Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Moon Phases, Seasons, and Shadows TEKS 4.8C

5th grade science teachers in Texas need to spend some time reviewing/reteaching some 3rd and 4th grade science TEKS in addition to the 5th grade TEKS. 

Science TEKS 4.8C says "Collect and analyze data to identify sequences and predict patterns of change in shadows, seasons, and the observable appearance of the Moon over time."

This TEKS has been tested once in the last 4 years and it was over tides--which was dropped from the TEKS this year. It isn't enough for students to know what causes these events but they should be able to look over data and predict. 

Moon Phases
This video shows all the moon phases from 2017.  
  • Ask students what they notice and wonder after watching the video. Do they see a pattern after watching it?
  • Give students a calendar with some of the moon phases filled in for the month. Have them complete the calendar based on the pattern they see. 
Use this file to assess what students remember about the different seasons. There are 24 cards. Give each student one card and they can walk around the room meeting up with their classmates. When they meet another classmate, each students will share the characteristic on their card and discuss what seasons they believe it belongs in. At this point, they can switch cards and then find another partner. At the end of the activity, create a chart and have students place their cards in the correct season. 

Students need to understand how shadows are formed (because light travels in a straight line and when light hits an object, that object may block the light) and they need to understand that shadows form a predictable pattern. You can put an object outside and predict where the shadow that object creates will be. 

This activity lets students practice where the shadow is. It also doubles as an activity for 5.8C which is about Earth's rotation. Place the page with the tree in a sheet protector. Have students label the time for each of the Sun's position. Then have them draw where the tree's shadow will be with a dry erase marker at any given time. 


All three of these patterns can be summed up with this free foldable found in my TpT store. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018


I thought Mythbusters was off the air, but its not! Which is awesome. I think it is a great show and a cool way to talk about scientific investigations.

This past week in 5th grade science, the 5th graders started designing a simple experiment to test the effect of force on an object. I like using Mythbuster videos to show students how to design scientific investigations. Not every investigation they do checks all the boxes, but it does allow us to discuss the questions they are asking, the variable, their steps, and how they can make a new investigation.

I spent sometime this week looking for some Mythbusters videos that show investigations dealing with force to show our 5th graders and then discuss.

If you use a service like View Pure, you can enter the link from YouTube and get a new link without ads or distracting side menus that YouTube might have.

Video #1
Cars Crashing into each other at 50mph

Video #2
Car crashing into wall at 100mph

Video #3
Dropping concrete on a car to make it somersault

Video #4
Eggs holding lots of weight

Video #5
Phone Book Friction

With each of these videos, you can ask the following questions:

What question is the investigation designed to answer?
What is the independent variable? What are the mythbusters changing?
What are the steps to their investigation?
What do you wonder? <--This question is to see if students think of similar investigations they could do. This is helpful as the TEKS states they should be designing their own experiment.

There are more force videos available, but these have no beeped language in them.

You can just have a class discussion after watching the videos or have students write their answers here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Four 4s--Week of Inspirational Math

I did this activity with my students at the beginning of the year two years ago. It was part of the Youcubed week of inspirational math. This is a week of activities that promote growth mindset in math and thinking of math beyond word problems but as relationships between numbers.

I had a great time doing the week of inspirational math with my students. There are now even more lessons then when I first started this.

This activity was called Four 4s. Students had to create expressions using only four 4s that equaled numbers 1-20. They could use any expression and any math they wanted. They loved it and I think it would be a great before a holiday activity. Students wanted to learn new math to keep creating expressions. I taught them square roots and exponents and they just gobbled that stuff up.

There is nothing that says this has to be done with only fours. If your students find expressions for all these numbers, move onto a another number!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Calculating Average Speed--FREE Resource

Math and Science are so closely connected, but students never believe it. Ever tried teaching a cross-curricular lesson, only to have students say "This isn't math/science/writing class!" Middle school students start to get a glimpse of how science needs math.

In the Texas Science Standards in 6th grade, students start to calculate average speed given time and distance measurements. Here are a few resources that may help students practice calculating average speed.


Start by introducing the the formula for calculating average speed by having students hop across the room or take the students outside. Mark off a predetermined distance (like 20 meters, 50 meters...) and give pairs or groups of students a timer to collect their data.


Take the Engage activity to a whole new level. Students will need to go outside for this one. Mark off a predetermined distance (50-100 meters) and have students tiptoe, speed walk, and run while they time the members of their group and then calculate their average speed.


Students should be able to read tables and graphs to calculate average speed. This mini-assessments helps you see if students are able to do that.

Download this for FREE here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Staying Active During the School Year

I do a fairly good job every summer of working out consistently. Then school starts and I am entirely too exhausted to do anything when I get home and then I lose my momentum from summer and... I could list all the excuses I have for not being active, but I am not letting myself use those excuses this year.

My goal this year is to work out 3 times a week and to be active any day that I don't work out-either a walk or playing outside with my kids.

Usually my goal for working out is to lose weight. While that would be a nice side effect, it is not my main goal. Any one else feel the effects of aging? I feel like I am still young at 32, but...I am so tired at the end of the day and I wake up with sore muscles. I realize that taking care of myself now is important for my health in the long run. I also want to set an example for my children.

Here is how I will stay active this school year.

