Saturday, 30 November 2013

Gifts for the Science Geek

This weekend I've got quite the to-do list:  all sorts of stuff to do for the Yearbook, 5 class sets of marking, a bit of planning and cleaning and decorating the house for Christmas.  But the thing I dread doing the most this weekend is making my Christmas list!

My nucleus family doesn't buy each other Christmas gifts, and we haven't for YEARS - but since I've been with Mr. Brosseau things have changed.  I don't mind buying gifts for others, but I having the hardest time thinking of things for myself!

Maybe you have a Science Geek like me in your family.  Here are some ideas of presents to get for them this holiday season :)

Wood Periodic Table Clock - Baltic Birch Plywood

Periodic Table Geeky  Nap Pillow -  Chemistry Elements  -  Black Cotton Embroidered
Periodic Table Non-Metals Coasters, Set of 7 in Bamboo

This Etsy shop has SO many cool and nerdy posters.  I could buy them all!
All Four in One 11x14 Print -  Silhouette Scientists Art Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Brian Cox Inspirational Sience Quotes

11x14 Science Art Marie Curie Rock Star Scientist Steampunk Print Radioactive Radiation Radioactivity Geek Scientific Educational Diagram

So many incredible posters from meganlee on Etsy!

Elements - Experiments in Character Design Flash Cards (small)
Element Flash Cards which I previously blogged about here and relates to my freebie on TpT.

Periodic Table Full Magnetic Set Geeky Science Gift

DNA earrings silver leverbacks gift for science dangle earrings

Antique Periodic Element from Periodic Table - Vintage Geekery Gifts for Teachers Science Art Typographic Print Science Gifts Science Nerd

If Mr. Brosseau would let me, I'd have these all framed and displayed in our basement!

I have this on my keychain for school!  The kids always seem to ask me why I have an elephant on my keys :P
Brain Cell

Still searching?  If those suggestions weren't enough, and the Science Geek in your life is a teacher, why not get them a TpT gift card, or pay for their purchases from the HUGE Cyber Monday Sale going on Dec. 2-3, 2013!

I will have 28% off my entire TpT Store when you use the code: CYBER

Happy shopping!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Marking, A Sigh of Relief and Bohr-Rutherford Diagrams

Depending on what the evaluation is, I sometimes love marking and I sometimes am just not motivated to do it.  Tests, quizzes and assignments that involve math... swoon! <3  Love it!
Lab reports, projects and written assignments... those are tougher.  I really have to work to motivate myself to get those marked quickly.  I am going to try to improve over the weekend and into next week.  I was very good this week though and marked a ton!  I also had 3 sets of unit tests, 2 sets of projects and 1 set of presentations coming up, so no wonder I was motivated!

How do you stay motivated to mark? Mine? Lock myself in my classroom and don't let myself go home until it's done.
What do you find the most enjoyable to mark?  Me?  I quite like quizzes and tests.
What is your most dreaded type of evaluation to mark?  Me? Lab reports.  Not the answer you were expecting from a Science teacher?  I'd even prefer to mark essays!

My time-saving PowerPoint on drawing Bohr-Rutherford diagrams
With lots of marking out of the way today, I decided to focus on some neglected loves: Bavarian Inn Root Beer from Frankenmuth (Thanks, Mom#2!) and TpT.  When I was printing off my 50+ page package of Grade 9 Chemistry Resources I re-discovered this gem I made last semester.  Check it out if you teach Chem.  I find it saves me soooooo much time when I teach Bohr-Rutherford diagrams! 
Happy Teaching!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Another Test Review Strategy

Ultimately it doesn't matter if you print off the suggested test review questions, have the students write them down in their agenda, put it on their test review outline, email it to them and have them write it down on their hand - they're going to lose it!  

What has been working well for me this semester is making brightly colored bookmarks with the test review questions.  The students slip these right into their textbook and can keep them there for exam review as well.  The kids also benefited from the page numbers for the answers on the first test.  

I color-code my units (yep, I'm that type) so the students know which bookmark belongs to each unit.  I print 6 on a page, so it doesn't use that much expensive beautiful paper.  Use a cute font and the kids will love it!  Well, as much as they can love doing test review questions.

Also, before our second round of units tests the students kept begging asking politely if I would make the test review posters again.  Check my blog post about them here.

Off to mark!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Science Winter Olympics! {FREEBIE}

Winter is coming... 

Oh yes, I love Game of Thrones.  I also love having fun on the last day before Christmas Break.  Every year, our Science Department runs the Science Winter Olympics on that last day.  Students compete to earn bonus marks on tests or the final exam.  It's such a blast!

If you'd like to try something like it, then there is a great freebie in my TpT shop.  If will give you tips on how to organize an event like this, give you ideas for activities and also includes a score sheet!
Here is a quick preview:

6 activity ideas included

A summary of the activity

A twist on a classic Science activity

In my opinion, the most challenging activity
Check it out!  
Hodor, I mean, 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Angry Birds in Real Life Game!

