How are frequency, amplitude, and wavelength related?

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 7.28.13 PM

In this interactive tutorial, students can explore how frequency, amplitude, and wavelength are related. Students can create 16 different scenarios, make observations, & take notes for each scenario. What patterns did they notice? How does changing the frequency affect the wavelength? How does changing the amplitude affect the shape of the wave? What happens to the boat in each scenario?

Resources

  • Interactive website (link)
  • BrainPOP – Waves (link)
  • Study Jams – sound waves (link)

What days are the busiest in the Maternity Ward?

baby_twins

Description

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.

Resources

  • UPDATED July 2020:
    • Google Form to collect data (link)
      • it will make a copy of the form that you can edit and send to students
    • Google Doc – write up to answer questions (link)
      • it will make a copy of the doc that you can edit and send to students
  • Google Sheets for data collection (public link) and (pdf)
  • Perpetual calendar – make a calendar for any year (link)

Plastic Egg Genetics

Easter-Eggs

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.

Resources:

  • 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!

“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.

Websites

  • 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)

Graphing Spring Tides, Neap Tides, & Moon Phases

image
Graphing Tides & Moon Phases

This activity ties together spring tides, neap tides, moon phases,  chart reading skills, graphing skills, and analyzing data skills. When making the worksheets, I used the data for high tides since it showed a better range of data for the students to create the graph.

This activity was also a good review on how to create line graphs by hand for two sets of data. Students are used to making bar graphs so we reviewed how to set up line graphs and plot points on the graph.

When plotting the data, you can really see the differences in the tidal heights. We also used the phrase “Neap ain’t that deep” to remember the difference between spring tides and neap tides.

Worksheets

  • Atlantic City, NJ – January 2015 High Tide Data worksheet (pdf)
  • Seaside Heights, NJ – February 2015 High Tide Data (pdf(image link)
    • For example, in the year 2015, the February 18 new moon will closely align with perigee and the the September 28 full moon will closely coincide with perigee, to bring forth perigean spring tides.”~EarthSky
  • Blank Worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location. 
  • Tide charts (link– select the state and city of your choice, set for Atlantic City
  • Current Moon Phases (link– The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Genetics with SpongeBob – Learning how to use Punnett Squares

Practice Punnett Squares with SpongeBob & the Gang
Practice Punnett Squares with SpongeBob & the Gang

If you have a unit on genetics, this is a must have as part of your lesson plans. The worksheets were created by Tracy and posted on her website, ScienceSpot.net (link). I created a Google Slides presentation for my 7th graders to help them set up, solve, and analyze Punnett squares.

As a class, we worked on the first few problems together. Then, students worked with a partner and self checked their work using the ppt slides. For homework, they were to finish the problems and self check using the ppt slides. In class the next day, we reviewed some of the problems to check for understanding.

Materials:

  1. Google Slides: SpongeBob Genetics -(public link)
  2. Worksheet: Bikini Bottom Genetics – part 1 (pdf)
  3. Worksheet: Bikini Bottoms Genetics – part 2 (pdf)
  4. Additional Links: More fun with Genetics at ScienceSpot.net (link)

SpongBob Genetics - Public

Metric System Notes – Foldable

metric_system_foldable

This is one of my favorite foldables. The notes for the metric system are a basic introduction with a series of short class activities.
  • Brainstorming – with their lab group, students brainstorm all the different units we use to measure things, and classify each as length, volume, and mass. We then share and discuss our answers.
  • Estimation – students estimate the sizes of common objects in a classroom using their hands and feet as rulers. They use a ruler to measure their hand span, fingernail width, etc. Once they have those measurements (and I take the rulers away), they estimate the sizes of different items in the classroom. After each group has made their estimations, we find the actual measurements and see how we did. Which group had the best estimations?
  • Prefixes & Base Words – I introduce the base units for mass, volume and length: gram, Liter, and meter. We discuss the prefixes that can be added to the base units: kilo, centi, and milli. (I don’t really go into deci, deca, or hecto because they are not as commonly used.) Then I explain how you can mix and match the prefixes with the base units and the kids list all the combinations that are possible and we go over what each one means. We also practice writing and using the abbreviations. For example centi + meter = centimeter (cm) and its used to measure distance (length).

