Here is a simple experiment to incorporate making predictions and reading graduated cylinders. I have two 1-Liter graduated cylinders set up, one in a glass cylinder with blue food coloring and one in a plastic graduated cylinder with green food coloring.
I filled both with water a few days before the start of school and an equal amount of drops of food coloring. Students will make predictions on small post-it notes and place it on the drawing of a large graduated cylinder. Where do they think the water level will be at the end of school? Will it evaporate before school ends? By what date?
I will also have them come up with factors that affect the rate of evaporation on larger post-it notes. What affects evaporation? Will the air in our classroom be drier in the Winter when the heat is on? Is our classroom humid now since it is warm out?
I will post their predictions and questions next week. At the start of the month, I will also post the volume so they can see the evaporation rates over time.
Sample of slides of information for Wavelite by Isabella:
This activity has become a yearly tradition and I leave the mineral cubes hanging in my classroom from May of one year to the following May, then return it them in 7th grade.
Google Slides Template – students will make a copy and share their slides with you. All information and images are placed inside of the 4in x 4in text box
Students will research and work on their slides during 2-3 class periods, the rest is on their own time, including crafting and designing the mineral cube
I give students a 6x6x6 cardboard box, but they can make one of their own out of any type of cardboard, such as cereal boxes.
Mineral Cube Choices and Rubric Spreadsheet: Student can choose any mineral of their choice (there are over 3,000 named minerals) but their mineral has to be used for something, it can’t be a collector’s sample or very rare. We have a draft pick and no two students can have the same mineral.
Balancing Chemical Equations Activity – one of my long time favorite activities. Students will learn how to read formulas, count atoms, create and read chemical equations, and balance chemical equations using a hands on activity with color coded formulas cards.
Lesson Resources: Create one set of materials for each pair of students. Store in a large zip-top bag
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.
Google Draw to design your poster – Print in color on 8 ½ x 11 paper
First, middle, and last name of your scientist
Picture of your scientist
His/her birthday (Month, Day, Year if available)
ONE sentence of why they are famous or “wanted”
This sentence has to be approved
Country he/she was born in
Where he/she did their work – was it at their home, at a school, a lab, etc
Date of death or current age if living today
Summarize His/Her accomplishments in your own words:
One paragraph using 3 – 5 complete sentences
Your name in the bottom RIGHT corner of your poster
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:
A quote by your scientist
1 – 2 additional pictures of your scientist
A picture of what they worked on
Where they went to school/college
If they had any other jobs
Family information: husband/wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters
What else was happening in history when this scientist was famous
Did this scientist work with another scientist?
Who was it and what did they do?
Are there any museums or other places that are named after your scientist? Where is it?
New for 2016 – to see the older version with additional lesson details, please visit my post from last year.
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…
Words to cut apart (pdf) – this year I removed the word “bone” to change it up a little
white paper cut into 1/4ths or small index cards
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)
Set up hints – students prep items at their table then come up to the tank. After dunking, dry off with towels (I just drop it onto a thick folded up towel next to the tank). I have a bank of TBBs set up on the side of the classroom – students find the mass on their assigned TBBs then record results. Repeat trials. Towards the end of class, students enter all their data into the spreadsheet then I give them the volume of their film canister. Depending on the type of film canister, the volumes are about 39-41 mL. Confirm with a large graduated cylinder or water displacement tank.
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.
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 ;))