I use these blocks as part of a density lesson as well
Prior to this set, I used blocks of scrap wood that were cut in the wood shop, but any rectangular shape works well such as chalk boxes, expo boxes, staple boxes, tissue boxes, playing cards box, dice, etc…
Prior to having the students record the measurements for the blocks, we go over the importance of how to orient the blocks before measuring. A problem that students often run into is that they end up measuring one of the sides two times, and not measuring all three of the sides. Even though the right-hand rule is not used for volume, it helps to find the L, W, & H of each block.
In the image below, Z = Length, Y= Width, and X = Height. Mathematically, it doesn’t matter which side is designated as the width, height, or length since all three sides are multiplied, but this will help students measure all three sides properly. Students should place the block in their hand and align their fingers with the three sides of the block. Once they have decided on how to orientate the block, they can record their measurements.
For this lab, you can have several stations set up around the room with 1-3 blocks at each station. I assign each block a number and using a black sharpie, write it right on to the block itself. Not all blocks have to be measured, once each student has measured 10-15 blocks, they can go back to their seats and compare their measurements with a partner. We go over the answers together as a class once everyone is done.
We are heading into Peak Hurricane Season, with forecasts predicting 12-17 named storms. Using the resources below, students can track Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, as well as learn about how hurricanes form, the parts of a hurricane, the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane, and the intensities of hurricanes with this mini-unit from my Adopt-a-City Weather Unit (link).
one laminated set per group (4 slides per page pdf)
2 sided handout for each student to keep in notes (9 slides per page pdf)
Pencils and highlighters
Procedures Part 1:
Prior to the students starting the activity on their own, I read the scenarios out loud for the class. As I read the text, students independently made a light pencil mark in each paragraph to indicate broken safety rules – anything that they thought might be an infraction. After I read the story, they worked with their partner to find the broken safety rules using the task cards. After a few minutes, I modeled the first broken safety rule to make sure everyone was on the right track and understood the directions.
Each student will have a handout with all 5 of the scenarios.
Each group will have one set of safety rule task cards.
Groups will need to identify the safety rules that were not followed for Scenario #1 and pull the safety rule task cards related to Scenario #1. The rules that were not broken will be placed in a pile to the side.
Students will lightly underline where the rules weren’t followed in their notes and write the number of the rule for each violation along with a brief 2-3 word description of the rule that was broken in the margin of their notes.
Once they have found and identified all the safety violations for Scenario 1, they will do the same for Scenarios #2-5.
Students will find as many of the 18 violations as they can.
I don’t tell the students how many safety violations there are, then they can use process of elimination for the last scenario, I tell them that each safety rule task card will be used at least once so they know that there are at least 16 violations to find.
Procedures Part 2:
Once the groups have completed the 5 scenarios, they will share their findings with the class.
On the ppt, advance to Scenario 1.
Ask one group to start – What was the first safety violation in this scenario? Which rule did SpongBob’s crew break?
Advance the slide and the answer will be highlighted in either yellow or green font (see image below).
The number in parenthesis is the safety rule number.
All students will use a highlighter to highlight the phrase and make corrections if needed.
Ask the next group if there are any other violations in the scenario, if so, what is the next one?
Each group will contribute an answer until all of them have been identified for Scenario 1.
Do the same for scenarios 2-5.
Discuss your results/debrief.
Additional Resources for this activity:
The original worksheet for this activity is from ScienceSpot.net (pdf)
Interactive Notebook version of this worksheet (pdf)
Marcia has some nice additional activities for Safety on her website (link)
This ppt was modified from the original source found at (link)
SpongeBob SquarePants® and all related characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
For more lessons on Science Skills, click on this page (link)
I used this activity with my 6th graders to emphasize observations, communication skills, and team work. It is a variation on the classic Telephone Game that many students are familiar with. Depending on the number of students you have, I found that 7-8 per team worked really well. The more students on a team, the more difficult it is to relay the information to each student, and less than 7 was much easier. If your teams aren’t exactly even, that is ok. When grouping students, be sure to mix abilities and plan accordingly for teams that are larger/smaller.
How the game works is I have 10 color photos of damselflies, and each team will make & share observations for one of the photos. The only person who will see the photo, however, is person #1. The rest of the team will not see the photo, and they don’t know what the photos are of. The only information they will have are the 10 observations person #1 will give them. Once each group determines who #1 is, #1 will come up to make and record 10 observations about their photo for 3 minutes. The rest of the team will determine who will receive the information from #1 and the order they will go in. Some strategies will go into determining the order, for example, someone who has a really good memory may want to be person #2.
Students will spread out around the room and take a seat. When the 3 minutes are up, person #1 will go to person #2 and whisper the 10 observations to them for 1 minute. Person #1 will have their index card, but can not give the index card to person #2. Person #2 can ask questions and repeat the information until the 1 minute is up. #1 will take #2’s seat and #2 will go to #3 and share the 10 observations from memory. This will continue until all members have had a turn sharing the observations.
