Sunday, May 15, 2016

Book Talk

For my book talk I decided on Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  I have always been a fan of Dr. Seuss and much to my surprise had never seen this book!!  I decided on this book because I saw a lot of opportunities for it to become a lesson.  Actually, It had somewhat been involved in my groups lesson where I had students make goop.  I had remembered seeing a lesson on making "Oobleck" when I was doing research for the lesson and decided to see if the book was any good.  Of course the book was good!! I was upset with myself for not discovering it sooner! From and education standpoint I saw a great opportunity in that this book utilizes a lot of tier 2 words.  So in itself it is already a great ELA/Reading lesson.  But then their is the additional lesson for science involved as well! This book can be used to get students thinking about substances that could qualify as both liquid and solid.  The more I thought about using this book for my book talk the more I liked it, this book was simply made for teaching!

Science in the News

Recently I stumbled upon an article involving science in the news that truly blew me away!! I really liked the set up of this article because it doesn't cover one single aspect of science in the news, instead it covers several different stories.  The article gives little snippets of various different articles and has the main articles all hyperlinked into her (Deirdra O'Regan's) article.  I also liked that incase one didn't want to read the article, she also provides a video that sums up the whole article.  My favorite story had to be the most recent discovery of planets by the Kepler space telescope in which it found over 1,200 new planets!  It is simply amazing that we are making these discoveries ever day, and it show the true expanse of the universe; that over 1,200 planets weren't even known until a few days ago is testament to that.  I think that this style of article is great for todays fast paced world.  We all want to get things done so quickly now that no one has time to stop and read an article, I feel that this type seeks a middle ground in the journalism field in which it gives a teaser to the whole story and only costs a few seconds of ones time.  I can see this article and others like it having a great influence on teaching science in the news to students, it gives students a wide array of new scientific discoveries right at their fingertips and can give a quick preview so students know what they're about to get into.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Science Fair Project

As one of our assignments we had to create a science fair project and submit it to the BDMS Science fair.  I was a little nervous as it seemed like Mrs. F was going to grade us harshly, especially since she knew we are either teaching or will be soon!

My project tested the viscosity of syrup with the change in temperature.  My hypothesis was that as temperature would increase viscosity would decrease.  To test this I (with the help of my girlfriend) heated up syrup in a glass cylinder and would drop pennies into the syrup.  We began with room temperature (70 degrees F) and recorded a time of 2.77s.  We put a candy thermometer into the syrup to check the temperature and would intermittently drop pennies down into the bottom of the cylinder.  As the results came out it appeared that my hypothesis was correct! The results on the graph show how much of a change took place, I was astounded at how much of a change was possible with the final time being .64s at 150 degrees F!  As an added bonus I threw the syrup in the refrigerator overnight and tested the viscosity yet again.  At 50 degrees F the time it took for the penny to fall was 16s!  I had a lot of fun with this assignment and would love to have my students in the future!!
(Kerry dropping the first penny)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fieldwork Group #4

Group 4 taught their lesson on the scientific method.  I really liked this lesson as it was really the backbone of what every group had been teaching all semester.  I liked that it was in the end as it served as a review for our students.  That being said!...I think that this lesson should have been taught first, and I believe I heard those words repeated more than once after their lesson.  They really had the students engaged with their magnet experiment and I think everyone was happy with how their lesson came out.

I felt bad that their lesson was rushed as we had our celebration of learning at the end of the day for fieldwork...but who could get upset over ice cream!! Thats right, Mrs. F created ice cream for the students as well as us older people it was quite the treat! In all honesty I think I was more fascinated with the process of making it with the liquid nitrogen over the final product (not to take anything away from the ice cream, it was delicious).  It was a great end to fieldwork, and I commend Colin on stirring the mixture, its not something I would do!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fieldwork Group #3

We met in Bishop Dunn for the third groups fieldwork assignment.  The third group did their fieldwork on the types of rocks.  They utilized the smartboard in their lesson with a game which I thought was fantastic! I am not too familiar with the smartboard, but after viewing their lesson it made me want to learn how to use it!  I liked how the group got the students engaged in the lesson and I really liked how they had the children identifying their rocks after the direct instruction lesson.  I could see that all of the students were very excited about the lesson save one student who expressed confusion with the lesson.  But the group was fairly quick to act in that they went out and helped the student.

From my experience I know that learning about rocks can be quite dry.  However, I feel that the groups lesson that involved some really fun "hands on, minds on" learning experiences inspired and captivated the students.  I feel there are a lot of fun ways to teach this field that some teachers may not be aware of (or at least some of my older teachers for that matter).

