Metric Ruler – Guided Practice for cm & mm

Ruler Practice (Student Copy)

Materials:

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I use this activity as a guided review of reading metric measurements in cm and mm. Each student receives one metric measurement, you can laminate and hand out individual task cards to students, or simply print and cut apart so that students can write on each card as well.

As the measurement is projected on the board, the student with that task card will come up to the board and draw a line on the ruler for to represent that measurement, and add the value. Each student will mark the measurement on their own handout as well. Advance to the next slide, and a new student will add their value to the ruler. Continue until all students have added their values to the ruler,

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Qualitative vs. Quantitative Observations Worksheet

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Quantitative vs Qualitative Observations

Click link for the PDF of this worksheet: Qualitative-vs-Quantititive-Observations

This is a nice review sheet to practice identifying Qualitative and Quantitive observations. Qualitative (think quality) are observations you can’t really put a number on, while Quantitative (think quantity) are observations that are measurable or have a number value. In this exercise, I have the students also underline the word(s) that help them decide if the observation is Qualitative or Quantitative.

For fun, and to review Inferences, I have the students infer what the dog is thinking as s/he listens to the human given directions 🙂

Famous Scientists “Wanted Poster” Using Google Draw

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Sample Wanted Poster

This is one of my favorite projects of the year and using Google Draw allowed the students to work on it both in class and at home. In the past, we used a software program to design the posters, but it had a lot of restrictions as to when and where they could work on their posters. By using Google Draw, students were also able to share their posters with me and I could proofread it much more easily and offer suggestions.

We hold a scientist ‘draft pick’ when making our selections. Students come up with a list of their ‘top 10’ scientists and each student draws a number. I select a number randomly and whoever has that number gets to choose first. Once a scientist has been chosen, no one else is allowed to pick that person. Sometimes students choose to spin the “Wheel of Science” when they are not sure who to pick and will allow the wheel to pick for them.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Google Draw to design your poster – Print in color on 8 ½ x 11 paper
  2. First, middle, and last name of your scientist
  3. Picture of your scientist
  4. His/her birthday (Month, Day, Year if available)
  5. ONE sentence of why they are famous or “wanted”  
    • This sentence has to be approved
  6. Country he/she was born in
  7. Where he/she did their work – was it at their home, at a school, a lab, etc
  8. Date of death or current age if living today
  9. Summarize His/Her accomplishments in your own words:
    • One paragraph using 3 – 5 complete sentences
  10. Your name in the bottom RIGHT corner of your poster
  11. List of your sources used for information, pictures, etc on a separate Google Doc.

Choose up to 4 of the following requirements to add to your poster:

  1. A quote by your scientist
  2. 1 – 2 additional pictures of your scientist
  3. A picture of what they worked on
  4. Where they went to school/college
  5. If they had any other jobs
  6. Family information: husband/wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters
  7. What else was happening in history when this scientist was famous
  8. Did this scientist work with another scientist?
    • Who was it and what did they do?
  9. Are there any museums or other places that are named after your scientist? Where is it?

Added 12/26/16: I first posted this lesson in 2000 (as Liz Belasic) here is a version from 2002 with  additional details

D & T Activity Updated for 2016

New for 2016 – to see the older version with additional lesson details, please visit my post from last year.

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Before starting the activity, I set the stage that they are a group of archeologists and have discovered an ancient tablet at an archeological dig site. Unfortunately, the tablet is broken and as they excavate, they only find a few pieces at a time. What does the ancient table say? Scientists all over the world try to decipher the ancient text…

Materials:

  • Original Worksheet: (pdf)
  • Worksheet to compare posters (Google Doc)
  • Words to cut apart (pdf) – this year I removed the word “bone” to change it up a little
  • construction paper
  • white paper cut into 1/4ths or small index cards
  • glue sticks
  • colored pencils

This year, I wanted to try something different for this lesson. Instead of seeing how close each group came to the original phrase that was on the “tablet”, I wanted each group to analyze the findings from the other groups to compare their findings and look for similarities and differences. This would be similar to a gallery walk (see video below) but without students explaining their posters, they would view posters at their own pace and choose any 3 posters to compare for each category.