The last member of the team will share the observations with the class and then pick out the photograph from the 10 I have. We will then compare the last set of observations to the original 10 and find out if they were able to choose the correct photo.
This was a fun and challenging activity, and it lead to some really great discussions about making and sharing observations. Many groups had difficulty picking out the original photograph because the information changed or went missing somewhere along the line, just like when they play the game telephone.
Here is nice video that gives a general overview on how to use the TBB:
3/28/18, updated again 10/7/18
OHAUS is no longer providing the free online tutorial for this activity – I will post alternatives as I find them.
Reading a Triple Beam Balance Worksheet (pdf) and Ohaus website (link)
This is a great interactive tutorial from Ohaus (link). Using the tutorial prior to using the triple beam balance in class significantly improved the student’s understanding of how to find, read, and record the mass of an object to the nearest 1/10th of a gram.
For the tutorial, each student works at their own pace and is given immediate feedback for each answer they submit. The problems are randomly generated and each student has a slightly different experience, as opposed to having each student answer the same set of problems. Students will also review place values for 100s, 10s, 1s, and 1/10ths. (Values for the 100ths place may appear in the answers, but students will only be assessed up to the 10ths place)
Next Generation Science Standards, Science and Engineering Practices (SEP)
(SEP2) Practice 2 – Developing and Using Models
(SEP4) Practice 4 – Analyzing and Interpreting Data
(SEP5) Practice 5 – Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Updated worksheet for students to use for this activity (Public Google Doc)
Changed it from “The Boy in the Water” to the “The Goat by the Water”
Changed references from ‘boy’ to ‘kid’ and his/her for gender
my students alway bring up that we infer that it is a boy, but it could be a girl, too, and they are right!!
also remind them that a ‘kid’ is a baby goat, the goat in the picture has horns 😉
I also created Google Slides for this activity (Public)
improved answer key
also added a ‘make your own inference’ slide at the end
The original worksheet(pdf) for this activity is from Project Archaeology (link)
Students often have difficulty distinguishing between observations and inferences, they often combine the two into one statement. For example, when asked to make an observation using the image above some students might say: “The kid fell into the water because the branch broke.”
Instead, they should say “there is a kid in the water” and “there is a broken branch” as two separate observations. There is no “why” in the statement. Another student may say: “The goat pushed the kid into the water when he/she was trying to pick up his/her sailboat.” This is not an easy habit to break and takes some practice.
We then discuss the difference between the facts and the “story” that goes with it. The facts are our observations and the story is how we piece the facts together, or our inference.
There is a kid is in the water
There is a goat is standing next to the water
There is a broken tree branch
There is a sailboat is floating in the water
The branch broke when the kid was sitting on it, and s/he fell into the water.
The goat butted the kid into the water when s/he was picking up her/his sailboat.
After defining and discussing the differences between observations and inferences, students will have a chance to work with their partner to practice identifying and classifying the statements related to the image of the boy in the water. Once everyone is done, as a class, we then discuss each statement and confirm each as either an observation or inference.
On your worksheet, use the picture of the kid in the water to determine if the statements are observations or if the statements are inferences. Place an “Inf” in the blank for inference and an “Obs” in the blank for observation.
Students will collaborate, problem solve, and persevere to accomplish each challenge
Materials – per group of 3-4 students
Task Cards – cut apart, laminate, and secure with a metal ring or brass brad
1 rubber band
4-6 pieces of string of equal length
This is one of the team building exercises I plan to use with my 6th graders during the first week of school. Many variations of this lesson can be found online. For this version, I created 6 different challenges for the students to tackle – each one increasing in difficulty. Not every group will get to complete all 6 challenges, and that is OK. The objective is to learn to work together as a team and not give up.
July 26, 2017 – One recommendation I have for this activity is placing the cups on the floor, when the cups fall off the table it makes it more difficult to complete the task in a timely manner.
Updated: Pictures September 2015
Discussion & Reflection
Which challenge was the easiest for you group to complete? The most difficult? Why?
Did your techniques change as you advanced to each challenge? Explain why or why not.
Describe a technique that worked best within your group.
Compare using two hands vs. one hand when holding the string to guide the cups. List advantages and disadvantages for each.
Compare using verbal and nonverbal communication, what were some of the challenges your group faced?
If you were to complete this activity again, what would your group do differently? What would you do the same?
Why are collaboration and communication skills important characteristics for scientists to have?
Did you feel like giving up at any point? How did you and your group deal with frustration?
I used this activity last week with my 6th graders and I was happy with how the activity went. Students were engaged, challenged, and made great observations about the planets. They came up with a variety of ways to organize the planets into categories based on data from the fact cards.
It was challenging to come up with categories that neither student had used yet once they met with their 3rd partner. This lead to longer discussions and deeper thinking between each pair, which lead to categorizing the planets in categories that were less obvious at first.
Students worked at their own pace and let me know when they needed a new partner. This staggered the pairings and allowed both the students who needed more time and the students who worked quickly to work at a pace that was comfortable for them. Students also enjoyed trading partners and changing seats.