Monday, January 7, 2013

Project ideas for Earth Science

I have been neglectful. I know.  I totally, thoroughly enjoyed every lazy minute of my break.  I did no blogging or schoolwork or housework or exercise. I joined the world of my feline and canine friends.  I ate and slept, with lots of reading and some HGTV.

Then, I paid for it today when I had to scramble to be prepared instead of going in as prepared as I usually am.

I thought for today I would catch you up on a few things we have been doing in Science lately.

Last Fall, we primarily studied Earth Sciences.  This actually worked pretty well for me.  I have never taught Science and Science is not my favorite subject.  I do really like the Earth Sciences though. In Social Studies, we have been studying the different US regions, as well as the Native Americans of each region.  This included lots of dicussions on how people adapt to the climates and natural resources of the region they encounter.

As a fun project to tie it all together (right before Thanksgiving), the students had to create their own island.  This assignment was completed in groups of 2-3.  They had to do a research project first.  They came up with what part of the world their imaginary island would be located in.  Then, they had to research what plants, animals, natural resources, and climate would be realistic in this region of the world.  They then planned out their island, including plants, landforms, water sources, people/animal life, economy, etc.  They completed a PowerPoint on their island.  At the end of the week, they built their island out of clay and painted it.  They turned out pretty awesome!  They loved this project. We had discussed volcanoes, earthquakes, weather, etc. and this brought it all together.

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Following this project (in December) we talked a lot about galaxies, stars, and climate and seasons. For our discussion of galaxies and stars they ended the week by writing a short speech as if they were an astronomer.  They had to tell a little about planets and stars to their imaginary audience in their speech.  This was a fun RAFT writing assessment that made them think a little more creatively.  It is interesting to watch.  I have some students who can write a fabulous summary and others who cannot write a summary for the life of them.  However, if you have them write from another point of view or with a creative twist they do an amazing job.

In December, I purchased Science Penguin's ultimate science notebook kit.  I wanted more graphic organizers to use with our lessons.  I had already purchased her elementary graphic organizers and had been using them, but I wanted some foldables.  We do not use a science journal, but I like the feel of foldables or a smaller organizer we can add reflections to. We use a lot of technology, but I felt like we needed some more interactive resources to take notes and show understanding of concepts. Her products are awesome.  I am debating if I want to implement her science weekly five.  I am already struggling to fit everything in, so I just don't know that I have the time. I will keep thinking about it.

This week we are discussing natural resources. This will end this overall unit.  Then, we move into matter. We talked about renewable and nonrenewable resources today, as well as the difference between human-made and natural resources.  We made a list of natural resources we used just today and then made a word cloud with it.  We used wordle; however, some of my students did not have Java so wordle would not work.  Those students just used the word cloud tool at  It is a kid-friendly one and does not require any downloads.

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  1. I love your island project, what a great idea and I bet the kiddos loved it!
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

  2. I just love the idea! Is there a way I can get a copy of the assignment you hand out to your students?


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