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Quadrilateral City Is A Geometry Project That Sparks Your Students’ Excitement for Learning – Core Inspiration

Project based learning can help you transform your 3rd grade geometry unit into the most memorable math unit of the school year. Your students are going to love applying their knowledge about the characteristics of quadrilaterals as they complete the project Quadrilateral City

Rather than spending time on worksheet after worksheet trying to memorize the properties of quadrilaterals (only to forget them soon after) your students can be fully-immersed in a geometry simulation that really brings their learning to life and helps those polygon characteristics stick for good!

This resource is perfect for third grade classrooms, but can also be used as enrichment for second grade learners. 

Let’s take a closer look at this geometry project based learning resource


Project Overview

During this project based learning unit, your students will be invited to create a new layout for Quadrilateral City’s town square. Quadrilateral City is a place where everything from buildings and roads to houses and parks is built using only quadrilaterals. 

The citizens recently passed a bond to fund the renovation of their town square and your students can work to be hired as the lead architect for the redesign project! The most important detail: students must include at least one of each quadrilateral type in the design for the center of their town.

This project based learning unit requires the application of students’ knowledge of the properties of quadrilaterals and goes beyond simple recall and recognition of quadrilaterals.

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City math project engagement page to spark student interest at the beginning of the project and set the stage for real-world application of geometry skills.

Throughout the process of the Quadrilateral City simulation, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through creative design as they plan their town square, descriptive writing that incorporates their math knowledge, and communication skills as they present their design at the town hall meeting. 

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City math project speech instructions page laying next to geometry city speech draft.

Math Skills Students Will Practice During This Geometry Project

The main focus of this cross-curricular project is on third grade geometry standards. Throughout the project, students will practice recognizing and drawing quadrilaterals according to their specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of sides.

In addition to these important math skills, students will also practice their descriptive writing as they feature each quadrilateral-shaped building or space in their Guide to Town Square.

Students will use their persuasive writing skills to convince the townspeople of Quadrilateral City to select their design and use their public speaking skills to present their design at the optional town hall meeting that culminates this project. 


Quadrilateral City Project Steps

Here are the steps your students will take as they prepare to present their town square design for Quadrilateral City:

★ Draw and label a map showing their town square design using the map design checklist. During this step, students will have hands-on experience drawing quadrilaterals and using them in unique ways to design buildings, parks, roads, and public spaces.

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City geometry project showing instructions for drawing a city of quadrilaterals.

★ Create a guidebook explaining the important features and shapes included in their design. The pages of their guidebooks will be filled with pictures of the quadrilaterals they have designed along with expository descriptions of each space’s use and the unique properties associated with the quadrilateral used to design each space.

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City sample math project showing a completed guidebook page that highlights the special geometric characteristics of each shape included in the geometry town design.

★ Write a speech to help present their design at the Quadrilateral City Town Hall Meeting. In this speech, students will introduce their design, verbally address the needs of the townspeople of Quadrilateral City, highlight the most important features of the redesign, and paint a brief narrative picture of what life in the new town square will be like.

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City sample math project showing instructions for planning the project speech.

★ Complete a self-assessment using a three-part rubric. Each of the three project deliverables described above has its own rubric so students can participate in a very specific and fair assessment process as they demonstrate their learning.

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City math project sample showing instructions for student reflection and self-scoring at the end of the project

Saving You Time & Making Differentiation Possible 

Want to incorporate a project into your geometry unit, but crunched for instructional time?

This resource makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. The detailed visual instructions on each page of the guide make it possible for students to complete their unique projects with maximum independence so you have the time you need to teach or reteach important geometry skills to small groups while the rest of your class is plugging away on their project. 

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City sample geometry project showing detailed visual instructions that boost student independence.

When using the included rubric, scoring and providing students with feedback is also a breeze. Each of the three project phases: map design, guidebook creation, and speech writing have its own rubric so students can participate in the assessment process as they demonstrate learning, and you can provide them with specific feedback about their work.


Ideas for Using This Geometry Project Based Learning Guide 

Every step of the Quadrilateral City experience is outlined in a project guide that includes clear visuals and step-by-step instructions. Rubrics and reflection prompts will encourage your students to reach their learning goals. 

Core Inspiration's Quadrilateral City geometry project showing a completed town square map, rubric, completed geometry guide book page and instructions for scoring work.

The format of this math simulation guide makes it an ideal resource for:

★ At your seat & hands-on enrichment during math workshop or guided math

★ Math center work

★ Digital learning (a Google Slides version of the entire project is included) 

★ Parent volunteer or teacher’s aide enrichment station

★ A focal point for a geometry room transformation 

★ An alternative assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your geometry unit.  


Bring This Geometry Project to Your Classroom

Whether you’re looking to bring a little life to your geometry unit, searching for an activity that provides enrichment to your high flyers while you teach small groups, or you just want a fun way to switch up your math routine while you teach geometry, you and your students will love Quadrilateral City! 

Visit the Quadrilateral City resource page to watch our video preview so you can see more of this fun math project. 

If you have any questions about Quadrilateral City, let me know in the comments below.

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A Telling Time Math Project Unit with A Narrative Twist – Core Inspiration

Your telling time unit is the perfect opportunity to connect math to the real world in a creative way. Rather than having your students complete worksheet after worksheet in an effort to master reading clocks and telling time, bring your math unit to life with an engaging hands-on project

If you’ve been wracking your brain trying to think of a creative way to bring more excitement to your telling time unit, look no further. The project based learning unit Time of Your Life will be your new go-to resource. The organization, standards alignment, and cross-curricular connections have all been planned out for you so you can focus your energy on the most important (and fun) part of your job…the teaching! 

The Time of Your Life project guide makes differentiation a breeze and is perfect for both second and third grade classrooms.

Let’s take a closer look at this telling time project based learning (PBL) resource. 


Project Overview

During this math project, your students will compete in a contest to be the next star of a new hit show, The Time Of Your Life. Each contestant must brainstorm activities they would love to do if they were able to have the birthday of their dreams. 

Students will take their ten favorite activities and create a day-long birthday schedule with no time gaps. They will elaborate on this schedule by creating a narrative storyboard that tells the story of the birthday of their dreams using a narrative introduction, transitions, show-not-tell descriptive details, and a narrative conclusion. The lucky winner will get to star in their very own episode of The Time Of Your Life, and participate in every activity planned on his/her birthday schedule!

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math simulation engagement page to use on the first day you launch your project

This project based learning unit requires the application of students’ knowledge of telling time and elapsed time. Throughout the process of the Time of Your Life simulation, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply their knowledge through creative design
  • Use narrative writing that incorporates their math knowledge
  • Exercise their organization skills as they plan and execute this multi-day project

Math Skills Students Will Practice During This Telling Time Project

The main focus of this math project is on 2nd and 3rd grade telling time standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. (for second graders).
  • Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes (for third graders).

In addition to these important math skills, students will also practice their narrative writing as they tell the story of their special birthday plans in narrative format. This is the perfect opportunity for students to practice using narrative transitions that show the passing of time. 


Time of Your Life Simulation Steps

Here are the steps your students will take as they work to have the birthday of their dreams featured on the show The Time of Your Life:

★ Brainstorm activities for the birthday of their dreams by applying knowledge of a.m. and p.m. hours. Then, calculate the start time and end time of each scheduled activity on analog clocks and in digital/standard form by applying knowledge of duration and elapsed time.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project  sample showing how students demonstrate knowledge of AM and PM hours

★ Create a day-long birthday schedule with no time gaps by pulling their top ten favorite activities from their a.m. and p.m. brainstorm pages. Display this schedule in chronological order. Describe each activity, provide its duration, show the start time and end time on an analog clock, and write the start and end time in digital form.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing how students demonstrate knowledge of elapsed time when creating a daily schedule

★ Design a storyboard featuring each activity from their dream birthday schedule.

