Owl Survival Simulation Activity to use with the Novel ‘Hoot’ by Carl Hiaasen

This lesson plan was modified to be used along with the novel “Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen. It can be used as a stand alone lesson as part of your Ecology Unit.

Objectives:

  • simulate the struggle for survival of an owl family.
  • bring food back to the nest despite obstacles.
  • feed and take care of owlets.
  • live in a nest as an owlet.
  • experience how adaptations affect a species.
  • discuss the importance of resources for a community.

Lesson Plan Resources:

 

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Materials:

  • Colored Chalk (to outline nests) or painters tape
  • Black Beans 1-3 lbs (food)
  • White Beans – 5 beans (poison)
  • Additional larger Beans to represent mice, rodents, etc
  • Plastic forks (2 per owl parent)
  • Small paper or plastic cups (1 per owlet)
  • Owl Assignment Sheet – Cut up for students to pick their role

 

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Updated: Dunkin’ for Density using Google Sheets

Updated 2017

Spreadsheet that will graph 20 trials, along with Density of Water

Google Sheets: Dunkin’ for Density Spreadsheet 2017

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 11.53.11 AM

Updated for 2016

I updated my Dunkin’ for Density Lesson for 2016, I use this lesson with my 6th graders as part of our unit on properties of matter. I wanted it to be more data driven and have them analyze the data from all of their trials, and then compare their data to their classmates. I changed the objective to:

Change the density of the film canister so that 90-99% of the canister is suspending under water.

Materials:

dunkin_1

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For more details about this activity, please see my original post. If you have used this lesson with your students, please let me know, you can post it on my Twitter feed @MSScienceBlog

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

Heights Lab (Public).jpg

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

chart

 

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

The Atoms Family

Materials:

  • Google Slide Presentation (Public) – a fun way to introduce the parts of the atom and how to determine the numbers of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Get ready to do some singing and snapping 🙂
  • Handoutsvia ScienceSpot.net

Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining Simulation

cookiemining
Cookie Mining – with an example of cookies used for the activity.

Materials:

This is one of my favorite activities from our minerals and mining unit. It takes about 1 whole class period to explain the activity, collect data, eat the cookie (& crumbs), and clean up. We discuss our results the next class and determine who made the most profit.

When determining the value of the chocolate ore, I have the students place their chocolate pieces close together in one area of the map. When they are done, I go around and circle the area of chocolate and give their chocolate a rating. They count the number of boxes their chocolate covers and enter it into their spreadsheet.

If there are crumbs attached to the chocolate, I call that ‘slag’ and it lowers the value of the chocolate ore. This leads to a great discussion afterwards when we compare the profits and talk about land use. Is it better to get out as much chocolate as you can, even if you get a lot of slag, or is it better to remove just the chocolate even though you will have less in the end? How is this similar to coal mining? Diamond mining?

cookiemining2
Students try different techniques to extract the chocolate.
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Cookie blasting – extracting as much chocolate as you can in 5 minutes.

 

Patterns of the Periodic Table: Finding Shells and Valence Electrons

Materials:

  • Google Slides – students will learn how to find the number of energy levels (shells) for elements in periods 1 – 8 and the number of valence electrons in their outer shells using the periodic table. Updated (Public link)
  • Handout – updated Shells & Valence Electrons
    • Older version: How to determine the number of valence electrons and shells using the element’s group number and period – Notes (pdf) and Slides (ppt)
  • Find that Element!” Worksheet (pdf)- Practice finding the period & group for each element

 

NGSS: Scientific & Engineering Practices (SEP)

If you are looking for lesson plans that cover the following NGSS Standards, you can do a search using either tags or the search box. I have tagged all of my blog entries with the corresponding SEP.

