Food Chain Puzzles

Food Chain Puzzles Img.PNG

We made some food chain puzzles, and they were such a big hit with the kids! I used them as an intro activity for the unit, but I have teachers using them in their classrooms as a review.

Students color and cut out each organism in the two food chains. They place them on the habitat mat in the order of energy flow. Producer –> Consumer/ Herbivore –> Consumer/Carnivore –> Consumer/ Bigger Carnivore.

Then, they write the food chain at the bottom of their habitat mat. The ocean habitat is shown above, but there is also a savanna habitat food chain puzzle.

Check out the video below to see one of these puzzles in action!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why Use Poetry in Your Science Classroom?

 

poetry in science.png

I am a really big fan of using read alouds in the science classroom. I love books, and that means I have to share my love of reading with my science kiddos! Reading in the science classroom has so many cross-curricular benefits for kids. Gail Gibbons and Basher Science are by far my favorite authors for science read alouds. They are interesting and provide great information.

Since it is National Poetry Month in April, I thought it would be a great time to talk about adding some poetry into science!

Poetry is a great tool for a science teacher. Poetry can have catchy rhythms, humor, and paint vivid pictures about a topic. Kids commit things to memory easily when they hear a rhyme. That is why nursery rhymes are so great for kids learning to read. Writing poetry can be a great formative assessment tool. Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

Here are the reasons why I love poetry for science classrooms:

(And how to add it to your science classroom)

1.Poetry can be used to spark interest, excitement, curiosity, and get their attention.

Use a poem to introduce a new topic or unit. Read the poem to your class to get them interested in the topic. Poems are usually short and fun to listen to, so I will read them a couple times to my class.

2. Poetry can activate prior knowledge.

Ask your students questions about the poem’s title to help them activate their prior knowledge. Ask what they think the poem might be about, or specific details they might expect to hear in the poem. After reading the poem, you can lead a discussion with students asking them if they agree with the information in the poem, or if they were surprised by anything in the poem. Use a K-W-L chart to record your discussion points in the reading process.

3. Poetry can introduce a topic or unit.

Read a science poem at the start of a lesson. Have students talk about the theme or the topic of the poem with their neighbors. See if they can connect the poem to the learning goal, or the I Can statement, for the lesson.

4. Poetry can introduce and reinforce vocabulary.

Poems are usually shorter, simpler texts which  makes it easier for students to notice new vocabulary and understand the vocabulary. You can write the word on the board so students will know which words to listen for when you read. Discuss the possible meaning of the word based on context clues in the poem.

5. Poetry can teach facts. 

Poems are a fun way for students to learn and collect new facts. You can give students a bubble map or other graphic organizer to collect facts they hear in the poem.

6. Poetry can inspire nonfiction writing.

Use fun, informative poems as a mentor text for your students. When we think about informational texts, we usually think about a research paper, a biography, or an expository writing. Poems are another great way to write nonfiction! They are more creative and feel more fun to write. Have students mimic the style of the mentor text to get a feel for writing nonfiction poetry. Acrostic poems work, too! Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

7. Poetry can give a new perspective on the same information students get from other methods.

Reading about the steps of the life cycle of an animal can be really informative. But reading about the steps of the grasshopper life cycle using the poem “Grasshoppers” by Douglass Florian, can paint a picture that a beautiful life cycle graphic can’t even accomplish!

Grab some poetry!

Here are the science poetry books I have been using for years, and I love them! (with links and ideas for using them)

Beast Feast by Douglas Florian

  • Read the short poems in this book, and have students listen for special structures each animal has that help it survive in its environment.
  • Students can fill in a T-chart categorizing the inherited traits and learned behaviors from the poems.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational poems.

animal structures poems

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two by Paul Fleischman

  • Reading through these two person poems have a really neat sound and its fun for kids to read along and hear it read. Break up the class into two groups. Have group one read the left side and group two read the right side. It will be fun for everyone! To change it up, pick group members at random rather than by side of the room. Its interesting to hear synchronized voices all around the room.
  • The poems in this book can add imagery to your units on life cycles. My favorite poems for life cycles are: Grasshoppers, The Digger Wasp, Honey Bees, and Chrysalis Diary.
  •  You can read these poems with your class to introduce the life cycle unit. These poems can also be great for students to read and then write their own summary or story about an animal going through their life cycle.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational two person poem.

animal life cycle poems.png

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian

  • The poems in this book are great to use for a unit on the planets in our Solar System. They also are perfect for units on the Sun, the Earth, and Moon Phases. They would be perfect for introducing the unit, or individual objects. Poems I like to use from this book are: The Solar System to introduce and discuss the Earth’s orbit around the Sun; The Sun to introduce and learn some facts about the Sun; The Earth to introduce and learn some facts about the Earth; The Moon to introduce the phases of the Moon.
  • Students can use a graphic organizer to collect facts from the poems about each object.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational poem about objects in our Solar System.