  • Set the scene with a narrative introduction.
  • Use narrative transitions to show time progression from one activity to the next.
  • Wrap up their birthday story with a narrative conclusion.
Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing how students write their birthday schedule in narrative format using transitions

★ Write a cover letter with a date, greeting, body, and closing, and attach it to their submission packet for the contest.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing the cover letter students submit with their project packet

★ Complete a self-assessment of their project using a three-part rubric. Each of the project deliverables described above has its own section on the rubric so students can participate in a very specific and fair assessment process as they demonstrate their learning.


Saving You Time & Making Differentiation Possible 

Want to incorporate a project into your telling time unit, but crunched for instructional time?

This resource makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. The detailed visual instructions on each page of the guide make it possible for students to complete their unique projects with maximum independence so you have the time you need to teach or reteach essential time measurement skills to small groups.

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing detailed visual instructions that boost student independence

Scoring and providing students with feedback is also when using the included rubric. Each of the three project phases: preparation, storyboard, and project assembly have its own rubric so students can participate in the assessment process as they demonstrate learning, and you can provide them with specific feedback about their work.


Ideas for Using This Time Measurement Project Based Learning Guide 

Every step of the Time of Your Life experience is outlined in a project guide that includes clear visuals and step-by-step instructions. Rubrics and reflection prompts will encourage your students to reach their learning goals. 

Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project sample showing the project rubric next to a completed project

This project gives students the opportunity to exercise the standards for mathematical practice, share their creativity, and display understanding in unique and engaging ways.  

The format of this math simulation guide makes it an ideal resource for:

★ At your seat & hands-on enrichment during math workshop or guided math

★ Math center work

★ Digital learning (a Google Slides version of the entire project is included) 

★ Parent volunteer or teacher’s aide enrichment station

★ A focal point for a telling time room transformation 

★ An alternative telling time assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your time measurement unit.  


Bring This Telling Time Project to Your 2nd or 3rd Grade Classroom

Whether you’re looking to bring your telling time unit to life, searching for an activity that provides enrichment to your high flyers while you teach small groups, or you want a more engaging way to assess your students’ ability to tell time to the nearest minute or nearest five minutes, you and your students will love Time of Your Life! 

Core Inspiration Time of Your Life Telling Time Math Project Cover

Video Preview of This Math Project

Visit the Time of Your Life resource page to purchase this math project for your classroom today.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.




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A Camping-Themed Math Project That Makes Multiplication Practice Fun – Core Inspiration

As a third grade teacher, it sometimes feels like you are teaching multiplication and division skills for nearly half the year. While students work to understand all the properties of multiplication and memorize all their math facts, you may feel like they need a little dose of fun to mix up your math routine. 

The good news for you is you don’t have to sacrifice rigor and standards-based learning while bringing excitement to your multiplication unit this year! 

Simply use the math project Camp Array Architects. As your students work on this project, you’ll see them loving every moment of math while you collect high-quality assessment data for your multiplication and division unit. 

This resource is perfect for third grade classrooms, but can also be used as enrichment for second grade learners. 

Let’s take a closer look at this multiplication project based learning resource


Project Overview

During this math project your third grade students will work toward becoming an Array Architect for Camp Array. This campground has been closed since 1975, but the owners are ready to reopen the gates to their beautiful mountain campground. 

Before they open, the owners want to redesign the campground so it has a fresh look and feel, and they’re looking for a special architect to get the job done. The most important detail: they want everything on the campground to be arranged in arrays, and equal groups!

As part of their job application process, students must create a campground map that includes a variety of arrays and equal groups, along with a campground directory that features all the equations and problem solving that corresponds with their unique design. 

Arrays & multiplication math project guide page showing introductory blurb that engages students in this cross-curricular project

This project based learning unit requires the application of students’ knowledge of equal groups, arrays, multiplication and division fact families, and properties of multiplication. Throughout the process of the Camp Array simulation, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through creative design, engage in rigorous problem solving incorporating their math knowledge, and build organization skills as they plan and execute this multi-day project.

Multiplication math project sample showing a camping-themed map of arrays laying next to a booklet that shows all the mathematical thinking connected to the map.

Math Skills Students Will Practice During This Multiplication & Arrays Project

The main focus of this math simulation is on third grade multiplication & division standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide, including Commutative, Distributive, and Associative Properties.
  • Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. 
  • Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems.
  • Interpret products & quotients of whole numbers. 

Camp Array Architects Simulation Steps

Here are the steps your students will take as they work toward becoming an Array Architect:

★ Sketch a campground map, which includes arrays and equal groups. During this step, your students will use the included checklist to guide them as they design a campground that includes a variety of arrays that represent the different properties of multiplication. They will then label the arrays and equal groups on the campground map.

Multiplication and arrays math project map laying on the table next to a checklist of the types of arrays required for the project.

★ Create a Campground Directory that shows the mathematical thinking behind each array included in their campground design. Students will identify the multiplication sentence, repeated addition sentence, and fact family related to each array on their map. Then they will solve word problems that require them to analyze each array, and its relation to the various multiplication properties (Associative, Commutative, Distributive, and Identity Properties).

Core Inspiration's Camp Array Architect project guide showing detailed visual instructions that guide students in being able to write about the arrays they've designed.

★ Complete a self-assessment of their project using a three-part rubric. Each of the project deliverables described above has its own section on the rubric so students can participate in a very specific and fair assessment process as they demonstrate their learning.

Camp Array Architects project rubric laying on the table next to instructions for how students can self-assess and reflect on their project work.

Saving You Time & Making Differentiation Possible 

Want to incorporate a project into your multiplication unit, but crunched for instructional time?

This resource makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. The detailed visual instructions on each page of the guide make it possible for students to complete their unique project with maximum independence so you have the time you need to teach or reteach essential multiplication and division skills to small groups.

Core Inspiration's Camp Array Architect Math Project Components Overview

Scoring and providing students with feedback is also when using the included rubric. Each of the three project phases: map design, festival directory creation, and work habits have its own rubric so students can participate in the assessment process as they demonstrate learning, and you can provide them with specific feedback about their work.


Ideas for Using This Multiplication Project Based Learning Guide 

Every step of the Winter Wonderland Array Architects experience is outlined in a project guide that includes clear visuals and step-by-step instructions. Rubrics and reflection prompts will encourage your students to reach their learning goals. 

Camp Array multiplication project rubric laying  next to completed campground directory.

This project gives students the opportunity to exercise the standards for mathematical practice, share their creativity, and display understanding in unique and engaging ways.  

The format of this math simulation guide makes it an ideal resource for:

★ At your seat & hands-on enrichment during math workshop or guided math

★ Math center work

★ Digital learning (a Google Slides version of the entire project is included) 

★ Parent volunteer or teacher’s aide enrichment station

★ A focal point for a multiplication & arrays room transformation 

★ An alternative assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your multiplication & arrays unit.  


Bring This Camp-Themed Multiplication Project to Your 3rd Grade Classroom

Whether you’re looking to bring a little life to your multiplication unit, searching for an activity that provides enrichment to your high flyers while you teach lessons to small groups, or you want a new way to assess your students’ multiplication array skills, you and your students will love Camp Array Architects! 

Visit the Camp Array resource page to see a full preview so you can learn more about this fun math project. 

If you have any questions about this math simulation, let me know in the comments below.




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Math Workshop Hands-On Games Q&A Roundup – Core Inspiration

We have reached the final week of our Math Workshop Q&A Series. This week I’ve gathered the most commonly-asked questions I receive about the Hands-On Rotation of Math Workshop. 