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES (SEP) (Details from NSTA)

  • SEP1 – Asking Questions and Defining Problems
  • SEP2 – Developing and Using Models
  • SEP3 – Planning and Carrying out Investigations
  • SEP4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • SEP5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • SEP6 – Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • SEP7 – Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • SEP8 – Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Rainbow Test Tubes Activity

rainbow_lab_students.jpg

Problem: How many colors can be created by starting with red, yellow, and blue solutions?

raibow_test_tubes_set_up_1.jpg

Updated Jan. 10, 2017 with results:

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-3-31-51-pm
Results 2016-17

Materials per group of 3-4 students:

  • Student Handout RainbowTestTubesPublic (pdf)
  • Spreadsheet to collect data (excel – public)
  • 9-10 test tubes with test tube rack
  • Erlenmeyer flasks filled with red, yellow, and blue solutions of food coloring and water
    • 5 drops of food coloring per 200 mL (25 per 1L)
  • 3 x 25 mL Graduated Cylinders
  • 3 x 10 mL Graduated Cylinders
  • pipette
  • beaker filled with clean water
  • large beaker for used water
  • this activity took 2x 50 minute class periods

rainbowlabsetupflasks

This lab is an updated version of the classic Rainbow Lab (link) that has been around since the 80’s (Measuring Liquid Volume with a Graduated Cylinder 1988). I used this for many years with my 5th graders, and previously with my 6th graders in the early 2000’s. Now that I am teaching 6th grade again, I wanted to make it more open ended and challenging. The purpose of the original version of the lab was twofold: First – could they follow directions carefully to make a rainbow? Second – how precisely can they measure liquid volume?

rainbowlabsetup

For the new version of this lab, I created new objectives and assessed the students based on their problem solving, collaboration, and measuring skills.

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to precisely measure liquids with a graduated cylinder
  • Students will be able to create their own lab procedures using the given parameters to guide them
  • Students will create new mixtures and solutions
  • Students will be able to record accurate data
  • Students will collaborate and problem solve to achieve a common goal
  • Students will test, evaluate, and select the best proportions to create the colors orange, green, and purple
    • each group made 3-4 different combinations for each color and had to, as a group, determine which combinations of primary colors created the best secondary colors
  • Students will follow proper lab procedures to avoid color contamination
  • Students will record and analyze data from the whole grade and compare their findings to the averages from each group, what patterns or trends did they notice in the data?
  • Students will create their own ‘designer’ color and share it with the class
    • this was fun way to wrap up the activity, we had a ‘fashion’ show with each group coming up to the front of the room to showcase their newly created and named colors
    • if time allowed, at the end we made a rainbow with each student holding their test tube and standing next to a person who had a color similar to their own, from Red to Purple
rainbow_test_tubes
Visual assessment – all test tubes are even and you can quickly see that each color has a volume of 25mL.

Triple Beam Balance – Bottles of Stuff!

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Materials

  • Single Serving Size (1L or less) bottles filled with various items
    • students brought in materials of their choice over the course of a week
  • Triple Beam Balance (TBB)
  • Mass Set
  • Student Handout (Triple Beam Balance Bottles pdf)

bottle_mass_4

Procedures – Part 1

  1. Provide each lab group with an assortment of bottles
  2. Students will arrange the bottles from lightest to heaviest by making observations
  3. They will record the order of the bottles and their contents with #1 as the lightest and #10 the heaviest on their handout
    • my groups used 9 bottles, but there is room on the handout for 10
  4. Using the set of masses, they will estimate the mass of each bottle by holding a bottle in one hand and a mass in the other hand, recording their estimations on the handout

bottle_mass_2

Procedures – Part 2

  1. Students will transfer their estimation to the back page
  2. Using the TBB they will record the actual masses of the bottles
  3. Then they will rank the bottles from lightest (#1) to heaviest (#10) and compare their estimation to the actual masses. How close were the estimations to the actual masses? Did they place the bottles in the correct order?

Results

Bottle # Mass (g) Bottle # Mass (g) Bottle # Mass (g)
1 126.9 14 281 27 192.3
2 72.9 15 336.5 28 330.9
3 29.6 16 223 29 465
4 438 17 70 30 195
5 202.1 18 36.43 31 59.1
6 166 19 185 32 168.8
7 63.1 20 88 33 33
8 301.5 21 140.1 34 100
9 224 22 49.1 35 402.5
10 610+ 23 73.3 36 187.1
11 67.1 24 54.9 37 318.4
12 251.8 25 27.5 38
13 410.1 26 406 39

You can also use these bottles as part of your density unit, see my blog entry for more information.