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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More Multiplication Memory Tricks

We're finishing up our second multiplication chapter before going on to division. Some of my students are still stuck on certain facts. We'll be working on fact families as we go forward, but here are some more finger tricks and videos!




A little song for second graders learning to multiply 1-5

Pairing pictures with multiplication facts

12 Times Table

Cha Cha Slide Multiplication with ActivExpressions!

Old-school School House Rock Multiplication

Nine Trick

There are just too many to post! I can guarantee you'll find one that work for your class, regardless of their musical preferences.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Smashing Success!

(Here is part 2 of our science fair. Click here to see the first part!) Students learned valuable job skills, such as introducing oneself and shaking hands with an adult, answering questions, and making eye contact.

How does acidity affect the shell of an egg?
Result: The egg shell disintegrated faster in more acidic liquids.



How will the size of a paper airplane affect the distance it flies?
Result: The larger the plane, the more surface area it had; therefore, her results were that a smaller plane did not fly as far as a larger plane.

How can an object be made to float in water?
Result: adding a certain amount of salt per mL of water will help many objects float (but not all!)

Can plants grow without all of their needs being met?
Result: plants can grow for a short time without having soil or direct light, but they cannot grow without water!

How does shape and size of a boat affect its ability to float and move?
Result: a boat with pointed ends and a deep hull moved faster and farther than round and shallow boats; because there were too many variables, the results were not reliable.

We really enjoyed creating our projects, and we hope you did too!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Scientists

We had our class and school science fairs this week. Students were soooo excited to present and demonstrate their experiments to the class and their parents. They totally made a connection to how Beany, the main character in The Science Fair, felt when it was her turn to present!

 I was really impressed at how well they fielded questions and answered them. Our main focus was to connect our questions and experiments to real life - as in - WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

What will make ice melt faster, fresh room temperature water, salt water, or sugar water?
Result: regular water! Think about the ocean (salt water) - do you see it freezing easily? Her bar graphs show three trials, so her results were conclusive. Try it! Further investigation: Try it with different shape ice cubes

What material will best support a "parachute" to help it stay airborne the longest?

How does the composition (material) and weight of an object affect its ability to float or sink?
Result: objects made of wood, cardboard, and plastic floated, while objects made of glass sunk. Weight did not affect the object's ability to float. Try it!

Will the "Grow a Fish" grow faster in fresh or salt water?
Result: it grew much faster in fresh water. Try it!

Which boils faster, salt water or fresh (distilled) water?
Result: fresh water! Haven't you seen people put salt in the water, insisting that it boils faster? Not so! In fact, salt increases the boiling point so it must reach a higher temperature before boiling. Think about it - isn't the range of temperature of ocean water a lot smaller than the range of temperatures for fresh water (like in a pool)? We certainly wouldn't want our ocean boiling or freezing, so a higher boiling point and lower freezing point benefit animal and plant life in the ocean. Also, the water is deep and moves due to tides, so it is a lot less likely to freeze.

Which plant will grow taller, one in artificial light or one with sunlight?
Result: In this experiment, the plant on the left was grown using artificial light. It grew taller during the 8 days of the experiment because it had light all day long, while the plant on the right was exposed to sunlight only during daylight hours (it was cloudy on some days too). We noticed a difference in strength and color of the stems (the one with sunlight had darker, thicker stems and leaves), so we concluded that over the long term, artificial light can help plants grow faster because the plant receives more hours of light, but they do not necessarily grow better.

What makes objects (fruits) float, fresh water, salt water, sugar water, or oil in water?
Result: Objects floated best (if at all) in salt water. We noticed that the larger fruits tended to have more water and air inside them, so this may have affected their ability to float. For further investigation, she decided to try larger objects such as melons and pumpkins.

How will the amount of vinegar used affect the "strength" of the eruption?
Result: He measured the amount of liquid that came out of the homemade volcano into the pie pan underneath after adding different amounts of vinegar to the same amount of baking soda in each of three volcanoes. He found that more vinegar = larger eruption...to an extent! You can see this in his bar graph. Try it! Or try to do this on a computer with the Virtual Volcano!


How does density affect a liquid's ability to float?
Result: the less dense liquids floated to the top, while the more dense liquids sank. He made sure to use liquids that were different colors and he let them liquids settle without stirring them up so that results were easy to see. Try it!

How will make changing the amount of AlkaSeltzer affect the rocket's height?
Result: More AlkaSeltzer made the rocket go higher, but you have to make sure to use a sufficient amount of water, and make sure to control the amount of water since the amount of AlkaSeltzer is your variable. Try it!

How will the surface a ball is bounced on affect the height of its bounce?
Result: the tennis ball bounced highest on concrete, then wood, and least on carpeting. Because the carpeting did not have padding underneath it, the results were closer to the wood results. The ball bounced the highest on concrete. We thought about how this experiment might be useful to those who create sports fields and courts. There is a big difference between playing basketball on a hardwood floor than outside on concrete!

