Featured Post: Hurricane Lessons & Resources

Image Source: NOAA Current Hurricane Activity

We are heading into Peak Hurricane Season, major hurricanes can still form although forecasts call for a below normal season (NOAA). Using the resources below, students can track Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, as well as learn about how hurricanes form, the parts of a hurricane, the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane, and the intensities of hurricanes with this mini-unit from my Adopt-a-City Weather Unit (link).

All resources are listed below:

Task  15 – Hurricanes

  1. Record today’s Weather, yesterday’s Hi/Lo/Precipitation, & Astronomy Data (link) (excel).
  2. On your mini-map (pdf) record the following:
    • WSM (Weather Station Model pdf) – add it to the classroom map of the USA (pdf)
    • Precipitation (Rain – green, Snow – blue)
    • H/L/Fronts (link) or WunderMap (link)
    • MAPS: Click on Tropical (link)
      1. Check the box next to Hurricanes/Typhoons to view activity for the US
        • Using the color code under “Legend”, place a Hurricane symbol on your map to indicate the location of any current Hurricanes or Typhoons
        • There may not be any activity today
      2. Check the box next to Sea Surface Temperature
        • What is the approximate temperature for the water off the coast of New Jersey? Write the temperature on your mini map.
        • Does your adopted state touch a body of water?
          • If so, do the same for your adopted state.

Complete the following using the resources below:

  • BrainPOP Hurricanes Video (link) & Activity Sheets (link)
  • Hurricane Notes (pdf) –
    • How are hurricanes named?
    • Which storm was more destructive, Katrina or Sandy?
  • Tracking Hurricanes (spreadsheets)
    • Choose any one Hurricane and plot it on the NOAA/NWS Atlantic Basin Hurricane Tracking Chart (pdf)

Resources

  • Weather Guide pgs. 105-111 (link)
  • Hurricane Names (link)
  • NOAA/NWS Historical Hurricane Data (link) – Data for every Hurricanes, including maps
  • Weather Underground Hurricane Archive (link)
  • NOAA/NWS National Hurricane Center (link)
  • Interactive Activities
    • Create-a-Cane (link)
    • Aim a Hurricane (link)
    • Hurricane Tracker (link)
    • How Hurricanes Form (link)
    • NatGeo – Forces of Nature (link)
    • Saffir-Simpson Scale (link) – What happens when a hurricane hits your neighborhood?
  • Additional Resources:
    • Practice latitude and longitude: plotting hurricanes worksheet (pdf)
    • Hurricane Isabel 2003: tracking and analysis of Hurricane Isabel (pdf)

Density Bottles Demo

Density Bottles

Density Bottles: Sand, Air, Rice, Water, & Cotton Balls in 500 mL bottles

How to use density bottles:

Demo & Discussion – For this part of the lesson, students will not handle the bottles, they will answer discussion questions based on their observations only.

  1. Share observations about the bottles.
  2. What do the bottles have in common?
  3. What is different about the bottles?
  4. What do you think the original contents of the bottle were?
  5. What phases of matter are shown?
  6. Are any of these bottles empty? Explain.
  7. Do all of these bottles have air in them?
  8. Which bottle has more air in it: Cotton Balls or Water? Explain.
  9. Which bottle is filled the most? Least?
  10. Which bottle has has the most ‘stuff’ in it? Least?
  11. Which bottle is the heaviest? Lightest?
  12. How would you order these bottles from lightest to heaviest?
  13. Estimate the mass of each bottle in grams.
  14. Which bottle is the densest?
  15. How would you arrange these bottles from least to most dense?
  16. Which of these bottles can have more of the same ‘stuff’ added to the inside of the bottle? Explain.
  17. Which bottle(s) would float in a tank of water? (I do this at the very end of the lesson with everyone at the sink)

Hands On Exploration

  1. Each group will have one set of bottles or take turns using the demo bottles and sharing their findings.
  2. Using a triple beam balance, the volume of the bottles, and a tank of water, answer as many of the questions above as you can. (for our calculations, we use the volume of the bottle’s original content (500 mL of sport drink) to give us an approximate density, not the actual density – for comparison purposes only)
  3. How did your findings compare to your observations and predictions?
  4. Dunk tank – time to find out which one will float!

