August 16

Honeybees and Hexagons

Why is there such a fuss about honeybees by environmentalists? What is their role in the ecosystem?

Honeybees are social insects. They are invertebrates and further classified as arthropods. In the colony, the queen, drones (males) and workers (females) each have a role. Click here to learn more.

Honeybees, like other insects, move through metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) during their life cycle.

Love this series!

Click here for full screen.

Click here for full screen viewing.

Watch the video below to learn how bees make honey and then have a honey tasting party with your students. Create a graph of favorites.

Click here for full screen.

Visit a garden and watch honeybees at work. Ask a beekeeper to visit your classroom.

This is an ideal opportunity to connect math and science and learn about hexagons with equal sides (a regular polygon). A hexagon is a polygon which is a two-dimensional, closed shaped with three or more straight sides. Both the words six and hexagon have an “x” as their third letter. Hexagons have six sides, vertices, and angles.

Which shape is made when a hexagon is cut in half? (trapezoid) Which shape do you see when a hexagon is divided into sixths? (triangle) Three rhombuses (rhombi) also form a hexagon. Pull out your pattern blocks and explore these shapes. This activity is a hands-on introduction to fractions.

How many different ways can you cover a hexagon with these shapes? Use this activity to move into a discussion of equivalent fractions.

Use popsicle sticks or toothpicks to form the hexagonal cells in a honeycomb (tessellation). Little fingers will find this challenging.

Where else in nature do you find hexagons? Click here for full screen.

Check out these books too:

See the source image

See the source image

July 19

Pincushion Garden

I discovered pincushion gardens at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Thinking it would be fun to plant a garden like this!

Pincushion gardens were first introduced in the 1850s in England. In the 1900s, circular pincushion beds, made of succulents and cacti in intricate symmetrical designs, were planted in the Missouri Botanical Garden. Click here to learn more.

June 15

Balance

Squirrels often join me on my walks through the woods. They are the ideal animal to springboard lessons about balance. How do squirrels maintain their balance as they leap among branches?

Click here to learn more about squirrels. Click here for a previous post abut squirrels.

Notice how well his body is camouflaged!

Click here to go to a rock balance lab.

Click here for a balance scale lab.

Click here and here for more balance investigations.

Connect science and math standards as you study balance.

Click here for the Safeshare link, Click here for full screen,

Click here for the Safeshare link. Click here for full screen.

Give your child (student) a lunch bag of objects, such as blocks, a plastic cup, ruler, paper towel tubes, or a pencil. Ask him/her to build something that demonstrates balance.

June 6

Mollusks

Mollusks are invertebrates which means they have no bones. They are soft-bodied. There are three classifications:  cephalopods, gastropods, and bivalves. In the last post, I shared information about octopuses which are cephalopods. In this post, I will focus on bivalves and gastropods.

Bivalves and gastropods are born with shells. The shells grow with them. Shells are not actually homes but body parts. The mantle produces the shell from calcium carbonate.

Bivalves, such as oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels, have two shells that are hinged together. The shells grow from the outer edges and both shells must grow at the same rate. They can open and close the shells as they move and eat.

Look carefully, do you see the growth lines around the shell? It may remind you of growth rings on a trunk.

Gastropods, such as conch, snails, and whelks, live in a spiral shell. The spiral grows from the outside and wraps around the invertebrate as it grows.

Click here to watch full screen.

Click here and here for the Safeshare links of additional video about mollusks.

Classifying is an important skill. If you collect shells on a beach holiday, ask your child to sort them. They may choose their own categories which may include size, color, like kind, and texture, but then suggest that they group them into bivalves and gastropods.

Seashells by the Seashore is an engaging book to learn the names of common shells. Click here for the Safeshare link. I gave a bag of the shells to my scientists and as the characters discovered shells on the beach, my students picked up the matching shell. If you go to the beach, try to find these twelve shells.

See the source image

I made these years ago to integrate science and math for my youngest scientists. I used sandpaper to make the shore.

Click here and here for posts of past shell labs.

April 18

Inchworms – Math and Science

I discovered this inchworm climbing up my window frame. An inchworm isn’t a worm at all, but the larval stage or caterpillar of a geometer moth. All moths go through metamorphosis-egg, caterpillar (larva), pupa (cocoon), adult (moth). Inchworms are about an inch long and are commonly brown or green.

Do you see the six legs near its head? All insects have six legs. The inchworm’s name is derived from the way it arches to propel itself forward. Ask your children to move like an inchworm. Start in a plank, walk your feet toward your hands, and then walk your hands forward. Repeat.


