Happy Weekend, teacher friends!
A lot of people have asked me about the resources I use in my classroom, so I rounded up some of my faves to share with you!
Uncovering Student Ideas in Science
These books are formative assessment probes. They give a situation that students can relate to and picture in their heads. They are kind of trick questions in a way, but really get kids thinking about science! There are so many ways that you could use these in your classroom and with ANY grade! The books actually break it down and explain how to use with each each grade level. (elementary, middle, and high school–pictured below)
In my middle school science class I use these to introduce each unit. They help me get an idea of how much background knowledge my students have on the topic and gets their minds thinking about what we’re about to dive into!
So this Thursday, we began our unit on ENERGY. As students walked in, I gave four different kids four different formative assessment probes that related to energy (these four kids were my team captains). I then assigned students to the teams captains. They then discussed their probe and came up with an answer and explanation. After all four groups are done they presented their probe to the class. PAUSE: HOW can you get all kids to actually pay attention during this? Tell them they have to answer all four of these probes individually in their notebooks at the end of class so they need to hear the discussion. AND IT’S FOR A GRADE!!! Works like a charm! CONTINUE: My students end up arguing the topics, because they 1. they love to argue and 2. the situations are a little tricky! For example, one of the probes was if you had 2 thermometers and put one inside of a mitten and the other on the table outside of the mitten would the temperatures be the same or different? There was a very heated discussion and I ended up having the class vote and then each side elect a representative to argue their point. (Definitely not planned, but it was a blast! For the kids AND me.) It drove them insane because I did not tell them the answer. I had some kids go home and research, which was AWESOME. I brought a mitten the next day and we tested the question ourselves. I’d say it was a huge success and an awesome intro to our unit! I can’t imagine teaching science without these babies! There are so many different books to choose from and can me found on Amazon! (Link below!)
Max Axiom Graphic Novels
These graphic novels are a fun resources to have in your classroom! I have them in a bunch of different science topics.
Ways I incorporate into my classroom:
- Lay out for students to read when finished early.
- Read a snippet during class that relates to unit.
- A center during rotations– have one student read aloud or in pairs.
- Take picture and put on SmartBoard– for Bell Ringer ask questions that can be answered by reading the page given.
Can be found here: Max Axiom Graphic Novels
GET ALL THE SEASONS FOR YOUR CLASSROOM RIGHT NOW. You will thank me later!!! This is the perfect solution for days that I need to meet with kids one-on-one, am not feeling so good, or just need a break (because let’s be real… sometimes we do and that’s okay!!!) I feel good about showing these during my class, because I learn so much from watching them and I know my kids do too! Every time I have spent a day showing Brain Games my students are FULLY engaged. There is participation required from them and it is just so much fun to watch!
Can be found here: Brain Games or on Netflix
Science News for Students
I use a lot of different student news sites for resources, but this one takes the cake! I can always count on them to have an article that is easy to read and interesting! I started the year off with this article. This day was one of my student’s favorite lessons! I printed off this article, shrunk it down to fit in their science notebooks and glued it in. We got into a huge circle and I read the article aloud to them while they highlighted things they thought were interesting or important. Then, I had them read it again on their own and write comments and questions (I required at least 3!). We then discussed the article as a class and had some iPads ready to Google questions that we couldn’t answer ourselves. I require my students to participate during this discussion to get their points for the day. I have a clipboard with all their names on it and I highlight when they add a comment or ask a question.
This is something that I do regularly in my class because literacy is SO IMPORTANT! Because I don’t use a textbook, I have to pull resources like this so they are exposed to scientific writing.
I posted these pictures in my last post, but here is what the article looks like in my notebook. I always follow up “Article Circles” with Mind Maps the day after. (pictured also.) A picture summary is so much for fun as opposed to a written summary! I require them to include at least 7 main ideas from the article.
Website: Science News for Students
What if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
My sweet Instagram teacher friend, Taylor, told me about this SUPER COOL book. One day this week for my Bell Ringer I asked my students this question (below), and had them write what they thought would happen. Then I gave them a few minutes to discuss with their table group their “theory” and agree on one to present to the class. I then had each table share with the class. They discussed and laughed and agreed. THEN, I read the answer (which is hilarious)! The kids really seemed to enjoy it, so I plan on adding more of these into our Bell Ringer routine.
Book can be found here: What If?
I hope you can use these in your classroom as well! Let me know if you try any of these out- I would love to hear what your kids think!
I hope you all have a fabulous week!! Let me know in the comments what you would like to read about next!!