I know that summer has just started but in case you are bored or curious ... Check this out!
The cool thing about science is that it can be found all around you. Summer is the perfect time to go outside and do some investigating. A quick Google search for "cool outdoor science experiments" brings up several webpages with lots of different ideas. Let's take a look at a couple of these pages and 10 of my favorite summer science suggestions.
The first page that I enjoyed visiting was called Andrea's Notebook. When I looked around I found ideas for crafts to tips for cleaning to recipes to try. But I was most excited about one entry called "25 Outdoor Science Experiments for Kids." These look super neat and some of them even look a little messy. What a great reason to go outside and try some science! Two of the activities reminded me of science fair projects and would be really fun to try at home. Click on the picture to go to her site to find out how to make rock candy ... Ella did this a few years back and it was interesting. Or click on the picture to go to her site to find out how to color flowers ... Carson did this experiment this year and I found it very cool how you can change the color of a flower.
Another site that I looked at for ideas for outdoor experiments was from Scholastic. It was called "6 Favorite Outdoor Science Activities." My favorite ones from this page were the DIY Soda Explosion ... this is like Kinlee's science fair project and is something that I have always wanted to do. I also really, really want to get someone to try the experiment where you stand on a carton of eggs. I have my doubts on whether this will work or not. But any scientist knows you sometimes have to take risks and try things out. Just ask an adult before you go stand on a carton of their eggs!
Now is your chance! Do a little research online and find an experiment that you can try. The coolest thing about science is that you can also design your own experiment. If you see something in nature that you are curious about, then be a scientist and ask a question. Make some observations, design an experiment and then collect some data. See if you can come up with an answer to your question. Of course there are some important science safety rules that I want you to follow:
I would love to hear from any of you scientists about what you did and how it turned out. If you really find yourself getting into being an outdoor scientist this summer, I encourage you to start a science journal to record your experiments. Make sketches, collect data, and keep track of your observations in your journal. There is no limiting your scientific creativity!
If you need a place to start, here are my top ten outdoor science activities. Some of them I've tried and some of them I am going to try this summer. Directions for any of these can be found by searching them on the internet. Happy exploring!
Science is for everyone
To me there is absolutely nothing cooler than a dinosaur. My oldest daughter disagrees, she says Bigfoot is cooler, but that's a discussion we can have on a different blog post. I must admit that I have been obsessed with dinosaurs and all prehistoric creatures ever since I was a little girl. I can't describe my fascination with dinosaurs but I do know that I was probably the only little girl in my class that had a pretty pink bedroom that was covered with dinosaur posters. I had two dinosaur items that I was fiercely proud of. First was my dinosaur timeline. I remember buying it at the school book fair. It showed all of the prehistoric creatures from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic. I loved it! But I adored my Dinosaur Mountain even more. It was a Christmas gift from Santa and from the moment that I unwrapped it, I was in dinosaur heaven. It was a grey plastic mountain and it came with little plastic prehistoric creatures and trees and bushes. I think I played with that toy every day even when I was probably still too old to be playing with toys. From about 1st grade on I felt like I couldn't learn enough about dinosaurs. I had an entire shelf on my bookshelf full of dinosaur books. I checked them out from the library, I bought them at book fairs, I borrowed them from the Bookmobile. I'm telling you ... I was dinosaur obsessed and I still am today. If you know me, then you know that I love all things Disney. Visiting Walt Disney World in Florida is my favorite vacation, but seeing the dinosaurs on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. is a very, very close second. I still spend the majority of my time looking at the skeletons and models whenever I am in a museum with a dinosaur display. And a side note ... I was thrilled when Animal Kingdom at Disney World added the Dinosaur ride because that finally put my two favorites together.
Did you know that you can see dinosaur displays in museums right here in Ohio? COSI in Columbus currently has a wonderful dinosaur display. It was there that I learned some new information that made me evaluate my prior knowledge about dinosaurs. Scientists now think that some dinosaurs had feathers which is an interesting development when you start thinking about where the dinosaurs came from and where they went. You can also see some nice dinosaur displays at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. I encourage you to check all three out if you love dinosaurs.
I also encourage all of you to do some research about dinosaurs. For instance, did you know that we did not have the typical dinosaurs living here in the Midwest region of the United States. Dinosaurs like T-Rex lived out West. There is even a National Park called Dinosaur National Park that you can visit in Utah and see dinosaur fossils. The reason we didn't have the big land dinosaurs was because our area was under water during prehistoric times. You can find some prehistoric marine fossils in Ohio though. If you want to learn more about the dinosaurs and prehistoric animals found in each state in the USA, I recommend checking out the page Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals by State by ThoughtCo.
Well, the dinosaur lover in me is once again inspired to do some reading about these amazing prehistoric creatures. You should join me! Visit the library and find a book on dinosaurs or do some research online. If you find anything interesting, I would love to have you share it with me below. We can even make a list of dinosaur facts to share with others! For now though, I think I'm going to spend a little time with my favorite fictional dinosaur ... Godzilla. Thanks to Ian from my last year's fourth grade, I now have my own copy of the classic movie and I'm ready to enjoy the perfect summer evening because as you know, nothing is cooler than a dinosaur!!
