Science in the City

Nov 4, 2016

Top 5 Awesome Websites for Science Animations

Best Websites for Virtual Science Labs

Science class is a great place for hands-on activities, but there are some activities that you can't do hands-on.  Its great to be able to at least give students some experience with those activities in a virtual environment, as opposed to just lecture. There are many alternatives for doing online 'virtual labs.'  Here are a few of my favorites.

Advantages of Virtual Labs

There are advantages to doing a virtual lab.  Sometimes you don't have the materials, space, resources/weather etc to do a particular activity in class.  There might be something that needs a high powered microscope, or a topic that has to be done outside that you can't carry out during class time. Some topics just CAN'T be hands-on.  There are some great visualizations to understand and model things that are too small, or too abstract to do hands-on.  They have to be done through a model.  Sometimes a model is preferable because students can test different variables, repeat it, and pause/slow down/speed up at their own pace.  Maybe a student missed class, or needs an extension or extra credit, or an additional project on a certain topic.  

Hands-on is great, but there are lots of good reasons to use a virtual lab as well.

Just to be clear, these are not just game sites, or simple animations, but actual online labs.  Most have questions or activities that go with them, and they are really designed to help students work on higher level topics.  

Here are a few of my favorites... 

Oct 16, 2016

Had Enough Take Out? Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

I don't know about you, but as a teacher, one of the last things that I want to do at the end of the day is make a complicated meal.  This is especially true when I have papers to grade and my own children are getting older and having after school sports and after school activities.

Despite how I feel at the end of the day, or during my 15 minutes that I have to sit down and eat, I really do believe in eating healthy, and eating real food.  It doesn't have to be complicated food, but real food.  As I may have mentioned before, my son has several food allergies.  That makes ordering pizza or take out not a good option. We have to get dinner on the table.  And because of him, I read the label of every food food that I eat.  The more that I read food labels, the more important I think it is to eat real food.  Reading ingredients leads to some kind of scary discoveries!! 

I have been a follower of the 100 Days of Real Food blog and Facebook page for a long time, and I am very excited to share my early PRE-RELEASE copy of the book with you!  

This cookbook seems like it was made for people like me (and you if you want easy, kid-friendly, real food ideas!  Busy teachers who still want to get a relatively, healthy, real food meal on the table quickly!  Busy teachers who have to eat meals on the run and pack lunches, but are looking for some new ideas!

You can still eat well, even when you are exhausted and have 15 minutes to each lunch

This book features a bunch of quick and easy recipes, most of which are not shown anywhere else (such as on her website).  There ideas for dinners, snacks, breakfasts, and lunches.  Its written by a mom, who knows what it is like to try to make lunches, get kids out of the house, and still eat well.  On top of that, many of the recipes are allergy friendly, and are marked as such.  

We are enjoying some of her recipes for dinner today.  It's a fall Sunday.  I am doing laundry and grading papers, but we will be enjoying a great fall dinner. We are having White Chicken Chili, with a loaf of bread (easily purchased), and these Cinnamon Glazed Bananas for desert.  My kids are excited because they are getting desert. I'm excited because it is sweet, but not as bad as a lot of deserts.  And I'm hoping there is extra chili for my lunch tomorrow.  

Cinnamon Glazed Bananas - easy real food desert
Click on photo for the sample recipe
White Chicken Chili - easy real food meal
Click on photo for the sample recipe
In her book, Lisa Leake gives lots of suggestions for packing lunches as well :). 

For more information on her book, or to pre-order for the guaranteed lowest price (it comes out October 25th), you can check out Amazon or check out her website or here for more inside info. And if you pre-order, and leave your information at the first link above, you will get bonus ebook.

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to be a little healthier, and eat a little cleaner, but only if its easy.  This is a great resource to make that goal attainable!  

100 Days of Real Food Fast and Fabulous - quick and easy real food for real people


Oct 1, 2016

How to Make a Traditional Science Lab More Inquiry Based

5 Easy Steps to Add Inquiry into your Science Labs 

We all know that there is a big push to increase inquiry in our science labs, but this is not always as easy as it seems.   Often students are not ready for full-blown inquiry, and we as teachers do not have the time, materials, or resources to allow students to investigate their own questions within a classroom setting.  

However, inquiry is based on student interest and relevancy, and on developing process skills so that students are acting as scientists, rather than just students.  This can (and probably should) be done in small steps.  Here are 5 easy ways to introduce more inquiry into your classroom. 
5 steps to make your science classroom more inquiry based.

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