What days are the busiest in the Maternity Ward?



This lesson can be used as part of your unit on reproduction, a stand alone lesson to practice collecting and analyzing data, or as part of a math lesson on statistics. This lesson can be extended in several different ways: you can add graphing, plotting data using a stem and leaf (link) for the dates, finding min, max, mode, averages, etc…

The students enjoy this lesson because it is a fun way to analyze their birthdays and many students didn’t know what day of the week they were born on.


  • Google Sheets for data collection (public link) and (pdf)
  • Perpetual calendar – make a calendar for any year (link)

Blog Updates via Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, & Email

Lesson updates are now available via:

I am also tagging the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for each blog post to help teachers find lessons more easily.

Cow Eye Dissection

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 2.02.49 PM

The cow eye dissection is a great lesson to use as part of your unit on the nervous system and the five senses. There are several different ways you can use this lesson in the classroom.

Video & Model Only – share and discuss the video above. Using diagrams and clay/playdoh, students can create a model of the eye or use a scientific model to identify the structure and function of each part of the eye. Some students may be very uncomfortable watching the video and they can either turn around and listen or may have to leave the room.

Video, Model, and Demonstration – In addition to above, students can observe a cow eye demonstration. I like to use fresh specimens whenever possible, visiting your local butcher or farm is an option to look into instead of the preserved specimens, and generally are less expensive. Dispose of specimens properly.

Video, Model, Demonstration, and Dissection – In addition to above, students can work in small groups to perform a cow eye dissection. I like to use groups of 3 or 4 per dissection, this saves on specimens and it allows students to work at their own comfort level. Some students will only want to observe, some students want to do a little bit of the dissection, some will dive right in, and others will not take part at all and will have to do either the video/model only or the video/model and then observe your demonstration from a distance. Dispose of specimens properly.

Exploratorium Links

  • Video Home Page (link)
  • Interactive Eye Diagram (link) and printable version (link)
  • Step-by-step Instructions (pdf)

Additional Resources

  • BrainPOP Video – Eyes (link)
  • Study Jams – The Senses – Seeing (link)
  • Teen Health – Eyes (link)
  • Kid’s Health in the Classroom Teacher’s Guide – Vision (pdf)
  • See all you can see – The National Eye Institute (link)
    • Anatomy of the Eye – handout (pdf)
  • The Cow Eye – iBook (link) for iPads or Mac

Liberty Science Center: Traveling Science Workshop – Have LSC (or a local science museum) come to your school to conduct the lesson with your students.

Cow’s Eye Dissection | Grades: 6 – 10
Follow light on its journey through the eye. Led by a Liberty Science Center educator, students will pair off to perform cow eye dissections and in the process gain a deeper understanding of the structure of the human eye.
NJCCCS: 5.1 C, 5.1.D, 5.3.A
NGSS: LS1A: Structure and Function

Download Cow’s Eye Dissection pre-visit activity packet (link/pdf)

NatGeo Map Maker – free maps to use in your classroom

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.16.20 PM
Download and Print Maps for Free

NatGeo has a wonderful website that allows you to select any US state, foreign country, continent, or geographic region and download/print maps for free.

How can you use maps in the science classroom?

  • Earthquakes – assign each student a region and plot real-time Earthquake data
  • Tornadoes – select a state and research tornado activity
  • Hurricanes – track current hurricanes or research historic hurricanes
  • Mining – where are coal mines located? salt mines?
  • Weather – plot current weather, fronts, isotherms, etc.
  • Biomes – color in the biomes for your selected state or country
  • Animal habitats – where do animals make their homes?
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map – what zones are in your state? what types of plants can grow there?
  • Rainfall maps – does the amount of rainfall differ across your state?

NatGeo – Map Maker (link)

Plastic Egg Genetics


It is that time of year again: time to ask everyone you know to save their plastic Easter eggs and that you will be more than happy to take them off their hands – once the kids have emptied out the goodies, of course! 

Below are some links to teachers who have used this lesson in the past:

  • University of Southern California (link)
  • Western Kentucky University (link)
  • Science Matters (link)
  • Homeschool Life Journal (link)
  • And a big thank you to Brent from Georgia who did a great job explaining how to set up and use this activity with your students, see his detailed video below.


  • Original Lesson Plan (link)
  • Student Worksheet I created for the lesson plan (pdf)
    • NOTE: the colors in this activity represent Incomplete Dominance and their outcomes
    • Here is a nice review of the three different types of dominance from Khan Academy (video link)
    • For Dominant and Recessive Traits only, this lesson would have to be modified and use 1 whole egg for each parent, and the answers would NOT be inside the eggs:
      • Blue & Yellow only (BB, Bb = blue, bb = yellow)
        • Blue egg – 2 blue pieces
        • Blue egg – 1 blue piece, 1 yellow piece
        • Yellow egg – 2 yellow pieces
          • Open eggs for genotypes, then make punnett squares
      • Purple & Pink only  (PP, Pp = Purple, pp = pink)
  • BrainPOP Video: Heredity (free link)
  • BrainPOP Video: DNA (free link)

If you have used this lesson in the past, would love to hear how it went! If you wrote about it on your blog, I would love to add your link to the site as well!

