Middle School Science Blog

A collection of ideas for interactive science notebooks

Back from vacation

Just got back from our family vacation in Ocean City, MD. School starts on 9.9.09 and I am starting to stress! Have so much to do to get ready for the school year.

I need to make a booklet that has my procedures, grading policy, class information, etc, so the kids can place it inside a large envelope that will be attached to the inside cover and used for reference as needed. It can also be transferred to their second notebook once the first one is completed. Thanks for the idea, Science Notebooking!

States/Phases of Matter Venn Diagram

Triple Venn Diagram: I wanted to show how the three main states of matter and the phase changes are related. Using Publisher, I made a 3 panel brochure with a title flap, a flap with directions, and a Venn Diagram for the inside layout. The Venn diagram has circles/categories for solid, liquid, and gas. Remind students that when the circles overlap, it is something that both have in common. Where all 3 circles overlap, it is something that all 3 categories must have in common.

Using blue colored pencil, the students will fill in the phrases related to the states of matter and their characteristics, such as definite shape or volume. Using a red colored pencil, they can write in the phase changes, such as evaporation.
This would be a good SmartBoard/whole class activity and I am going to try to create a SmartBoard file once school starts. The Venn Diagram would be on the screen and each phrase would be listed on the side. Students could select one of the phrases and drag it to the correct place in the Venn diagram.
I plan to use this as a right hand activity since they are processing the information and seeing how the states of matter and phase changes are related.

States/Phases of Matter Venn Diagram

Triple Venn Diagram: I wanted to show how the three main states of matter and the phases of matter are related. Using Publisher, I made a 3 panel brochure with a title flap, a flap with directions, and a Venn Diagram for the inside layout. The Venn diagram has circles/categories for solid, liquid, and gas. Remind students that when the circles overlap, it is something that both have in common. Where all 3 circles overlap, it is something that all 3 categories must have in common.

Using blue colored pencil, the students will fill in the phrases related to the states of matter and their characteristics, such as definite shape or volume. Using a red colored pencil, they can write in the phases of matter, such as evaporation.
This would be a good SmartBoard/whole class activity and I am going to try to create a SmartBoard file once school starts. The Venn Diagram would be on the screen and each phrase would be listed on the side. Students could select one of the phrases and drag it to the correct place in the Venn diagram.
I plan to use this as a right hand activity since they are processing the information and seeing how the states and phases of matter are related.

Physical & Chemical Change Activity

Is Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall and cracking on the ground a physical or chemical change?

I love the Far Side Cartoon with Humpty Dumpty as a giant omelet in a diner, and the caption says something like “Humpty Dumpty’s final days”. Would that be a physical or chemical change?

I usually use the Humpty Dumpty analogy when I start talking about Physical and Chemical Changes.

This following activity is one that I used last year for the first time and it worked really well. The kids were so engaged and felt really satisfied when they figured it out. They will be able to use their Foldable as a resource for this activity.

Left Side:

To prepare this lesson, I printed out the activity cards on pages 2 & 3, laminated them, and cut them apart. I placed each set of cards in a zip-top bag, one per group of 2 students.

On their desks, I have the students place the “Physical Change” card to their left and the “Chemical Change” card to their right. Now they have to sort each card into the correct column. You can do one together to demonstrate the procedures. The kids continue to sort the cards until they have all 15 lined up in the correct columns. When they are done, they raise their hand to call me over and see if their cards are in the right place.

I walk over and when they ask if they have it right, I smile and say “Nope”. (Usually there are a few in the wrong spot, no one got it on the first try last year). So now they have to evaluate what they did and figure out what is in the right spot and what is not. I usually give the kids 2 or 3 tries without any hints from me. Then I give hints like “You have 3 in the wrong spot” or “Everything in your physical change column is correct so far.” (There may be 1 or 2 in the chemical change that need to be moved over.) Or “You have to switch one from each column”, but I won’t tell them which ones.

Once they have everything correct, I push/pile up the physical change card together and give them to one lab partner and tell them to write it in their lab journal. I push/pile up the chemical change cards together and give it to the other lab partner to write in his/her lab journal. Then I tell them to switch cards so they have everything written down in both journals. We keep it top secret so their nosy neighbors don’t see their answers! =)

I love seeing the lab partners talk about where each item goes and they get into some great discussions, they try to reason with their lab partner, they compromise, sometimes they argue, etc…

Right Side:

Students will answer analysis questions and write a conclusion.

Handout:

Answers for Physical Change: cracking eggs, slicing bread, ice melting, glass breaking, boiling water, fresh lemonade, mowing the lawn.

