New Resources from Brenda Kovich

Science! Science! Science!

Currently, I’m creating science activities and bundles to address NGSS and state standards. In 2021, I focused solely on fourth grade. This year, I’ll branch out to include fifth grade.

What makes my activities different? I start with the end in mind. Before beginning, I carefully unwrap the standard. Nouns tell what kids should know (content), while verbs explain what they should be able to do (process). This ensures that each engaging set of student-centered activities matches the intent of the standard.

To learn more, read about new resources for science below. Remember to check out the related blog posts.

Then grab a free pacing guide! They’re currently available for NGSS 4*, Indiana 4, Nebraska 4, Massachusetts 4, New York 4, Utah 4, Georgia 4, and Idaho 4. Next up – Alabama.

*The following states and Washington, D.C. have adopted Next Generation Science Standards: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Additionally, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming match or are very similar to the fourth grade NGSS standards.

I have many more science resources in my store. Check them out!

In this set of activities, kids learn that fossil layers form through slow changes and make their own rock layers. Next, they learn about evidence left in fossil layers and create fossils with clay and glue. Finally, students analyze fossil layers to determine the order in which they were formed, as well as whether land or water covered the earth during that time.

Read a blog post about fossil evidence.

See the fossil record resource.

To teach kids about fast changes to Earth’s surface, ask them to map volcanoes. These activities provide kids with coordinates (latitude and longitude) of notable volcanic eruptions in the 21st century. Students plot them on a map to discover the Ring of Fire.

Read a blog post about mapping volcanoes.

See the volcano resource.

This set of activities asks kids to use engineering design processes to reduce the impact of natural disasters. They learn about criteria and constraints, brainstorming, and the fair test – all while solving problems related to natural disasters.

Read a blog post about natural disasters STEM.

See the reducing impacts STEM resource.

After learning about renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, kids dive into fossil fuels and their effects. They research five types of vehicles: gasoline, hybrid electric, all electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric. Then, as a grand finale, the design their own green vehicle.

Read a blog post about fossil fuels and their effects.

See the green vehicle resource. 

To set the stage, the teacher reads a story about a boy watching the Moon. Then kids build their own Sun-Earth-Moon models. The teacher guides them through a series of movements to learn about phases, eclipses, and tides.

Read a blog post about using the Sun-Earth-Moon model.

See the Moon, Earth & Sun resource.

After learning about forms of energy, students engage in five simple activities to explore relationships between speed and energy.

Read a blog post about speed and energy.

See the speed and energy resource.

To teach forms of energy, separate them into two categories: kinetic (moving) and potential (stored). This straightforward set of images provides a definition and examples for chemical, nuclear, mechanical, gravitational, motion, electrical, thermal, sound, and radiant energy.

Read a blog post about forms of energy.

See the forms of energy posters.

To explore collisions, kids build miniature pool tables.

Read a blog post about collisions.

See the pool table collisions resource.

This set of activities helps kids understand that light allows us to see. Additionally, it teaches about basic parts of the eye and how they work. Finally, kids compare parts of the eye to everyday objects.

Read a blog post about the eye.

See the eye resource.

Kids learn how patterns are used to transfer information. In addition to Morse and binary codes, they use simple thumbs-up and thumbs-down communication. Finally, they find solutions to everyday situations that require patterns.

Read the patterns blog post.

See the patterns resource.

Using plastic tubing and BBs, kids build roller coasters. This allows them to explore transfer of potential and kinetic energy.

Read the roller coaster blog post.

See the roller coaster resource.

Kids use information on ProjectBeak.org to research specific animal structures and functions. The jigsaw activity makes a great bulletin board!

Read the animal structures blog post.

See the bird jigsaw resource.

This is the best bird beak lab ever! Each group receives a container with a ten sets of ten “organisms.” Each child uses a “beak” to catch prey for one minute. This provides data for easy analysis and conclusions.

Read the bird beak blog post.

See the bird beak resource.

After learning about senses and the nervous system, kids analyze a series of situations. They describe information received through senses, how it’s processed in the brain, and how you respond.

Read the sensory input blog post.

See the sensory input resource.

Students learn about seven ways to generate electricity: coal, geothermal, hydropower, natural gas, nuclear, solar, and wind. On a table, they list whether the resource is renewable or nonrenewable; how it is obtained, processed, and transported; how it is used to generate electricity; and its effects on the environment. Then they use the information to write an opinion piece on which source of electricity should be used.

Read the blog post on electricity and the environment.

See the electricity and environment resource.

In this set of activities, students use shadows to learn about Earth’s rotation and revolution. First, they go outside every hour or so and draw one another’s shadows with chalk. As the shadows shrink (and then grow) and move, kids can draw conclusions about how the Sun seems to move across the sky. Second, they observe the shadow of a building from month to month. This illustrates Earth’s path around the Sun. Finally, they use their hands to make fun shadows.

Read the shadows blog post.

Check out the shadows resource.

To teach about seasonal appearance of stars in the sky (NGSS 5.ESS.1-2), make a cylindrical star field like this. Then place the Sun and Earth in the middle. As kids move the Earth around the Sun, they begin to understand why some stars are only visible in certain seasons.

Read the seasonal stars blog post.

Check out the seasonal stars resource.

Kids calculate elapsed time for two locations – Chicago, USA, and Hobart, Australia – during December. Patterns disclose changes in daylight hours before and after the solstice. This evidence helps students conceptualize the way Earth’s tilt and revolution around the Sun affect day and night.

Read the day and night blog post.

Check out the day and night resource.

To teach kids about the seasons, start with your globe. Focusing on the tilt helps kids understand what happens as the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Read the seasons blog post.

Check out the seasons resources.

Kids build several models of the solar system. They illustrate relative sizes, distances, and motion. Additionally, they consider objects not always included in models (such as the asteroid belt). Finally, they analyze various models and determine what’s wrong and/or missing.

Read the solar systems model post.

Check out the solar system models resource.

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