Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Far Side (School and Science!).

Gotta love the Far Side by Gary Larson!
Below, find some of my favorite school and science-related Far Sides.



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Monday, December 17, 2012

Science FREEBIES - Round 2!

 It's time for some more science FREEBIES!
In addition to freebies from my store, some generous TpT sellers have offered the following FREE science resources!
Download, enjoy, and show them some support!

Featured FREEBIES from the STR store...

And FREE from other sellers!

Flight Workbook - Using the Technology Process from Top Notch Teaching
Topic: Forms of Energy, Energy Transfer

Carnivores, Herbivores, and Omnivores from Chris Pearson
Topic: General Science 

Plate Tectonics Activity: A Synthesis of the Cross Section of the Earth 
from Christina OMalley
Topic: Physical Science/Earth Science/Geology/Plate Tectonics 

Planning an Investigation and Turkey Treasure Hunt from Oddball Science 
Topic: Investigation Skills

The Scientific Method from Susan Cahalane
Topic: General Science

Life Cycle of Plants Anchor Charts from Linda Kamp
Topic:  Plant life cycle

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Air Pressure Giveaway and Blog Hop!

Today, I want to take a closer look at air pressure!

Below, you'll find several amazing air pressure demonstrations (and some explanations)  - many of which you can repeat in your classroom!

You'll also find a related product from my TpT store - the Air Pressure Lab Pack. This product includes four experiments students can complete - and one comment on this post will win it FREE! (Comments/giveaway close at the end of the day on Sunday, 12/16/12).
Be sure to stop by on Monday to see if you've won!

Also, we're running a blog hop! Check out the links at the bottom of the post to follow the hop!


Air Pressure is STRONG!
Wish you could do this in your classroom?
Well, you can! (Sort of).
See the next video!

The Amazing Smooshing Can!
I usually use this demo to introduce air pressure.
As students learn, they are able to explain what happens!

Another great air pressure demo for the classroom!
Low air pressure created by the burning oxygen leaves relatively high pressure outside.
This high pressure pushes the liquid into the cup!

Some engaging labs for students from my TpT store!
One lucky commentor on this post will receive a FREE copy of this lab pack!
Be sure to stop by on Monday to see if you've won,
leave your email in your post,
or send it to me at
I promise no spam - I'll just need to contact you if you win!

Another great demo!
(and some more detail on how air pressure works)

Head to the next blog in the hop: Live Teach Create 

Find a broken link?
Want to start at the beginning?  
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Monday, December 10, 2012

More AWESOME Science Videos!

Time for some more great science (and related) videos!

 Airport Landings!
An amazing look (overlayed videos) at all of the planes that landed at San Diego
International Airport between 10:30am and 3:00pm on November 23, 2012.

Solar Eclipse of 2012
A great look at the solar eclipse that occurred on May 20, 2012

The Briggs Rauscher Reaction
Want more info? Look here.

How about Sulfur Hexafluoride!

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Friday, December 7, 2012

This Time Was Different

Ryan looked up as Ms. Francis called for attention at the front of the room.

"Ok, please pass up the index cards I handed to you a minute or two ago," Ms. Francis said.

At his seat, about halfway back on the left side of the room, Ryan shuffled through the four or five papers on his desk, knocking his pencil to the ground as he searched for the green index card he had been given. It was the first day of class, and Ryan and his classmates had just completed an activity during which they were asked to raise their index cards in the air to indicate responses to certain questions.

Ryan looked under one paper, then another. No index card.
He then picked up all of the papers and shuffled them against his desk to organize them. No index card.
Ryan then pushed his chair back and scanned the ground near his desk. No index card.
Finally, Ryan spun around and looked at his friend John's desk. No index card there either.

A little embarrased, Ryan raised his hand.
"Yes, Peter?" Ms. Francis said softly from the front of the room.

"Umm..I can't find my index card."

Those sitting around Ryan laughed softly, although not in a mean way.

"Oh, that's ok Ryan. I have plenty of extras."


Most middle school (and elementary and high school, for that matter) teachers have their own "Ryans." But this time, it was different.

This time, "Ryan" was 28 years old.
And this wasn't an elementary, middle, or high school class.

This was a teacher training.
And "Ryan" was me.

I didn't so much care that I had lost the index card. (To this day, I have no idea where it went). In fact, I was sort of in awe of the situation. Although I dramatized it a bit above, it was really interesting to be the kid who lost the paper that was distributed two minutes earlier. I had never made a big deal of lost papers, but this experience gave me a little more empahty for the kids that lost them.

Teaching 7th grade, I'll keep making five hundred copies of the Periodic Table for my one hundred Ryans.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Hate You.

Scared LadyThat's what she said.

To be honest, I don't really remember what happened just before that (it was twelve years ago), but I definitely remember what happened afterwards.

Or what didn't happen afterwards.

I didn't sleep more than twenty minutes that night.
I wasn't really upset that she had said she hated me. Believe it or not, I was worried.


Every teacher has taught a student (probably many students) like her. Let's call her Bridget. Bridget had an unstable home life, fairly significant anger issues, low academic performance and self worth, and was overall an unhappy kid. I'm not saying it was her fault (much of it probably wasn't), but it was what it was.

Although I don't remember the details, I know that Bridget had been extremely disruptive that day. My attempts to refocus her concluded with the bell, as a spitting-mad Bridget walked out of class, and directed at me a pointed, "I hate you!" on her way out.

That kept awake. And worried.

Looking back, I attribute this to my then lack of experience with middle school kids. This was the first marking period - there were eight months left. How I would manage my class after this? What would happen tomorrow? That was it - any hopes for a successful year were over.


The next day, I dragged myself into school, and cringed as the bell rang to end third period. My stomach was twisted in knots as I saw Bridget headed to my class. As she walked towards me, she didn't make eye contact. A bad sign.

As Bridget approached, she finally looked up at me. Her demeanor was calm - it even looked like she almost had a smile on her face.

"Hi, Mr. Levine," she said cheerily, as she walked in, sat down and started her warm-up.

I exhaled. Welcome to middle school.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

I nevur Make misteaks.

My third year, my tenth year, and my eleventh year.

The third year was by far the worst incident of the three. About 20 minutes before the kids arrived, I turned on all nine sinks and sat down to get some work done. (Science teachers in my school had to do this every couple of weeks to keep some foul smell from making its way out of the drains). The sound of nine running sinks filled the room - loud, although somewhat relaxing. After about 7 or 8 minutes, I got up from my desk to shut them off...

My tenth and eleventh years involved incidents nearly identical to each other. A new project-based curriculum involved 7th grade science students growing basil hydroponically - without soil. (Pretty cool - learn more here). Plants were to be suspended in nutrient solution, which would flow from tank to tank via pumps. Anyway, I helped one of our 7th grade teachers set up her pumps just in time for her first class of the day...

Those were the three times I flooded classrooms.

The tenth and eleventh years were minor, as far as floods are concerned. They were cleaned up in a matter of minutes, although there were kids in the room both times. My third year was a very different story. Unbeknownst to me, a couple of the sinks had paper towels left in them, which clogged the drains. That year, I didn't flood one classroom - I flooded two. Mine was cleaned up and ready to use that day. The one below me was out of commission for about a week. (Did you know that ceiling tiles fall down, one by one, when soaked with water?).

I like to tell stories like these at the start of the school year.
"Hey kids, don't worry if you make a mistake in here. Listen to this."
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