Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2nd Annual "State" Fair (Science Fair)

It was a success!! We just had our 2nd Annual "State" Fair today. My students have been each studying a different state for the past 6 weeks. In class, they learned how to read and gather information with nonfiction texts and then wrote a 5-paragraph research paper. At home, they were to complete a science experiment that relates to their state in some way.

Here's what they came up with!

Refreshments Table

Tall or short building, which will fall first in a wind storm?

Which dam will create more hydro-electric power; tall and skinny or short and wide?

Can a solar powered oven cook a s'more?

Does gender make a difference in the strength of a blue crabs pinch?

Does salt have an effect on making ice cream?

What would grow better for industrial farmers, GMO or Organic corn seeds?

In an earthquake, which would stay up longer a cross-bracing building or a non-cross bracing building?

Which stone will erode the fastest?

Will brine shrimp hatch faster in warm or cold water?

Can a concrete wall redirect lava from your house?

Will different temperatures affect the tornadoes? 

Will ice melt faster in the shade or in the sun, but at the same temperature?

Why do the Sandia Mountains turn pink?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teaching about the 7 Continents, 5 Oceans and Globe Features

As part of our geography unit, I wanted to teach my fifth graders about the seven continents, five major oceans and give them a better understanding of how to read a globe and use a map. It was difficult at first because all of the ideas I was finding on the web were really for much younger students. So I decided to make a hands-on lesson that can be adapted for nearly any age!

Day 1: First, I had my students create a Continents and Oceans book. This was to assess their background knowledge as well as give them a good starting point for this part of the unit. They had already learned the 50 states and capitals, now they were ready to explore geography in a "bigger" way. 

Day 2: Next, I reviewed with students the following vocabulary words: equator, prime meridian, northern, southern, western, and eastern hemispheres, and north and south pole. I had a great handout that has diagrams and I also used a globe to point out each area. 

I then paired students up and gave them a balloon (which I blew up), permanent markers and handouts with diagrams of the hemispheres and north and south poles. I also allowed them to use their Continents and Oceans book that they put together in the lesson before. Their task was to create a globe that depicted the following:

1. Equator
2. Prime Meridian
3. All 4 Hemispheres
4. All 7 Continents (labeled)
5. All 5 Major Oceans

It was wonderful to see them working so well together and really get a good grasp on their world! There was a lot of vocabulary words being used as students discussed with each other how they were going to draw out their balloons. Some students worked really well using the diagrams from the handouts, while others referred to the globe often. They all seemed really proud of their work afterwards and now I have a great addition to our classroom - handmade globes!