How will the type of liquid affect how much the Mentos fizzes?
Results: The Mentos fizzed the most in soda because of carbonation, and second most with apple juice because of its acidity. It barely fizzed at all in water, but the sugar in it did start to dissolve. (Her first idea was to put the Mentos in a closed container filled with a controlled amount of different liquids, but after some research, she realized it would be hard to measure the height the container would go. She did not put the Mentos in a closed container or shake it up, so she did not get the Mentos geyser effect.)


See my next post for the second set of experiments!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year

We have been enjoying Chinese New Year! In music class, students sang traditional songs and even got to be a dragon!

One of our students wore a special outfit and brought us candy, chopsticks, and a mat with the Chinese zodiac symbols on it! She told us about traditions of not sweeping, wearing new clothing, and eating food with special "good luck" names.




I showed students pictures from my trip to Chinatown in San Francisco, California.







What year were you born? Are you a cat or a rat?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Aero and Officer Mike

This week's story is called Aero and Officer Mike. We were so fortunate to have Patrolman Shawn Meade and K9 Lucky come to our class to talk to us about their work as partners on the Edison Police Department.

We saw many of the same things that we read about when we watch Edison PD's training video. We saw Lucky swim in the ocean, train at a facility, visit the Statue of Liberty, and even ride a helicopter.

We still had so many questions....

  • What does Lucky eat?    (2 cups of dry Science Diet dog food twice a day; he never eats human food)
  • How long have you worked with Lucky? (since September 2005)
  • How long have you been a police officer? (since 1986)
  • What are your work hours? (Usually 3pm-11pm)
  • Does Lucky prefer to walk on ice or in water? (He doesn't like to get rained on, but likes swimming and playing in snow and puddles)
  • Does Lucky get his teeth brushed? (He used to get them brushed three times a week, but disliked it, so now he has a brush-like toy.)
  • How much does Lucky weigh? (He weighs about 100 pounds.)
  • How high can Lucky jump? (He can jump over 6 feet walls.)
  • How does Lucky know the difference between work and play? (He wears special collars and a vest with a loop for a leash. He even has a badge!)


  • Is Lucky allowed to play with other dogs? (Not really; he likes to be the Alpha male, or dog in charge. He's what is called "dog aggressive" like most German Shephards.)
  • Where was Lucky born? (He was bred in Czechoslovakia.)
  • How many other police dogs are there in town? (One other canine in Edison, 2 others in the county)
  • What is Lucky's main job? (Besides protecting Officer Meade, Lucky is a bomb sniffing dog. He sniffed out a training scent in our classroom and was rewarded with a towel to chew on. He loves it!)
  • Does Lucky prefer being on a helicopter or walking on open stairs? (He actually prefers being on a helicopter, because he can at least see the ground. He doesn't really like either.)
  • How long does a canine work for before retiring? (About 10 years)
  • Are police dogs usually male or females? (They are usually males because they have more testosterone and can handle the hard work. Most females are used for breeding because they tend to have a mothering instinct, which isn't suited for "catching the bad guys!")
We found out that Officer Meade and Lucky might come back for Read Across America Day and that they would read a book that was written about them and other canines, called Police Dog Heroes.

The kids wrote thank you letters and we sent Officer Meade and Lucky one of our favorite books, Officer Buckle and Gloria! by Peggy Rathmann.

Watch the video of the book (read by John Lithgow).

Download Aero and Officer Mike Reader's Theater here.

To find more Journeys resources for Aero and Officer Mike, click here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Bargains

I need to stay away from bookstores and Scholastic.com! Here's what I bought in the last few weeks. I am so excited about what I found and they were all on sale in addition to my teacher discount!

The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark...check out my book review on the Teacher2Teacher blog...and buy it right away - you will love it!


A Glove of their Own by Lisa Funari-Willever - Think The Sandlot movie -  a portion of the proceeds go to foundations that provide sporting goods to children in need! This is a great companion to Roberto Clemente, Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Teammates by Tiki and Ronde Barber...a real life story of two brothers who made their dreams come true on the football field

The Twelve Days of Christmas in New Jersey by Rich Rossi - I am definitely going to read this before winter break next year. Then I'm going to have my students create their own about the Ten Days of Winter Break!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Activ(e) Classrooms!

Do you have a Promethean Board...or wish you did? If you've got one or you're making the case for your school to buy them, check this video out!!!


And if you haven't heard of Ron Clark or the Ron Clark Academy, check them out!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yonder Mountain: A Cherokee Legend

This week's story is a Native American Legend.
My students were super excited to know that I have ancestors of Cherokee heritage. In fact, the town of Bono, Ohio is named after them! I had heard something about it as a child, but it wasn't until did a Google News Archive Search of the Toledo Blade (where most of my mother's extended family still lives) that I found more information.

Here is a very small part of my family tree:

Francis Bunno (Cherokee Chief)

His son's obituary:


Here are the articles I found: 



Cherokee People video

Cherokee Indian Powwow


Native American Indian Cherokee War Dance

Here is a video made by a modern Cherokee Indian in Ohio. Notice how "Americanized" they look.

New Jersey was once home to the Lenni Lenape tribe. On special days, Waterloo Village is open to the public for field trips. Get more information here.

For more Journeys blog posts, click here.

For more Journeys resources, check out my class website.

For information on how to create a family tree, click here.

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