Here’s a refresher on the question categories I’ve shared each week during this blog post series: 

If you’re just joining us and want to catch up on the previous posts or if you prefer to see all the questions in one place, I’ll send you a PDF with the full collection of questions from this series. Simply click here to let me know you’re interested. Let’s jump into our final question category: Hands-On Rotation (Math Games).


Part 5: Hands-On Math Games Questions

Q: Do you use games from your curriculum, or do you find them elsewhere? 

The math games provided by any curriculum I’ve taught with were making me crazy because they were either too confusing for students to play independently, or they were too simple and students grew bored quickly. 

I designed my own collection of hands-on games that are designed to promote student independence and self-directed learning. The format of each game card includes a consistent easy-to-read layout that gives students every detail they need to play successfully. The games are also super low-prep and use common math manipulatives like dice, timers, counters, rulers, and whiteboards. 

Each of the games in this collection includes suggestions for a more challenging version of the game, making it easy to differentiate and meet the wide variety of needs in your classroom. Games for every math unit in grades 2, 3, and 4 are included in my shop.

Q: How do you find time to teach new math games? Are game lessons taught in place of your mini lesson on some days?

Math games are always introduced through a routine I call Math Game Monday. This is a 15-minute chunk of time in our schedule on Monday when new math games are introduced. Some weeks, only one new game is shared, but during other weeks, we have enough time for two new games. 

Core Inspiration Hands-On Math Games arranged on classroom rug ready for an interactive modeling demonstration for Math Game Monday

We begin by setting up a fishbowl. All the students sit, kneel, or stand in a circle around a big open playing space, where I model how to play the game with student volunteers. When doing this in my classroom, I model the following steps while thinking and reading aloud.

MATH GAME MONDAY INTERACTIVE MODELING STEPS
  • Efficiently select an instruction card from the game station. 
  • Read the number of players.
  • Find classmates who are interested in playing the same game.
  • Find an open area to play.
  • Read the objective for the game.
  • Read the list of supplies as I gather them from our game station.
  • Read and execute the “Setup” steps.
  • Follow the “How to Play” steps as I think aloud in detail.
Q: When you do Math Game Monday, where do you pull that time from?

Math Game Monday takes place for 15 minutes right before lunch on Mondays. Every other day of the week, this is the time when we do word work/word study, but Monday is the day I introduce students to their new words during Reading Workshop so we don’t have a separate word work time on Mondays.

Consistent schedule displayed on classroom board.
Q: Can students play your hands-on math games by themselves or are all your games multiplayer?

The majority of my hands-on games are designed to be played with a partner, but some are single-player or small group games. The reason for this is to provide students more opportunities to talk about math while they play so they have both a tactile and auditory interaction with the concepts they’re practicing. 

Q: Do your students ever get bored with playing these games?

I haven’t run into that problem with these games. In fact, that is a huge reason why I started creating them – the games that came with our curriculum were very boring and everything I was finding online required way too much cutting and prep work. I wanted something simple and highly-engaging.

Q: How do you store all the hands-on games?

When they aren’t being used, I store them in my unit bins.

Math unit bins stored on teacher's supply shelf.

When they are part of our current rotation, I store them in Ikea Trofast drawers. The blog post linked here has many other tips for organizing math games. 🙂

Math games are stored in Ikea Trofast bins in the corner of the classroom so they are easily accessible for students to play math games independently.

Wrap Up

There you have it! All these questions are from motivated teachers like you who are working hard to implement a Math Workshop framework that makes math differentiation more manageable. 

If you’re anything like me, reading a list of questions always sparks a few new questions, so feel free to drop those in the comments below. 🙂

Interested in the resources featured in this blog post for your own classroom? Click the links below to hop over to my store.




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Math Workshop At Your Seat & Technology Rotations Q&A Roundup – Core Inspiration

We are heading into week 3 of our Math Workshop Q&A Series. This week I’ve gathered the most commonly-asked questions I receive about the At Your Seat Rotation and the Technology Rotation of Math Workshop. 

Here’s a refresher on the questions I’ve been focusing on each week during this blog post series: 

  • Mini Lessons (Week 1)
  • Meet With the Teacher Rotation (Week 2)
  • At Your Seat & Technology Rotations (Week 3)
  • Hands-On Rotation (Week 4)

If you’re just joining us and want to catch up on the previous posts or if you prefer to see all the questions in one place, I’ll send you a PDF with the full collection of questions from this series. Simply click here to let me know you’re interested. Let’s jump into your questions about the At Your Seat & Technology Rotations. 


Part 3: At Your Seat Rotation Questions

Q: What do your students work on during the At Your Seat rotation?

First, they complete a worksheet from our math curriculum. This sheet has a few (usually 5-10) problems that directly correspond with the mini lesson for that day. They check their work against an answer key. On the backside of the worksheet are additional problems that also correspond to the lesson, which are completed for homework. The sheet is turned in the following morning after both sides are complete. 

Once their reteach page is complete, they begin working on problem solving task cards. These unique task cards include a variety of word problems that require students to utilize problem solving skills, critical thinking, precise modeling, and get routine practice with explaining their reasoning. There are two types of task cards available each day:

  • Making Meaning Tasks require students to apply grade-level math concepts to solve complex word problems. These rigorous tasks connect the math skills students are learning to real world situations. 
  • Challenge Tasks are designed to provide enrichment opportunities to students who have mastered the math concepts introduced. Each Challenge Task requires critical thinking and the ability to apply known skills to solve more advanced and complex situations.

On average, students spend about ten minutes working on task cards each day before it is time to move on to the second rotation of Math Workshop.

Core Inspiration math problem solving task card laying of the table showing a challenge math task and a making meaning math task along with a completed problem solving recording sheet.
Q: Do all students do the At Your Seat rotation every day?

Yes, every student does the At Your Seat rotation every day. Since I only have two rounds of workshop and three groups, this results in only one group of students working at their seat during one round and two groups at their seats during another round. You can read more about how I form groups and create math rotation schedules here. 

Q: Are the word problem task cards differentiated?

Yes, they are. There are challenge tasks in each set. These tasks provide enrichment opportunities to students who have mastered the math concepts introduced. Each Challenge Task requires critical thinking and the ability to apply known skills to solve more advanced and complex situations.

Printable classroom signs showing the descriptions for challenge tasks and making meaning tasks that students complete during the At Your Seat rotation of math workshop.
Q: When/how do you use the Transfer Task Cards?

I use the questions from the Transfer Task cards for the end-of-unit assessment. I don’t typically use all of them because that would be a long assessment. Any that aren’t used on the end-of-unit assessment are used to help me create follow-ups for students who need to circle back and be reassessed later in the year on standards they didn’t demonstrate mastery for the first go-around.

Q: Do students often need your help with task cards?

For the most part, students independently solve their word problem task cards or collaborate with their Math Triad to solve. I also use these tasks often during small group work by pulling a task that targets a skill that several students need support with.

If you want to read the full routine we use for completing math problem solving task cards, you can find it here. 

The quality and accuracy of their word problem work grow dramatically with this routine because it’s consistent, includes self-reflection, includes detailed teacher feedback, and incorporates student exemplars that drive growth.

Math problem solving task card reflection sheet that students use to boost the quality of their independent work during the At Your Seat rotation of Math Workshop.

My favorite part about using these tasks is that students become more confident in their ability to create detailed math models and explain their math reasoning independently. We have ALL YEAR to develop these skills and it takes months for some students to get the hang of it, and that’s totally okay! 

Q: Are the task card questions from the curriculum you use or did you design them?

I designed them. They are aligned to the Common Core Standards and based on the pacing guides for the top three most commonly-used math curriculums in the Core Inspiration Community. Based on a survey, the most commonly-used math curriculums for readers of this blog include Engage NY, Bridges, and Envision. 

Q: What is your process for grading, specifically the self-assessment tasks?

