Teaching FREEBIES and Resources Monthly Newsletter!
  

Jun 6, 2017

Summer STEM Challenges!


Teacher friends,
Summer is finally here! Woohoo! Many of you are counting down the last few days of school. This time of year can be quite challenging while trying to keep students engaged and learning. This is the PERFECT time to keep students busy with STEM activities and summer resources!

These summer challenges have science, technology, engineering, and measurement activities for your upper elementary kids that will really get their brains going until the end of the school year!


Challenge 1: Floating Noodle Castle Challenge!
Students must design a floating castle with noodles and toothpicks! Four to five students are assigned per group. Each group is given noodle rings that are cut ½ inch wide. Students should be easily able to cut the rings into smaller pieces if needed.The castle must stay connected at all times in the water. Students have one hour to complete this challenge. 
***Creativity points are awarded in this challenge. ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!




Challenge 2: Water Balloon Catapult Challenge! 
Students must design a catapult or slingshot that propels a water balloon into the air. The group that can propel the water balloon the farthest wins the challenge. Students have three attempts to create their best catapult.  ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!



Challenge 3: Slip-N-Slide Challenge! 
Students must construct a Slip-n-Slide that effectively accelerates an object through its course. The Slip-n-Slide can have turns, hills, and decorative features in its design. The object must be going fast enough to complete the slide but not too fast where it could cause injury to the rider. Three different objects must be tested – students can decide which objects they think will accelerate at the right speed.  



Integrating summer activities into the classroom can sometimes be tricky with upper elementary grade levels, but with STEM, celebrating summertime will be a blast!


Jun 1, 2017

Ancient Israel STEM Challenge!


Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Ancient Civilizations.. Next stop, Ancient Israel!  

I never heard of Masada until I began researching Ancient Israel for this project. Masada is described as King Herod’s desert fortress in the sky. It was built between 37 and 15 BCE. The fortress is most well known as the place where the Jewish people fought against the Roman invasion.
It is located on top of a giant rock cliff overlooking the Dead Sea. This fortress was built as a refuge and safe place for the King. It was a self-sufficient micro-world, having everything that a large group of people would need in order to survive. 

I found the information on Masada fascinating and I thought it would make an excellent STEM challenge for students! 


Ancient Israel STEM Challenge: Masada Fortress in the Sky!

Using a list of supplies, students are required to engineer a model of Masada! Their model must contain the Western and Eastern Palaces (a total of three platforms). They can be as creative as they would like in their design, but it must have three levels. After creating their model, they must use wood blocks (Jenga) to built the tallest rock cliff that can support their Masada model. The group with the tallest rock cliff wins! ***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge. 

Would you like the printable guides and listed materials for this Ancient Israel STEM Challenge? Click here!



May 22, 2017

Ancient India STEM Challenges

STEM Challenges
Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Ancient Civilizations.. Next stop, Ancient India! :)


During the summertime in Ancient India (and still to this day), a monsoon would come every year, raining buckets and buckets of water. In Eastern India, a second monsoon would come as well during the end of summer. The ancient people of India had to figure out a way to save the water for the remainder of the year! 

STEM activities

The type of irrigation system that is shown in this sample STEM project is the Rahat (Lever System). A wheel is used in this type of irrigation. The wheel is often turned by oxen, cows, or buffalo.

In this STEM Challenge, students must design a model of an ancient irrigation system by selecting one using a guide (more information below). They must use their knowledge of simple machines by incorporating either a lever or pulley system in their design. The water must successfully be moved from one bin to another, the second bin representing the plants that need to be watered. The group that can create a system that moves the most water (without large amounts of spilling or wasting water) in the shortest amount of time wins the challenge! ***For more information and printable guides about the challenge, scroll to the end of the post!  




Ancient Civilizations STEM
A stupa is a mound-like Buddhist structure that is typically used as a place for meditating. The earliest stupas were built around late 4th century BC! (400-300 BC) 

In this STEM Challenge, the students must protect their stupa from flooding due to a monsoon. Materials must be added around the fence to protect water from entering the stupa. Water must be poured around the fence of their design, the water height must be at least a third of the height of their stupa. (For example, if the stupa is 12 inches tall, the water height must be 4 inches in their container.  Students must brainstorm which materials would stop the water from getting past the fence for a full 2 minutes***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge. 


