Remote and then hybrid learning has challenged me as an educator and not only caused me to re-design my science course but also to re-imagine ways to create a positive and productive learning community. Here are some of the resources I have used in my 5th grade science class and my advisory.
For your own editable copy of any of the documents shared below, simply select File→Make a Copy. Feel free to use, re-mix, and share these resources, but please do not sell them.
Selected Science Lessons
Bay Area Wonders In this project, inspired by Aimee Nezhukumatathil's World of Wonders and developed in collaboration with writing teacher Cliff Burke, students research and write a personal natural history essay about a species of their choice. The essays are accompanied by a scientific illustration created by the student. The project was designed for California's Bay Area but can be customized for any location. All supporting documents needed are linked within the central document above.
Rainbow Density Lab Have students practice lab skills to make a liquid rainbow based on density in this classic introductory lab. My twist? The solution layers are water and different concentrations of salt for less mess, and students team up to make the solutions so less labware is needed.
Diverse Scientists Mini-Poster In this lesson, students research and make a mini-poster about a scientist with a marginalized identity to celebrate the contributions of diverse scientists. It is a great follow-up to the Draw-a-Scientist test I wrote about in this blog post. The description and note sheet are linked above. Here is a list of suggested scientists for students to explore.
Geo Time Card This is a menu of tasks related to geologic time that invite students to research a topic and demonstrate their knowledge in a creative product. Topics include fossil hunter Mary Anning, Earth's mass extinctions, relative age dating, and Your Inner Fish. All supporting documents needed are linked within the central document above.
Period Postcard In this activity, students are provided a blank postcard and must design it for a period in Earth's geologic history, including an illustration and message that convey details about the environment, life, and key events of that period.
Modeling the Rock Cycle In this activity, developed with my associate teacher Tim Varga, students create a rock cycle model that incorporates the geologic processes and energy sources that drive each rock type's formation. A rubric and timeline are included. To read more about the activity and see samples of student work, check out this blog post.
Earth Layers Analogy In this activity, students compare Earth to another layered object of their choice and analyze the model's benefits and limitations. To read more about the activity and see samples of student work, check out this blog post.
Make-a-Mineral In this activity, students research a mineral of their choice and create an informational illustrated one-pager (infographic, comic, mini-poster, etc). To read more about this activity and see samples of student work, check out this blog post.
Digital Science Notebook
Digital Science Notebook Each semester, I am assigning a Digital Science Notebook for students to organize their notes and record their thinking over time. I was inspired by a digital social studies notebook created by my friend Dr. Isabel Morales, and I re-mixed it as a digital science notebook, adding additional layouts and my own content. In Present mode, the side tabs are hyperlinks that allow navigation to different sections.
Digital Science Notebook
Lab Investigation Template
Digital Lab Template This customizable template can be used as a digital lab notebook by having students replicate the template for each lab and keep them all in one doc. To stay organized and easily access each lab, I recommend creating a Table of Contents at the top of the doc and making each lab's title a hyperlink in it.
Just a Little Bit(moji)
Bitmoji Class Slide Maybe, like me, you do not want to build out an entire Bitmoji Classroom, but you just want one fun slide to represent your virtual space. My class slide includes instructions to walk you through it. I used it with students on the first day to preview course topics through observation and inference. I also used it as a title slide at our Back to School Night Zoom with families.
Agenda Slide A little bit more? Here's an agenda slide you can customize with a Bitmoji.
Just A Little Bit(moji)
Introductory Weeks of Science Class
Intro Activities Slides This slide deck contains instructions for all the activities I facilitated in the first two weeks (four class meetings) of my science class. All supporting documents needed are linked within the slide deck. The activities included are: Intro Icebreaker, 2-1 Artifact Share, Selfie Slide, Letter to My Teacher, and Agree to Be: Community Agreements. Interactive Course Syllabus This colorful, interactive syllabus provides a high-level overview of my 5th Grade Earth & Environmental Science course. Students can use it to familiarize themselves with content/skill goals and class policies.
Remote Advisory Activities This list was brainstormed and curated for my Advisory this year, but the activities could also be used in academic classes in order to get to know each other, build community, and have fun! Some of the ideas work well as short brain breaks, while others would be best suited for an entire class meeting.
Goal Setting and Planning Sheet During these unique times, it is especially important to build skills around personal goal setting, leaning in to areas of strength/growth, and replenishing energy. This was a semester goal sheet and remote learning plan I used with my advisees. Students share it with me and their families and reflect on their progress.