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Science Rocks!

Liquid Experiments Kids Love!

I love giving students a chance to interact with science content through exploration activities. Although direct, explicit instruction is a necessary component of any middle-level science program, hands-on experiments can bring science to life. Here are some snapshots of our recent learning target on liquid viscosity. My students had a lot of fun gathering data and drawing conclusions, but more importantly these activities got their minds to stir and think critically about how all matter is made of particles whose properties determine its characteristics!
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We did a lot of activities to explore the unique properties of liquids, but this shampoo viscosity lab was definitely a favorite amongst my 6th graders. In order to do this experiment with your class you will need shampoo (I bought white rain for $1.00 per bottle on sale), glass marbles, a stopwatch and a place to keep the bottles at different temperatures. It was super easy to set up!
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Students tested how long it takes for a marble to pass through a shampoo bottle kept in warm water, ice and at room temperature. Groups were assigned different scents and tested only one scent throughout the experiment. We talked about how scientists keep many factors constant in order to maintain fairness in their experimental design. This was necessary because I divide my class up into 9 lab groups and I couldn't find a store that had 9 bottles of the exact same shampoo!
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(In the past, I have been able to keep these bottles outside in the snow but on the day of this experiment we had a record 65 degree day....just my luck! Having the cooler actually worked out to be easier because I did not have to be concerned with sending students to an exit door to get the cold bottles.)
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Students used their phones or ipods to time the marble moving through the shampoo for multiple trials and then averaged their data.
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My students recorded their work in their interactive science notebooks using the framework from the packet pictured above. Graphing the data and having a class discussion proved to be a great opportunity to talk about inverse relationships, trends and interpreting graphs.This activity would make a nice extension to any science unit on properties of matter. If you are interested in more of the materials that I used for teaching about liquids, check out my TpT on Liquid Viscosity!

Science Pedagogy
Teaching Exceptional Children magazine for the month of July/August 2012 Vol 44 No.6 is all about teaching science.
The articles are as follows:
DIS2ECT: A Framework for Effective Inclusive Science Instruction
Ensuring Meaning Access to Science Curriculum
Struggling Readers in Secondary School Science Classes
Elementary School Garden Program
Using Collaboration, Co-Teaching, and Question Answer Relationship to Enhance Content Area Literacy
Using Whiteboards to Increase Participation
Progress Monitoring to Support Science Learning

Science Support for Interactive Whiteboards: and and

FUN SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS AND IDEASHere is cute activity that can work K-6. For older students(grades 3-6) attaching a writing assignment to writing down steps would be appropriate.
I love working with food but what a great way to show students the phases of the moon.

Here are some resources that may help you as you get your own kiddos ready for the science fair:

#1 - I love this FREE Science Fair Handbook I found on TpT.
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#2 - These beautiful scientific method signs were made by the fabulous Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files. LOVE THEM!
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#3 - I great visual to walk students through the steps involved in a science fair project. (I espcecially like how it emphasizes the fact that some times we have to try again.)

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#4 - Discovery Education offers Science Fair Central, a fabulous resource for teachers, parents and students!
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#5 - has thousands of Science Fair Project Ideas.
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#6 - A good article on the Scientific Process from Fact Monster.
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#7 - YouTube - Two songs that teach about the scientific method through music. The first one is a rap and the second one is a sing-a-long.

A great website to help students stay engaged in science is science360. Videos and animation make science come to life.


Ptable is an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. ptable.jpg

The Lesson Guide is a teacher blog filled with great science lessons, printable and these free online sites.

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An arcade of games and interactive activities for grades K-12 focused on ocean and air themes. It highlights the science and the activities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies and organizations promoting environmental stewardship.
Spigot Sciencepublications help promote science literacy for students and teachers. The Basic subscription (free) provides access to the blog, library, and two sample publications for grades 4-9.
Two golden orb spiders (Nephila clavipes) lived in space and on the International Space Station (ISS) in separate habitat chambers from May 16 to July 21, 2011. The free Spiders in Space guide contains instructions for setting up ground-based spider habitats and helping students to design their own spider investigations.
Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle online magazine for K-5 grades focuses on climate science.
The Balanced Equation introduces students in grades 9-12 to global sustainability and chemistry’s role in developing long-lasting solutions. This site features 10 interdisciplinary lessons.
Ten Tips for working with English language learners are provided on this site as well as links and information to implement each idea in the classroom. This site also offers suggestions for adapting typical classroom activities for use with ELLs.
Learn about aerosols and the environment through an interactive website.
Educators can download inquiry-based lesson plans for teaching 6 middle school chemistry units (Matter – Solids, Liquids, and Gases changes of State; Density; the Periodic Table and Bonding; The Water Molecule and Dissolving; and chemical Change). Each unit contains several lessons and related multimedia.
Middle and High School students learn about chronic health problems that often occur among immigrants due to poor working conditions, harsh weather, pesticide use, and other challenges. The lesson is appropriate for science, language arts, or social studies classes.
Science Companion offers Virtual field trips for the K-6 science classrooms that pair photographs with text with lessons. Current/Past virtual field trips include Soils, Motion, Sky & Weather, Butterfly Life Cycle, Light, Rocks, Oil Spill Clean-up, Collecting & Examining Rain Forest Life, Human Body, Earth’s Changing Surface, Habitats, Electrical Circuits, and Solar Energy.
“Confessions of a Converted Lecturer” shares a presentation on how an educator changed his approach to teaching from lecture-based to interactive lessons which resulted in significant improvement in student performance.
K-12 educators can create and share custom-made online lesson plans and projects that make science, history, math, and civics come alive. The site contains more than 4,000 primary-source documents from the National Archives that can be incorporated into unique multimedia lessons.
The Adobe Education Exchange allows educators of all levels to find and share teaching resources which incorporate the use of Adobe software.
The Universe in the Classroom celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Drake Equation, the formula that helps scientists estimate the likelihood of intelligent, communicative life in the universe.
Podcasts and classroom resources and activities in the Astronomy lecture Series by noted astronomers. Titles include: "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had it Coming," "A Scientist Looks at 'Doomsday 2012' and the Rise of Cosmophobia" and many other audio recording topics.
Hear podcasts for middle and high school students about featured endangered species.
Interdisciplinary activities to introduce students in grades 7-12 to the controversial scientific and policy issues related to hazardous waste sites and cleanup of these sites.
This website was developed to encourage young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology by sharing videos and stories of female astronauts, engineers, and scientists.
Short video segments for grades K-12 highlighting real-world connections to science.