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Sep 3, 2017

Rock Cycle STEM Challenges!

Rock Cycle STEM weathering and erosion

Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The current unit I'm focusing on is the Rock Cycle! After doing a little research, I came up with two great STEM projects that are simple enough to create in the classroom. Initially I originally thought these projects might be too simple for 4th-6th grade, but they are much more difficult to pull off than they appear!

I first discuss with students the three different types of rock (igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic) and how they are formed. Igneous is formed by the heating and cooling of lava. Sedimentary is formed by the deposition of material at the earth's surface and within bodies of water. Metamorphic rocks were once igneous or sedimentary rocks and have changed from high temperatures or pressure. I then have students brainstorm if it is possible to demonstrate each of the rock cycle phases by using crayons!

Without giving them the answers, I question how could they change the state of the crayons to represent the different formations,... This is where the fun begins with STEM challenges!  



STEM Activity #1: Rock Cycle Challenge with Crayons! 

Rock Cycle STEM weathering and erosion

Here's the Challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must demonstrate the rock cycle and the different rock formations that occur during the process. All three types of rock must be present in the cycle. Students must collect a small sample of rock during each phase and it must be labeled which type it is. STEM groups have three trials to complete this challenge.. They must complete the challenge in 75 minutes. ***See end of post for more information on supplies!

STEM Activity #2: Erosion and Weathering with Rock Cliffs! 

Students must demonstrate how weathering and erosion affects our landscape. They must build four rock cliffs using sugar cubes and decide on different weathering and erosion strategies for each rock cliff (one strategy per rock cliff).  A strategy  can be a combination of wind and rain effects or another way to break down the rocks. They must describe and label each strategy they came up with. (Ex: 10 drops of water and 5 seconds of shaking in plastic container – rain and wind)  The goal is to find a wide variety of results from different weathering and erosion strategies.  They have one hour to complete this challenge. 

Aug 31, 2017

Ecosystems STEM Challenge!

Ecosystems food web stem challenges

Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The current unit I'm focusing on is all about ecosystems and food webs! 
This project is SO much fun! A STEM group (4-5 students) must first decide on which type of ecosystem they are going to research for their challenge. 
    
Before I begin the challenge with students, I make sure they know all about how energy travels up the web. A food web is a system of interlocking food chains within an ecosystem or community. Energy first comes from the sun. Plants use that energy from the sun and produce energy for primary consumers. The primary consumers provide energy for the secondary consumers and so forth. After students have basic knowledge of how food webs work, they are ready to choose an ecosystem and get to work! 

STEM Activity: Food Web Marble Maze

Here's the Challenge: 
The group must first choose a biome or type of ecosystem. (ex: Tundra, Grassland, Forest) Using a list of materials, students must create a marble run that features different levels of the food web. They must include a producer, a primary consumer, secondary consumer, and a tertiary consumer. There can be more than one of each type of consumer, but there must be at least one of every level. The marble maze must direct the ball going up the various interlocking paths along the food web. Animals and consumer types must be labeled in their design. Drawings, computer clipart, or figurines can be used. Students have three days to complete this project!


Would you like the printable guides and listed materials for these Ecosystems - Food Web Marble Maze STEM Challenges? Click here!  

Biome STEM Challenge!

biomes STEM challenges

Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The current unit I'm focusing on is all about biomes! 
This project is SO much fun! In a STEM group of four to five students, they must research a specific biome that they have chosen for the challenge. They should focus on the plants and animals that live there who have special adaptations to help them survive in that specific climate.  After they have decided on a biome, they find a plastic or stuffed animal that is not associated with their chosen location... Here's where the fun begins! 



STEM Activity #1: Survival of the Biomes! 

Here's the Challenge: The STEM group of students must first decide on a plush or plastic animal to bring to school. They must also decide on a specific biome that the animal is going to survive in. The animal they choose for this challenge may not already have adaptations suited for the chosen biome. The students must come up with at least 4 different adaptations for their animal. Using the materials listed below, their group must transform their animal so it is better suited for the new environment it will survive in. The group must also create a poster that describes each adaptation and why they chose it for their animal. The materials listed below are just suggestions, students may add to the list. They have 3 days to complete this challenge

biomes STEM challenges

Aug 28, 2017

Teacher Binders - Tips & Free Resources!


   If you're an organization freak like myself, you may LOVE the topic of teacher planners and binders like I do! Even though all teachers should be enjoying their summer right now, it may give you piece of mind to have everything ready for Back to School. In fact, you can just spend a few hours planning and then enjoy the rest of your summer worry-free!!
     What I've found to be incredibly helpful for staying organized throughout the school year are teacher binders... They are simply LIFE SAVERS. Don't kill your precious time by rifling through endless stacks of papers in a big drawer.. No teacher has time for that!

