What Melts In The Sun? {Experiment!}

 

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

Do your kiddlets love science experiments as much as mine do? Because we focus so much on the “scientific process” in the beginning of the year, my kids know what whenever we start a new science unit, they are in for some FUN experiments! When I announced we were doing a science experiment Friday, the kids started saying, “We’re going to ask questions!”, “We’re going to do experiments!”, “We’re going to be scientists!”. It sounds like I’m making that up, but really- my kids LOVE science and all that comes along with it!

We’re right in the middle of our science unit about the Sun. Why are we doing a unit about the Sun? Because our NGSS {our national science standards} ask the kids to understand the patterns they see in the sky. This is why our last unit was on the seasons and why this one is about the Sun! For the kids to understand the pattern of the Sun, they first need to learn about the Sun!

Sun circle map

Sun circle map

My favorite way to start any unit is with a circle map. When I introduced this unit last week, I wrote the word “Sun” in the middle of the map and had the kids tell me things they knew…. or thought they knew…. about the Sun. This is all the writing you see in green. Some of it is right on- “hot”, “bigger than Earth”, “very far away”. Those are great! Some showed misconceptions- “flashing lines” {meaning it has wiggling lines coming off it like we draw in pictures}, “fire”, “tilts”. While I loved that the kids brought in their knowledge from the last unit {i.e. The Earth is titled}, this isn’t true for the Sun.

BUT –  WRITE IT ON THE MAP ANYWAY! It’s WAY more meaningful for the kids to discover this on their own, than for me to correct them in the moment.

Next, we spent that day exploring things about the Sun. We looked at a diagram of the solar system, we looked at photographs online, we watched a Brainpop video, and we read a short informational text. By the end of that day, we could go back to the Circle Map and add/change things we’d written {that’s the pink writing}. Now, the kids could tell me that the sun wasn’t just yellow, but a mix of yellow, red, and orange. They knew it wasn’t made of fire, but burning gases. They knew it didn’t tilt, but didn’t move in the middle {**** I realize the Sun rotates in a circle, and we did get to this at another day. For that day, we just discovered it stayed in the middle of our solar system. There’s only so much knowledge we can cover in a day} 🙂

Anyways, I wanted to share this method for introducing a topic. The kids love it, I can see misconceptions, and it’s so great for the kids to discover things on their own. The map is still up in our room and we add to it as we learn new things.

Experiment

Experiment

After a week of learning more about the Sun, we had a great experiment, with the driving question- “What melts in the Sun?”

I saw the idea from Pinterest {Here!} and copied the idea in my room. The gist is, you put objects in a muffin tray and have the kids predict what will melt and what won’t melt.

Objects

Objects

We used ice, butter, a wood block, a crayon, a lego, a bell, chocolate, and cheese. You can obviously mix up what you use, but these worked for me!

Predictions

Predictions

Because we are good little scientists, the first thing we did was write down our essential question and our hypothesis. What did we think would melt? We talked a lot about how we were pretending our light was the “Sun”.

{In the experiment link, they put their tray outside in the sunlight. But, it’s December here….gray….cloudy…..cold….. So being the wonderful wife that I am, had my husband go out into our frozen, snowy yard and bring in our outside flood light to use as the Sun substitute. And of course I remembered to ask him to do this well in advance and not five minutes before I had to leave the house Friday morning 🙂 }

The kids got to take an up-close look at all the items before they made their predictions and before anything started melting.

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

At their seats, they drew what the experiment looked like.

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Sooooo, we had to give our “Sun” some time to melt our objects. What did we do in the meantime? We enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus “Gets Lost in Space”, of course! Although, it did make me feel old when the video referenced 1998 as the next year coming up. Sigh.

Magic School Bus

Magic School Bus

The 20 minute video gave our experiment plenty of time to work! When the movie was over, we went back over to see what had happened!

Melted!

Melted!

The ice cubes look gone- but the water is there! The butter and chocolate also melted!

Wow!

Wow!

It led to a fun conversation about objects having different melting points. For example, ALL these things would have melted if they were on the REAL sun. The cheese and crayon would have melted if our “Sun” was a little hotter. But none the less, it was so much fun and helped them further develop the idea that the Sun is very hot, affects us, and affects objects around us. 

My little scientists wrote down the results of the experiment.