Would you like the printable guides and listed materials for these Ancient India STEM Challenges? Click here!








May 18, 2017

Ancient Egypt STEM Ideas!


Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Ancient Civilizations.. Next stop, Ancient Egypt!  

I had been really looking forward to designing projects for this unit! I had so many different ideas for Egypt STEM challenges, it was hard to narrow it down to just two activities. I decided to focus on the process of mummification and how they preserved organs inside the canopic jars. I also decided that a pyramid challenge is a MUST in the STEM unit. 


Challenge #1 Mummified Apples in Canopic Jars

During the mummification process, the human organs were removed and preserved inside canopic jars.  The jars had hieroglyphic writing and the heads of different gods on top of the lids. The four sons of Horus (the god of the sky) were featured on the canopic jars.  Each jar contains a different organ.
 Natron was the preservative solution that the Egyptians used during the embalming process. It preserved the bodies and organs by drying out the moisture and it also served as a disinfectant. 

      In this STEM Challenge, using 4 slices of apple, students must test different mixtures using salt, baking soda, vinegar, and sugar. Out of the 4 slices, they must have a control group (no ingredients used on the apple) to measure the mummification process. They are trying to find the best version of the Egyptian's natron (preservative solution). They need to write down the exact measurements for each mixture using the next page. Each canopic jar needs to be labeled with the mixture. After applying the mixtures to the apples, they are placed inside the sealed jars.  For the next four days, students must record their observations during the mummification process. ***For more information about the challenge, scroll to the end of the post!  


The Ancient Egyptian pyramids are one of the most magnificent man-made structures created throughout history. The Egyptians began building pyramids during the beginning of the Old Kingdom, around 4,500 years ago. No building plans were discovered, so it is still a mystery on how the pyramids were built. 

In this STEM challenge, students must design either a freestanding square or rectangular pyramid. The goal of the challenge is to design the tallest pyramid in the shortest amount of time. If glue is used instead of non-drying clay or marshmallows, allow for drying time. Students only need to use the timer during building time. They can stop the clock while their pyramid dries. The group who can build the tallest pyramid in the shortest amount of time wins the challenge.***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge. 

Would you like the printable guides and listed materials for these Ancient Egypt STEM Challenges? Click here!

May 13, 2017

Ancient Mesopotamia STEM Ideas!



Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Ancient Civilizations.. First stop, Ancient Mesopotamia!  

    Ancient Civilizations has to be my favorite curriculum to teach. I find the ancient world fascinating, with all the different traditions, inventions, rituals, building structures, gods and goddesses. I could probably spend the whole year just focusing on Egypt alone, with its pyramids, their social hierarchy with pharaohs, and interesting process of mummification. I get excited knowing that the information about these civilizations that existed in 3000-1000 BC are still being uncovered by archaeologists today. I love sharing my excitement and enthusiasm about Ancient Civs! 




STEM, ancient civilizations, ancient mesopotamia
Cuneiform was developed around approximately 3000 B.C. The Sumerians wrote on clay tablets and used a sharpened reed as a stylus. They baked the clay tablets in the sun, ensuring that their written records would last a very long time. Cuneiform is the first known recorded language. It led to other forms of writing.

Here's the STEM challenge: students must first make the play-dough to create their cuneiform tablet. After painting their tablet, students must decide on symbols that represent each letter of the alphabet. They must create an answer key of their symbols that correlate with the letters A-Z. Using a sharp pencil as a stylus, students will carve their symbols into their tablet, creating a coded message. The message must be a fact about Ancient Mesopotamia and it must contain at least 5 words. When multiple groups are finished, they will give the Cuneiform tablets to each other and try to guess what the other group’s message is. 
***For more information about the challenge, scroll to the end of the post!  


STEM, ancient civilizations, ancient mesopotamia

Ziggurats were the most prominent buildings in the Sumerian cities. The Sumerians believed that the gods and goddesses were in charge of their cities. They built the Ziggurat structures because they wanted to place their temples on a high platform, closer to the heavens where the gods lived. 