 

Note – this lesson plan is a modification of the original lesson plan from The University of California Museum of Paleontology (link)

How to edit Google Slides to meet your needs

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I have been getting a lot of requests for editing access to the Google Slides on my blog, so I wrote this tutorial on how to save and edit any of the Google Slides on my website. I can’t permit editing rights because it will change my copy of the slides and your edits will be visible to everyone that visits my blog.

How to edit Google Slides – Step by step tutorial (Public)

Hope this helps!

Thanks,

Liz

“Substituted Sammy” – what makes something alive?

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Lesson Plan: Substituted Sammy Google Slides (Public) modified from: “Substituted Sammy”: An Exercise in Defining Life, Donald F. Shebesta, The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 34 No. 5, May, 1972; (pp. 286-287) DOI: 10.2307/4443933

I love using this activity as an introduction to get my 7th grade students thinking about the idea of living vs. nonliving. How do we define life? How do we know something isn’t alive anymore? How are living things different than nonliving things? How are nonliving things different than things that were once living? What characteristics do living things have in common?

To start the lesson, we brainstorm and try to pin point what it means to be alive. Accept all answers and write them on the board.  After our brainstorming and discussion session, I draw Sammy on the board in one colored dry erase marker ( ie blue) and ask students to do the same. I explain that we are going to learn about Sammy and every time something about Sammy changes, I will draw it in a different color (ie red) and ask students to do the same in pencil.

As the story progresses, I also draw a dialysis machine, IV bag and stand, ventilator, etc… and essentially, end up drawing a robot at the end. This leads to some great discussions about what we can do now, and what we can’t do yet, in the medical field. It also brings up the discussion about the quality of Sammy’s life, at some point is he really living his life or just alive? I ask the students to give Sammy a percentage of “living” as we go through the slides, is he 50% living, 80% living, 25% living, etc and they give a wide range of answers. I then reveal it is a trick question, the answer has to be either 0% or 100%, you can’t be partially living, biologically speaking – you are either alive or not alive, there really is no quantitative scale. Quality of life is not a biological definition, instead it is an ethical issue and everyone has their own definition or belief system. (And then there is the gray area that Viruses fall into ;))

Heights Lab – How tall is the average 7th grader?

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This introductory lab is a fun way to analyze data and the students look forward to finding the results each year. Who will be taller, boys or girls? Will we be taller than last year’s class? You can really analyze the data in multiple ways, you can also add the concept of min, max, mode, and range in addition the mean, you can look for trends, and you can talk about sample size, etc…

Materials

  • Heights Lab Introduction and directions (Google Slides)
  • Data Collection (Google Sheets)
  • Heights Lab Template (Google Doc)
  • Construction paper taped to wall/column
  • Metric Tape Measures attached to wall or column over paper
  • Marker
  • Ruler

heights

 

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP 1 to SEP8) Consolidated

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Images above are from: http://www.nap.edu/read/13165/chapter/7#50 

This post highlights the eight Scientific and Engineering Practices and spotlights a few lessons related to each practice. I had this as eight separate posts but decided to consolidate for easier viewing.

For more details and examples about the Science and Engineering Practices, visit NSTA.

Tag: SEP8 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP7 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP6 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP5 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP4 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP3 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP2 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Tag: SEP1 – click for more lessons that cover this practice

Rocks, Fossils, and the Law of Superposition Sequencing Activity

Objectives:

  • Sequence information using items which overlap specific sets
  • Relate sequencing to the Law of Superposition
  • Show how fossils can be used to give relative dates to rock layers.

Materials:

  • Fossils, Rocks, and the Law of Superposition Google Slides – this will walk you through the lesson step-by-step
  • Set of 8 cards for each groupsdownload from the UEN
    • additional lesson plan details on their site
    • print and cut apart the 8 cards for each part of the lesson
    • to set up the cards, use large 4×6 index cards and store in ziptop bags.
    • on one side of the index cards, glue on the nonsense letters
    • on the reverse side, glue on the fossil layers
      • laminate for durability
      • Replace the letters for each fossil layer, see my ppt for new random letters
        • spelling out the word “ORGANISM is way too easy for students to figure out and they will not really have a chance to work on the activity with the depth of thinking and problem solving that you want them to do
        • be sure to stagger cards so that the order of the cards is not the same, otherwise they will flip over the cards and have the answer for part 2
  • Notes HandoutLaw of Superposition Notes (pdf) students will take notes and record their answers on this handout.

