Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level

As an educator I've asked many times, how can I motivated my students? I think Genius Hour or 20% time may help answer that question. Pure Genius reminded me of the importance of student voice, collaboration and leadership. 20% Time or Genius Hour gives students a chance to discover their passion and learn more about it, create something and then share it with the world. Allowing students choice will empower their voice and it will help build leadership. If students learn how to be effective leaders they will learn how to build up leadership in others and it will be an infectious great learning environment. Collaboration has always been an important part of my library program. But, I was always concerned about collaborating with the teachers as they brought students to the library. To prepare students for the real world we need to make students collaborators and they need to experience learning from experts outside of the building. As things are ever changing in this fast past world students need to see their instructors and teachers are learners too and can learn new things with them and from them.

This is an informative book to help plan a Genius Hour program. It also does a great job of giving other resources to look at as your building your program. It has a lot of the same educational philosophies found in current professional development Makerspace and STEM books. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

STEM Maker Program: Comet Matter for 2nd Grade

TEKS: 2nd grade Science 5 Matter and Energy (A) classify matter by physical properties, including shape, relative mass, relative temperature, texture, flexibility, and whether material is a solid or liquid
Objective: Students will review the states of matter and learn the parts of a comet as they learn about a library database.

Expository Non-Fiction Books on Comets

One Cup of Dirt
A Handful of Pillow Stuffing or Cotton

One Potato
Ice Cubes in a water resistance container

5 Self Made Mystery Boxes big enough for each secret ingredient to fit in each box

Science Journals or Notebooks

Tell students that 5 mystery boxes have been delivered to the library and all the boxes together make one thing. There job is to feel the contents of each box and write down in their journal what they think is inside each mystery box. (But they can not look inside. I tell them, it will be more fun if they don't peek!)
Every student will observe each box and describe the contents of each box
Students will discuss how they think the boxes are connected.
Tell students about an on-line encyclopedia and how it can help them find answers to their questions.
Show students how to access the resource.
Look up Comet and try and find a video, so they can see the movement of a comet.
Ask them if they want to change the results of their discussion.
Tell them the boxes are parts of a comet.
In groups let them list the part of the comet each box represents and explain why it's a comet.

Closure: Let groups come up with a dance to show how a comet moves around in space. Let groups share their dance with the class.

This was a fun lesson to share with students. One of the homeroom teachers, participated in the dance with her students! They don't have to be in second grade to use this lesson I based this lesson on a Nasa Educator Page I found on-line. You can customize this lesson for your students.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

STEM Makerspace Lesson: Zip Lines

TEKS Science 1st grade 6(d) Force, Motion, and Energy: Observe and describe the ways that objects can move such as in a straight line, zigzag, up and down, back and forth, round and round, and fast and slow

Objective: Students will observe a demonstration of objects moving in a straight line.


Collaborate with your Art Teacher, students could make a superhero stick figure in Art Class

Image result for balloons public domain

Balloon Pump

Fishing Line

Masking Tape


One parent volunteer to get the balloons and tape ready for each race

The Astonishing Secrets of Awesome Man
Image result for the astonishing secret of awesome man

(Set-up 2 zip lines before students arrive.)

1. Have students talk about the Super Hero they created in Art Class.
2. Can their super hero fly? (Have them model with their super hero can fly and have them talk about the direction they are flying zigzag, up and down, back and forth, round and round, and fast and slow
3. Introduce the book: The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man
4. Tell them Awesome Man can fly too. As you listen to the story find out the direction he flight (straight)
5. Once the story is over tell the students we are going to make their super hero fly
6. We will have students demonstrate 2 at a time their super hero flying. But, we are not racing. We are looking at this demonstration scientifically. We are looking at the conditions that would change the result.
7. Let them observe three times before you change things or observe various factors...the size of the balloon. Will the larger balloon go faster or slower than the smaller one and explain why? Which one will go farther and why?

Students will tour the Graphic Novel section, where they can find more super hero books.

STEM Library Lesson: Making a Roller coaster

TEKS 3rd grade 6 Force, Motion, and Energy: The student knows that forces cause change and that energy exists in many forms. The student is expected to: (b) demonstrate and observe how position and motion can be changed by pushing and pulling objects to show work being done such as swings, balls, pulleys, and wagons (c) observe forces such as magnetism and gravity acting on objects

Objective: Students will review how to access the e-books and databases. Students will also review force motion and energy looking at roller coasters.


BIG Roller Coasters

BIG Roller Coasters
(This comes in print if you don't have the e-book.)

Website on constructing roller coasters
Image result for constructing roller coaster public domain
Google "constructing roller coaster" there are lots of sites out there that will give students a chance to build a roller coaster on-line. Try it out first, before you share it with students to make sure it works.
Image result for computer public domain
Databases where students can find out more about force, motion, swings and pulleys (Search these terms in the on-line encyclopedia before you ask the students to look to ensure they have a successful search.)

Students will review how to access the Capstone e-book collection.
The whole class will participate in a digital story time using the Capstone book on roller coasters.
As students listen to the e-book, they will stop at various points to turn and talk about the book.
Databases will be used by students to look up key terms such as force, motion, swings and pulleys.
The teacher/librarian will show students the website they can use to build a roller coaster.
Divide students into groups and let them build a roller coaster on-line.

Students will share there roller coaster they built and the information they found on the database. Students will also learn where to find engineering and roller coaster books in the library.

STEM Library Lesson: Foot Detective

Science TEK grade 5 10A : Organisms and Environments: Compare the structures and functions of different species that help them live and survive such as hooves on prairie animals or webbed feet in aquatic animals

Objective: Students will be given a model of an animal foot and will need to research an on-line encyclopedia to look up photographs to identify the identity of the foot. While they are on the on-line encyclopedia they will discover one trait the animal has to help them survive due to their foot structure.
 Materials:  Dinosaur Fact Books


Image result for dinosaur children's fact book
Animal Foot MoldsImage result for photos of animals

Photos of Animals That Match the Molds
Image result for animal books
Display animal books on each table to give students clues of the foot mold, but don't make it too easy.
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Paper and Ink 
On-line Encyclopedia of your choice. I use Britannica for 5th grade. 

Students will listen to excerpts from the Dinosaur Books and turn and talk about the main ideas presented in the books

Give students a quick review of how to use the on-line encyclopedia and its features, so they will know how to find information later in the lesson. 

Students will work in groups of three. 

Students will be given 10 to 15 min to discover the animal identity of the foot mold using the on-line database and books displayed on the table

The groups will need to find one trait the animal has that helps them survive due to their foot structure. 

The student groups will have a chance to make an ink print of the foot they researched

Students will share their findings with the class. Students will find out more about expository text found in the Dewey Section.