Here's the STEM challenge: Students must design a Ziggurat structure that contains a marble run track. The goal of the stem challenge is to create a design that has the longest properly-functioning marble run track. The marble run can travel up, down, around, or inside the Ziggurat structure. The structure and marble run cannot be taller than 2 ft. It also cannot be more than 20 inches wide. The marble must be dropped at the top of the Ziggurat and after completing it’s course it must end at the bottom of the structure. The Ziggurat design must also have at least two temples (levels). ***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge. 







May 8, 2017

5K Followers Giveaway + Teacher Appreciation Sale!



Teacher Friends,
I'm so excited to announce that the StudentSavvy store on TpT is SO CLOSE to reaching 5,000 followers! Last week, we also reached 1 MILLION visitors on the blog! These are huge milestones and I am just blown away by the growth of the blog and store! THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my store along the way, I greatly appreciate it and feel overjoyed to celebrate the success with you!!

To celebrate these milestones, we're giving away a $50 TpT Cash (gift card.) This is the perfect time to win a gift card because during May 9-10th, is the big Teaching Appreciation Sale on Teachers pay Teachers!! Reaching these milestones could not have come at a better time!

This giftcard giveaway will end on the 9th during the TpT sale. This will ensure you can have one full day to shop during the last day of the sale! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget the Teacher Appreciation sale on Teachers pay Teachers is tomorrow!  Enter code THANKYOU17 at checkout. Begin filling your cart here! 


Here are some new/seasonal resources that you may want to check out during the sale! 

Ultimate Savvy Savings = Entire StudentSavvy Store 
50% off PLUS Additional 28% during the Sale!

All The Resources in the Store for Half the Price + 28% Savings during the Sale!! 
This resource contains a zip file of all the products you will find in the StudentSavvy store. (including future ones!) You will be the FIRST to receive new resources! Subject Areas / Resource Types include: Around the World Resources, Teacher Binders, Open House / Back to School Night, Interactive Notebooks, STEM Activities, Craftivities, Interactive PowerPoints, Sub Resources, Sub Tub, Sub Plans, Earth Science, Ancient Civilizations, US History, End of the Year Resources, Beginning of the Year Resources, and SO much more! Over 200 resources and counting!


STEM Challenges include:
1. Mini Golf Course (Hole in One) Challenge! Students must design a Mini Golf (one hole) that can be successfully completed in one stroke (a hole in one!). They must also craft a putter. Certain types of angles and obstacles in the course are required in their design. 

2. Balloon Rocket Car Challenge! Students must design a bottle rocket or car that is propelled only by the air escaping from a balloon. 

3. Trampoline Challenge! Students must construct a trampoline that can bounce an object (such as a marble) after being dropped from 12 inches (1 ft) high. They must measure the height of the bounce and build the contraption that creates the highest bounce. 


Novel Studies Bundle for 5th-6th Grade in an Interactive Notebook format! 

This product contains interactive cut and paste learning material for students to create an organized Novel Studies in an Interactive Notebook format. Chapter Quizzes, Final Exams, and Fun Board Games are also included! Find it here!

May 7, 2017

Gamer STEM Challenges!



Teacher friends,
It's typical for students to begin losing focus in the classroom as the end of the school year is approaching. Real learning does not have to go out the window just yet, you just have to mask it such a way where it doesn't quite seem like learning to students... but in fact, still is! 
Do your students enjoy playing games? They are a great way to keep students engaged and still learning! Games + STEM activities are the perfect way you and your students can survive until the end of the school year!

These game-themed challenges have science, technology, engineering, and measurement activities for your upper elementary kids that will really get their brains going until the end of the school year!



Challenge 1: Code a Video Game Challenge!
Students will work together to plan and design a game with characters, obstacles, and commands. The game must have an objective with a staring point and a finishing point. It is up to the group how detailed they would like their game to be. Once the board is put together, students will split into their two groups – the players and the programmers. The programmers will be in charge of developing the game – placing the obstacles, characters, and writing down the commands in the exact order that will allow the players to win the game. It is up to the programmers how difficult they want their game to be. ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!