Did you know that Columbus, Ohio, has a thing called a Cat Cafe? Last week I discovered this really fun place and spent an hour playing with some adorable cats. I learned about the Cat Cafe from Emma, my youngest daughter. She has a cat named Eleanor and she loves all things cat. I must say that I agree with her, cats are my favorite pet. Now I am sure that many of you are dog fans, but to me a cat is the perfect household pet. I like how they can be cuddly and how sometimes they have this bit of attitude. Well we were up in Columbus spending a girls' day and we decided to be spontaneous and visit Eat, Purr, Love. This place allows you to spend an hour with the cats for $10. The Cat Cafe also helps cats find permanent homes. Their website does a great job at explaining the experience and has details about days and times that you can visit the cats. Here are some pictures from our visit. They sell coffee and it is so relaxing that you don't want to leave when your hour is up.
My visit to the Cat Cafe got me thinking about animals and my pets. I have 3 pets in our house ... 2 dogs, Scout & Buddy, and 1 cat, Eleanor. Emma also has a fish named Luna. Animals can be such a positive part of our lives. From the pets in our homes to the animals we see when we visit the zoo, these creatures bring happiness to our lives. I always have students who want to work with animals when they grow up and I think that is an awesome career choice. Did you know that 94% of pet owners say their animal pal makes them smile more than once a day? So whether you spend time playing with your pets or if you visit some wild animals at the zoo, being around animals can have benefits for us including helping us to become more responsible and caring to making us feel better when things are tough.
While I was writing this post, I became inspired and found a list of 9 books that would be perfect for animal lovers. Even though we are out of school for the summer, it is still important to keep our brain growing and learning. So I am putting a reading challenge out for all of you. I challenge you to read at least one animal related chapter book this summer and post about it below. For each book you read and post about, I will give you 5 bonus points to use in either math or science class. I will also enter you in a drawing to win a special animal themed prize. What a great way to get a head start on next school year and to read some great books. I am going to join you in the challenge by reading the 9 books from the Barnes and Noble list. Click on the link below if you want to read a little about each of the books. You can read any of these books or you can find your own animal book. Happy reading! Can't wait to see what books you pick!!
WElcome to our classroom ... Let's get to know each other
I had a blog on my website many, many years ago. I remember starting it in the summer and making time each day to type. It was just like having a journal except that it was online. I looked forward to my time each day blogging. but then school started and I seemed to get busy. I just didn't have the time each day to blog. I've been thinking a lot about that summer and how the writing was relaxing, so guess what ... I'm going to try my hand at blogging again this summer and I'm inviting all of you to come along on my blogging journey. To all of my brand new fourth graders, "WELCOME!" This is going to be an exciting year. You are finally the "big kids" and you will have more responsibility at Pickaway. To parents, "Welcome!" Fourth grade is a great year. Your child will grow this year and they will become more independent. I'm excited to get to know all of you. Communication is key and you will discover that it is very easy to get in touch with me if you ever have a question or concern or just want to check-in on how your child is doing. I use the Remind app to send updates on what we are doing and let you know about homework. I'll be sending information out on how to join Remind in July, so watch for the letter. And finally, "Welcome!" to anyone else who has found this blog. You might be a past student or a community member or just someone who thought "this looks interesting." I'm glad you are along for my journey also. Now I can't guarantee it will be a smooth journey ... I am not a professional blogger. I'm a fourth grade teacher who likes to write and has a lot of seemingly random things to share. I would love feedback and comments are always appreciated. And if you enjoy it, spread the news!
So for this first blog post, I think it is fitting to introduce myself. I am a lifelong resident of Circleville, Ohio. We are a small town in central Ohio, probably most famous for the Pumpkin Show each October. I attended Pickaway Elementary, which makes it really neat that I also teach there, and I graduated from Logan Elm High School. Once a Brave, always a Brave. I graduated from Ohio University with a degree in elementary education, but it is interesting to share that I spent my freshman year at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, studying to be an anthropologist. I loved that major and would have someday become an archaeologist or paleontologist but the call to be a teacher was much stronger. I married Phil McKibben, another Logan Elm and Ohio University graduate, and together we have two daughters. Emma is currently a junior at Logan Elm and Maria is a sophomore at Ohio University who is studying nursing. I have taught at Pickaway for over 20 years and I must say that 4th grade is my favorite grade. I love working with this age group because they are curious and excited to learn and are becoming more independent and aware of the world around them.
Well, this turned into a long post with a lot about me. You will learn more about me and about fourth grade this summer, plus I have some cool topics to write about and a few neat things to share with you. So now I feel that it is time to get to know all of you. I have put a survey below with a few question to answer about you and what you enjoy. Please remember internet safety, DO NOT EVER SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET LIKE YOUR ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER. I want all of my future and past students to stay safe. I hope that everyone takes the time to answer the survey and check back for new blog posts. It's going to be a fun summer!!
If you are interested, here are my survey answers:
What is your favorite thing about summer? Going On Vacation
What is your favorite subject in school? Science
What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher, but I want to work at Disney World in Florida when I retire from teaching.
What is the coolest or most interesting place you have visited? Paris, France