Let this be the year that you start utilizing teacher binders in your classroom! If you're not sure how to go about it, here are my tips and a few free resources!

Tip #1 - Have separate binders for separate topics or resources.
This will prevent your binders from paper overload. I like to have a separate binder for when a substitute comes in.. I'll just leave out that binder for them! Also having a student binder with student-related printables (homework folder, while you were out sick/here's what you missed folder, student information, reading logs, IEP forms, etc.)  is nice to have separate from my own teacher binder.



Tip #2 - Use plastic sheet protectors and have master copies. That makes everything WAY MORE organized and paper friendly!



Tip #3 -  This is my biggest tip - Go digital. Have everything saved and backed up on the computer in case of an emergency. I cannot tell you how many times I've dumped coffee inside my teacher bag... so fun. You can thank me later. ;)





Tip #4 - Make it EDITABLE for every year! (another reason to go the digital route!)



Tip #5 - Use tabs to find things FAST.
























Tip #6 - Have an entire calendar in your teacher binder, not just Monday through Friday. If you're like most teachers, (unfortunately) your planning isn't just limited to weekdays. Have multiple formats available in your binder for planning!



Tip #7 - Have a MISC section. I love having this section in my binder for extra planning templates.

Tip #8 - The use of binder spines. SO much easier to find on the bookshelf!



Tip #9 - Be even MORE ORGANIZED with topic covers and a Table of Contents!



Tip #10 - Edit so it fits the needs of your students! This is a great reason to have digital and editable copies of your binder. Your students needs will change every year. You will need to alter your binders to accommodate your new students!





 Here are some FREEBIES that you may use as templates in your teacher binder!







Download all the free pages in one PDF file here! 

So those are my tips and freebies for creating teacher binders in the classroom! If you loved the binders you saw in the photos, I designed them and you can find them here! :)

Triple Binder Bundle! - Teacher - Student - Substitute Editable Binders


Editable Teacher Binder

Editable Student Binder

Editable Substitute Binder




Aug 10, 2017

Energy STEM Challenges!


Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The current unit I'm focusing on is ENERGY! After doing a little research, I came up with two great STEM projects that are simple enough to create in the classroom. Initially I originally thought these projects might be too simple for 4th-6th grade, but they are much more difficult to pull off than they appear!




STEM Activity #1: Marble Run Challenge - Kinetic & Potential Energy! 

Kinetic energy is the energy of an object that is moving. A skier has kinetic energy while skiing down a snowy hill. The energy stored inside an object by changing its position or location is called potential energy.  When the skier walks up the hill, he is storing energy. There are several different types of potential energy such as gravitation, elastic, nuclear, and chemical


Students are challenged to design a  marble run or roller coaster that showcases both kinetic and potential energy.
What type of potential energy is used in a marble run? Can a marble run have multiple points of potential energy? Students must figure out how that is possible. 


Here's the Challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must design a marble run that showcases both kinetic and potential energy at use. Students must be able to label which parts of their marble run shows the energy transfer. Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. They have two days to finalize their roller coaster/marble run. ***Check out the link at the end of the post for more information about the challenge. 



STEM Activity #2: Solar Oven Challenge - Solar Energy!

Photovoltaic solar power converts sunlight into electricity using a silicon based technology. In this method, solar panels are typically used to convert the sun’s rays into energy. This has the ability to power businesses and homes. This type of solar power is one of the most reliable forms of renewable energy. 

Solar thermal energy does not convert sunlight into electricity like photovoltaic technology. It stores heat from the sun that is later transformed into electricity 


So here's the Challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must a solar oven that captures sunlight and retains heat. The solar oven should be able to melt crayons within an hour.  Students are not required to use all of the items listed below but they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. Students have one hour to finalize the design of their solar oven. (The time it takes to test their design does not count towards the one hour) The group that is able to melt the crayons the fastest wins the challenge!



Aug 9, 2017

Weather & Atmosphere Earth Science STEM Challenges!


Hey Teacher Friends,

Right now I'm in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Earth Science.. The first unit I'm focusing on is Weather and the Atmosphere! After doing a little research, I came up with two great STEM projects that are simple enough to create in the classroom. Initially I originally thought these projects might be TOO simple for 4th-6th grade, but they are much more difficult to pull off than they appear!



STEM Activity #1: Anemometer Challenge! 