Challenge 2: Pinball Machine Challenge!
Students must design a Pinball machine that contains the following properly-functioning parts: flippers, drain, holes, bumpers, and plunger. For extending learning, students can decide to incorporate a spring in the design of their plunger. Students must be able to successfully launch the ball using the plunger. They must have a certain number of obstacles such as bumpers an holes that award points to the player. The flippers must be able to function in preventing the ball from reaching the drain. ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!





















Challenge 3: Foosball Table Challenge!
Students must construct a functioning foosball table that has at least 12 players (6 per player) and 6 rods. (3 per player) Students must be able to push, pull, and turn the rods properly to move the players. The players must be secure enough to not fall off and hit the ball properly. There must be two opposing goals that the ball can be knocked into by the players. ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!




Integrating end of the year activities into the classroom can sometimes be tricky with upper elementary grade levels, but with STEM, celebrating the end of the year will be a blast!




May 2, 2017

End of the Year STEM Activities!

STEM Activities, STEM resources

Teacher friends,
As you know the end of the year is slowly but surely approaching. You and your students could not be MORE READY! Real learning does not have to go out the window just yet, you just have to mask it such a way where it doesn't quite seem like learning to students... but it in fact, still is! 
STEM activities are the perfect way you and your students can survive until the end of the school year!

These End of the Year Challenges have science, technology, engineering, and measurement activities for your upper elementary kids that will really get their brains going until the end of the school year!


Challenge 1: Mini Golf - Hole in One Challenge!
Students must design a Mini Golf (one hole) that can be successfully completed in one stroke (a hole in one!). They must also craft a putter. Specific types of angles and obstacles in the course are required in their design.  ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!

End of the Year activities



Challenge 2: Balloon Rocket Car!
Students must design a bottle rocket or car that is propelled only by the air escaping from a balloon. Students must decide what materials they want to use and how they are going to use them. Plastic bottles, tissue boxes, and milk cartons make great rocket cars! ***for more information on the challenge, scroll down to the end of the post!



STEM Activities, STEM resources


Challenge 3: Construct a Trampoline!
Students must construct a trampoline that can bounce an object (such as a marble) after being dropped from 12 inches (1 ft) high. They must measure the height of the bounce and build the contraption that creates the highest bounce. 

STEM Activities


Integrating end of the year activities into the classroom can sometimes be tricky with upper elementary grade levels, but with STEM, celebrating the end of the year will be a blast!







Apr 26, 2017

Fun Ideas and Activities for Novel Studies + a GIVEAWAY!

Hi teacher friends,  
    Some of my favorite memories in elementary school were centered around reading novels in the classroom! I'll always remember making a glittery web with glue and black paper while reading Charlotte's Web in third grade. (I also remember our teacher scolding us for the giant glittery mess on the carpet.)
    Creative projects and activities have the ability to bring novels to life. While choosing a novel unit, it is obviously important to keep your students' reading levels and comprehension skills in mind. That is why interactive notebooks and similar resources are a great way to differentiate their learning and allow them to work at their own pace.
     Here are some of my favorite activities, resources, and ideas to utilize in the classroom while studying novel units!


Host a Book Themed Party!
     After the whole class finishes a novel, host a themed party where students can create props, costumes, classroom decorations, or even bring in yummy snacks that are related to the book.
Some of my favorite book themed party ideas include:
   Butter Beer for Harry Potter   (2 liter cream soda, 2 tablespoons butter extract - for cream top- 1 7oz container of marshmallow creme, 1 cup whipping cream - add all items together in an electric mixer and combine until smooth.) 
   Dirt & Worms for Holes (chocolate mousse cups with oreo crumbs and gummy worms)
   Onion Dip for Holes
   Creating Egyptian Masks for The Egypt Game
   A Day of Random Acts of Kindness - Wonder
   Making Yarn Dolls - Esperanza Rising
   Making Jamaica Flower Punch - Esperanza Rising

Book Tasting Event + Menu / Brochure Freebie! 
    Host a book tasting in the classroom so students can experience a variety of genres and writing styles! Learning how to select a book that you know you'd enjoy is such a great skill to acquire. Utilize group tables by having each group table represent a different genre. Time students for about 10 minutes at each table and then rotate. You can also have your students create table menus before setting up the book tasting. Download this Google Classroom FREEBIE where students can use this template to create a menu in Google Drive!    

