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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.


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