Sunday, November 3, 2013

Little Scientists, Big Ideas

We've been working on our science launch unit and I'm so happy with how well it's been going. I have to admit, science often gets the short straw in my classroom. With reading, writing, math, and word study pressures, when something's got to give, it's typically been science.  I've made a vow this year to try harder to give science it's due.  So far, so good!

We started by making an anchor chart of all of the things scientists do. We're using sticky notes so we can add ideas as we go. (One that did not make the list - one little boy said, "My Daddy said that one day, scientists will create a pill that will stop my mom from nagging him," LMAO!!!)

One thing that is new to us this year is the use of Science Notebooks. I haven't used then before so I spent a good bit of time figuring out how I wanted to set them up.  I decided that I wanted a science notebook that would give me some structure but would also allow me to add some things along the way. I found a really cute, simple template on TPT that is working perfectly for us. (It's by Sandra Menhart and you can find it here. I also picked up her Rainbow Numbers and my kids LOVE them!)

I copied the pages single-sided, added a copy of our Anchor Chart as the first page and bound them together with my binding machine.  They look so official, don't they?

We talked about all of the different kinds of scientists that there are and the different things that they study.  I found a great Powerpoint over at Kindergarten, Kindergarten about this and the kids loved learning words such as paleontologist and entomologist. One smarty pants even noticed that many of the names ended with -gist. We added this new learning to our notebooks. This is where the format of the journal came in handy - we glued something on the left hand side, and wrote on the right - perfect!

Our next lesson was: "Scientists make observations by looking closely at things".  We talked about the importance of drawing exactly what we see - no rainbow pumpkins, please! A cute little scientist craftivity added a little variety to our notebooks and gave us a chance to practice some fine motor skills at the same time.

When my sister brought  me the last three green tomatoes from her tomato plant last weekend so they wouldn't freeze on the plant, I knew they were perfect for my next lesson: "Scientists notice changes and record them." We observed and recorded what the tomatoes looked like on Day 1, then we will draw them again when they ripen (or when I concede that since it's been a week they're probably not going to ripen and perhaps it's time to sneak in the ripened tomatoes I got today at Shoprite).
The next couple of lessons will focus on wondering, posing questions and finding answers. This "launch" unit is new to me so I'd love some ideas about where to go next. If you have some tips, I'd love to hear them. Sandra Menhart has generously donated three copies of her cute Science Notebook to give away to my fantastic followers.  I'll send one to the first three who leave a notebook tip in a comment.

I hope you have a class full of eager scientists and a year full of wonder . . .


  1. For this time of the year, candy experiments are a great way to bring the scientific method into the classroom. You can search the internet for a wide array of experiments to do with leftover candy. These experiments can give the kids practice in making hypotheses, recording observations, asking questions, etc...The list could go on and on!

  2. These look great! I love to do a mini science notebook for each unit. This way, I bind together graphic organizers specific to what we are doing, but I love this idea too. I do something similar for our year long writing journal! THANKS!

  3. Make sure you take your time. Trial and error will help in the future, as you'll learn what works and what needs tweaking.

  4. I have a wonderful little book that I got free from Deanna Jump's website. It has the different steps in doing an experiment. Might be a nice addition to your unit.

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  7. Where can I find the craftivity of the little scientisst holding the test tube?

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