Physical & Chemical Properties/Changes Foldable

Up to this point, in class we would have been focusing on properties of matter such as mass, volume, & density. Now we are ready to wrap up physical characteristics and go into chemical characteristics, & differentiate between physical and chemical changes.
For this activity, I used a 4 panel brochure template (Publisher) and turned it into a 4-door foldable. This will print out on 8.5 x 14 Legal paper. If you do use legal sized paper, the width of the foldable will be 7 inches and should fit in most notebooks.
This is a 4 page document: page 1 is the front (tabs) and back (glued down) of the foldable, page 2 is the inside layout, page 3 contains the cut outs that will go into the foldable, and page 4 is the teacher’s answer key.
Left Side:
Students will be given a blank foldable (photocopy 2 sided). Tell students to cut the tabs on the dotted guide lines, but not to fold yet, instead keep the paper flat and orientated correctly so when they do fold it, the words on the tabs are right side up.
Give each student a copy of page 3. The notes are not grouped together correctly so they will have to cut out each piece of information (follow dotted lines) and reassemble the notes into the correct boxes under the corresponding tabs. All the pieces will fit into the boxes. Tell the students not to glue anything down, just to do a dry run.
This is a good partnered activity, students will work together to piece the “puzzle” together. After everyone has had a chance to work through the activity, we will go over the answers as a class. Students will then glue the correct pieces in as we go over each section.
Once everything is in place, have the students fold it so that the tabs meet in the middle. Glue into notebook.
Right Side:
  • Practice determining physical and chemical characteristics
  • BrainPOP Movie: Property Changes fill in the blanks
Handouts:

Resources for Foldables

Glencoe Active Folder Inserts

Stumbled upon this website from Glencoe…has great stuff for foldables! Print, cut out, and paste into a foldable template or use for Notebooking/Lapbooking.

Some examples are:

Chemistry Unit

I am working on the sequencing of my chemistry unit and trying to come up with some new ideas to use for my interactive notebook. Here is a list of topics that I am working on. If you have any great ideas to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

  • Physical vs Chemical Changes
  • States of Matter (Foldable for Solid, Liquid, Gas Notes?)
  • Phase Changes
  • Elements, Compounds, & Mixtures
  • Atomic Theory (Foldable with Scientists and Atomic Models?)
  • The Atom
  • Periodic Table
  • Bonding – Ionic & Covalent (Shutter Foldable?)
  • Chemical Formulas
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Balancing Equations
  • Conservation of Mass
  • Acids and Bases (Cut ‘n Paste Venn Diagram)

BrainPOP has a great collection of movies for chemistry – I use just about all of these during my unit.

Show me the Strategies!

I just learned about this site from the Middle School Science Group. It is an extensive list of different types of strategies for classroom use.

They have strategies for:

  • Starting a class
  • Hooks and explanations for starting lessons
  • Keeping Your Students Engaged/ Cooperative Learning & Group Activities/Assessments/HOTS (almost 300 tips!)
  • Ending & Exiting Your Class

Float or Sink – Interactive Activity

This is an activity that has been around for years, since 1995 or so, which is like prehistoric times when talking about the web! Originally, it was a website with a collection of similar interactive activities, and they were free. The website evolved into ExploreLearning and now features many interactive gizmos for science and math. You can still find this older version (mirror site) floating around the web and each year I look for it and hope its still out there!

Left Side:

Link for activity

I made a booklet for this lab activity with instructions and room for data collection and analysis. You can use this as a SmartBoard activity with students coming up to take turns, or you can have students do this activity on laptops or desktops.

Students will find the mass and volume for each shape, then place it in the tank to see if it floats or sinks. I usually have them calculate the density after they have recorded all their data, they can use the calculator on the computer or a hand-held one. Once they have the first data table completed, I have them categorize the objects into the two groups: Float or Sink. They should see a pattern where objects with a density less than 1 floated, and objects with a density greater than 1 sank.

Note: the graduated cylinder does not use displacement, it gives the volume of the object directly. And technically, objects that float in the tank should float in the graduated cylinder instead of sinking to the bottom. I always smile if a student points that out.

The kids usually enjoy this activity and when completed on a laptop/desktop, they can work at their own pace. Some students will need help with using the density formula and entering the information into a calculator, as well as rounding to the 100ths place.

Right Side:

Students will answer the analysis questions and write a conclusion.

Here is the activity as a pdf

Add This – Free Widget

Found a free widget for adding social networking to your blog…very easy and quick to do!

http://www.addthis.com/