Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hocus Pocus! I Need Focus!

I don't want to go a whole week without posting, so I'm going to share some small Science snippets from our week!  I'm tired, sick, and scatterbrained, so I'll do my best to write a coherent post.  I'm having trouble focusing after my twelve hour slumber! I think I'm coming down with strep throat, so I may end up at Stat Care by the end of the day. If you need clarification about anything, leave questions and I'll get back to you!

Since we've been working with aphids and daphnia, we discussed the importance of camouflage.  The kiddos created their own paper butterflies and found items in the classroom to make them disappear into.  We taped them to the surfaces, then went on a butterfly hunt!  The kids loved this, and it was so easy!  There was basically no prep!  I just grabbed a stack of white construction paper, and viola! A memorable lesson on camouflage! Check out their creations!

We've been monitoring the interaction between aphids and our plants.  We planted fava beans, bush beans and pea plants before spring break, and now they are infested with creepy crawlies.  So far, the aphids haven't really multiplied, but eventually the plants will be covered by little green bugs.  The kids will be learning about producers, primary consumers, dispersal, and biotic potential through this lesson.  It's always really fun... unless you wind up with giant spiders in your room like I did three years ago!   :)  Thankfully, the spider was a great example of a secondary consumer in the food chain!

The little specks are aphids!
We also did a little experiment with brine shrimp eggs and clover seeds.  The kids had to make a hypothesis about which was a seed and which was an egg.  Then they had to guess which organism would grow in freshwater and which would grow in saltwater.  Each group filled four vials: two were filled with freshwater and two were filled with saltwater.  They put the eggs in freshwater and in saltwater.  They put the seeds in saltwater and freshwater too, and then we waited.  The next day, the clover seeds had started to sprout in the freshwater tubes, and they could see tiny bouncing brine shrimp babies in the saltwater tubes.  They loved this lesson... especially when they saw the enlarged photographs of brine shrimp!  To the naked eye, they look like tiny brown specks!

With the OAA approaching, I started thinking about pumping the kids up! It's also time to begin covering/removing all of the student work and anchor charts on my walls!  It's great to have a print-rich classroom until testing rolls around.  Ha-ha!  I decided to use an idea from the Lesson Plan SOS ladies to cover two of my bulletin boards and ease some OAA worries.  It's their Smart Little Cookies craft!  I usually have the kids make posters to cheer each other on during the test and those usually grace my bulletin boards and walls.  This year, I blended the two.  After completing the craft and smart little cookie recipe, I had the kids write messages to each other to build morale!  :)

Now for the Hocus Pocus!  Last night, my husband and I went to see a magic show by Joshua Jay! This was the first magic show I have ever seen in my life, and I probably never would have gone to see someone do card tricks if it wasn't for the fact that my friend is dating the magician! I've only met him once before, but when my husband read that he was coming to our little bitty city, he snagged tickets.  Joshua did a card trick at our wedding that was ridiculous. RIDICULOUS! He had me write my new initials, the date, and a symbol on a card.  Then, I folded it up, and put it in between my teeth.  He did the same, and put his card between his teeth.  Then he grabbed my hands and had me look in his eyes.  All of the sudden, Josh said, "Is this your card?"  He pulled MY card out of his teeth, and I had his card between my teeth.  WHAT?!  We had probably ten to fifteen people around us and our photographer snapping away, and nobody caught how he did it.  Last night was equally baffling.  How did a torn and rolled up dollar bill end up inside of a lemon?  And how did it match up exactly with the other torn corner?

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with teaching, and I assure you, there's a connection.  Josh talked about how much practice goes into each move to give the illusion of magic-- how a really great magician makes a really difficult trick look easy.  Isn't that what we do?  Don't really masterful teachers transform difficult topics into something magical?  Don't we entertain and instill wonder?  I assert that we aren't so different after all.


  1. I totally agree with you...a great teacher does transform their classroom and lessons into something magical!

    Once Upon a Time in First Grade

  2. what a fun week! i'm sorry your not feeling well! :(

  3. I have a totally off topic question for ya...can you tell me the name of the cute font you use on the cover page of your units? I can't find it on lettering delights.

  4. Sure! It's called Giddy Gingerbread!

  5. I love your connection of teachers to magicians! Thanks for sharing. Hope you're feeling better :)

  6. Looks like so much fun. Your kids are so lucky to have you :)
    Feel better!

  7. I love the camouflage activity. I may have to try that next year.