Results!

Results!

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

App Smashing: Doceri and ChatterPix

 

App smashing

App smashing

What is App Smashing? When I heard this term for the first time, I immediately pictured two apps crashing together. I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant, how to use it, what it was for, etc.

After hearing many people talking about this idea, I decided it was time to do some Goog-ing (you know I love an abbrev) 🙂

Here’s a definition of app smashing from ipads4schools.org that I think is very easy to understand:

App smashing is “content created in one app transferred to and enhanced by a second app and sometimes third. Preferably the final product is then published to the web”. The website goes on to tell the reasons who might do app smashing …

Reasons to App Smash:

  1. It demands creative thinking
  2. It demands more from the technology (value for money)
  3. It turns the issue of not having a ‘wonder app’ into a positive
  4. It removes any restrictions to take a topic as far as it can be taken.
  5. It often results in more engaging learning products
  6. It’s a fun challenge for ‘digital natives’

So let’s break it down. Basically app smashing is creating something in one app and then transferring that information/picture/story/etc to another app. In the second app, you enhance the first product by adding or doing something more/different to it within that app.

How can this look in a first grade classroom?

We did our first app smashing adventure in science, where we are doing a unit on the sun. This relates to our Common Core Next Generation Science standards which states “Students can describe patterns in the sky”. One of those patterns is how the sun “moves” across our sky. To build their prior knowledge on the subject, we began by focusing on learning about the sun itself.

After a few days of building our knowledge, we completed this worksheet together about the sun.

The Sun

The Sun

The Sun

The Sun

I think that for us, it’s an important step for us to still start with paper and pencil first. My kiddlets need as much time as they can get with writing/spelling/word practice, so I like starting here instead of going straight to the iPad.

After the worksheet, the students got their iPads and opened the Doceri app.

Doceri

Doceri

I’ve talked about this app HERE and other ways we’ve used it. This time, we used Doceri to draw a picture of the Sun. The kids knew to use “right”colors (yellow, red, and orange) and immediately had a blast adding details to their pictures.

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

You can see in the photo above, the kids are experts on how to change the colors in Doceri, as well as changing the size of the drawing tool and what kind of drawing tool they are using. It’s pretty seamless at this point and when you watch them, they are constantly changing the shade of the colors, size of the marker, and much, much more.

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

Drawing in Doceri

Drawing the Sun in Doceri

 

After our drawings were complete, we took a screen shot of our iPads. The kids know how to do this from practice in class, but I still like to have a student verbally explain it each time we try.

Screen shot

Screen shot

Above is a student explaining to the class how to take a screen shot of their drawing. Of course we are still practicing this skill (learning that we only need to do it ONCE and that just because it makes a fun sound doesn’t mean we have to do it ten times) 😉

When you take a screen shot of something, it goes to your camera roll. Back to the ipads4schools.org website, one of their tips is:

Key rules for successful App Smashing:

  1. Use the Camera Roll as your main conduit between apps

I didn’t know this before hand- but check it out! I planned this on my own 🙂

It did make it very easy because having the picture in the camera roll makes it simple to transfer to any other app. For us, it was the app Chatter Pix for kids.

Chatter Pix Kids

Chatter Pix Kids

This is where we begin the app smashing- we began to use a second app to enhance what we did in the first app. The students now opened up the ChatterPix app. Within the app, they imported the picture they had just saved to the camera roll (the picture they drew of the sun).

They used the ChatterPix app to record themselves talking about facts of the sun. Remember how the first thing we did was write that paper together with the facts of the sun? That’s what my students used to record from. Not only did this give them clear directions on what to say, but helped them practice their reading skills.

So the kiddlets found a place around the room (it gets kind of loud when 26 little ones are all recording) 🙂

And they were off! Record in….3….2….1….Go!

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

The app gives the kids 30 seconds to record themselves. This is a good amount of time for the kids and gives them plenty of time to say what they need to. If you’re not familiar with this app, it’s very adorable. After you record your voice, it makes the picture moves it’s “mouth” saying what you said. So for us, the sun’s mouths moved, saying the facts the students recorded.

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

You do have to draw on the “mouth line”, as seen in the above photo.