This resource allows students to create a pamphlet that can be edited for ANY novel! The file contains a Google Drive link that can be used for Google Classroom. Download here

Interactive Notebook Novel Studies
      I love having interactive notebooks for every subject. Each of my interactive notebooks contain Character Cards that fit inside a card pocket, Writing Warm-ups for Each Chapter, Vocabulary Cutouts, Themes Foldables, Chapter Quizzes, a Final Exam, a Fun Board Game (to help study for exam!) Novel Quote Posters, Reading Logs, Notebook Cover, Interactive Reading Notebook Templates, and SO much more! Here are some more photos of the interactive notebooks (board game included)...


 Find Novel Study Interactive Notebook Resources here! 




Books + Novel Study GIVEAWAY!

Last but not least, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY of my favorite classroom novels! The winner of the giveaway will receive hard copies of five books AND five matching interactive notebooks! (The 5th-6th Grade Novel Studies Bundle!) During the giveaway I will also have this resource set to 20% OFF! Find it here!
 

The novels and interactive notebooks include:
 Enter here to win!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 18, 2017

When Kids Want to be ANYWHERE but in School!

When Kids Want to Be Anywhere But in School   It’s that time of year – it is beautiful outdoors and kids are ready to let out all of that pent-up energy from the winter months. It’s that time for teachers, too – time for teachers to dig deep into the old bag of tricks and come up with any little thing that will hold the kids attention!   For times like this, when it’s still way too early for end-of-year activities, but definitely time for a little variety to grab the kids’ attention, what do you do? What classroom activities can you come up with that will take the kids attention off of baseball and swimming pools for a little while but still stay in line with the skills they need to learn?  

 Here are some ideas that don’t take lots of planning, but just might provide that little something different the kids need:  

  Reuse and Recycle Resources!
 Task Card Jeopardy - Dig out five sets of task cards that you have already used earlier in the year. Choose several cards from each set to use as the questions in a Jeopardy-style game.  
 Blackout Poetry from an Old Book – Choose a class novel that’s falling apart, or ask for a discard or two from the library. Give each student a page torn from the book to use in creating a blackout poem in which they use markers to “black out” all of the words except for those that will make up their poem.  
 Magazine Collage – Recycle a pile of discarded magazines by using them once more as material for a collage with a spring theme, a theme from a class novel, or a review topic.  

Read Something Unique!
  Find non-fiction articles about student interests. First, give each student a chance to tell the class about an interest or hobby that their classmates might not know they enjoy, and then follow up later with readings on some of the topics the kids brought up.
Read a story you’ve always liked but never had time to use earlier in the year. Maybe choose a suspenseful story from a children’s magazine and read it aloud to the class; kids of any age enjoy listening to a great story.  
 Read a play aloud. This was a favorite activity in my classes at this time of year. Sometimes there just isn’t time to fit plays in earlier in the year, but plays always seem to be a hit with the kids once you do have the time.  
 Read poems aloud as choral readings. Big Talk, by Paul Fleischman, a collection of poems for four voices, is one good choice.

 Repeat a Favorite Activity, But with a New Twist!
  Students love working in groups, but maybe you usually assign group members for behavior or academic purposes. For a change, let students choose their groups.  
 Repeat a favorite whole-class activity, such as solving puzzles on the whiteboard, but this time with one of your students as the teacher.  

Solve a Mystery!
  Kids love anything that’s like a puzzle, and mystery stories definitely fit the bill. Preview the story to find just the right spot to stop reading so that kids can work on solving the mystery themselves before reading the end of the story. You could even work in the use of “text based evidence” by requiring kids to show support from the text for their solutions. Solving mysteries is a great activity for group work, too!   And on the subject of mysteries, here’s a freebie from my store – Mysteries Task Cards – a set of twelve cards with a fun little mystery on each one.
  Task Card Mysteries FREE    

  Write Instead of Read!
  Kids do love to read plays aloud. But could they write one? Challenge groups of kids to take a scene from a class novel and rewrite it as a skit to be presented in class.  