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fieldwork Group #2

We met yet again in Bishop Dunn for the second group to do their fieldwork, this time the group did their lesson on the dichotomous key.  They started by getting everyone involved including the teachers and grad students.  They had us broken up into classes so that we could be identified, it was a great way to get the kids moving and focused right off the bat!  I must admit when they first started saying dichotomous key I had completely forgotten what it was!  I remembered hearing it before but I couldn't for the life of me remember what they were/did.  So with that I was excited to start learning!
As soon as I had seen the dichotomous key was I instantly remembered what it was and what they were used for.  To me it was always the fun 'eye-spy' game designed as a science lesson.  Justin and Becky taught the lesson flawlessly in my eyes, they worked very well together and it seemed like something they had been doing for a long time! After their direct instruction lesson they began their inquiry lesson which involved using the dichotomous key to identify jelly beans from Harry Potter.  You could actually see the excitement in the students faces when the jelly bean bags came out.  They used their knowledge of the key to identify what each jelly bean type was so that they would not have to eat nasty flavors such as ear wax and vomit.  It was fun to see them go through the lesson and then try them out in the end.  I even tried a Vomit jelly bean in the end and it was quite possibly the worst tasting thing ever!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Second Snowday!

What a surprise!! A second snow day! I was actually very fortunate for the weather as I was actually very sick.  At the time I thought I had gotten food poisoning over the weekend however, it turns out I may have had the Norovirus which we just so happened to be going through an outbreak at the time.  I would assume if I had got it it was either from the preschool where I work, or Whiteface Mountain where I had gone snowboarding over the weekend.  I must say the trip to Whiteface Mountain was a ton of fun! (Other than the return trip Sunday in which I started feeling sick)  Surprisingly the weekend before quite a scientific event took place at Whiteface where the temperature reached -114 degrees fahrenheit with the wind chill!!!

During our lesson with Dr. Smirnova, she helped us with working on our lesson plans and edtpa yet again.  It was good to get more insight on a tricky subject for me and to be able to enjoy it from home!! The class took place yet again in the MSMC Online classroom and this time I was pretty familiar with how it worked.  (Unfortunately my microphone was still non-functional, but otherwise no problems!)  The lesson did not last the entire class as Dr. Smirnova let us go early to work on our classwork/lesson plans.  Overall it was a great class and I was happy to keep my sick body home!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Snow day!

Week 4 to my surprise was met with a snow day!  BDMS was closed due to the weather so our class did not have to meet at the mount.  Instead we had our class online in a "E-classroom".  This was my first experience in an online classroom and it was certainly very interesting.
So we began class at the regular time (4:30) although we were able to have the class from anywhere! I was off of work that day so I happily stayed in all day and signed into the class promptly at 4:30.  I had no idea what to expect from the class, though I was relieved to find I did not have to be filmed on my webcam.  Unfortunately my microphone was not working on my computer no matter how many different things I tried, I simply could not get it to work.  Luckily for me there was a setting to type in our responses which is what I ended up doing.
Dr. Smirnova gave us a lot of good information on how to fix our lesson plans and how to go about doing our edTPA work.  Overall I was very happy with the online class, it was a good way to be able to meet up and discuss without having to leave the comforts of our homes!  I enjoyed my first online classroom experience and little did I know it would not be my last!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


So for the third week of class my group presented our lesson on the physical and chemical changes of matter.  I was a little nervous going into the lesson hoping that we had everything just right.  But by the time the kids came in I was ready to roll.  Dr. Smirnova was giving our group tips on our lesson which really helped out, she also suggested a short pretest in the beginning of the lesson which we used to asses the "scientists" previous knowledge of the subject matter.  Since we were the first group to go Mrs. F began by introducing herself to the students and having the students introduce themselves to all of us.  She is a very outgoing teacher and I feel she made the children feel very happy to be in her program right off the bat.  First we taught our Direct Instruction lesson via a powerpoint where each member of my group took turns presenting a slide.  We also demonstrated some basic changes of matter in this portion to show the children what would happen.  These included dissolving salt in water, pouring sand in water and mixing baking soda and vinegar.
After our powerpoint we divided ourselves into stations to help the children have a more hands on experience with our lesson.  This is where we the 5E model in our lesson.  We had 4 different stations for the children to try consisting of: Goop,lava lamps, making tin foil boats and, glue bouncy balls.  With these mini hands on experiments we taught children the difference between physical changes and chemical reactions.  I personally had the Goop station and LOVED it.  I remember making it in high school and having a great time with it.  Based on the children's reactions, they thought the same, which made me very happy!

After our lessons we wrapped up and the children went home.  We cleaned up our messes, some bigger than others (mine was very messy!) and headed in another classroom to continue our course.  At this point Dr. Smirnova invited students to give us some critiques and pointers on how to improve our lesson.  I was happy to hear some areas that needed help as I consider myself still new to teaching lessons.  Overall I think it was a great day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Second Class! (and an intro to fieldwork)

For our second class we had met in the Dominican Center curriculum library.  I had not been in the curriculum library, and before I was aware it was in the Dominican Center I was nervous I would show up in the wrong place!!  Luckily I cleared things up before class and made it on time!  To begin class we were given a short lesson from Tiffany Davis on the library and using searching databases.  Out of the 5 years I have been attending the mount I had never known about all of the options that the database can serve.  I had only known about the search tool, not the various other options to narrow down ones search.  I was very happy to learn this information as it will make further research much easier!
After this we were given a short review on what we had learned and how she taught, then our second guest took the stage.  Our second guest was Mrs. Foster-Faith a science teacher at Bishop Dunn Memorial School.  She first gave us a little "ice-breaker" type game involving magnets to get us all thinking about how science can be fun.  Then she began telling us what she was expecting from us for our respective lessons.  At first it seemed a little overwhelming, but soon I was able to see that she was trying to have us form lessons that could be both informative and fun while following the 5E model.