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

Recording their voices in ChatterPix

After, the students gathered back at their tables with their iPads and ChatterPix presentations. They shared them with the kids at their tables. They really love this app, they giggle and smile and loved to hear each other as the “Suns”.

One thing we’re still working on is learning that you don’t have to record yourself TIME AND TIME AND TIME again in the app. They find it very fun, and I know they are six and seven, but this is still something that we practice 🙂

So there you have it- App Smashing in our first grade classroom. The website where I got my info from gives another great tip…

Key rules for successful App Smashing:

  1. Use the Camera Roll as your main conduit between apps
  2. Leave the app choice to the students

So, that will be a goal for me as we move forward. I think I have to expose the kids to using two different apps together and truly make sure we understand how to use each app first. Then, I want to allow them to pick the two (or three) apps they want to create a product.

Thank you for checking in on our adventure! Make sure to stop by again to see what we’re up to! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Been Going On….

This post is really going to be a hodge – podge of what we’ve been doing lately in first grade. I swear, each week and each day just keep getting more and more busy! I haven’t been taking as many pictures of things we’ve been doing, but here are some quick recaps of what has been happening with us…

 

Science

We are still in our “space” unit, which the kids are loving by the way! Check out this awesome YouTube clip about the sun we watched: I’m Hot

The kids were lovin’ it 🙂

One day we also made a foldable to record some facts we’d learned about the sun.

The front...

The front…

Here in one student’s on the inside…

Flaps open!

Flaps open!

We brainstormed the facts together, so all the kids wrote down the same things. Then, they got to illustrate them on their own. I love seeing how each student’s pictures are similar, but also unique.

It's a star

It’s a star

it is bright

it is bright

It's made of hot gas

It’s made of hot gas

So far away!

So far away!

Now we’re focusing on stars. It’s a good transition, because since the sun is a star, the kids already know so much!

Figures of Speech

It was raining cats and dogs today! Really, it was! I’m not pulling your leg! (Like my use of those figures of speech there? Tricky huh?) 😉

Well, I’ve noticed that many of my students really have not heard or don’t understand  figures of speech. These are things we might not say all the time, but something I definitely noticed on my kids last MAP test. So, as a way to introduce them to these funny sayings, I’m trying something new…

Figure of speech

Figure of speech

I’m going to be posting a new figure of speech each Monday. We’ll quickly talk about what it means and then try to use it all week. I can tell it’s already working because today, as many students were trying to talk to me at once, a little boy said from his desk, “Hey, you guys all need to hold your horses!” How perfect is that!? I’m hoping this will help me introduce some and make my kids more aware of them in life.

Reading Strategy of the Month

We’ve finished our questioning strategy –I feel like we’ve been asking questions forever!– and now we’ve moved on to summarizing! We’re starting with fiction summarizing first, so I decided to start with introducing beginning, middle, and end.

Summarizing

Summarizing

Today we read a story we’ve read a few times before, Caps for Sale, and the kids really listened for what happened first, in the middle, and the last part of the story. The kids did great! We’re going to be practicing this for a few weeks, so at home, ask your child to retell a story by stating the beginning, middle, and end!

Reading Posters

I’ve put up a few new things I wanted to share. Starting with, some fiction and non-fiction reading posters!

Fiction

Fiction

I like having an anchor for when we talk about fiction stories and the parts of a fiction story. The illustrations help the kids see the different parts and give a visual cue on their meaning.

And the non-fiction posters…

Non-fiction

Non-fiction

I love having the text features posted! Not only does it help the kids, but it reminds me to spend more time on them. For example, I never remember to talk about the “heading”, but the posters will help cue me too!

Goals

For the grad class I’m in, I’ve had to do some observations in other people’s classrooms lately. While it’s been hard giving up my planning time, it’s really been great spending time with other amazing teachers. In one room, I loved how the teacher had all of their goals posted. In our class, we do talk about our goals, but I never had them posted in the room before. Now, that’s all changed…

Goals!

Goals!

I picked the 5 most important goals for us and posted them in the room, starting with the biggest- our reading goal! We want the first graders to leave us reading 60+ words per minute. I’m so glad I posted it, because it’s reminding me to talk about it every day now! The kids know that when we are doing DAILY 5 Read to Self, we are helping to reach our goal.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look into our room!

PARENTS: Don’t forget to look at your conference time! See you there!