Friday, July 25, 2014

"Let's Be Dirt Detectives" A Teaching File

 Calvin always makes me smile. 
 Do you use comics with your kids? In his book, The Highly Engaged Classroom, Robert Marzano highlights the benefits of using humor as a way to capture students' attention.  I will often throw a comic up on the smartboard as the "hook" for a lesson. I've got to agree with them something funny or silly and they are a captive audience. I've used this particular comic strip  before during our science unit on Soil.  Comics like this one are also good exercises in thinking and making inferences.  Students need to be able to study each picture and figure out what Calvin is doing and why. Then of course they need to understand what the word "avoid" means to get the humor in it all. 
Comics may be short in length but often are big in learning opportunities. 

So, I am slowly but surely finishing up the Soil Studies Unit and have added an investigation on Erosion. 
In this study students learn what erosion is and how we can prevent it.
We prepared two pans of soil.  One was a hill of bare soil and the other was a soil hill that included grass.

Students made it "rain" by pouring water over both hills.  Through their observation they were able to conclude that much less soil was lost on the grass filled hill when compared to the bare hill. 

Students recorded their observations with both words and pictures. 

This experiment is just one of a set that I LOVE doing with my students as we study soil. 
Students take on the role of "dirt detectives" as we dig up all there is to know about this topic.

The set below includes all the student lab reports.  We go through the scientific method of Question, Hypothesis, Procedure, Observation and Conclusion with each one we do. 
I've made this bundle available on TPT if you are interested. 

Neat science center

Click the link below if you are interested in grabbing it to use with your students. 

Along with this I am sharing my teaching file on Soil.  I started making these slide show files for most of the social studies and science units that I teach.  It keeps me on track and kind of serves as my lesson plan sequence. They are formatted as PDF files and I display them on my Smartboard and use my Smartboard tools to highlight or write on them. They provide visuals and text that focus right on the big ideas that my students need to learn. I will go over a section at a time and then  if students have access to computers at home,  this slide show can also become part of their study guide to use in preparation for a unit test. 

Click below if you are interested in using this type of slide show as part of your instruction. 

Let me know if you like this type of teaching tool and I will share the others I have made.

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