I’m loving this… Virtual Circuit Builder!

With DISTANCE LEARNING I wasn’t able to do the hands-on electrical circuits lab with my wonderful 8th graders so I had to come up with another way for them to learn the basics. A web search brought me to this really cool VIRTUAL circuit builder that does NOT use Flash – which is awesome because Flash is no longer supported by Chrome.

Here’s a brief video of how this Phet interactive works.

Pros:

  • easy to learn how to use
  • can build series and parallel circuits
  • there are a few different components to experiment with such as the light bulb, resistor and switch
  • can experiment with how adding and subtracting components affects resistance.
  • multiples of all of the components can be added, such as adding two batteries to increase voltage
  • the anmeter is fun to play with!
  • you can view the parts of the circuits in symbols to practice with engineering pictograms

Cons:

  • There are no particular directions so if you want to be sure your students really learn what you want you’ll need to come up directions for them.

Don’t have time to design an activity? No sweat – use mine!

Internet Activity:  Build Circuits Virtually!

My worksheet guides students in
constructing series and parallel
circuits using the Phet interactive.
No prep required – just have
students watch the video above so
they know how to attach/detach
components.

Earth Science

 
two person walking on unpaved road
Photo by Jaime Reimer on Pexels.com
 

All Webquests Include a Google Doc Version – Excellent for Distance Learning!

The Rock Cycle – A Webquest
Plate Tectonics (Tectonic Plate Theory) – a Webquest
Earth’s Interior Structure (Core, Mantle and Crust) – A Webquest
Active Volcanoes! In the Ring of Fire – A Webquest
Volcanoes! Of the United States – A Webquest
Webquest Bundle: Plate Tectonics, Ring of Fire & U.S. Active Volcanoes

New Lab Activities!

I’ve recently turned two more of my lab activities into products available to other teachers through my TpT store.

Activity: Predict, Measure, Graph and Analyze with Tasty Candy!

I use this activity with my 6th graders as they are learning to make quantitative observations, but I think it’s useful for 7th-9th as well.

Students enjoy getting to eat the candy after they make their measurements. Skills practiced are making a bar graph, calculating averages and percentages and comparing their data to the data of other students.

My 6th graders come to me without much experience with measuring and evaluating quantitative data. Math is not applied to scientific thinking in the lower grades unfortunately! While I think they would benefit from quantitative thinking in science in 4th/5th grade, I am happy to introduce them to the world of data!

Science Lab Challenge – Practice following directions and using lab equipment

lab equipment lesson thumbnailI developed this quick and easy activity to teach my middle school students about common lab equipment, safety procedures and how to work together in a lab. It’s also specifically designed to help them practice the hardest skill of all – following directions!

This activity encourages students to document and learn from their mistakes. They do not lose points for making mistakes; rather, they gain points by recognizing and correcting their errors. The pressure for perfection is off and the pressure for learning is on!

The activity is quite safe since the only substances used are water, food coloring, vinegar and baking soda.

Objectives of this activity are for students to be able to:
• Follow step-by-step directions in a lab
• Identify common lab supplies and their uses
• Cooperate with group members to complete a lab activity
• Explain basic safety practices that must be followed when doing a lab

See what other teachers have to say about this activity here. 

Pathogenic and Beneficial Bacteria Introduced

Includes a Google Doc Version for Distance Learning!

bacteria webquest cover

 

The hardest part of teaching 6th-9th grade science sometimes is figuring out what information is essential for these students to learn so that they develop important background knowledge to propel them forward to deeper learning in upper high school courses and beyond. I struggle with this question all of the time.

It has taken a few years, but I think I have found the right balance when it comes to teaching about the bacteria kingdom. We learn about this subject twice – first, when study the basic characteristics of the different kingdoms of life. Second, when we study pathogens and the immune system, which is when my students do this webquest.

I developed this webquest to engage my students in the reasons WHY we study bacteria. This could seem like a boring subject, but bacteria are amazing, complex and scary. They are a part of our history as humans and literally a part of our bodies. Learning about bacteria can be frightening at times given the havoc they can cause, but its through learning and studying them that we quell our fears.

For one, kids often are given the impression that all bacteria are bad and disease-causing. The exact opposite is true and most bacteria are harmless or are doing a job directly for us or in the environment that we rely on. Learning about this makes them a lot less scary. And yes, some do harm us, but by studying them and engaging with them, we learn to stop and prevent their infections.