What is Going on in the Lab?




Whew! Some weeks are really hard.....my FitBit says I walk 10,000 steps everyday before I get home! This Fit Bit:

I wrote about it, here on the blog, last week. I mentioned I was a little dissatisfied with the silly thing.
A. It's uncomfortable.
B. One cool feature is that it tracks your sleep. But, half the time mine didn't work.
C. It turned into a $100 pedometer.

I took it back.

Now, on to the LAB!!!!!
First up:

Fifth Grade!

We just finished designing and testing parachutes:


And, yes, those are children standing on the table tops.
How else were we supposed to launch a parachute?
For the record, the ones made of tissue paper worked best!


Fourth Grade:
We are in the midst of Electric Circuits. This week kids built circuits based on schematics I left for them:

They also had to build a circuit with given supplies, including switches and buzzers, and then draw the schematic. Pretty fun!
By the way.....
did you know that if you hook one bulb to FIVE batteries that the bulb will explode?

Don't ask me why I know that!


THIRD GRADE:
First, we took on Chromatography:


Kids tested markers to separate the ink colors. It was really neat to try the black markers. We tried six different brands.
Do you know what colors are inside black markers?

Then we tried Building Boats:



Some pretty creative designs. Our record for the number of pennies a boat could hold is now 68! 
AND ....Building Boats is now our FAVORITE STEM activity!

(It was fun!)

Have a great rest of your week!!


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It's FRIDAY!!


Just one Friday after today and it will be
Spring Break! 


Let's add : Spring Break is Necessary to that list!

And now:

Five for Friday is a weekly teacher linky party where you post five random things about your week. It's hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching so pop over there and  
see what everyone is doing! And here's my randomness!! 




I don't know about you, but occasionally, right the very second I am just about asleep my eyes will fly open because I remember something I was supposed to do....like make a dessert for school the NEXT day....you know what I mean. So when I saw that quote I connected!

Which leads me to this....


It's a neat little gadget that monitors you all day AND night. It's called Fit Bit and it synchs with an App on your smart phone. It will tell you how many steps you take daily (by the way I easily get 10,000 a day. Pretty sure most teachers do!) It does all kinds of things about tracking your meals and calories and such, but the part I really wanted it for was to tell me how I am sleeping.
Here's a recent night:


The blue is sleeping time. Looks pretty good, right!

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a review of the product, but I will be honest and tell you I wish I had my $100 back.


Another pin!


This made me laugh because, first of all, that's a tabby and tabbies are the best cats--if you don't mind that they kill things. My tabby is named Wookee and he could easily be the cat in the photo. He's majorly curious and loves to get in or on things.
Need proof?


I love him.




So, the other evening I was scrolling through Pinterest. 
Imagine that!
It's what I do when I am forced to sit through TV commercials. I mean, I figure I should use that time wisely, you know? 
Anyway, my home feed is pretty clogged with TpT stuff because of all the teachers I follow- which is a GOOD thing- so I decided to just search "teachers" and see what would pop up. 
Well, let me tell you, I found a ton of useful things, really. 
Then I saw this poster and it looked a little familiar.
I enlarged it and BAM it was my handwriting.

Pinterest Screen Shot

Original Photo

This is a poster I made after seeing versions of it on Pinterest in 2012! I posted it here on my blog along with a whole slew of other things I made for my classroom. See it all {HERE}.
But y'all, look how many times that has been repinned:
847 times!!

What! Does that make me famous?



Hahahahaha!
That could be me.
Except I do exercise.
I love some Jillian Michaels. 
In fact I have a new DVD I just ordered from her that should come tomorrow.
It better come tomorrow.

Just when you thought this entire post was going to be about Pinterest I show you something else.

And here it is:

How is that even standing?
It's a photo from our great Spaghetti Challenge in the STEM lab.
I was organizing pictures a day or two ago and found it.
Pretty amazing!
EVERYTHING about the STEM lab is amazing!

Have a great weekend!

Check back here on Wednesday- for What Is Going on in the STEM Lab!
Gonna be a weekly feature.



5

Roller Coasters!



Yes.
You completely read the title correctly.
Roller Coasters!

So, about a month ago...after many requests....I decided it was time for Roller Coasters.

I put together an excellent plan!
I thought.

Day ONE
We talked about roller coasters and what we know about them. This was most informative, especially when I posed this question:
What if the second hill on a coaster was taller than the first? Would it work?

Here's the class chart we made with our ideas about coasters and the drawings of two hills. The idea that the second hill cannot be taller than the first was not a sure thing! So, I said, "OK, let's test it!"
I gave each team a tube and told them to make a two hill coaster with the second hill taller than the first.

