Sorry,...couldn't resist the pun! So, there are lots of ways to demonstrate the rock cycle: cakes, melting jelly beans...but many of them are demonstrations rather than hands-on activities that the children can really get into.
Anyway, I had an idea. Unsurprisingly, I was eating chocolate when it came to me (how many of my ideas have been inspired by food or drink?)
The leg-work comes in grating bars of white, milk and dark chocolate
I put this into bowls in the middle of each table and told the children that it was sediment. (We'd had a look at a diagram of the rock cycle first). They spooned layers of each into little pots lined with cling film. This represented the layers of sediment building up over time.
We then used the cling film to lift out the 'rocks' and broke them open to see what had formed. I was thrilled with what we saw!
Voila! Sedimentary rock - made by applying pressure to layers of sediment. They even had the crumbly texture of sedimentary rocks. At each stage, the children drew diagrams of what formed and noted how.
Next, we wrapped the 'rocks' back up in their cling film, then applied heat and pressure by squashing and squishing them (technical terms!). We did this for a couple of minutes whilst talking about the heat from our hands. We unwrapped them and...metamorphic rock! You can still see the different parts of the original sediment.
I loved this project! It really showed the children how different rock types form and that a rock can move from one type to the other under the right conditions. We had so much fun with this hand-on science lesson and the children really gained a good understanding of how rocks form. This helped a lot when we moved on to fossil formation and they had no trouble suggesting reasons for fossils being most common in sedimentary rock.
Well, it's been a while since I blogged.
Anyway, before Christmas officially takes over(I'm a bit of a Christmas-a-holic!), I thought I'd share a little more of my Extreme Weather topic.
One of the first things we did was to ask questions. The children worked in their teams to decide which were the most interesting and then each displayed theirs on a card. I chose a few and photocopied them to make a nice title page for their topic books:
I also displayed some of them on our topic wall, as debris flying out of the tornado. Speaking of which, I got impatient with myself because I kept dragging my heals with my display. As a result, I grabbed a piece of white playground chalk and scribbled a tornado on the wall and it actually looks great! I then went a bit mad with some cotton wool to make a hurricane! There are now icicles in that top-left corner, too. I'm actually pretty pleased with the results. Some of my best work is done on a whim!
I also had a fantastic supply teacher covering my class while I was off nursing my injury, so I thought I'd share some of her lovely ideas! In Maths, she gave them some real weather data about different locations from the BBC weather website (love that it wasn't a worksheet, but real data!). She then worked with them on finding the averages. They then used that to create a climate graph showing temperature and rainfall. A big thank you to Miss L! It's a great feeling to come back to find that, not only has the children's behaviour made me proud, but they have continued to learn.
I can't believe we're already on the Christmas countdown! We even started rehearsing for our Christmas pantomime this week! Anyway, amidst clouds of fog, we began our Extreme Weather topic last week. As a homework task, the children made weather stations, which I have attached in various ways to our school fencing. (Pics to follow).
I like to send out a bit of information about each new topic we do. This introduces the topic, reminds parents of key dates, homework days etc. and sets their homework project. This is an activity to hook the children into their new topic and involve the parents in their learning. It's been a really effective way of getting the children interested and asking questions. Here's the one for this topic: (Editable file to download below)
We started our topic with a 'Knowledge Harvest' to find out what the children already know, set them thinking and asking questions. For this topic, I found some dramatic pictures of weather and its impact. The children then noted down "I see, I think, I wonder" points. Throughout the topic, we'll revisit and add to our notes in a different colour to see our learning and ask new questions. Here it is (editable download below with 4 different versions):
I can't wait for the rest of this topic! Some of their questions that we are going to investigate are How can we describe the weather? What is a cloud? How can we paint the sky? If rain is clear, why can we see it? Why don't we get [many] tornadoes in England?
I wanted to boost my children's investigative skills, so I took them off-timetable for the day and had a science day!
Egg-citing Eggs-periments! (Couldn't resist!)
We started with an egg (or was it a chicken??) and carried out three investigations.
1: How can we make an egg float?
2: What is an egg?
Okay, so this investigation should have been called What's inside an egg? but the children struggled to define an egg. Firstly, they initially only considered a hen's egg, ignoring other bids, reptiles and fish. Secondly, they saw its primary function as food for humans. We cracked them open to look inside for clues!
3. How do different drinks affect our teeth?
This question surprised the children, as we were looking at eggs! The children worked in teams of 4, each choosing a drink to investigate after discussing what would be interesting to compare. They put the shell from their egg into a cup and covered it with their drink choice, making it a fair test by measuring the amount of liquid in each cup. We'll look at them over the next week, recording our observations. Photos to follow!
Our afternoon consisted of a carousel of quick science investigations, considering how to record our findings. I like children to choose how to present their work.
1: How can you make an orange sink?
Why does it float with its skin but sink without?
I challenged the children to make the orange sink. They quickly tried removing the skin. They had a lot of different ideas about why this worked and it sparked some great discussion. The actual reason is to do with the skin holding air pockets. After trying to make it re-float, some of the children tried a small with air trapped inside and made the link.
2: Can we make a slinky sound like a ray gun?!
Granted, this isn't the most scientific question, but I LOVE this experiment!
If you drop a metal slinky, over the banking and jingling, you can hear a quiet 'ray-gun', sci-fi type of sound. It's very hard to explain! However, if you place a paper cup touching the end of the slinky before you drop it, it amplifies the sound and sounds really cool! The kids can experiment with hitting it in different ways and using different types of cup. A slinky can also be used to see how sound travels - if you flick one end, you can see a ripple run along it. It's a great way to show a wave that doesn't look like the sea!
3: What is it?
For this very simple activity, I printed lots of different pictures taken under very powerful microscopes. There was a wide variety: a butterfly's wing, a sugar-beet root (above), a cancer cell (below), bone, toilet paper (below - on the desk). The children chose their own way to record their thoughts. Some drew part of it using a post-it frame (cut a hole out of the middle of a post-it, stick it on and draw what's inside the frame - it helps them to focus on detail); some wrote 'I see, I think, I wonder' (something we've done before); others did a spider diagram of links, questions and ideas. I didn't reveal what they were until the end of the day!
We had a fantastic day and the children really got to challenge their ideas and use their investigative skills. I really enjoy theme days and so do the kids - definitely building some into my next topic!
Today, as part of our Mission to Mars topic, we made rockets!
Working in teams of 4, each tied a string taught between the fences (you could easily use chairs - I just love being outside!), with a straw threaded on. Using a balloon pump, they then put 20 pumps of air into a balloon and taped it to the straw with duck tape, keeping hold of the end.
The for the best bit...let it go! The children then measured the stopping distance. We tried to time them so we could work out the speed, but unfortunately our timers don't have hundredths of a second so weren't accurate enough.
We talked about the forces at work. To help our 'space shuttle' to land safely, we needed to add a parachute brake to slow it down a little. The children used their understanding of forces to design a parachute to slow down the shuttle. At this stage, it was useful to talk about air resistance, rather than simply weighting it down.
We repeated our test, evaluated and made some improvements and repeated it a final time. Each time, the measured the stopping distance.
We could use this to calculate how successful the parachutes were.
I loved this activity! As well as being part of our Topic, we used our teamwork and Maths skills, too. The children learnt a lot about Science and it was interesting to address air resistance when the parachutes had to work horizontally.
Hi! I'm Mrs P: passionate primary school teacher!