  1. Remember my WHY? (See above)
  2. Make a plan for the week. Look at my and my husband's schedules and plan which will be work out days. 
  3. Change into my workout clothes as soon as I get home. 
  4. Do something that I don't hate doing. (See below)
  5. Repeat

Now, sometimes I really hate working out so if I force myself to do something I hate, it won't last long. I don't have a gym membership and I have two small children at home. I also hate running.  I also cannot wake up early in the morning. I have found a few things that work for me.

  • Blogilates
    • Cassey puts out a new short work out video every week and she has a huge library on her YouTube Channel. She has a lot of other resources that I haven't used yet. What I like most is the song challenges. These are 3-4 minute videos (the length of a song) where she focuses on one exercise. I can convince myself to do 4-5 videos. I always say I'll just do 3, but then what's one more?
    • These are some of my favorite ones. Shape of your Thighs, Sore-y Not Sorry Abs, Inner Thighs Workout, Ab Climber. 
    • She also has workout plans for the month. I love that she puts a video out every week because it is usually what convinced me to work out on Mondays. 
  • Jillian Michaels (Amazon Affiliates Links Used Here)
    • I had some old work out DVDs that I found while I was decluttering this summer. I like the Shed and Shred and Ripped in 30,  and Killer Buns and Thighs. These workouts are hard, but she has modified version of some of the moves and I always feel like I did a good workout afterwards. You may need weights for this; I only have 5 pound weights. 
  • Yoga
    • This is something I just started. This will be for the days when I can fee like I am too exhausted to get a workout in, but I still want to try something. I am not good at yoga yet and I am not flexible. I downloaded a few apps on my phone that go through a program. Daily Yoga, and Yoga Studio
    • I did this on the first day of school last week. I had spent the day running around the school and I was exhausted. Also, my kids expected dinner! So I was laying on the couch and decided my body needed something. I downloaded the Daily Yoga App and did 15 minutes of the Stiff Joint routine. 
There it is. My workout plan. Next thing I need to get down is eating better. I will not do supplements or any multilevel marketing thing. My problem is eating too much, but that's for another day.

How do you stay active during the school year?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Change in Science TEKS and Metamorphosis Foldable

The science TEKS have been streamlined this year. Our district has done a lot of work to make sure that teachers are aware of the changes and not teach old lessons without making sure they fit the streamlined TEKS.

If you haven't used the resources on Lead4ward and you teach in Texas, you should. I am constantly on this website for various resources, the one I am sharing with you today takes the old TEKS and compares them with the streamlined TEKS. To find it, go here and click on the appropriate side-by-side for your grade level.

One thing that 5th grade does not have a TEKS for anymore is complete and incomplete metamorphosis. However, if you look at this document it states "Impact: the term metamorphosis has been removed from the K-12 TEKS (implied it will be addressed in standards pertaining to life cycles of living organisms that undergo metamorphosis)". There is still a 3rd grade TEKS that discusses life cycles that can still be tested on the 5th grade STAAR. So...will it not be on the STAAR test? I think it is possible.

So, here is a science notebook foldable that goes with metamorphosis, available for free on my TPT store.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Science and Science Tools

I changed positions last year and became a science instructional coach. I am now starting my second year in the position and almost feel like I got my stuff together. At least this week. 

I have wanted to be an instructional coach for a several years--every since I learned that was a thing in education. I enjoy working with other teachers and collaborating on lessons and strategies. I like learning about new things in education and sharing it and helping others make it work for their classroom. 

So, I have a year down and I am excited to start my second year. I've moved from math to science to math and now back to science. I am sure I'll move to math again someday. You'll see a mix of math and science good stuff on this blog still. 

In honor of my new (year old) position, here is a free science tools brochure. You can download it here Science Tools Brochure .

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Dividing Whole Numbers BINGO--FREE

Are there concepts in math that you just don't like practicing? I have two: long division and adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. They are just not fun for me. But I love solving equations and proportions, which I am sure someone else despises.

I know I am not alone in hating long division. I don't think I have met a students who begs me for more long division problems. It is the process where I see the most mistakes because there are so many steps to remember and they may make computation errors. Although most of our students may wish it, division isn't going anywhere.

I don't like doing countless pages of practice to combat mistakes in long division. Why? Because its boring. If someone handed me a page of long division problems to do by hand...I can already feel my anxiety rising just thinking about it.

Practice is still needed, but not in the form of a worksheet.

When I need lots of practice for a concept, there are two things I do: scavenger hunt around the room or BINGO.

Today, I am sharing a dividing whole numbers BINGO. To set this up,  you need to print BINGO page for every student, the BINGO cards, and every student needs a dry erase marker.

If you are doing this in whole group, have students randomly place the numbers (which are the answers) in the BINGO board. Have them cross off answers as they place them in the boxes.

Randomly pull problem cards and display them for students to see. Students will work the problems with the dry erase marker either directly on their desk (my favorite way) or on dry erase boards. As they work, they should be able to talk to each other and work through their mistakes. You should also walk around the room looking for any issues. Even if all students are not finished with a problem, I display 2-3 problems at a time for students who work more quickly.

If the students don't have their answer on the card, they know they made a mistake somewhere.

Are there any concepts that you just dread teaching or practicing?

Dividing Whole Numbers BINGO

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