Inch by Inch is an excellent book to teach beginning measurement skills. Cut green paper into inch strips (inchworms) and use them to measure items at home or in your classroom. Click here to watch the story.

Amazon.com: Inch by Inch: 9780375857645: Lionni, Leo: Books

Inchworm, performed by Danny Kaye in the movie Hans Christian Anderson, is a classic children’s song. Click here to watch him sing the song with the Muppets.

April 12

Spirals

I believe in teaching with a multidisciplinary or cross-curricular approach (integrating subject areas) rather than teaching subjects in isolation. STEM also follows this methodology. I’ve found that students consequently reach a higher level of understanding, develop stronger connections, and see real-life applications. The following is an example of how standards can be chunked around a theme. In this case, it is the study of spirals.

How does the study of spirals connect with math? Click here for the Safeshare link.

Before you watch this, brainstorm where you see spirals in nature. Click here for the Safeshare link.

I am reposting links to past labs that focused on spirals found in nature.

Click here to go to the spider lab.

Click here to go to a lab about snails.

Click here to learn about a proboscis.

I recently wrote posts about conifers and ferns. Add spirals to your study of these plants.

A vortex is spiral shaped. Click here to go to the lab.

Many shells are spiral shaped. Don’t pass by those broken shells!  Click here to go to a lab about shells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use loose parts you find to form spirals. Create spirals with patterns too. When you visit the beach, arrange shells and driftwood into spirals.

Turn spirals into snails or snakes.


From the Artful Parent

Doodle with spirals. Use this activity to teach the elements of design, such as line and space. Make large spirals with chalk outside on concrete sidewalks or driveways.

Cut paper into strips of various widths and lengths. Roll them around a cylinder, like a pencil, and place them inside a box with shallow sides. This would make a simple collaborative project and it is a fun way to strengthen hand muscles.

If you have any additional ideas, please leave them in the comments section.

January 31

In Honor of 2.2.22

It’s almost 2.2.22! (Hope you wear a tutu!) Enjoy the Veggie Tale song, Come in Twos, Click here.

LYRICS
The best things in life come in twos
Like salt goes with pepper
And carrots with peas
A sock with its mate
Macaroni and cheese
A cup and a saucer
A pair of shoes
The best things in life come in twos
Its cookies with milk
And ham with eggs
Two birds of a feather
Your arms and your legs
It’s making “wes” out of “mes” and “yous”
The best things in life come in twos
The best things in life come in twos Two o o o o o s

Try to add another verse. My new lines are:  a hamburger with fries, and glasses with eyes

The following activity is a fun and creative way to make a connection between math and language on this unique date. Create a class poster about the number 2 on an anchor chart with multiple answers to the sentence starters below or let your students choose a number and design their own number signs.

First brainstorm words, phrases, or expressions that are associated with each number. For example:

One – Uno, single, unicycle, solo, only child, one of a kind, penny, one in a million, all in one piece, one and only, one of those days

Two – double, tutu, pair, twins, duo, twice, bicycle built for two,

Ten – decade, dime, decimeter, decagon, Tennessee, tennis

The pictures below were made by my students almost twenty years ago!

Note: ‘Also known as’ could be a math expression. For example, four could be known as 2+2, 1/3 of 12, or 8/2.

Reading the entertaining story, 7 Ate 9, would be a perfect way to begin or end this lesson. Humorous puns about numbers fill the pages.

Click here for the Safeshare link.

See the source image

If you miss 2.2.22, there’s always 2.22.22!

Two are better than one, because they can help each other in everything they do.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIRV

January 27

Great BACKYARD Bird Count

The Backyard Bird Count is scheduled for February 18-22. This is an easy and fun citizen science project for all ages! I have it on my calendar.

Click here to learn all about the Backyard Bird Count. There is information about a free webinar too.

From their site: (The link in this photo is not active.) Step 1 – Decide where you will watch birds.

Step 2 – Watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 18-21, 2022.

Step 3 – Count all the birds you see or hear within your planned time/location and use the best tool for sharing your bird sightings.

January 20

Snow Experiment

A Simple Investigation:

Scoop snow into a tall clear cylinder. A vase or mason jar work well. In my science lab, I used a graduated cylinder. Measure how much snow is in the container. (Many children have difficulty using a ruler.) Leave the container on your counter and check back periodically. Make careful observations. After the snow melts, measure how much water is in the container. Analyze your results. What are your conclusions? Introduce a variable, and place identical jars in different spots, like a sunny window. Would you have the same results with different types of snow?

To extend this investigation, leave the jar on the counter and observe how quickly the water evaporates.