Further Exploration

Give each group of students a new set of bottles (ones that they have brought in from home) and have them make observations, predictions, and density calculations.

Additional Bottle Ideas:

  • Rocks/pebbles
  • laundry detergent – liquid or powder
  • paper clips
  • paper shreds
  • crayons
  • marbles
  • flour
  • bread crumbs
  • coffee beans
  • beans
  • different shapes of pasta
  • pom-poms
  • pop corn kernels or popped
  • Lego pieces
  • salt
  • dish-soap
  • beads
  • yarn/string
  • etc…

Have each student bring in a bottle from home filled with the contents of their choice so that you have enough bottle to compare. Match similar bottle shapes/sizes together for each group or match similar contents in different sized bottles for comparison.

Reading a Graduated Cylinder- Free Online Resources

Image Source: Biochemies

(For lessons and resources on finding volume using water displacement, please see my earlier blog entry)

Tips:

  • The graduated cylinder has markings, like a ruler, to measure volume for water and other liquids
  • I like to use food coloring and water for the students to practice their measurements, it makes it easier for them to read the values, plus it adds some pizzazz to the lab.
    • I mostly use either blue or green food coloring, the red can stain, yellow is not dark enough.
  • Place all materials on a lunch tray for each group to contain spills and make for a very easy clean up.
  • Glass graduated cylinders can break if knocked over, plastic is more durable but can be harder to read.
  • Have students explore how to use read and use graduated cylinders:
    • Students can explore handling and pouring water into the graduated cylinders and reading the values.
    • Once they have mastered pouring and reading, they can practice measuring specific volumes such as 10 mL, 20 mL, 42 mL, 58 mL, etc into the graduated cylinder.
    • You can also set up stations with pre-measured graduated cylinders and have them practice reading the volumes.
      • Have cylinders of different sizes and increments to make it more challenging.
      • You can place task cards/answer keys at each station so students can self check once they have made their readings for immediate feedback.

Resources:

  1. Reading Graduated Cylinders – (FREE) A nice power point presentation from Teachers Pay Teachers to introduce students to reading graduated cylinders (link)
  2. How to Read Liquid Volume video (link)
  3. Super Teachers Worksheet – practice problems (pdf)
  4. Measuring Liquid Volume – practice problems (pdf) (No answer key)
  5. Science Starters/Warm Ups/Do Nows: (Graduated Cylinder ppt), (Beaker/Erlenmeyer ppt)

Image Source: CK12

Finding Volume of Rectangular Prisms Using Length x Width x Height

volume_density_blocks

Materials:

  • Handout – Volume Lab (pdf)
    • This handout includes a pre-lab assessment and answer key
  • Rulers
  • Calculators
  • Blocks (set from Flinn)
    • I use these blocks as part of a density lesson as well
    • Prior to this set, I used blocks of scrap wood that were cut in the wood shop, but any rectangular shape works well such as chalk boxes, expo boxes, staple boxes, tissue boxes, playing cards box, dice, etc…

Background

Prior to having the students record the measurements for the blocks, we go over the importance of how to orient the blocks before measuring. A problem that students often run into is that they end up measuring one of the sides two times, and not measuring all three of the sides. Even though the right-hand rule is not used for volume, it helps to find the L, W, & H of each block.

In the image below, Z = length, Y= Width, and X = Height. Mathematically, it doesn’t matter which side is designated as the width, height, or length since all three sides are multiplied, but this will help students measure all three sides properly. Students should place the block in their hand and align their fingers with the three sides of the block. Once they have decided on how to orientate the block, they can record their measurements.

Image Source: cncexpo.com

For this lab, you can have several stations set up around the room with 1-3 blocks at each station. I assign each block a number and using a black sharpie, write it right on to the block itself. Not all blocks have to be measured, once each student has measured 10-15 blocks, they can go back to their seats and compare their measurements with a partner. We go over the answers together as a class once everyone is done.

