20 Musts for Every Elementary (Science) Teacher


Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

Okay, so you’re a new (or not-so-new) elementary teacher, and you need to teach science.  Some teachers feel apprehensive when they think they have to teach science, but let me assure you, it’s the easiest subject to teach in elementary school. Why? Because the kids are totally into it!  Children are born with that natural curiosity.  As infants, everything goes into their mouths to taste, feel and discover their surroundings.  It’s only when we kill this curiosity that kids begin to dislike or even fear science class.  Here are 20 easy tips for all elementary teachers that will foster your students’ love of science.

Elementary Science Teachers, Take Note!

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FUN-YES! with SPILL-NOT!


P1010735 2by: Evan Jones

SpillNot

The SpillNot

How the SpillNot works:

When you hold a cup of juice while walking, the juice tends to spill because the cup accelerates forward (ax, FIG.1, green arrow) and backward (-ax) with each step. The juice tips in response to that acceleration, and may spill over the rim of the cup. The Spill Not automatically tips the cup so that its top stays parallel to the juice surface (FIG.2). For example, if the juice surface tips to 30 deg, but the cup stays horizontal, the juice could spill. But if the cup also tips to 30 deg, we get no spill! Note that there are only 2 forces on each portion m of juice…the weight mg down, and the buoyancy force Fb of the juice pushing at a right angle to the surface. These two forces result in a horizontal accelerating force ma (in red). We see from FIG.1 that

spillnot-fig1

 

spillnot-fig2

SpillNot

Experiment 1. Build a Circular Carnival Ride Read the rest of this entry »


Gyrocopter Lesson


Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

As an elementary and middle school teacher and Girl Scout leader, I had a bag of tricks that I dug into frequently…  One of my favorites was the gyrocopter.  I always kept a template in my files and when teaching about air, friction, forces symmetry or flight, out it came.  It was simple enough for kindergarten students to build, yet complex enough to hold the attention of eighth graders as we discussed principles of drag, the characteristics of flight or even just isolating variables in an experiment.

Nearly 400 years before the invention of the helicopter, Leonardo da Vinci sketched out a machine designed to compress air in order to obtain flight.  When Igor Sikorsky designed the first successful helicopter in the late 1930’s, da Vinci’s spinning wing was his inspiration.

Today, you can easily build gyrocopters with your students to explore different designs and variables.

How Does It Work?

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Making Waves


Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor

Energy is transported by waves.  That’s an important concept to teach students, but it’s not always an easy one for them to understand. At the beginning of our unit on the electromagnetic spectrum, my class and I made wave models so they could all see and understand how waves work.

The kids loved this activity when we did it in class and, when I run into former students, some tell me they still have their wave models hanging from their ceilings more than 10 years after we made them!

 

Materials:Wave model

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Kite String
  • Low Melt Glue Gun
  • Ruler or Yard Stick
  • Tape
  • Pen, Pencil, or Marker

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Germ Discussion Starters


newsletterdidyouknowwbWhen the topic is germs, your teaching opportunities can expand in many directions—just like the droplet spread from a sneeze!

Not sure where to start?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here you will find germ-related discussion starters, research ideas, current events worksheets, posters and more. Read the rest of this entry »