Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Halloween Physics Fun!

I am so excited for my Grade 12 Physics class tomorrow for Halloween!  Any chance I get to work with shooting targets I'll take.  In Grade 11 my students launched "Angry Birds" (balloons filled with flour) at Pig Targets with their projectile launchers.
This week we've been working on Hooke's Law and Elastic Potential Energy.  The Grade 12s got to design their own launcher (only restrictions were it must be student-made in the classroom and had to obey Hooke's Law - they had to test that!).  On Halloween we're going to be shooting zombies in class!  They're such great kids they deserve a fun day and maybe some bonus marks if they win:

Monday, 28 October 2013

What's Scarier Than Real Skeletons in Your Classroom?

Happy Halloween!
Re-constructed skeletons from our owl pellet dissection
Okay, so they're only rodent skeletons, but it still adds a spooky touch to the classroom!  I'm glad I don't have the really scary Science things in my classroom like real human skeleton, biological specimens including preserved scorpions, millipedes and a two-headed fetal pig (seriously!) or the scariest thing of all: students with bad behaviors! 

If you've never done an owl pellet dissection - what are you waiting for?!  It's so much fun!

I love Halloween!  I love that I can get dressed up and go to work (couldn't really do that in an office).  Some of my favorite costumes of mine from years past are Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory (we totally look and act alike - I am nice to EVERYBODY!) and a radioactive zombie Marie Curie (I'm Polish, so that's extra special).  I was in a bind this year - I just had surgery on my eyelid, so I had to factor in glasses and stitches.  Some of my Grade 12 Physics students came up with the costume idea: Captain Hooke's Law - Captain Hook with an eye patch and springs everywhere!  We have been learning about elastic potential energy so they definitely got brownie points for that idea! :)

Want a great Science-Health connection?  Bring in candy wrappers and have your students calculate how many grams of sugar they ate on Halloween night!  The best part: have them measure our that amount of sugar on a scale!  YIKES!


Test Review

So I was the super wise teacher giving 3 unit tests in one day.  I think I did pretty good though - the Physics students got theirs back the next day and the 50+ Grade 9 tests took less than a week.  Not bad.  

It was the first major test for the Grade 9s in High School Science and the first unit test for the Grade 12s so I wanted to make sure they felt prepared and calm going into the test.  Last year I had a student experience a panic attack before she even saw the test!  I'm not that scary I swear!

We had our Learning Goal Tracker, our test outlines and our review bookmarks (print out their review questions on strips of colorful paper - easy and SO effective).  I am really stressing cooperative learning so we did this little activity too.  It's like a gallery walk, students read the skill/goal they will be assessed on during the test, and they put a circle of where they think they lie ranging from "What?", "I need more practice" (Level 1), "I still have a few questions" (Level 2), "Got it :)" (Level 3) up to "I could teach Mrs. B a thing or two about this!" (Level 4).
Many felt they needed more practice on this topic, so that's exactly what we did!

Students went around the room where I had posted about 15 or so of these tabloid pages and marked where they felt they were at.  They really liked the Sample Questions at the bottom, and and LOVED that I let them take pictures of the pages.  
You can see some members didn't feel great about the topic, but with heterogeneous groups they had a group member to help them out. 

Where is the cooperative learning portion?  Well, each group had the same color of crayon, so they had to do another lap and see where their group was for these goals.  I also went around and discussed and mentioned things like "oh, the purple group had some students that need some more practice - good thing you've got an expert in there who thinks they can teach me about that topic!"  The kids could also use these while they were doing their review and made for some great conversations.  
They all felt really good about this one!

Was it worth my time?  Absolutely!  I still have to crunch the numbers, but it looks like these Grade 9s and 12s did better than last years group with what I would say are slightly more difficult unit tests.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Periodic Table - Personified! {FREEBIE}

If you haven't noticed yet, I am a Science teacher who loves artistic things!  So when I found this last year I felt a part of my life was complete :)

The facts provide the source of personification. Source.
Check out the elements of the Periodic Table personified into beautiful illustrations.  Not only that, but the personification is based upon a fact about that element.  This is WAY more exciting than the "pick an element and tell me these things about it" assignment.  

How is great is this to introduce the Periodic Table of Elements?  It's AWESOME!  
I've used it with my Grade 9 students when they are just starting to study Chemistry and they find it so interesting.  

Flash cards on Etsy.  Link.
KcDStudios on Etsy is also selling flash cards of these illustrations.  What a great, fun way to learn about the elements.  Think of the "I have, who has" possibilities, comparing the trends of families of elements with a deck of flash cards.  I've got to get my hands on these... hint, hint Mr. Brosseau ;)
Flash cards on Etsy.  Link.
I love how Kaycie didn't stop after 20 elements or didn't just focus on the popular elements.  There are 112: from Hydrogen to Copernicium!  What an incredible feat for such a talented artist!  I would love to see these as posters or magnets as well.

Now for the freebie:
With Kaycie's permission I've taken my PowerPoint and made it available on my TpT shop. It's programmed to move through the slides automatically, so you don't have to click 112 times.  Expect them to be riveted for about 4-5 minutes as the slideshow plays and they meet these new "characters" in a whole new way.
Here are some samples of the slides:

Check it out and visit KcDStudios on Etsy and leave us some love if you like what you see!

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