Apple STEAM Centers

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Hey y'all! We're back with another installment of STEAM centers for primary classrooms. :) If you missed my original post on how I set up science centers, you can check it out here. Don't forget to grab the freebie!

Apple week is one of my all time favorite weeks in the classroom. (A close second is pumpkin time, but more on that later.)

There are SO MANY skills that can be taught with something as simple as an apple. At the beginning of the week, we taste test different kinds of apples and graph our favorites. The kids L-O-V-E doing this and you only need 3 apples for the whole class. (One red, one yellow, and one green cut into enough pieces for the whole class.)

Tuesday through Thursday, students go to different stations to explore and learn more about apples. While they are busy at work, learning about apples and using task cards to become independent, I float around the room scaffolding as needed.

Students learn about the life cycle of apple, the different parts of the apple, and explore it in general.

They can build things using apple pieces and toothpicks and paint pictures by stamping with apples cut in half.

Every center (except the stamping one) had a recording sheet to go along with it. It can be glued into students' science notebooks or they can stapled together and sent home at the end of the week.

On Friday, we talk about chemical changes involved with heating our apples by making applesauce in the crock pot. If you've never had homemade applesauce, you absolutely have to try it. It tastes amazing and makes your classroom smell wonderful! After we taste our applesauce, we graph who does and who doesn't like it.

For more information on this unit, you can check out it in my store here

If you haven't tried science centers in your classroom yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Your students will become much more independent and responsible. They learn so much about themselves and the material at the same time. 

If you have tried it, let me know how it went in the comments below. Our next unit is pumpkins, so stay tuned for more STEAM ahead. 

Rocks, Soil, and Centers. Oh my!

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Hey, y'all! We're back with another installment of science center resources! This week, we're talking about earth sciences, specifically rocks and soil. If you missed my original post about how science centers work in my classroom, you can check it out here. (Don't forget to to download the freebie!)

Now, before we begin, let me just say that teaching about soil can be, well, dull as dirt. BUT NOT ANYMORE! With science stations, students get to explore (and play in) the dirt. What kid doesn't love that. (Don't worry, the mess will be minimal. :) )

We start off the week building schema and creating a soil layers snack cup. Instant engagement! Then, Tuesday through Thursday, students go to science stations and explore soil (mostly) on their own. Friday, the whole class comes together for an experiment.

Each station has task cards with pictures to help them remember what to do. I usually go over directions for each station before letting my littles go. That way my emerging readers are more successful at each station.

Every station has science notebook pages for students to record their thinking and keep track of their learning. Information cards are included in some centers as well. 

The thing I love about these units are all the hands on experiments the kids can do. And they get to do them independently!

Yes, you most likely have a student or two that needs you to be nearby during some activities. We all do. But the way these tasks are set up, even my most challenging students were able to be successful because the stations are engaging and self-paced.

In the soil unit, students learn all about soil layers, types of soil, and weathering and erosion.

In the the rocks unit, students learn about how rocks are made, the different types of rocks, and what you can do with rocks. 

There are so many ways rocks are used in the world, but students don't usually think about those things without a little guidance from us.

In one lab, students will use rocks to make their own buildings. Craft stores have bags of flat rocks for pretty cheap that are perfect for building with.

For more information about both of these units, check them out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. The soil unit can be found here and the rocks unit can be found here. You can get both of these units and the plant unit in the Earth science bundle here.

Have you used science centers in your classroom before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below.

States of Matter STEAM Unit

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Hey y'all! I hope you are enjoying your much needed summer break. We've been enjoying going to the bathroom whenever we want lazy mornings and daily trips to Target around town. Today, we're back with another science resource for the classroom. This is one of several posts in a series of science centers. If you missed any, you can check them out here.  

At the beginning of each week, we start off reading a book about our subject to get their minds thinking. There are lots of great texts, but I like to start with this one: 

We also create some form of a KWL chart to highlight our thinking and get us ready for the week.

Tuesday through Thursday, students rotate through science centers (stations) and work on tasks or experiments fairly independently. Of course, I'm helping those who need it and questioning some who are ready to go deeper. But my classes always love science centers. In the words of one sweet kidlette, "It's like we're totally learning stuff!" :) 

Each center has task cards ready to print so students know just what to do. I model them at the beginning of class each day, just to make sure we're on the same page. By Thursday, they're like, "We got it!" :) 

This unit focuses on states of matter, so students sort matter by properties, learn about how molecules are different in each kind, explore some real life examples of each, play a game to reinforce their skills.

Each station (except the game) also has science notebook pages that correspond with the center so students can record their thinking. It's also great for accountability (there's always a few who need it, am I right?).