I grade one task per student per week using a rubric and reflection sheet. Students are asked to complete two tasks on average so the second task is simply quick-checked for completion and filed to be sent home in their end-of-unit portfolio. You can read more about my scoring process here. 

A problem solving task card completed during the At Your Seat rotation of math workshop laying next to the teacher scoring rubric for the task.
Q: What do you do if students didn’t finish the first page of their At Your Seat work?

If it’s incomplete due to off-task behavior, we use the R.E.S.P.E.C.T classroom management system to reflect.

If it’s incomplete due to inefficient work habits, I observe those inefficiencies for a couple of days and work with the student to give them scaffolds to strengthen those work habits – visuals, checklists, timers, etc.

If it’s incomplete because the student requires a great deal of support in math in general, I modify the number of problems they’re required to complete so they can experience success and then build from there.


Part 4: Technology Rotation Questions 

Q: Are there any websites you recommend for the Technology rotation?

The main website I recommend for the technology rotation is Khan Academy. It is easy to assign lessons and practice activities that align with your pacing and it’s free! I also like that it exposes students to state testing-style questions so you don’t need to set aside huge chunks of time for test prep.

Khan Academy assignment screen and score recording sheet used by students during the technology rotation of math workshop.

Additional websites used in my third grade class, depending on the unit, include IXL, Xtra Math, and Multiplication.com. In second grade I also used the apps Quick Math, Hungry Fish.


Wrap Up

There you have it! Thank you for sending in these questions about the At Your Seat and Technology Rotations of Math Workshop. If you’re anything like me, reading a list of questions always sparks a few new questions, so feel free to drop those in the comments below. 🙂

Next week (our final week of this series), I’ll be sharing answers to questions about the Hands-On Rotation of Math Workshop.

Interested in the resources featured in this blog post for your own classroom? Click the links below to hop over to my store.

Differentiate Math Word Problem Solving Task Cards – 2nd Grade

Differentiate Math Word Problem Solving Task Cards – 3rd Grade

Differentiate Math Word Problem Solving Task Cards – 4th Grade




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Energy For Life Science Stations for Fifth Grade

Every living thing requires energy to sustain life, but where does the energy come from? Sometimes, it seems like your fifth-graders have boundless energy. Maybe, because they’re stealing all of yours! Thankfully, there is always coffee and chocolate.

Your students may know they need food for energy, but do they know how food gives them energy? While they might think chocolate is magic (who can blame them?), do they understand that the energy they get from it can be traced back to the sun?

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

We developed an entire series of science stations all about coffee and chocolate…er…Energy for Life. (Really, it’s about Energy for Life, and they’re great). Eight different science stations guide your students through the fascinating worlds of photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and much more. All of the stations meet the Next Generation Science Standards for Fight Grade (5-PS3-1).

Everything your fifth-graders need to know about Energy for Life is included. These eight different science stations all teach and incorporate important skills through labs, experiments, videos, reading passages, and games. They are fun, engaging, and will make sure your students understand all the concepts required by the NGSS standards.

What’s Included in the Energy for Life Science Stations

What are these science stations about? Good question! In these stations, students will learn how every living organism needs energy to survive and how they get that energy. It explores concepts like photosynthesis and cellular respiration. The stations answer questions such as “What role does chlorophyll play in the lives of plants? How do oxygen and sugars work together inside cells? What does the sun have to do with any of this?”

Students make observations, construct explanations, use evidence to support a claim, and design solutions to problems throughout the unit to find answers to these questions and more. The science stations contain challenging material for fifth graders, with new words and concepts in easy-to-implement, interactive stations.

Focus on NGSS Standards for 5-PS3-1

Next Generation Science Standards are written to be “Three Dimensional.”  The three dimensions are Performance Expectation, Disciplinary Core Idea, and Science and Engineering Practices/Crosscutting Concepts.

The Energy for Life Science Stations Unit focuses on these standards:

  • Performance Expectation 5-PS3-1. “Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.”
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    • 5-PS3.D – “The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water)”
    • 5-LS1.C – “Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion.”
  • Science and Engineering Practice: Developing and Using Models
    • Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simplemodels and using models to represent events and design solutions
      • Use models to describe phenomena
  • Crosscutting Concept: Energy and Matter
    • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects

Big Idea Posters for Energy for Life

Our Energy for Life Science Stations Unit comes with Big Idea posters that are perfect for students to understand the science concepts at the heart of this study.

Some of the Big Ideas include:

  • Photosynthesis:
    • happens when carbondioxide and water use the sun’s energy to form sugar and oxygen
    • turns the sun’s energy into chemical energy
  • Cellular Respiration:
    • happens when sugar and oxygen react to form carbon dioxide and water
    • turns chemical energy into energy for life’s processes
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

There are six Big Idea Posters in this unit. Only the Energy for Life Unit Bundle includes the Big Idea Posters. The Posters are not included for each individual station.

Vocabulary Cards

Vocabulary cards can be fun! (And it’s not just the caffeine talking right now). We’ve made vocabulary cards with vibrant pictures and easy-to-understand definitions. Included with the Unit are two sets of vocabulary cards.

One set contains the vocabulary word with a picture and definition. Each card has cutting lines so that you, or your students, can cut out the three sections of each card. Mix up all the words, pictures, and definitions, and you have an instant game your students will enjoy.

Hint: You can laminate these, too, and use them year after year, OR have students glue the completed vocabulary cards into their science notebooks.

Oh, they are the perfect size for pocket charts, too!

The second set of vocabulary cards has the words and definitions in a larger font. This set is great for a science word wall. Both sets contain the same words, so you pick which one(s) are most suitable for your classroom without having to worry whether or not you’re covering it all.

The Energy for Life vocabulary cards are only available in the Unit Bundle. They are not available for each individual science station.

Differentiated Responses for Each Science Station

Not every classroom looks the same. Not every child learns the same way. That’s why all of our science stations include a variety of ways for students to interact with each station. There are five different ways to respond to each station:

  • short answer questions
  • fill-in-the-blank questions without a word bank
  • fill-in-the-blank with a word bank
  • task cards with short answers
  • task cards with multiple choice

All the variations are similar to one another, but require a different level of independence. The fill-in-the-blank is the easiest and is perfect for your students who struggle with reading.  The short answer is the most difficult as it requires students to construct their own responses without much support.

Choose the format that best fits your classroom and students. Students are also encouraged to use their science journal task cards.  Answer keys are included.

Some activities also include an activity sheet or worksheet in addition to the differentiated responses. This activity sheet is the “work” of the station while the differentiated responses require students to think broadly about the topic and concept.

You can find examples of the questions in some of the images below.

Reading Passages

All stations, except the Watch and Play stations, include reading passages. Most of the reading passages are optional, but they do build students’ background knowledge and solidify key concepts. Use them if your students do not have prior knowledge of the topic of the station.

The reading passages come in two formats. You’ll see versions of both of these formats in the photographs below. Both versions have the same text, but different layouts.

  • Full-page with color border
  • Two-Column with a black border

See examples of the two formats in the images below.

Google Classroom Components

All of our fifth-grade science stations come with components easily integrated with Google Classroom. Google Forms and Google Slides are included for most stations.

  • A Google Form™️ with Reading Passage & Differentiated Questions is available for the Watch, Investigate, Diagram, Read, Model, Explore and Sort stations.
  • Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets are available for for Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, and Sort.

Most of the hands-on activities still require physical components, but we have provided the directions and recording sheets in Google Slides.

Watch a Video about Energy for Life

This is a pretty popular station with students. Videos often bring understanding science to a whole new level. There are two videos to choose from; one about photosynthesis, and the other one about energy flowing through living things. While we do recommend picking one video to watch, feel free to do both if you have the time.

