The Power of Electricity, Magnetism… and Infomercials!


Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

Virtually all fourth grade students explore electricity and magnetism.  As part of this unit, students are asked to do two things:

1 –   Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents (4-PS3-2)

2 –   Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another (4-PS3-4). 

This year, the teachers at my school put a new twist on our electricity and magnetism unit… and the results were amazing!

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STEM Galore with OneCar and More!


by Priscilla Robinson

If you teach STEM,  you’ll want to learn about the OneCar system.

The performance components in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have spawned many wonderful chances to explore STEM in the classroom.  The STEM curriculum is based on the idea that an interdisciplinary, applied approach is the best way to teach students these four specific disciplines.   When your students are searching for solutions to real-world problems, they are more engaged, and their learning is more authentic.

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Science Fair Lesson – The Scientific Method


Lesson - Educational Innovations Blog

What is the scientific method?  It’s one of the stepping stones your students need to cover before starting any science fair project.

As this helpful primer from Science Buddies states, “Whether you are doing a science fair project, a classroom science activity, independent research, or any other hands-on science inquiry, understanding the steps of the scientific method will help you focus your scientific question and work through your observations and data to answer the question as well as possible.”

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Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm


by Priscilla Robinson

What can a teacher do when the season’s cold, wet, or snowy weather makes curious and rambunctious children go stir crazy?  This was exactly the predicament I found myself in with my five-year-old grandson last year.  After sledding and playing in the snow, Henry and I looked for something else to do.  I reached deep into my Nana brain and unlocked my inner teacher.  “What’s your teachable moment today, Nana?” I murmured.

Teachable Moments with the Static Snowstorm - Educational Innovations BlogAll weekend long, we had been experiencing the crackle and pop of static electricity as a result of the house’s warm, dry air.  Henry himself had been zapped a half dozen times.  Petting the family dog, he marveled as her hair stood on end.  He was curious:  what was this invisible power?

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Classroom Fun with the Static Electricity Electroscope


Educational Innovations Blogby Nancy Foote

The latest addition to my classroom’s Curiosity Table is a Static Electricity Electroscope.  The fact that it looks a bit odd made it even more intriguing to my students.  Once they began to play with the electroscope, they couldn’t stop. Read the rest of this entry »