Using Real-Time Data: NOAA & Tides

Tides

I love when we have an opportunity to collect real-time data in class, as part of our unit on tides, we used NOAA’s website (link) to learn how to find real-time tide information, to learn how to read tide graphs and charts, and to find water temperatures for 10 different stations and compare their data. The kids enjoyed picking their own cities and sharing their findings.

Resources:

  • Tides Google Slides Public (link) – this is a shared Google Slide that gives some basic information on tides and then it goes into a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the NOAA website to collect information.
  • NOAA Tides Website (link)
  • Data Collection worksheet (pdf) – students will record and analyze their data

The second activity, included graphing information for high tides at Atlantic City for the month of January. Students will learn how to read a tide chart and graph tide data to see the relationship between tides and moon phases. This activity was also a great way to practice graphing skills. Creating graphs by hand, instead of on a computer, is something that they don’t get to do very often.

  • January Tides Worksheet (pdf) for Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Blank worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location.
  • Tide Charts (link) – set for New Jersey but you can pick different states and locations for monthly tides data.
  • For more lessons about the Moon, visit the Moon Page, under the Space Science tab.
  • Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MSScienceBlog

Earth and Moon Comparisons Activity

earth_moon_comparison

This is a great hands on activity to get students thinking about the size of the Earth compared to the Moon, distance, and rotation vs. revolution. In this handout are 4 mini-activities that cover:

  • Compare the size of the Moon to the Size of Earth.
  • How many Moons could fit inside the Earth?
  • How far away is the Moon?
  • How does the Moon rotate and revolve around the Earth?

Materials:

  • Student Worksheet (pdf) with Teacher Answer Key
  • Circle templates (pdf) to represent the Moon and the Earth
    • Templates are cut out prior to activity and placed in a large zip-top bag, one set per group, (construction paper, oak tag, or plain computer paper works well)
  • Rulers & calculators
  • Pennies – 50 per group, then later 1 per student
  • Quarters – 1 per student
  • Styrofoam ball with a small flag, or something small, pinned to it

Details for the lesson are in the handout. As the students were working, I visited each group to check on their progress and hear their ideas. I held off on revealing the real answers to the first 3 parts until everyone was done with all of the activities and after we discussed our ideas and reasons for the choices they made as a class.

For the Rotation vs. Revolution, I had them try out their own ideas on how to make the penny rotate and revolve around the quarter before I demonstrated it with a styrofoam moon.

If you use this lesson in your class, write about it below 🙂

Heart Rate Lab

The heart rate lab is a classic Life Science activity for the circulatory system. It is also a fun way to collect data and to analyze results.

Materials

  • Lab instructions handout (pdf)
  • Excel spreadsheet with blank templates and 2 years of data (excel)
    • the data is there, but you can erase those tabs if you don’t want to use the data
  • Handouts if not using excel
  • Online stopwatch (link)

Before starting the activity, have the students practice finding their pulses and counting. I find that they are more likely to feel their pulse on their neck (carotid) near their jaw.

For the lab, students will first get a baseline for their heart rate. They average their sitting and standing pulse and use that pulse to compare the other activities to. Each student will then make their own hypothesis, which activity will have the highest pulse? The lowest pulse?

Class management tip: We did each step of the lab together, and I kept time using the online stopwatch on the screen. That way, we were all jogging in place or doing jumping jacks at the same time.

Students recorded their data on to the excel spreadsheet and I collected and entered data onto my copy. Each student shared their data, one at a time, while the rest of us entered it. If you have google docs, you can add all data to the same shared Google Sheets.

The template that I have uploaded will automatically do the calculations for you and create a bar graph. You can turn that feature off, by deleting the formulas and graph, if you want students to learn how to use the formula for averages and create charts.

If you are having any issues with the excel sheet, or want to modify it, please reach out to your technology specialist for assistance.

For related lesson plans, please visit my Life Science page.