Additional Resources:

  1. Reading a metric ruler practice worksheet (pdf)
  2. Finding volume using LxWxH practice sheet and more practice (pdf)
  3. BrainPOP – Measuring Matter (link)

Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures Classification Activity

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 2.23.42 PM Materials

  • Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures –
    • Notes (pdf)
    • PPT Slides (ppt – read only access)
      • this ppt can be downloaded and saved to your computer, but not modified
      • click on ‘read only‘ to open the ppt after downloading
    • E, C, M, ? (pdf) – laminated or glued onto construction paper, cut apart, 1 set per group
    • Sorting/Task Cards and answers (pdf) – laminate and cut apart, 1 set per 2-4 students

Note: I modified this lesson to add a hands-on component with the addition of task cards that students can sort at their desks. I use this lesson as a group work activity to introduce Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures.

Procedures:

  1. Each group will have one set of task cards and one set of ECM? cards to hold up.
  2. Students will sort the items pictured into 4 columns: Elements, Compounds, Mixtures, and “?”. (The “?” category is a temporary place holder for students to discuss further within their group, all items should be sorted before answers are revealed)
  3. Once all the groups have had a chance to discuss and sort the items, we will go over the answers as a class.
  4. Using the ppt, show the first item (Rocks). Ask each group to choose one of the E,C, or M cards.
  5. Have them place the “?” in front of their answer. (this prevents the other groups from seeing their answer) A spokesperson for each group will stand up and hold the ECM? cards.
  6. Ask all the groups to reveal their answer at the same time. Compare answers & discuss.
  7. Reveal the answer and have students record the results in their notes.
  8. If needed, have students move the card to the correct category on their desk, too.
  9. For fun, I award a point to each group that has a correct answer, the kids enjoy a little friendly competition :).
  10. Continue with the next slide (Copper) and repeat.

For more lessons related to Chemistry, click on the Chemistry or Properties of Matter Tabs up above.

Free & Ready to Print: “I Can” Statements for NGSS and “Big Idea” Posters

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 2.22.17 PM

Ready to print, with a choice of backgrounds – thank you Science Class

  • “I Can” statements (link)
  • Big Ideas (link)

Mystery Footprints – Observation vs. Inference

footprints-mystery-activity

Image Source: Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998)

Materials:

  • Updated for 2015 – Mystery Footprints – Observation vs. Inference (Google Slides Public link)
  • Handout for Mystery Footprint Activity (pdf)
  • projector

Background

This is one of my favorite activities to practice making observations and inferences, it really helps the students differentiate between the two. As I mentioned in my ‘Boy in the Water‘ post, students tend to clump their observations and inferences together, they think they are the same thing.

For example, after viewing the first panel of the image, they will say that they ‘see two animals running towards each other.’ and my response is, “I don’t see two animals running towards each other, but I do see two sets of tracks”. After a few tries, they refine their answers and start to see the ‘facts’ of the image. Then we talk about the ‘story’ behind the facts.

When doing this activity, before I show them the first panel for the image, I stress how important it is not to share, or shout out, their thoughts or answers as soon as they see the image. Why is that important? Why can’t we share our answers right away? I stress to them that when they share their answers, they are taking away opportunities for their peers to think about what they are seeing.

For example, if someone asked you to name a vegetable, and I shouted out BROCCOLI, my answer would creep into everyone’s thoughts and BROCCOLI would push away any ideas about vegetables that didn’t have a chance to develop. Instead of sweet potatoes, or even yucca, you are now thinking about broccoli. It is important to let everyone have a chance to see the image, think about it, and to process and form their ideas. Their ideas may end up being the same as yours, but they may also think of something totally different. Once everyone has had a chance to process their thoughts, we can share our ideas and have a discussion where everyone can contribute and develop their thoughts further.

This activity was originally published in Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998) and the book is available as a free download. You can find more details on pages 87-89 for this lesson.

Tangrams or Geometric Puzzles

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.13.02 PM

Students can create their own Geometric, or Tangram-like, puzzles. A classic tangram has 7 pieces (link), but with this template, students can make their own puzzles with as many pieces as they would like to use.

wpid-20150802_153849.jpg20150802_151039-1

In the sample photos above, I created a puzzle with 12 pieces. After students have made their puzzles, they can trade puzzles and try to solve them. You can also combine/shuffle 2 puzzles together and try to create one large rectangle, or 4 puzzles together to create one large square.