After watching, students will answer questions about the video. This station contains several worksheets with open-ended, short-answer questions, fill-in-the-blank sentences, and more. Task cards are also included.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Play a Game About Energy for Life

Let’s get ready to ruuummble! Kidding! The Play a Game Science Station is probably THE favorite station of students. It includes two board games, a word search puzzle, and a crossword puzzle. Each is designed for maximum fun, and to reinforce what students have learned about Energy for Life.

There are two board games for students to choose from; the normal race to the end, and the infinite loop! With each game, students have to answer questions in order to advance their tokens. The infinite loop adds a little extra surprise to make things more interesting.

Also included are a crossword puzzle and word search. There are two versions of the crossword puzzle; one with a word list, and one without. The crossword puzzle and word search also come in digital formats. The digital form changes each time the page is loaded so each student can work on their own versions of the puzzles.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Investigate Photosynthesis with Sun Bubbles

In the Investigate Sun Bubbles station, students read about photosynthesis and investigate the sun’s importance in the process. Like all of our science stations, differentiated questions are included to help cement students’ understanding.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Diagram From Sunlight to Sugar

In the Diagram station, students will read about the flow of energy through living things. They will create diagrams of the flow based on their reading. When they are finished, they will answer questions to reinforce what they learned.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Read About Energy in Living Things

In this science station, students read a passage about the energy flow through living things. Students then answer questions about the reading passage.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Model Energy Flow through Living Things

How does energy flow through all living things? How do the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration create the energy needed for life? In this Model Science Station, students read about how energy flows through living things and then create models of each process. They will then answer questions about the concepts they learned.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Explore Sugar Eaters

In the Explore station, students read about chemical reactions. They will record reactions and determine if a chemical or physical reaction has taken place. They will answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

In the Explore Sugar Eaters station, students will read about…sugar eaters! Or, they might actually be reading about the flow of energy through living things. Basically, the same thing. After they read the passage, they will perform an Explore activity where they will witness the connection of energy and life firsthand. They will then answer questions to help them understand the concepts better.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Sort Photosynthesis or Cellular Resperation

For the Sort Science Station, students read about the energy flow through living things. They will sort scenarios into three categories: Related to Photosynthesis, Related to Cellular Respiration, or Neither. Students will then answer questions to further their understanding.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Here are a few examples. Can you determine which is photosynthesis and which is cellular respiration?

  • Leaves absorb sunlight.
  • The planets stay in orbit around the sun.
  • Provides energy for plants to grow
  • Provides energy for animals to run
  • Bears are mammals.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

How to Purchase the Fifth Grade Energy for Life Science Stations

The Energy for Life Science Station Unit can be purchased on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other Fifth Grade Science Stations

We have fifth-grade science stations for all of the NGSS Standards. Click below for information about each one!

Energy For Life Science Stations for Fifth Grade


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Gravity on Earth Science Stations for Fifth Grade

Ever have one of THOSE weeks, where you think you’re prepared to guide your fifth-grade students to the highest heights of science learning, only to feel like some unseen force is pulling you back down? You’ve tried to prepare, but the overwhelming task of teaching the NGSS standards seem to weigh on you, making it difficult to get a jump on things. Trust us when we say, you’re not alone.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Because many of us have felt overhwelmed, we’ve developed these fifth-grade Gravity on Earth Science Stations to help relieve some of that pressure. They might even put a little extra bounce in your step!

Through eight different science stations, your students will gain a better understanding of gravity, including mass, weight, and the pull of an object toward the Earth’s center. All of these stations meet the Next Generation Science Standards for Fifth Grade (5-PS2-1).

We include everything the NGSS standards require for your fifth-graders to understand Gravity on Earth. These eight different science stations all teach and incorporate important skills through labs, experiments, videos, reading passages, and games. They’re fun, engaging, and your students will love them!

Let’s take a closer look to find out what that looks like!

What’s Included in the Gravity on Earth Science Stations

Let’s start by going over what these science stations are actually about. In these stations, students learn about gravitational force. What’s the difference between weight and mass, and what do they have to do with gravity? How does air resistence play a role in an object’s reaction to the pull of gravity?

Students make observations, construct explanations, use evidence to support a claim, and design solutions to problems throughout the Gravity on Earth unit to find out answers to these questions and more. The science stations contain challenging material for fifth graders, with new words and concepts in easy-to-implement, interactive stations.

Focus on NGSS Standards for 5-PS2-1

Next Generation Science Standards are written to be “Three Dimensional.”  The three dimensions are Performance Expectation, Disciplinary Core Idea, and Science and Engineering Practices/Crosscutting Concepts.

The Gravity on Earth Science Stations Unit focuses on these standards:

  • Performance Expectation 5-PS2-1. Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
  • Disciplinary Core Idea:
    • 5-PS2.B – The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth’s surface pulls that object toward the planet’s center.
  • Science and Engineering Practice: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    • Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions.
      • Conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, using fair tests in which variables are controlled and the number of trials considered.
  • Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect
    • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.

Big Idea Posters for Gravity on Earth

Bit Idea posters are a great way to explain the core science ideas that students will learn in this unit of study.

Some of the Big Ideas include:

  • The difference between Mass and Weight, and how both are related to gravity
  • How Friction and Air Resistance relate to Gravity
  • What Gravitational Force is
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

There are six Big Idea Posters in this unit. Only the Gravity on Earth Unit Bundle includes the Big Idea Posters. The Posters are not included for each individual station.

Vocabulary Cards

You need vocabulary cards in order to help your students understand what they’re reading about, right? The problem is, your students might not be thrilled about them. Maybe, they’re a little intimidated by them, too. We have a solution that will make vocabulary cards appealing and exciting.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Included in the Gravity on Earth Unit Bundle are two sets of vocabulary cards. They are not available for each individual science station.

One set of vocabulary cards includes colorful pictures with the words and to-the-point definitions. Each card has cutting lines, which makes this set perfect for a matching game. Cut out the three sections (picture, word, definition), mix them all up, and let the fun begin!

Pro-tip: Laminate the cards and you can use them year after year. Or, you can have your students glue them in their science notebooks.

The second set of cards is perfect for a science word wall. Each card comes with the word and definition in a larger font. It makes for great classroom reminders.

Differentiated Responses for Each Science Station

The old saying “one size fits all” has never proven true for anything. It’s especially not true when it comes to teaching children. That’s why all of our science stations, including the Gravity on Earth Science Stations, are created with the idea to offer five different ways for students to interact with each station. They include:

  • short answer questions
  • fill-in-the-blank questions without a word bank
  • fill-in-the-blank with a word bank
  • task cards with short answers
  • task cards with multiple choice

All the variations are similar to one another but require a different level of independence. The fill-in-the-blank is the easiest and is perfect for your students who struggle with reading.  The short answer is the most difficult as it requires students to construct their own responses without much support.

Choose the format that best fits your classroom and students. Students are also encouraged to use their science journal task cards.  Answer keys are included.

Some activities also include an activity sheet or worksheet in addition to the differentiated responses. This activity sheet is the “work” of the station while the differentiated responses require students to think broadly about the topic and concept.

You can find examples of the questions in some of the images below.

Reading Passages for Gravity on Earth Science Stations

All stations, except the Watch and Play stations include reading passages. Most of the reading passages are optional, but they do build students’ background knowledge and solidify key concepts. Use them if your students do not have prior knowledge of the topic of the station.

The reading passages come in two formats. You’ll see versions of both of these formats in the photographs below. Both versions have the same text, but different layouts.

  • Full-page with color border
  • Two-Column with a black border

See examples of the two formats in the images below.

Google Classroom Components

All of our fifth-grade science stations come with components easily integrated with Google Classroom. Google Forms and Google Slides are included for most stations.

  • A Google Form™️ with Reading Passage & Differentiated Questions is available for the Watch, Investigate, Diagram, Read, Model, Explore and Sort stations.
  • Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets are available for for Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, and Sort.