Earth and Space poems.png

Spectacular Science by Lee Bennett Hopkins

  • I love these short poems for introducing units and topics. The poems are not as informational as the others I have mentioned in this post, but are nice for introducing a topic and getting your students’ attention. Here are my favorites for the book and their topics:  What is Science? (Nature of Science), The Seed (Life Cycle of a Plant), Crystal Vision (Light), Dinosaur Bones (Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils), How? (Animal Instincts).

Poem introducing science topics.png

Now, you can use poetry to enrich your science classroom!

Writing poetry is a perfect opportunity for your students to show you what they know! I love using poetry writing in science for students to get creative and process new information. And, poems make a great display product for a bulletin board or around your classroom.
These templates make it painless and simple to add poetry writing in your science classroom!

Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

poetry 1

How to Create Lapbooks for the Interactive Science Notebook

mini lapbooks

Lapbooks had been showing up in my Pinterest feed more and more, and I wanted to find the best way to use them in a science classroom. All the lapbooks I come across look fun and interactive, and I know students would enjoy creating and using them.

Thinking over the many uses of a lapbook in a science classroom, I decided that they would be a great addition to an interactive science notebook. Essentially, lapbooks and interactive notebooks both give students an interactive place to collect and store new information for future practice and reference.

One thing bothered me about lapbooks. Where would I keep these lapbooks in my classroom? I have always organized and stored student notebooks in my classroom. Each table with its own crate to hold the notebooks. Students can take their notebooks home for review or homework help as needed, but having a dedicated place of storage in the classroom cuts down on students losing and destroying them. A lapbook for each student, for each topic, would really add clutter to my already filled classroom. **Idea** Make the lapbooks IN the notebooks!

mini lapbook image.pngI have a system for creating lapbooks for each topic in your science lessons, and how to get a whole lapbook onto a page in the student notebook.

  1. Create a lapbook using printer paper and glue it into the notebook on the input side.
  2. Use the materials that you already have in your lesson files to fill the lapbook with valuable information and learning tools.
  3. Create these lapbooks during the time you already use for interactive notebook input.

Students can always look back and review the interactive learning tool you have provided for them! This is great for test prep and review.

Easy to create, easy to store, and easy for students to use!

Grab this FREE mini lapbook guide with set up and printables!

Lapbook Template

 

Here is my Complete List of What to Include in your Lapbooks for the Interactive Science Notebook:

  1. Topic/ I Can Statement or Standard
  2. Guiding Question to Answer
  3. K-W-L or Schema Building Activity
  4. Vocabulary Matching (Cards and Definitions can be found in these review stations.)
  5. Anchor Chart
  6. Lab or Activity Sheet
  7. Interactive Science Notebook Input Activity

**Print on the setting “4 per page” to get the printables small enough for your mini lapbook.

You can always take this lapbook idea and use it for a file folder sized lapbook if that is the format you like best!

This whole system could be easily modified to work in a math or history/ social studies classroom, too!! The possibilities are endless 🙂

Have fun making Interactive Science Notebooks even more interactive!!!

Observing Plant Cells

Onion Cell

Kids have curious minds and love to observe the world around them. When students walk into their science classroom and see microscopes out, they get really excited. They get to play with real science equipment and observe the tiniest parts of the world around them.

Learning about cells is the perfect opportunity to let your students use microscopes. Depending on the age and ability of your students, you may want to modify how your students use the microscopes. In fifth grade, I like to give each table a microscope set up with a prepared slide. I give step by step instructions for how to adjust make adjustments and focus. In addition to the verbal instructions, I have a digital microscope set up to show my students on the projector screen what they should be able to see in their microscope.  This also gives me their interest and attention when I explain the parts of the plant cell we are observing.

Check out the slide show below to see what the onion cells look like under the microscope.

 

 

Using the microscope to see what a plant or animal cell looks like is a great hands on experience for your kids. Its a good idea to provide your students with a variety of ways to learn about cells. The Cell Structure and Function Science and Literacy Lesson Set has a variety of learning activities for your students including an informational text with graphic organizer and summary writing. It also has an observation sheet for the onion cell lab and instructions for lab prep.

Have fun and explore the world around you!