Tips for this lesson:

This is a fantastic lesson and I have used it successfully with both 5th and 6th grade students. When introducing this lesson I use the analogy of a laundry hamper, or in most cases, the pile of dirty clothes on the floor in their bedroom. Today’s clothes would go on top of the pile, each day adding a layer of dirty clothes. The older clothes would be on the bottom of the pile, kind of like a timeline of what they wore this week. When that laundry is collected and moved to the laundry room, the layers would get disrupted. With rocks, the layers form on top of each other, and the older layers are on the bottom. We then brainstorm how those layers can be disrupted: earthquakes, tectonic plates moving, landslides, digging, etc…

For this activity, they have to figure out the pattern of how these layers are formed, and there are clues in each layer, they just need to know what to look for. For the nonsense letters, there is a pattern that connects all the layers together. Many will think it is alphabetical, but I tell them that it is not. Once they have worked on it a few minutes, I have them share their theories. Once each group has shared their theory, I give them the clue. And suddenly, the pattern is clear now that they know what to look for. Using the same strategy, they will then sequence the fossils on the reverse side of the index cards.

 

Vocabulary Bundle – Google Draw Template for Cut & Paste Activities

I created new templates to create your own vocab cut and paste worksheets. The files are located in the Google Drive Folder and were made using Google Draw.

To edit the template, you will need to select:

  • “File” then “Make a Copy”
  • Rename the copy
  • Make edits for your science unit

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Google Drive Folder (link): I have all of my vocab sheets posted in one folder so they are easy to find and access. If I find or create any more vocab sheets, they will be included in this folder.

Below are some fun ways to incorporate vocabulary into your lesson plans:

  • Cut & Paste: Have students cut out the definitions and paste or tape them next to the correct word.
  • Flashcards: Students will cut out each vocab word and paste it to the front of an index card, then they will cut out and paste the correct definition on to the back of the index card.
  • Find Your Partner: Give half of the class a vocabulary word and the other half of the class a definition. They will look for their partner and record their answer. Have them come to you to pick up a new word and a new definition and find new partners.
  • Quiz, Quiz, Trade: Using the flashcards, give each student one vocab word. They will go around the room and quiz each other. After quizzing each other, they will trade flashcards and find a new partner.
  • Matching: Create a vocab set by laminating and cutting out the words and definitions. Place the words and definitions into a ziptop bag. Have each student or pair of students match the words with their definitions.
  • Go Fish: Using the matching set above you can play Go Fish. Deal out 3-5 cards per player (depending on the number of students and vocab words) and place the rest upside down in the center. Students will ask each other for a vocab word or a definition, if they don’t have it, they will say “Go Fish” and the student will pick a card from the pile. If they have a matching set, they will place it down. If not, they will add the card to their hand. The first person to place all their cards down wins.
  • Old Maid: Using the matching set above, you can remove one of the vocab words or definitions from the set. Students will deal out all the cards. Students will pick a card from the person to their right. If they have a matching set, they will set it down. The first person to place all their cards down, wins, the person left with the vocab word or definition without that doesn’t have a matching card is the “Old Maid”.
  • Dominoes: Using the matching set above, you can have 3-4 students shuffle the words and definitions and deal out to each student. Have one person start by placing a vocab word on the table. If the next person has the definition, have them place it on the table touching the vocab word. The next person will place a vocab word on the table touching the definition of the previous word, and so on until all the words and definitions are used. The first one to get rid of all their cards wins.  If a students doesn’t have a definition or new vocab word to put down, they will skip their turn.
  • Stations: You can set up stations around the room with different vocabulary activities and students can rotate through the stations.

To make any of these games more challenging, you can combine 2 or 3 related sets of vocab into the mix. If you have any other fun ways to review vocabulary, please add to the comment section below.

Note: If you are having trouble seeing the handouts in ‘preview mode’ and it seems to be stuck in the loading phase, click on the boxed arrow (pop-out button) on the top right to open the pdf and view the rest of the pages.Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 8.47.20 PM.png