Advertise It! Creating advertisements is fun because it’s hands-on and creative. Kids can make an advertisement for anything from a novel (think movie poster) to an editing or fact-checking service. They’ll enjoy the creative process as they design their ad and recall things they’ve studies during the year at the same time. Depending on their interests, and how much time you want to invest, kids could make a poster, a magazine ad, a recorded radio ad, or even a video or slide show to showcase their “product.”   Activities like these are just different enough to get students interested – fun, but not too off track. After all, you want to save the really entertaining ones as long as possible - until it really is the last days of school. At this time of year, just a little twist may be all that’s needed to spark some interest and get one more beautiful spring day in the classroom off to a fine start!

Anywhere But in School pin copy

   Classrooom in the Middle logo - rectangular
 Guest post by Sharon from the Classroom in the Middle blog. Sharon has spent over 20 years teaching English, reading, and other subjects to middle school students. She loves having more time now to create and write about resources for teachers – especially materials for teaching reading, vocabulary, and writing to students in grades 4 through 8. Here is the link to her store, also called Classroom in the Middle.   

Mar 30, 2017

Earth Science - Easy Prep Teaching Ideas!

Hi teacher friends,
Are your elementary students studying Earth Science this year? I've always dreaded trying to hunt down lab supplies and equipment for science activities, but during the last few years I've been able to come up with little-to-no prep activities to teach Earth Science! These hands-on activities allow students to experiment and learn the material much quicker than reading from a textbook! With the right tools and resources, science is engaging and amazing!

BIOME GO Activity
This physical activity is HIGHLY engaging for students. Students find one animal per round. They fill out their “Biomedex”, recording data and answering questions about the animal they have just discovered. When they are done, they will go and hide the biome animal for the next classmate to find. Just tape or glue the animal circles to a popsicle stick so they don't blow away. Biomes include Forest, Desert, Tundra, Tropical Rainforest, and Aquatic (Saltwater). Students give their animals POWER MOVES based on their unique adaptations! In-depth Directions are included. Facts about each animal are also included. Students can identify special adaptations for each animal to help them play the game.

biome activity earth science activity
biomes teaching resource

Find this fun resource here!
Biome Go teaching resource



Identifying Rocks, Minerals, and Gems
This is always a favorite in class! Using the Mohs Scale, students can also determine the hardness of the mineral. They can make predictions by studying their rock (its color, shape/surface, size) and then testing it using the scale.

Rocks Minerals Gems Teaching Resource

Rocks and Minerals Resource
click here to find Rocks, Minerals, and Gems INB



Easy Ocean Zones

You will need plastic water bottles, blue food coloring, & vegetable oil for this science activity. First, fill the bottle half way with water. Add about 10 to 15 drops of food coloring. Use a funnel or squeeze bottle to fill the rest of the bottles with veggie oil. Have students shake it up as hard as they can! (Make sure the lids are on tight!) When the water and oil finally settle, it creates three distinct layers. These layers resemble the three zones: sunlit, twilight, and midnight. (or euphotic, disphotic, and aphotic zones) Students can label their bottles and take the ocean home with them!





Earth Science Interactive PowerPoints

These teaching resources are quite the virtual experience! The Earth Science PowerPoints can be used as powerful classroom presentations or students can click their way through them on individual computers!!


Here is a fast-paced screen capture of an interactive powerpoint in action!
Find more Earth Science Interactive PowerPoints here! 



Earth Science Interactive Notebooks
The units covered within the Earth Science Bundle are: Rock Cycle, Minerals, Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Weather, Ecosystems, Earth's Cycles, Photosynthesis, Biomes, Energy
6th grade students love these interactive journals for Earth Science curriculum. This resource contains over 30 pages of interactie learning material!


Do you have any fun Earth Science activities you enjoy doing with your students? Post Below!

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