An anemometer is an instrument that is used to measure wind speed. Some anemometer devices can also measure the wind direction.
A cup anemometer has four cups connected to horizontal arms that spin on a vertical pole. The design was later mortified to three cups because it responded more quickly to gusts of wind and had less errors in the reading. 
A well designed anemometer should be able to respond quickly to changes in wind speed. It should also be able to detect a wide range of wind speeds. 

Here's the challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must design an anemometer that accurately measures wind speed. They must be able to measure how many spins the device makes per minute by marking one of the revolving cups.  They have one hour to complete this challenge. (time testing their anemometer does not count towards the hour).  In order to test, the anemometer should be placed outside on a windy day or can be tested with a fan.  ***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge. 



STEM Activity #2: Barometer Challenge! 


A barometer is an instrument that measures pressure in the atmosphere. They were once commonly used in ships, aircrafts, and even households around the world. There are several different types of barometers, such as the water-based barometer, the mercury barometer, and the aneroid barometer.  

Here's the challenge: Using a list of supplies, students must design a type of barometer that measures changes in the atmospheric pressure. Their design must have a needle that measures an increase or decrease in air pressure. Students must use the items listed below and they are not allowed to add items to the list. If they test it and it does not work properly, they have two more attempts to fix their design. They have one hour to design their barometer. (time testing their barometer does not count towards the hour).  In order to test, the barometer should be placed outside or by a window.


Jul 31, 2017

BTS Sale and Target Teacher Giveaway!


Hi teacher friends,
Have you heard the exciting news?! The big Back to School sale on Teachers pay Teachers begins TOMORROW! 
Let's just say my whole body hurts right now from sitting at my computer. Not only have I been creating resources like a crazy person, I've been filling up my cart with some fabulous TpT resources for the upcoming school year. 

If you head on over to TpT, all the resources in the StudentSavvy store will be 20% off, starting tomorrow! Don't forget to use promo code BTS2017 for that extra 5% savings! Yay!!

  
To celebrate the upcoming sale, I'm giving away a $50 Target gift card! This is the perfect time to do a little Back to School shopping at Target!

***Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway! 



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


Ultimate Savvy Savings = Entire StudentSavvy Store
50% off PLUS Additional 25% 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 280 resources and counting!



Your 3rd-6th grade elementary students will love these clever and creative hashtag brag tags!    #TeacherForTheWin! Find them here! 25% off 







Do your students love STEM challenges and activities? Transform your room into a STEM-ready classroom! Inspire your students with Growth Mindset posters! 





The Ancient Civilizations Curriculum Resource contains the following 5 Bundles: 










Design your perfect teacher binder with 30 fabulous covers! 
100% editable! Just click and start typing! 




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy shopping! :)

Jul 22, 2017

How to Use Brag Tags with UPPER ELEMENTARY Students!




Teachers,
I’m certain you are familiar with this popular behavior management strategy – the use of brag tags in the classroom! They are not a new concept, I remember earning a few metal dog tags myself for AR reading in elementary school. Brag tags are typically used to reinforce positive behavior by rewarding students with meaningful tags. If you catch a student doing something exceptional, you can hand them a tag to add to their growing collection. Some examples can include conquering a STEM challenge, acing an exam, having a great day with the substitute teacher, etc.

Students can place their tags on a key chain or wear them on a ball chain necklace.

Brag tags are most frequently used in early primary grades. Many of the tags you find will have “cutesy” phrases that might not interest your upper elementary students.

Here are ways you can implement brag tags with older students! (Upper Elementary Students 3-6th grade) 


1. Encourage students to accomplish higher-level academic challenges with brag tags relating to STEM challenges, growth mindset, NGSS, and more!




2. Have HASHTAGS with clever and creative phrases that your 3rd-6th grade students will appreciate. #TeacherForTheWin


3. Have brag tags that encourage the use of technology. Many upper elementary classrooms use Google Classroom and Google Apps. It’s a great opportunity to reward them with a #TechGenius or #SpeedyFingers brag tag.

4. Instead of just saying “great teamwork”, you can hand them a #TeamworkMakesTheDreamWork

#NailedIt!


5. Older students may prefer to wear them on lanyard or keychain instead of a ball chain necklace. I guess it’s cooler? #Whoknows


6. There are many benefits to using brag tags with older students. They recognize that brag tags must be earned by accomplishing goals and challenges. It is their responsibility to not misplace their brag tags. This can help students develop organizational skills in the classroom!



If you think your students might enjoy this classroom reward system, be sure to check out this resource! These brag tags are 100% Editable! This resource contains a PDF file and a editable PowerPoint file. 175 total pages, 80 unique upper elementary brag tags! 



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!


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