Real-life Angry Birds!
I've recently been told that I "have too much time on my hands".  Well this couldn't be further from the truth!  I just have too many ideas in my head and things I want to create.  Who is in the same boat?  You could have the entire weekend to channel your creativity and it still wouldn't be enough?

This time, I didn't have the entire weekend.  I had to come up with an activity for the Grade 8s who were coming to visit today.  It had to be short because it was part of a race around our school  So a student of mine suggested a minute to win it style game, and then I came across some videos of Angry Birds in real life.  I put this all together in just a few hours and for less than $20- so you can too!

Red foam ball with a Silhouette Cameo face and the slingshot

3 red foam balls - Dollarama - $3
3 packages of punch balloons for the green balloon pigs - Dollarama - $3 (6 left over!)
a pair of bungee cords - Dollarama - $1 (1 left over)
various cardboard boxes - grocery store - FREE :)
paper, glue tape and tape - FREE at home
scrap fabric - FREE
paper roll - IKEA - $4

I used my Silhouette Cameo (great invention or the greatest invention?) and my printer to print and cut out the faces for the 3 red birds and pigs.  I used glue tape to attach their faces.  I like the Recollections brand, but the dollar store glue tape I had at school worked fine for the pigs.  

For the slingshot, I took a piece of scrap fabric (leftover from our wedding guest quilt!) and sewed the bungee cord right into it.  This honestly took the longest time.  Not because it was difficult to do, but because I forget how to get the top thread to grab the bottom thread and had to find a manual online!  The fabric held really well and didn't tear even with how hard the kids had to pull (the bungee cords were really strong).

Balloon pig with a Silhouette Cameo face :)
I wrapped the cardboard boxes in the paper roll from IKEA kids use on their easels.  Someday, I'll have an excuse to buy one of those easels :)  I was going to paint the edges, but felt like it wouldn't dry in time.  But I am going to keep those around to use when I teach Physics.
My Grade 12s operating the slingshot

So the kids worked as a team of three (one on either side of the slingshot and the third aiming and shooting) and they had a blast.  We were able to move through the activity quickly and I had enough time between the groups to reset.

Just be careful not to expose the pigs to head-on shots.  The first bird to strike a pig head-on before the kids came in actually blew up!  So we were down to two pigs for the rest of the day.  

It was a lot of fun exposing the Grade 8 kids to Physics and what we do in class.  They seemed like they had a really fun day and are becoming less and less scared to enter high school.  But the Grade 8s couldn't have all the fun!  My Grade 12 students got to play after their quiz today and made some interesting "levels".  
The Grade 12s came up with their own "levels"
If you're thinking about trying this - go for it!  It didn't take an incredible amount of time or money and made for a really fun day.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Solar-Powered Art!

I love doing this scientific art activity with my Grade 9 classes.  It's great because it has connections to the Biology and Astronomy units in our curriculum.  I typically use it to bridge the gap between those two units, or when I teach about the Sun.  

The kids learn while making cool art that we display in the classroom.  A large group of Grade 9s will be done this in less than 30 minutes, so you'll want to adjust the amount of time for your grade level (I would say start around Grade 3 for this activity).  

I use the Nature Print Paper from BLICK, but there are other sources too.  Honestly, I think I ordered these in my first year teaching, and I still have a bunch leftover from my first order.  That being said, I usually cut the 5x7" pages in half.

BLICK also offers a tutorial video and lesson plan for this activity.  

This is something fun you can do in your Science or Art classes when students finish early, too!

Which one is your favorite?  Don't tell my students, but I think the lizard one is so cool - it's my personal fave!  Honourable mention to Sierpinksi's triangle!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The 6 Purposes of Asking Questions

I recently worked on a PD session with a wonderful colleague from the Religion Department on Academic Conversations.  One of the main points I wanted to talk about when trying to improve the academic conversations in our classrooms is the reason behind the questions we ask.

I believe our questions should have a purpose - and not just for recalling facts!  
The six purposes for asking questions I will let you know about came from the book Essential Questions by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins.  I was given their book at the best professional development program I've been a part of ITP: Innovative Teacher Partnership offered by my school board.  You can find more info from the authors here
A wonderful book!  Get it for yourself or your student teachers!  No, I'm not getting paid to say that :P

Below you'll see some posters I made for my school to refer to.  They provide the 6 purposes for asking questions, some sample question starters and some key verbs for asking those types of questions.  

It was so nice working with this particular teacher because our purposes for asking questions are so different.  I'm all about explaining, interpreting and applying in Science and she is all about shifting perspective, empathizing and self-assessing in Religion.  We both know we need to include more of the other types of questions and these posters help us remember to do that.

Follow me on bloglovin' because there will be more about academic conversations soon!

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