Charles Darwin Survival Game

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.11.19 AMWill your species survive for a million years? Will it survive a viral outbreak, meteorite impacts, predators, temperature changes, and changes in food sources?

In this natural selection simulation, students will choose 3 individuals as their starter population. What traits do they think will increase the chances of survival for their species? Long legs? Long necks? Stripes? Furry or bulky bodies? Only time will tell!

My 6th graders enjoyed playing this game and many were much more successful than I was :)


  • Introduction page (link)
  • Natural Selection – how are traits passes on?
    • Click on Natural Selection in the menu options
  • Who wants to live a million years?
    • Click on Survival Game in the menu options

“Pour to Score” – Interactive Website for Volume

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 7.03.20 PM“Pour to Score” is an interactive website created by PBS. The objective of the game is to pour the water between the larger container and the smaller container to create 8 different volumes of water.

At first glance, it may seem like an easy exercise in addition and subtraction, but it requires problem solving skills, logic, and patience. My 5th graders have enjoyed using this game as part of our volume unit. Some students will figure out the pattern quickly, and advance to the next few levels, while for others, it will require trial and error, and perseverance.


  • Pour to Score (link)
  • Can you fill it? (link)  and Fill it Up (link)
    • Try to fill up the container in the least amount of moves, and without over filling
  • additional games from PBS (link)

Taxonomy, Classification, and Dichotomous Keys – Pamishan Creatures

Pamishan Creatures
Pamishan Creatures


  • Lesson Source: Biology Corner (link) and handout (pdf)
    • answer key (pdf)
  • Alien Classification: Creepy Critters (link) and (pdf) with alien cards
  • BrainPOP Classification Video (link)
  • Dichotomous Key Tutorial Video (link)

How to use the key:

Students will start with Creature # 1 and work their way through the key until it has been identified. Starting with 1a and 1b, students will determine if the creature has the trait (yes) or does not have the trait (no) and follow the instructions stated to determine their next step. They will continue working their way through the  key using the creature’s characteristics until they have narrowed it down to only one possible answer.

Once they determine the Creature’s scientific name, they place the #1 next to the scientific name. Optional – they can write the name of the creature under the image of the creature, too. To continue, students will go back to creature #2 and work their way through the key again, and so on, until all 20 have been identified.

Using Creature #5 as an example:

  • 1b) The creature has a small narrow head……………………..go to 11 (NO)
  • 1a) The creature has a large wide head……………………….go to 2 (YES)
  • 2a) It has 3 eyes …………………………………………go to 3 (YES)
  • 2b) It has 2 eyes …………………………………………go to 7 (NO)
  • 3a) There is a star in the middle of its chest………………..go to 4 (YES)
  • 3b) There is no star in the middle of its chest ………………go to 6 (NO)
  • 4a) The creature has hair spikes ……………………………Broadus hairus (YES) (#5)
  • 4b) The creature has no hair spikes………………………….go to 5 (NO)

‘Alien Juice Bar’ – Cabbage Juice and pH Values

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 11.29.30 AM

This classic interactive website is a great way to practice identifying acidic, basic, and neutral substances along with reading pH values. There are three different levels which increase in difficulty as the students complete each activity.

Challenge 1 – students have to identify and categorize the different ‘juices’ that they will serve to the aliens as either Acids, Bases, or Neutral.

Challenge 2 – students will practice serving requested juices to aliens, but if they serve a juice from the wrong category, aliens can become sick, or worse!

Challenge 3 – students have to change the pH values of the juices on the tray by either adding acids or bases to raise or lower the pH values.

Exploring the Solar System – Past, Present, and Future Missions

Image Source: NASA
Image Source: NASA

After taking an in-depth look at missions to Mars (blog entry) and learning more about the planets in the solar system (blog entry), we learned about past, present, and future unmanned space missions and their mission objectives.


  • Desktops/Laptops and Internet Access
  • JPL Missions Website (link)
  • Mission Assignments using Google Sheets Template (public link)
  • Mission Information using Google Slides Presentation Template (public link)
  • Sample slides from one of my 6th grade groups (pdf)

Each group of students created a shared Google Slides Presentation, and within each group, students were assigned 4-6 numbered slides with specific missions (public link). This was a great way for the students to learn about different missions, practice their research, tech, and collaboration skills, and to get a better understanding of the history of unmanned space missions.

When students were done with their slides, the next class involved a fun game of “Name that Mission” (girls vs boys). Using slides that the students created, I pulled a total of 20 or so slides from different groups and classes and added animations to them. If they could name the mission without clues (just an image of the spacecraft) they earned 2 points, if they named the mission with clues, they earned 1 point.

Below is a video about DAWN – the mission will be arriving at Ceres this week (March 6th) narrated by Leonard Nimoy. LLAP.