Most of the hands-on activities still require physical components, but we have provided the directions and recording sheets in Google Slides.

Watch a Video about Gravitational Forces

Perfect for the big classroom screen or personal devices, this station will have students watching a video or two about Gravity. One video offered is about gravitational force, while the other is about how mass, weight, and air resistance relate to gravity. We recommend that you pick one video, but if you have the time, feel free to do both.

After watching, students will answer questions about the video. This station contains several worksheets with open-ended, short-answer questions, fill-in-the-blank sentences, and more. Task cards are also included.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

There are two videos included in this science station. One of the videos is pictured here.

Play a Game About Gravity

One of students’ favorite stations (of course…): The Play A Game Science Station! In this station, students will play a board game or complete a crossword puzzle or word search puzzle to reinforce what they have learned about gravity.

During the board game, students work together to answer questions and move along the board. T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K!

Also included are a crossword puzzle and word search. There are two versions of the crossword puzzle; one with a word list, and one without. The crossword puzzle and word search also come in digital formats. The digital form changes each time the page is loaded so each student can work on his or her own versions of the puzzles.

Investigate Gravity with a Marble Run

Who doesn’t love a good marble run? In this station, students read about gravity, then try and predict how gravity will affect the marble on its track. Differentiated questions to see if students are staying on track with what they’ve learned are included

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Diagram the Direction of Gravity

In this station, students read about gravitational force and other forces that affect it. They will then create a diagram to illustrate what they read.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Read About Gravitational Force

Students read and answer questions about gravitational force in this station. It can be perfect to use for individual reading, or classroom cooperative reading.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Model Gravity Using a Parachute

Have you ever been skydiving? What about your students? Do they know how parachutes work? In this station, students will read about gravitational force and how other forces affect it. They will then model how these other forces affect gravity with the example of a parachute!

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Explore Gravity with a Race to the Bottom

Pinewood derby’s are popular do-it-yourself (or rather, parents-do-it) races. Racers construct racecars out of pinewood blocks, and send them down long decline tracks, hoping theirs will reach the bottom first. But, how do they make their car faster than anuone else’s? And, what does any of this have to do with gravity? In this station, students read about gravitational force, the other foreces that affect it, and answer questions about what they read. Hopefully, after exploring this station, they’ll have an advantage the next time they make their supreme racecar!

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Sort Gravitational Force or Not

In this station, students will read about gravitational force, and all the forces that affect it, then play a sorting game. They will sort various scenarios into two categories: Result of a Gravitational Force, or Not the Result of a Gravitational Force.

These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Here are a few examples for you to try. Which is caused by gravitational forces, and which aren’t?

  • The moon stays close to theEarth.
  • When things bake in the oven, they turn brown and look differently.
  • Electricity causes the TV toturn on.
  • The planets stay in orbitaround the sun.
  • Ice melts and becomes water.
These Gravity on Earth Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of gravitational force, mass, weight, the pull on an object toward the planet's center, and more. The focus is on 5-PS2-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

How to Purchase the Fifth Grade Gravity of Earth Science Stations

The Gravity of Earth Science Station Unit can be purchased on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other Fifth Grade Science Stations

We have fifth-grade science stations for all of the NGSS Standards. Click below for information about each one!

Gravity on Earth Science Stations for Fifth Grade


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Fourth Grade Science Station Units for NGSS

What do fourth graders need know in science? What science topics should you teach in fourth grade?

As an elementary teacher that follows the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), these fourth-grade science units help me easily set up science learning centers in the elementary classroom.

Fourth grade science stations that cover all of the next generation science standards with hands-on activities, videos, games, experiments, and more!  Includes reading passages, differentiated questions, engaging activities that make science planning easy!

These science centers cover ALL of the NGSS science topics for fourth grade and include engaging hands-on activities for each standard. They also include digital components for Google Classroom!

Fourth Grade Science Stations – Your Questions Answered

Before I link up to all of our 4th grade NGSS science units, let me answer a few quick questions that you might have about them. If you have a question that I haven’t answered below, let me know in the comment section at the end of the page.

What are the Next Generation Science Standards?

The Next Generation Science Standards are multi-dimensional. They include Performance Expectations, Disciplinary Core Ideas, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices

There is a lot of interwoven content, concepts, and science practices in each and every NGSS science standard.

Find out more about how to read the NGSS and which parts of each standard we used when designing the Fourth Grade Science Science Stations.

What If I Teach in Texas using the TEKS?

You’re in luck!

We have an alignment between the NGSS and TEKS that shows which standards in the NGSS match which standards in the TEKS. All of our Science Stations are linked in the alignment so you can easily find them.

Do you teach science in Texas and wonder how to successfully teach science lessons that are aligned with the next generation science standards? We created an NGSS and TEKS alignment tool for second, third and fourth grade teachers in Texas who want to use our science stations and 5E units. #ngss #teks #sciencestandards #sciencelessons #secondgrade #thirdgrade #fourthgrade

Why are there so many Science Stations?

We originally created 11 Science Station Units for fourth grade with 8 stations per unit. Many teachers were only using parts of each of the units, so we broke them down into individual science stations. The individual science stations are only available on TpT. The UNITS and YEARLONG BUNDLE are available on my website.

Here is how they are broken out:

  • INDIVIDUAL Science Station
  • UNIT Bundle by NGSS Standard (8 Stations in each UNIT)
  • DOMAIN Bundle (Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science)
  • YEARLONG Bundle

While you can purchase each science station individually, you save more money by purchasing the science UNITS or a larger BUNDLE.

What are the Eight Different Science Stations?

Each science station UNIT BUNDLE or topic has these 8 INDIVIDUAL stations.

  • WATCH a Video – Students watch one of two videos about the topic and answer questions about the video.
  • PLAY a Game – Students play one of two video games about the topic and answer question about the video game. They can also play a board game or do a word search or crossword puzzle
  • INVESTIGATE – Student investigate the topic with a hands-on activity. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.
  • DIAGRAM– Student diagram the topic with a hands-on activity. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.
  • READ – Student read about the topic. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.
  • MODEL – Student model the topic with a hands-on activity. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.
  • EXPLORE – Student explore the topic with a hands-on activity. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.
  • SORT – Student do a sort about the topic. Included is a reading passage and differentiated questions.

Also included in each UNIT BUNDLE are vocabulary cards and checklists. In addition, each science station that includes a reading passage also has an audio version of the reading passage. Students who struggle with reading can listen to the reading passage.

How do I use the Science Stations in my Classroom?

Great question! There are many ways to use the science stations. Some teachers use them in small groups or as science centers. Other teachers use them one-at-a-time in a whole group format. Since COVID, many teachers are using them in a distance learning environment with Google Classroom.

There really is no one-way or right answer to this question. It depends on how your classroom is set up and how much time you have for science instruction each week.

Click the image below for more information on how I set up my science stations.

4 tips for successful science stations

Are there Digital Science Stations?

Yes! All of our science stations come with digital versions with Google Slides and Forms. Students can do many of these activities online or respond to the hands-on activities in Google Classroom. The Google Classroom components vary a little from station to station.

► Google Forms™️ with Reading Passages, Differentiated Questions, and Links to the Videos are available for all stations

► Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets to record results are available for the Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, and Sort stations

Please note that while we have included digital versions for online science learning, many of the core activities are hands-on and require additional materials and resources.

Click the image below for an explanation of how some of our science stations have been adapted for Google Classroom.

How are teachers teaching science during distance learning? We've added Google Forms and Google Slides to many of our science stations for second grade, third grade, and fourth grade. Teachers can copy the files and assign them to students. All of our science stations cover the Next Generation Science Stations for each grade level and include multimedia components to engage students.