WAIT!
What?
Let's back up.
We gotta talk about the tubes!


Tubes came from a local home improvement store. You find them in the plumbing area. The tubes are actually used for insulating pipes. I bought about thirty. I bought so many I just took the box, too.
Smart, right! Now, I have a place to store all those tubes!

Next, you have to cut them.



The tubes just happen to have this nifty opening and it's fairly easy to just slide scissors along that line.
Then you have to do the OTHER side!



 Well, lucky me! The tubes I bought had a little line down the center of the reverse side. I was able to cut either right on the line or close to it and wah-lah


All the tubes are cut in half!

So, back to the kids and the experiment with the hills.
Here they are- hard at work:


Here's the best part. Some of them really thought it would work. The looks on their faces when it did NOT work was priceless! True learning!


DAY TWO
Anyway, now for the next step in this process. BEFORE we design the ultimate roller coaster--
I decided we needed to learn about energy- specifically kinetic and potential!

So I designed a rotating station task card set.

We had 8 stations! Two involved reading and answering questions:

One task used a website about roller coasters (which was very cool). It shows the kinetic and potential energy along the coaster track:
Click on the picture to go to the roller coaster website!

Another used a car track and marble:

And there were more!
And it was all great fun and we learned a lot about kinetic and potential energy.

DAY THREE
Then I had this brilliant idea that friction might also be part of a coaster and we had Friction Lab day:


Well, now...
to be honest
Friction Lab day was not what I expected. We learned a lot, but it has pretty much nothing to do with roller coasters.

The only thing that saved me on this one was:
DAY FOUR

ROLLER COASTER DAY!

I gave each team THREE tubes and a roll of tape and a little marble and off they went to create these:



They had to have a loop and at least three hills. We built and re-built and tested and re-built and finally presented our masterpieces!

It was quite spectacular.

About two days after we finished I found a bag of giant marbles that would have been perfect.

On a good note, the tubes are now stored nicely in the giant box and waiting for next year!


4

Five for Friday! Bridges!

Time for:


I missed last Friday! 
Can't remember why.....
But today I remembered (which is probably why I missed last week...)

Anyway, randomness is my favorite thing and here are my five random thingies from this week- one of which is all about bridges!

So, I was cleaning out a filing cabinet drawer in my classroom this week.....and 
I spied this:


Okay, ya'll! Here's a truth! I decided to start a blog about 18 months ago. It was a very impulsive, on-the-spot decision and I went to Google and started filling in the basic information about my blog. And right away, they asked for a name for my blog. 

Well, I hadn't thought that far ahead. I had no idea.......just sat there looking around, trying to think of a cutesy name..... 
and right there on my desk was that little blue
calendar/planner. 
And there was my blog name!
 My blog and TpT store now have a name inspired by a random brain freeze when I could not think of anything else....probably should not have told this story......but it is kinda funny.



Speaking of funny.....


That is not my cat. But it could be. If I EVER sleep past seven a.m. both of my cats will be sitting on the bed looking at me--- just willing me to wake up because their food bowls just might be empty and they may starve if I sleep even one more second.
Aren't fur babies fun?



So, how are things in my lab this week???
Glad you asked.

I decided it was bridge building time:

Here's what third grade did:
STEM Bridges with index cards

Their task was to use index cards and at first they were fairly whiny. 
"How can we do this?" 
"Are you sure we can't use anything sticky?"
In the end they were quite amazed at themselves. They built great little structures with nary a piece of tape or drop of glue!

Here's what fourth grade did:
STEM Bridges with toothpicks

Yep, that's toothpicks and marshmallows. This was the best version- look at the double supports. Most of them crashed-- fairly quickly.
Also, marshmallows are the worst
sticky mess EVER!
 However,the problem solving and collaboration was intense!

Here's what fifth grade did:
STEM Bridges with Straws

Very sophisticated use of straws and toothpicks, I must say. They actually had toothpicks that braced the structure tightly to the boxes. It worked so much better than the team thought it would- that's the beauty of a STEM Lab. 

Next week we are tackling flower dissection, catapults, and electric circuits.
Not at the same time- different grade levels!




Well, now, how random is that?
Not very, actually, it's my all time favorite TV show! I have only missed ONE episode in all these years it's been on TV. 
April 27, 2011- we had tornadoes in Alabama and no electricity for 5 days. That's the only time I missed it.
Anyway, this year the premise is Beauty vs Brains vs Brawn.
I really dislike the Beauty group. They are such spoiled little babies.
And, boy are they all miserable- cold rain constantly.

I'd like to see a movie star version of Survivor.
Just sayin'.....



Lastly (and some people say the best is saved for last....)

Two more weeks until Spring Break! 



Have a great weekend y'all!



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