Friday, March 26, 2010

Lab Notebooks - Science Buddies Blog

Amy from ScienceBuddies commented on my blog to leave a link to the latest post on using science lab notebooks. Here is what she wrote in the comment and the link to her post.

"What a wonderful write-up of Science Buddies! It's great to see a teacher who is putting Science Buddies' resources to work - and finding them useful in her class. I'm a blogger at Science Buddies, and I wanted to point you to an update I did of the lab notebook piece you mentioned. This blog post is fairly recent, and I think you'll find a number of good tips and tricks, suggestions from our scientists:

Thanks! Amy"


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rocket Aerodynamics

Rocket Aerodynamics is a sample project from Science Buddies. If you look in the right hand side of the page, it gives you time estimates and cost estimates. It also coaches on number of trials, averaging, controlling variables and a number of other very important topics.

I'm in SCIENCE PROJECT Looooooove!

I am a middle school teacher, and in the 8th grade, we always finish up our year with the Science Fair Project. I have several posts to offer on this topic, and will be deluging you with ideas and tips, but here's my very first one: Science Buddies.

WOW! There are approximately 10 to the 5 billionth science project sites out there, but this one is my absolute current favorite. I have been teaching for 10 years and this is the most comprehensive, not-your-typical-5th-grade-project site. Where to start? How about the

I ran through the wizard myself, pretending to be the 8th grade version of me, and I got a terrific selection of age-appropriate projects. Actually, I think conceptually these are pushing the envelope, but that's exactly why I liked them. They give you topics based on your interests (the survey itself is interesting--2 phases of questions, the second refines searches based on your first set of answers). You can also refine your search after you get your results by increasing or decreasing the difficulty level of the problem being investigated.

I'm going to require my students to complete the wizard...I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the other excellent part: The PDF document called "What makes a great science lab notebook?". I also have been teaching about and using notebooks for years, but it is extremely difficult to find actual images taken of professional scientist's notebooks. This guide is written at an appropriate level, and includes pictures that illustrate each example. Phenomenal!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COPPA cramping your GoogleDocs style?

Hmmm...even though I loved the Pi-day logo design for Google, the Docs have been giving me headaches lately instead of curing them (pun very much intended!). Most recently, due to compliance with COPPA Google Docs has been asking a birthdate question in order to create an account--the cutoff age is 13. I refuse to ask my students to lie about their age online--that is a WHOLE BIG CAN OF WORMS that I just don't want them to open for their own safety.

So anyone that didn't actually do that homework assignment that I gave them in September to create an account and wasn't already 13 as of three weeks ago was very sad. I did find a temporary solution to the problem, and believe me, this solution has its own issues, but it worked in a pinch and allowed my kids to collaborate online with classmates without having an account.

Here's whatcha do (teacher instructions):
1. create the document that you want the kids to work on. Include names, instructions and whatever else you want them to start with, like a topic. You could even keep it a "secret mission" until they open it, adding some excitement.

2. Save it, using a name that your students will easily recognize.

3. click "share" in the upper right corner of the document. Click see who has access>invite people and type the email addresses of the students who have google accounts into the box. Make sure the "to edit" button is clicked. the people with access tab at the top of the window. click change next to "sign in is required to view this item" and select "let people edit without signing in". click save and close.

5. Click share>get the link to share>


Free Download--SMART Notebook Lesson on Tectonic Stress--Assessment Version

Okay, so I posted an earlier version of this lesson before I did the lessons with the kids. This week, we were reviewing for a test, so I upped the ante in the lesson and even tacked on a really FUN game at the end.

My students loved game and I was actually pretty surprised at how challenging they found it to be--you might know the answers, but spelling them correctly with a short time limit is really hard! Click here to download the SMART board lesson. You must have Notebook v10 to save and use this lesson.