them to find a solution to a problem while given limited time and materials.  Students had to design a pumpkin launcher that would catapult the pumpkin peep the farthest distance using rubberbands, craft sticks, a straw, paper cups, index cards,a plastic spoon, and some masking tape.

This is a sketch that a student in 4th period produced to help build the prototype.

Students worked through the design process and were given certain amounts of time to finish each section.  Limited time was given for students to sketch and design, share with others, and then decide and sketch a final design.   The students then had to list materials and procedures as well as build the prototype.  Then, we launched the pumpkin slingers in the hallway.  The best yet was a sling shot model that launched the pumpkin peep 1,407 cm!

Would your class find this interesting?  Find the lab handout, a teacher lesson plan, and a corresponding SMART Notebook file in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store - ON SALE NOW!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The 21st Century Classroom: Google Classroom

Have you used Google Apps in your classroom?  If not, you should start soon!  I had started using Google Apps as a collaboration tool within the classroom.  The students could share a document with the people in their groups, which would allow them to work on the same document at the same time no matter their location.  I encouraged them to set a meeting time to log onto the computer at home where they could brainstorm and work together.  Google Docs would show who was typing what (and even allows them to type at the same time on different parts of the document).  The best part is that Google Docs always saves your work automatically!  There are no more of the: "I can't find that file" or "I must have forgotten to save that yesterday" excuses that delays productivity.  The students could even share the file with the teacher to grade in a paperless fashion.  I thought that was so awesome...that is until I saw this video on Google Classroom, which is new for this 2014 school year!

This video shows how you can set up a class within your Google Apps, add students, send class e-mails with one touch, create an assignment, and enter grades and feedback for the assignment.  What an efficient and paperless way to run your classroom!  You can post the due dates for the assignment and monitor how many students have submitted (or have yet to submit the assignment) easily.  Google Classroom will then organize the submitted assignments (by assignment and class) rather than having you search for whatever the students saved the document as in your Shared Documents using the old Google Docs method.  Watch the video below to see how you could utilize this in your room!