Saturday, January 19, 2008

literacy + science + media center = SNOW FUN!

I had a BLAST this week with my students - we made SNOW - and it just so happened that even though I had planned to do this lesson this week WAY back in December, wouldn't you know that we actually got some SNOW in Georgia this week (although not enough for a snow day on Thursday) and we are in the middle of a snow storm as I write this - what timing I have!

But anyway, on to the lesson.  This was my story time lesson this week, so I did it with Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd graders, although really, I think I might use it with 3rd grade next year and do a little more on the science end of the lesson.  

I read the book Snow Day by Lester Laminak, which is a short book about looking forward to  having a "snow day" off from school.  You think that the narrator of the story is one of the children portrayed in the book, but the surprise at the end is that not only do they NOT get a snow day off from school, but the narrator ends up being the Dad, who is a teacher.  The kids loved that surprise at the end and I talk to them right before I turn the page where the  narrator is revealed and I ask them WHO they think is narrating the book (and of course with K students I have to explain about what a narrator is!)

After I read the book, I pull on my lab coat (a freebie I got as part of being a Discovery Educator) and tell them that we are going to conduct a science experiment.  I ask them to tell me what snow is made up of and then I ask them if it is cold enough in the media center to make snow (NO) and then I tell them that we are going to make snow using a polymer - I explain what a polymer is and then I ask them which of th
e three liquids I have will make the best snow - water, milk or lemonade - we start with water and I LOVE the reactions from them as I hold the cup up ( a clear plastic cup) and they see the snow puff up.  I tell them this is like Colorado snow, light & fluffy.  Then we add milk, and it takes longer for the reaction and I tell them that this is East Coast snow - wet and sticky - then we use lemonade and it is in between the water snow and the lemonade snow and we talk about reasons why that might be (I talked more about the "science" of this with my 1st & 2nd graders than I did with the K students).  Then I have the kids come up to my table individually and I make some snow in their hands.  See the video below for how cool it looks.  

The kids LOVED this, and the teachers loved it because not only did I tie literacy in with science, the kids had FUN learning.
I got the Insta Snow classroom kit from Steve Spangler Science, and by adding another tub of the Insta Snow I was able to do this lesson with about 200 kids! I spent about $50 on this, but it was WELL worth it! The other great thing is, the Steve Spangler website has lesson plans and even videos that you can use with your class also.

I've included some pictures below, I just wish I could include the pictures of the kids and their faces when the snow started to erupt - priceless!

1 comment:

Jen Robinson said...

That sounds way fun! We got some of that artificial snow in a package and took it to a Christmas party where there were a bunch of kids, and it was a huge hit.