Most stations students can do on their own, but I usually am very close by any station that uses food, like the root beer float one. :) I prep everything ahead of time so that there is minimal mess here (tips are included in this unit plan), but I still like to stay close by for this one!

On Friday, students build the tallest tower they can, but it must withstand either wind, rain, or both (details are in the unit plan). So students must figure out which materials are best suited for this purpose. They can also record their work and it's outcome on the recording sheet. 

These units are so easy to use because the lesson plans are already done and ready for you. Directions are prepped with pictures to aid early readers (think "independent learning!"). Recording sheets are included and fit in both spirals and composition books. Oh, and the kids love them!

To go straight to how I set up these centers in the beginning of the year click here and here. To grab the freebie for setting up groups, click here.

I know science centers are new for a lot of classrooms, so what questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below and I'll answer them as quickly as I can. Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for the next unit! Have a happy summer!

Introducing Science Tools in the Primary Classroom

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Hey y'all! If you've been following along with me, you'll know we've been discussing implementing science centers in the classroom. (If you've missed these, you can get caught up here.)

One of the biggest questions I get asked is, "How do you get started?"

I start the beginning of every year exploring what a scientist is and does. There are several awesome books for introducing science to your little learners. My new favorite is Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty.

After we read, we brainstorm what qualities scientists have and add these to our anchor chart. Students have their own they can add to their science notebooks.

Then, I let them explore different science tools, like magnifying glasses, balance scales, pipettes (water droppers), etc. 

The big thing about science centers is that the students can complete each task on their own. I review the expectations and picture cards with the whole class, then send them to centers to work independently. 

Younger students will need lots of guidance and encouragement to do things on their own, but the visual task cards and simple directions are just right for supporting students independence. 

The key to setting up science centers is establishing an environment that fosters student independence. The Next Generation Science Standards focus less on knowing information and more on making sense of it. In order for that to happen, students need to learn to think for themselves instead of waiting for the answer to be provided for them. 

Teach your students independence and lay the foundation for your science time with this Intro to Science Unit. You and your students will love the way it transforms your science class and takes student achievement to the next level.

Thanks for stopping by! Keep a lookout for more science center ideas coming soon!

Plants Science Centers

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Hey y'all! We're back for another round of science center ideas! Today, we're talking all about plants. (If you missed my post on setting up science centers, check them out here and grab your freebie!) 

On Monday, we set up an experiment to find out just how important sunlight is to plants. We put one plant in the sun, one in the shade, and one in the dark. At the end of the week, we check on our plants and see how they've changed. (Don't worry, I've never lost a plant in this process! You can revive the poor darkened plant by putting it back in the sun on Friday and giving it a little TLC.) 

Of course, no unit is complete without a story to get us started. I love The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, but there are MANY great plant books to choose from.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, students go to different centers to learn about plant parts, what they do, plants we eat, the life cycle, and more!

Each lab station has direction cards with pictures and is just right for K-2 learners.

And each station is hands on, engaging, and fosters independence. 

My students always love tasting different parts of plants. I pick up some carrots, celery, spinach leaves, broccoli, and sunflower seeds at the store and the kids are always floored by how many plant parts they already eat. And who doesn't love a science activity you can eat?!

Check out the unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking here or on the image below. 

What are your thoughts on science centers? Have you tried them in your classroom? Let me know in the comments below. Look for more science center ideas coming soon and thanks for stopping by!

Weather Centers

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Hey y'all! We're back with another round of science center ideas! If you missed the whole science center setup explanation, check it out here

Today, we're talking about weather stations. This unit is geared toward slightly older kids. My 3rd graders LOVED this unit at the beginning of the year, but 2nd graders could totally do this at the end of the year, and 4th graders could use this with extension activities. 

After we set the stage to engage on Monday, students go to independent centers Tuesday through Thursday. 

With Unit 1, students learn about types of weather, tools scientists use to measure weather, and the different levels of the atmosphere. 

STEAM activities are included for building a shelter from the elements and creating a windsock. Science and reading get integrated with a weather idioms matching game. On Friday, we created a tornado in a bottle and recorded our process in our science notebooks. 

 Take it a step further and keep centers going for another week with Unit 2.

In this unit, students learn about cloud types and what they signal…

…the water cycle...


…warm, cold, and stationary fronts (as well as what  front IS)...

…effects of weather and more. On Friday, we "made it rain" in a jar and recorded the process in our science notebooks. 

There are recording sheets for each lab, including Monday and Friday. All recording sheets fit in spiral or composition notebooks. And your lesson plans are DONE. 

You can check out each unit by clicking on the cover image above or grab both by clicking on the bundle image below. 

Thanks for stopping by! If you haven't picked up the science station startup freebie yet check it out now. And check back soon for more science center ideas!

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