When coloring in the puzzle, darker colors help hide the grid lines. You can also use the patterns each student has created as a cutting template – glue the template onto a piece of construction paper, cut out the pieces, flip, and use the construction paper side as your puzzle pieces.

Download the puzzle template (Geometric Puzzle Template pdf )

Making Molecular Models Activity

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

If doing this activity as a station, supply cards and materials for each formula.

Materials:

  • Molecular Model Kits – 1 kit per group of 4 students
  • Student Handout – updated for 2015 (pdf)
  • Formula cards (pdf) – print, cut apart, laminate
    • 1 set per group of 4 students
  • colored pencils
  • periodic table

Procedure:

For this activity, students will practice reading formulas, counting atoms, building molecules, and identifying bond types. This activity can be used in several different ways.

Stations

Different stations can be set up around the classroom with 2-4 formulas per stations. Each station will have enough supplies to create the models indicated. Students will complete one station at a time, have their work spot checked for completion, and then proceed to an open station. Making duplicate stations helps prevent bottle necking at the stations that take longer to complete.

You can either do timed rotations or have students move freely when they are done. Some stations will be more difficult than others and extra time will be needed for students to complete those models. I like to have several “Make your Own” stations around the room to facilitate movement and give the students more time to explore model making.

Lab groups

Instead of stations, each lab group will have a complete set of formula cards and a molecular model kit. 4 students will share the materials and students can work with a partner or individually. The models can be completed in any order, this helps free up the materials so that not all students are waiting to use the Carbon or Sodium atoms.

Matching Game

If there are students who finish early, they can check their answers by matching the model images with the formulas using the answer cards (see below). Or they can create games with a partner using the cards.

Samples of Formula Cards and Answers

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Answer Key is provided. These cards can also be used to play a matching game or as review cards.

Free Task Card Templates provided by: Rebecca Bishop at TPT (link) ~ thank you!

Answers:

  • Some of the molecules have both Ionic and Covalent bonds and are indicated on the cards
  • One molecule has a double bond – CO2
  • One molecule has a triple bond – N2
  • Metals are: Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium
  • Non-Metals are: Hydrogen, Chlorine, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen

Be sure to see my Chemistry page (link) for more lessons related to atoms and bonding.

SpongeBob Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity

SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity

Materials:

  • SpongeBob® Safety Rules and Scenarios Activity Teacher’s Edition (pptx)
    • this power point can be modified as needed
    • 47 slides with answers for each scenario
  • Scenarios – Student Handout/Notes (pdf)
  • Safety Rule Task Cards
    • one laminated set per group  (4 slides per page pdf)
    • 2 sided handout for each student to keep in notes (9 slides per page pdf)
  • Pencils and highlighters
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (3)

Task Cards for all 16 safety rules

Procedures Part 1:

  1. Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
  2. Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
  3. Groups will need to identify the safety rules that were not followed for Scenario #1 and pull the safety rule task cards related to Scenario #1. The rules that were not broken will be placed in a pile to the side.
  4. Students will lightly underline where the rules weren’t followed in their notes and write the number of the rule for each violation along with a brief 2-3 word description of the rule that was broken in the margin of their notes.
  5. Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
  6. Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
    1. I don’t tell the students how many safety violations there are, then they can use process of elimination for the last scenario, I tell them that each safety rule task card will be used at least once so they know that there are at least 16 violations to find.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (1)

There are 5 Scenario Cards.

Procedures Part 2:

  1. Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
  2. On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
  3. Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
  4. Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
  5. The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
  6. All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
  7. Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
  8. Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
  9. Do the same for scenarios 2-5.
  10. Discuss your results/debrief.
SpongeBob Safety Rules & Scenarios Activity (2)

Each scenario card will reveal the answers, one at a time, and the safety rules that were not followed. The number of the rule is in parenthesis and will match the safety rule task cards.

Additional Resources for this activity:

  • The original worksheet for this activity is from ScienceSpot.net (pdf)
  • Interactive Notebook version of this worksheet (pdf)
  • Marcia has some nice additional activities for Safety on her website (link)
  • This ppt was modified from the original source found at (link)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants® and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
  • For more lessons on Science Skills, click on this page (link)
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