Fourth Grade Science Station UNIT BUNDLES

There are 11 Fourth Grade Science Station UNIT BUNDLES. Directly below are links to purchase each unit. Keep scrolling to find more links and in-depth details and photographs about each UNIT BUNDLE.

What Science Topics are Taught in Fourth Grade?

Below are the Fourth Grade Science Stations UNITS or TOPICS that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. They are organized by UNIT BUNDLE and include links to more photographs and in-depth descriptions of some station.

Physical Science Stations for Fourth Grade

The physical science resources for fourth grade focus on states of energy, light, waves, and more.

Energy, Energy, Everywhere – 4.PS3.A-D & ETS1.A

The Energy Science Stations for Fourth Grade focuses on energy transfer and conservation of energy in moving and colliding objects, light energy, and the transfer of energy from electrical to other types of energy.  

A mega set of Energy Science Stations that will help students gain a robust understanding of energy, energy transfer, and conservation of energy.

Here are details about the Forms of Energy SORT for fourth grade.

Teach students about forms of energy with this science station. Includes kinetic energy, potential energy, thermal energy, sound energy, and electrical energy. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Making Waves – Wave Properties – 4-PS4.A

In the Making Waves Science Station Unit students play games, watch videos and explore the the properties of waves. Students read about concepts such as sound waves, phones, different types of waves, ocean waves, vibrations, transverse and longitudinal waves.

Making Waves - Wave Properties science stations for fourth grade each students about what happens when sound enters the ear. Within these stations, students learn about sound waves, construct a phone, diagram different types of waves, model vibrations, learn about ocean waves, and learn about transverse and longitudinal waves.

Light It Up – Images & Vision – NGSS 4-PS4.B

In the Light Science Station Unit students play games, watch videos and explore the the properties of light. Students read about concepts such as light absorption, reflection and refraction, convex and concave mirrors and lenses and telescopes, how light moves through water, visible light and vision, transmission of light through kaleidoscopes, primary colors of light and primary colors of pigment, and transparent, translucent and opaque objects.

Here is the Properties of Light Sort for Fourth Grade:

Teach students about properties of light with this science station. Includes transparent, translucent and opaque objects. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Talk to Me – Exploring Communication through Codes & Technology NGSS 4-PS4.C

In the Talk to Me Science Station Unit students play games, watch videos and explore the the technology, codes and communication. Students read about concepts such as computer coding, cell phones, satellites, Morse code, binary numbers, drum code messages, digital and analog technology and sending and receiving codes.

Here is the Analog vs. Digital Sort for Fourth Grade:

Teach students about analog vs. digital things with this science station. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Life Science Stations for Fourth Grade

The life science resources for fourth grade focus on the the structure and function of humans and animals and how humans process the world around through our bodies.

Structure & Function – How Organisms Live, Behave, Reproduce & Grow NGSS 4-LS1.A

This Structure and Function Science Station Unit is about the internal and external structures and functions of plants and animals that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. It includes 8 different science stations where students deepen their understanding of the structure and function of plants and animals.

Structure and Function Science Stations cover NGSS 4-LS1.A and focuses on how organisms live, behave, reproduce, and grow. Included are concepts such structure and function of flowers, belly buttons, muscular and skeletal systems, bird structures to support flight, the human heart, trees, animals in arctic areas, leaves, and other organisms.

Here are details about the SORT science station for Structure and Function. In this station, students determine whether the card shows a plant, fungus, algae, or lichen.

is it a plant?

Information Processing: Making Sense of the World NGSS 4-LS1.D

In this Information Processing Unit students learn about the sensory systems, including anatomy (structures and parts) and physiology (how the parts function).

Here are details about the Types of Nerve Cells Sort for fourth grade.

Teach students about nerve cells with this science station. Students sort the type of nerve cell: mechanical, pain, or temperature. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Earth Science Stations for Fourth Grade

The earth science resources for fourth grade focus on the history of the earth, plate tectonics, weathering and erosion, natural resources, and natural hazards.

The Changing Earth – History of Planet Earth – NGSS 4.ESS1.C

In the Changing Earth Unit students deepen their understanding of how the earth changes over time. The focus is on NGSS 4-ESS1.C and concepts include earthquakes, mountains, fossils, layers of sedimentary rock, weathering, rock cycle, types of rocks, geologists, fossilization, and erosion.

Here are details about the Forces of Erosion SORT for fourth grade.

Fourth grade students sort landforms by how they were created: by river, glacier, ocean, or wind erosion. Over time, the land changes. This process is called erosion. In this science activity students learn about erosion that takes place over long periods of time. Students look at various landforms and determine how it was formed.

Weathering & Erosion – Earth Materials & Systems, Biogeology – NGSS 4-ESS2.A & 4.ESS2.E

This Weathering and Erosion Unit has 12 different science stations where students deepen their understanding of how the weathering and erosion change the Earth’s surface.

Here are details about the Forces of Weathering SORT for fourth grade.

Teach students about forces of weathering things with this science station. Includes weathering by water, chemical, ice, wind, and biological weathering. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Plate Tectonics, Mountain Formation, Continental Drift – 4.ESS2.B

This Plate Tectonics Unit students are able to explain the cause of volcanoes, earthquakes and other large-scale geologic interactions and land formations.

Here are details about the Plate Boundaries Sort for fourth grade.

Fourth grade teachers! Teach your students about plate tectonics with these fun, engaging science stations. Students watch videos, play games, and conduct experiments about earthquakes, volcanoes, plate boundaries and more. These science stations align with the next generation science standards for 4th grade.

Natural Resources – Fuel for the Future – 4.ESS3.A

This Natural Resources is about renewable and nonrenewable energy. Concepts include different sources of energy, fossil fuels, alternative sources of energy, saving energy, wind power, renewable and nonrenewable energy, solar energy, and hydropower.

Here is a sort about Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources for fourth grade.

Teach students about renewable and nonrenewable resources with this science station. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Natural Hazards – Wild Weather & Shifting Plates – 4-ESS3.B

This Natural Hazards Unit is about the natural forces behind natural disasters that influence communities and individuals. Natural disasters include earthquakes, ocean waves and currents, volcanoes, plate tectonics, tsunamis, winter storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.

Here are details about the Solutions to Natural Disasters SORT for fourth grade.

Teach students about short-term and long-term solutions to natural disasters with this science station. This sorting center includes a reading passage to build background knowledge about nerve cells as well as differentiated questions to assess your students' comprehension.

Where can I get the Fourth Grade Science Stations?

The NGSS Fourth Grade Science Stations can be purchased on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Fourth Grade Science Station Units for NGSS


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Math Workshop Meet With the Teacher Q&A Roundup – Core Inspiration

Each week this month, I’m taking time to share a collection of the most commonly-asked Math Workshop questions I receive. Today, I’m jumping into the second category of questions which are all focused on the Meet with the Teacher Rotation of workshop. 

Here’s a refresher on the types of questions I’ll be focusing on each week during this blog post series: 

  • Mini Lessons (Week 1)
  • Meet With the Teacher Rotation (Week 2)
  • At Your Seat & Technology Rotations (Week 3)
  • Hands-On Rotation (Week 4)

If you prefer to see all the questions in one place, or you want a printable version where you can add your own notes, I’ll send you a PDF with the full collection. Simply click here to let me know you’re interested. Let’s jump into your questions about Meet with the Teacher. 


Part 2: Meet With the Teacher Questions

Q: What materials do you use during Meet With the Teacher? Do you use manipulatives when meeting with students?

For the most part, I use personal whiteboards, paper and pencil, and manipulatives related to the current unit. Nothing too fancy. 🙂

Q: How many students are you meeting with during a small group session?

Typically 3-6 students. Keep in mind, Meet With the Teacher for some students on some days looks like one-on-one conferences at their seat, me observing as they play math games or meeting with them as they work on math projects. I really like the flexible approach.

