Science in the City

Dec 30, 2012

Giveaways and Free Resources

Several other bloggers have hit landmarks recently, or are hosting events such as giveaways, linky parties with free resources, and more over the break.  I want to share a few with you:

I am very excited to be part of the giveaway at Second Grade Nest.  This giveaway has 5 different prize packages, with over 65 products total being given away.

My circulatory system lab (one of my newer products) is part of package 5.  This is a favorite of my students, and could easily be adapted to lower grades as well.

Secondly, in honor of his blogs 1-year anniversary, Hopkins Hoppin' Happenings is doing a series of exclusive freebies (1 per day)....a different one each day. They are a variety of products of different grades and subjects.  Mine is scheduled for 12/31!  New Year's Eve!  Check it out (and check out the other exclusive freebies!

Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings

Also, another education blogger does a weekly themed linky.  This week includes paid and free resources.  There are frequently linkys for free resources as well.  This is going on at Educator's Life

And don't forget to keep an eye on the Success in Secondary Linky party. Although not going on right  now, it is recurring and a great place for secondary resources.

Dec 21, 2012

An Innovative and Memorable Look At the Skeletal and Muscular Systems

Get Your Students Excited About the Skeletal and Muscular Systems

Students were yelling and screaming they were so excited about what was going on in class. They left the room talking about the lab we did that day, and other classes later in the day came in very excited to see the skeletal and muscular systems in action.  I knew this was a lab I needed to share with you.  Students were totally engaged and focused on the lesson.  They had different roles that fit their different needs, but everyone was busy and involved.

A memorable and fun way to teach your students about the skeletal and muscular systems

Do you want your students thinking differently about something they probably encounter every day?

Human body systems are taught at so many different grade levels. Students are often interested and excited as it relates to their own body, but they quickly can lose interest if the information is dry and repetitive.  Here is one of my favorite labs.

Be ready for some yelling and middle school excitement :).  A great introduction to dissection, in a pretty tame way.

Here is a video clip from YouTube: (not mine)

Some pictures from my class this week:
Science students working on a skeletal and muscular system lab
9th grade science students hard at work on a skeletal and muscular system lab
Students dissecting a chicken wing as part of a science lab on skeletal and muscular systems
science students doing a skeletal and muscular system lab

How did we learn about skeletal and muscular systems?

We did a little bit of notes and background about the skeletal and muscular systems, using a graphic organizer (click here to get the free graphic organizer) to see how they relate to and to get the main idea, but the 'meat' of this lesson (pun intended!) is a chicken wing dissection! Chicken wings are cheap, easy to obtain and pretty safe as long as you take basic precautions such as wearing gloves and googles, washing hands, and washing equipment. I make it easier by using paper plates (that get thrown out) for dissecting trays, and using scissors instead of scalpels. Students get a change to see all the parts that they are learning about: tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bone, joints, muscle, as well as skin and fat. They also get an understanding of how those parts work together. By carefully following the lab instructions they are able to actually move the chicken wing and see the parts working together to make it move. They love it!! And I have to admit, its pretty cool to see!
And if you want to see more, or use this resource yourself, check it out. They will gain a much better understanding of the skeletal and muscular systems, and have an experience they remember!!
A bundle of lab and notes to teach skeletal and muscular systems
Skeletal and Muscular System Mini-Unit 

Dec 20, 2012

Top 4 Excellent Middle School Christmas Gifts From Students

Middle School kids are such an interesting mix of child and growing up.....and the ways that they try to express themselves are very touching and entertaining.  Where I work there is a very high poverty rate and I don't usually get (or expect) much in the way of Christmas gifts or end of the year gifts from students like suburban teachers get.  Here is my list this year.  I'll let you guess what my favorite is:

  • a traditional Christmas card from a student who has been homeschooled until this year.
  • A box of candy that had two 'layers' or 2 wrapped sections.  One was given to me, and one to another teacher.
  • A thank you note that said "thank you for calling my mom. I was mad at you but that was just what I needed to get back on track and turn things around.  I'm doing so much better now"  I actually teared up a little!  
  • A candy cane

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