After she had concluded we moved our class into a tiny (very, VERY I might add) room where we used the smartboard to read our "Scientific-Me" presentations to the class.  We were only able to get through two presentations before ending that segment to work with our fieldwork groups.  This also became a quick and informative lesson on how to use the google drive (which I didn't know I needed so much help on).  All in all it was a quick week and the days flew by leading up to my groups day to teach for field work, but that's a story for another day.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Scientific Me

Growing up I always did enjoy exploring new things, and inadvertently I was doing all of this through science.  I loved to run around with my older sister and younger brother and catch fireflies on summer nights.  I loved to see them light up and dance around our backyard in the twilight hours of the night.  Catching them in our hands and having them crawl all around us.  Little did I know I was studying them, and making my own observations while having fun at the same time.  I also enjoyed doing little experiments with my mother, brother and sister.  My mother would always set up little things for us to do at home, growing beans in a plastic bag, making “tornadoes” from two soda bottles and all of the other fun stuff!  By the time I started getting into science experiments in school I was hooked.  I can distinctly remember an assignment in my 3rd grade class where we had to make science experiments.  I made a baking soda volcano with my mother.  We had so much fun testing it out at home, and when it came time to present it to the teacher, the volcano blew up all over her!  I was so embarrassed and she took it the extra mile when she wrote it on the board the next day in her little “reflection on yesterday” area.  I do not think she enjoyed it too much, and wanted to make sure it was the same for me.  I can look back now and laugh at it, it was a funny memory and at never hindered my love for science.  The years flew by as the experiments got harder, but still I enjoyed them with the same childlike enthusiasm as the boy in the backyard chasing fireflies.  I think these memories stand out to me, because they were all great memories and while I could never fixate a date to when these happened I can still remember them happening.  Of course the 3rd grade science project was a different story, but that was because it was the most embarrassing thing that had happened to me in my life up to that point.
Looking back on my memories of science, “hands on” experiences seem to hold the most weight in my memory.  When I was actually manipulating and carrying out the experiments on my own I had a great time.  I can look back on these memories and see a positive strong foundation into my love of science.  I can remember applying the experiments into learning experiences (ex. when you add baking soda to vinegar it creates a chemical reaction that appears to “explode”).  However, if I try to look back at science experiences where I was just writing facts and figures etc. I have a much harder time trying to remember what happens.  I think that the applying of facts into the experiment helps solidify what is actually happening.  In high school physics, the labs had my full attention for two reasons. 1) They were all really fun and 2) I enjoyed them so much that it was fun to see if the math had checked out and our predictions would come true.  It was fun for me to see how the world works and apply it into the facts and figures, but only if it was bridged over with hands on learning experiences.  I owe all of the successes in scientific knowledge to my teachers (mother included) for being able to tie together lessons with labs that helped solidify what I was learning.  I would say that science was one of my stronger suits in school, and I always love applying things I have learned to the outside world, still to this day.
To me, science is the study of everything.  Science can be applied to every single aspect of the universe, from something as small as an electron to the vast size of the universe itself and everything in between. I had an upbringing that was very supportive of inquisitive learning that helped my curiosity flourish.  I am very grateful for the experiences given to me as a child and how much they have helped me as I got older.  Much like the science teachers that I had when growing up; I hope to tap into students curiosity and watch as they develop a deep love for science like I had all those years ago, and how it still stands true with me to this day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First Day of Class!

Today is the First day of class, Dr. Smirnova had us engage in various activities beginning with drawing our interpretation of a scientist.  We had a couple of minutes to create our interpretations and then also give them a name.  Next we walked around the room to see what our peers had created.  Surprisingly many of them shared characteristics.  Once we observed our classmates drawings we sat down and discussed what stereotypes were prominent in all of our drawings and why we thought it was like that (ex. mainly male, crazy hair).  It was very interesting to see that subconsciously we all had very similar interpretations of what a scientist looked like in our heads.  For our next activity we were presented a sealed bag, and were asked to guess what what was inside of it.  After we made guesses the bag was passed around the room and we were able to hold it for 5 seconds in an attempt to figure out what was inside.  We heard squeezing and rattling coming from the bag as students manipulated it.  We were then asked to make new guesses as to what was inside the bag, the consensus was either a baby toy, dog toy, or potentially instruments we also guessed there can be more than one item in the bag.  Dr. Smirnova then asked us what else we could do to come to a better conclusion as to what is in the bag (without opening it).  We gave answers such as, weighing it, burning it, holding it for a longer duration of time, putting it in water and many more.   Dr. Smirnova then told us that we were using the scientific method to help us come to conclusions.  After this activity we began setting up our live binder and blogger profiles.  We will be using these accounts through out the semester to post and discuss events in the class, assignments etc.  Finally we created our groups for our fieldwork assignment and began discussing what we will be teaching for our group lesson.  This was the conclusion of the first day of class and we now have only 14 weeks until summer!