Q: What do students do if they finish a rotation early?

At Your Seat: when finished with the reteach page, work on word problem task cards.

Hands-On: when you finish a game, play another round, try the challenge version of the game (game cards provide these differentiation instructions), or play a different game.

Technology: when you finish your Khan Academy assignments, work on IXL or multiplication.com

Q: Do you use a learning menu or must do/may do sheet to help students keep track of all this?

I use a digital rotation board. It shows who should be working on what and lists the to-dos for each rotation each day. It also tracks the duration of each rotation, automatically signals to the class when it’s time to transition to the next rotation, and provides a countdown timer to scaffold efficient transitions between rotations.

Core Inspiration's math workshop rotation board with project based learning listed as a math center option
Q: How do you prevent students who are doing the other rotations from interrupting when you are teaching your small group? 

Using the Math Triads Routine eliminates the problem of small group interruptions.

Math triads were designed with the “three before me” routine in mind. A student should ask three people to assist him/her before asking the teacher.

  1. First, the student must ask him/herself by thinking long and hard about the question/problem, and use personal resources to find a solution.
  2. If a solution is not found, the student must collaborate with a classmate, and combine brainpower and resources to find a solution.
  3. If that classmate doesn’t have the resources to help, the student must collaborate with yet another classmate.
  4. Occasionally, the student still has no solution and must turn to the teacher for guidance.

In that case, I recommend having a place where a student can write their name to let you know they have run into a problem and need your assistance when you have a moment to spare.

Take time to establish your expectations for what students should do as they wait for you to check in with them. Should they move on to the next problem? Should they work on another activity? Should they do anything to prepare so your meeting time with them is more efficient?

If you’d like to learn more, you can hop over to this detailed post about introducing the Math Triads Routine.

Core Inspiration math traids three before me poster showing students how to work more independently as the teacher works with small groups during math workshop.

Everything students need on a regular basis during Math Workshop can be found in three easily-accessible parts of the classroom. Most of our math materials are stored in the math workshop corner. Extra paper is always available in the same spot and never runs low because the student who is hired for the classroom job, Teacher’s Assistant, writes reminder notes whenever supplies need restocking. Project supplies are always stored in the project drawers so students can work through each step of their project without having to wait on supplies being distributed.

Shelf in the corner of the classroom where all the math workshop manipulatives and supplies are organized and easily accessible to students so they can work more independently during math rotations.
Q: How do you keep your small group lesson quiet enough so that it doesn’t distract the rest of the students who are working on At Your Seat, Technology, and Hands-On?

Collaborative work and plenty of talking are important parts of learning. Even when people are talking a collaborating, the classroom can be a calm space where everyone can focus.

Taking the time to ask students how they feel about a calm, focused learning environment boosts student buy-in to stay calm and quiet even as they work during times of day that have lots of moving parts (like Math Workshop).

I recommend introducing teeny tiny voices as a way to respectfully talk/collaborate during workshop so everyone can stay calm and focused. During this lesson, you’ll teach students how they can physically feel what their different voice levels sound like. This will help them learn how to speak in a “normal voice”, a “whisper voice”, and a “teeny-tiny voice”.

If the noise level becomes too loud during workshop and students forget to use teeny tiny voices, you can introduce the double chime. Since the noise of a double chime will be a novelty the first time it’s heard over the bustle of collaboration, students will immediately freeze and scan the room for the source. Their curiosity makes this the perfect opportunity to introduce how this tool will be used to further support respect and care for one another during workshop.  

  • The double chime will only ring if their noise level is too high.
  • If the chime rings once, it is a warning to adjust to teeny tiny voices and continue working.
  • If the noise level increases again, the chime will ring a second time, which means everyone must silently return to their seat and work independently for the remainder of that rotation/work session.
  • When a new rotation begins, the chime count resets.
Poster showing different voice levels to be used in the classroom during math workshop. These include a "normal voice", "whisper voice", and a "teeny-tiny voice".

Wrap Up

There you have it! All these questions about Meet with the Teacher are from motivated teachers like you who are working hard to implement a Math Workshop framework that makes math differentiation more manageable. Next week, I’ll be sharing answers to questions about the At Your Seat Rotation & Technology Rotation of Math Workshop. 

If you’re anything like me, reading a list of questions always sparks a few new questions, so feel free to drop those in the comments below. 🙂

Interested in the resources featured in this blog post for your own classroom? Click the links below to hop over to my store.




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Whole Group Two-Digit Addition & Subtraction Activities

Introducing two-digit addition and subtraction strategies and skills to your learners can be fun and engaging while still meeting national and state math standards. I love using whole group instruction to make sure students are getting a common message about how to use number lines, base ten blocks, place value, and compensation strategies.

Although there are many models and strategies for teaching two-digit addition and subtraction, these whole group two-digit addition and subtraction activities that meet the standards prove particularly effective and easy to use with students. By practicing these strategies, math can be more enjoyable for all students.

These activities meet Common Core State Standard 2.NBT.B.9, (Explain why addition and subtraction strategies work, using place value and the properties of operations) and CCSS 2.NBT.B.5, (Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction).

Here are some whole group two-digit addition and subtraction activities that meet the standards.

Number Lines

Since an open number line is so flexible, it lends itself to addition and subtraction regardless of the numbers involved. The concrete action of manipulating numbers on a number line reinforces mathematical thinking. Start by modeling and using a number line with easier problems in whole group instruction. This will make students more comfortable when using it later on with more challenging calculations. Use no-prep two-digit addition and subtraction printables to help your learners use a number line to add and subtract two-digit numbers.

Flap Books

Teach your whole class how to create two-digit subtraction flap books to practice two-digit subtraction. After whole group instruction, you can also use flap books to differentiate with your learners. Here are some skills included in the books to help your learners solidify their understanding of two-digit subtraction:

  • Just tens (Ex: 50 – 20)
  • Tens and Ones with a 0 in subtrahend (Ex: 45 – 20)
  • Without regrouping (Ex: 67 – 32)
  • With regrouping (Ex: 81 – 23)
  • Mixed problems

Base Ten Blocks

Manipulatives can be lifesavers for some students. Drawing manipulatives on paper can save you time and money! Students will always have a pencil and paper, but they will not always have manipulatives to use. No-prep two-digit addition and subtraction printables introduce base ten blocks to illustrate and build two-digit numbers and add and subtract them. Have your students use the resources that allow them to record equations and draw base-10 blocks using symbols like squares, sticks, and dots.

Two-Digit Number Puzzles

When two-digit addition and subtraction can feel more like a game, your students will get excited to learn! These two-digit number puzzles meet the state and national standards and help your learners visualize how addition and subtraction patterns emerge.

The Decompose Two-Digit Number Puzzles are a four-piece puzzles that help your elementary learners practice two-digit addition and subtraction. Introduce this activity to the whole group to assist in regrouping.

Each puzzle is built with four number relationships. For example:

Practice with the whole group by matching all four pieces or differentiate instruction and concentrate on two pieces at a time.

What Prior Knowledge Should Students Have?

Before getting started with two-digit addition and subtraction, what should your class know and be able to do?

  • automaticity with addition and subtraction facts -memorization isn’t necessary, but speed helps
  • ability to find friendly numbers – 10 is a benchmark number, so it’s helpful to quickly know tens
  • adding ten to a number – having this foundational skill means that students can effectively see the pattern of adding ten to a number
  • place value – students must have a strong understanding of ones and tens. Fluency with place value will also make your student more successful in math.

Although there are many models and strategies for teaching two-digit addition and subtraction, these whole group two-digit addition and subtraction activities that meet the standards prove particularly effective and easy to use with students. By practicing these strategies, math can be more enjoyable for all students.

Whole Group Two-Digit Addition & Subtraction Activities


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