# Volume = L x W x H

For this lab, I’ll introduce how to calculate volume for regular objects (rectangular prisms) using length x width x height. (Sciencespot.net has a very good PowerPoint for volume that I may use as an intro prior to this activity.) I’ll demonstrate how to find the 3 dimensions and how to measure to the nearest mm. For the pre-lab, I have a few practice problems to model how to use the formula.

Left Side:

I usually set this lab up as a stations lab. I’ll have 10 stations set up around the room with a variety of objects for the students to measure at each station. Some objects include boxes of: tissues, chalk, crayons, colored pencils, scotch tape, markers, as well as wrapped package of index cards, a dry eraser, a textbook, blocks of wood, etc…

Students will travel with their lab partners and each student will measure one item of their choice at the station they are at (I usually have 2 objects at each station). Students will have a set time at each station and then rotate through 8 of them. When they are done, they can use a calculator to find the volume of each object.

Once everyone has calculated the volume, we go over the answers to make sure their calculations were correct. There is usually an acceptable margin of error for the volumes, depending on how precise they were with their measurements. Students may be +/- a few mm per measurement.

Right Side:

I created a measuring worksheet for cm and mm. Instead of a regular “measure the line and write it down” kind of sheet, I made it a little bit different. The students have to find the line that matches the measurement indicated, and this involves some higher order thinking and processing skills. For example, the first one asks for a line that is 2 cm long. The students look at all the lines and think, “OK, I need something that is small. There are 2 lines that are smaller than all the rest, let me see if one of them is 2 cm long.” They continue this process for all the cm & mm lines.

Handouts:

# Lunch Trays – Lab Set Up

When I set up a lab, I usually use large plastic lunch trays, one per group or two lab partners. All the equipment is ready to go and portable. They can be pushed to the center of the table, or taken off the table and placed on the side of the classroom when not in use. This comes in handy esp when you are sharing a classroom with another teacher and need a quick clean up between classes, or have different activities for the multiple grades that you teach.

In labs where messes can occur, the lunch tray contains any liquids that may get spilled or solids (like powders, sand, dirt, rocks) that can get messy. I remind the kids to work on their lunch trays when they take items off and put them on their desks. When something does get knocked over and spills, its so easy to just remove a few items from the tray, take the tray over to the sink and dump the liquids right into the sink (we don’t use anything that is toxic or needs special disposal in 5th grade). Much better than liquids all over the desk, on their clothes, or running onto the floor, and using a lot of paper towels to clean it up.

# Drops of Water on a Penny – Surface Tension

How many drops of water can fit on a penny? Is there a difference between using clean water and soapy water? What is surface tension? This is the lab I use after my surface tension demo and the kids have practiced using a pipette. I reformatted it to fit into a booklet using Publisher. The original lab can be found here.
Left Side:
On the left side is the actual activity and data collection. The students can write their answers to the 3 pre-lab questions right into their booklets. Before I start a lab, I usually have the kids gather around and demonstrate the procedures so that they can see and hear the procedures, they have the written instructions to refer to once they start the lab. This is also a good chance for the kids to ask questions if they are unsure of what to do or need something clarified.
For this lab, we collect data from each lab pair and I make a large stem and leaf plot on the board. The stem and leaf plot is a great visual way to show data. You can see pattens and trends very easily. Usually, for this lab, you can see that the data for clean water shifts lower towards the higher numbers and the data for soapy water shifts upwards toward the lower numbers.
When we have all the data for the class, we go over the summary data table together and we can determine mathematically if more drops of clean water or soapy water fit on the penny and talk about our results and explain why that happened.
Right Side:
After we have discussed the lab, the students will answer the analysis questions on the right side and write a 2-3 sentence conclusion.
This is the lab booklet in pdf: Drops of Water on a Penny

# Printing – Shrink Legal Size to Standad Size

If you want to print a legal sized document onto standard sized paper, you can shrink it to fit using your print menu.

When you select print, and your print menu pops up (it may not look like the one I have here) look for “Page Scaling”. Click on the tab and select “Fit to Printable Area”

In the print preview, you will see that the page dimensions are now “8.5 x 11″.

Click “OK” and a scaled down version of the legal sized document will print out.

# Into to Metric System Activity and Foldable

I was looking at my metric system notes that I have been using for years and was wondering how I can jazz it up and make it more visual and interactive. My notes are a basic intro with a short class activity where the kids measure thing like their hand span and fingernail width in cm, then they use those to estimate the length of things like a pencil or their lab table. We wrap it up by finding the actual measurements and seeing who was the closest to the real length.

This is not on the handout, but while the kids are doing this activity, I have them come over to a square support column where I have a few pieces of construction paper taped vertically to it and I mark their heights in cm then put their name next to their mark. I leave that up all year long and they love to see how much they’ve grown since Sept!
Left Side:
Using Publisher, I opened a Brochure template but used the 4-panel fold instead of the standard 3 panel. This makes it a legal sized document (8.5 x 14). For page one, I only used the 1st column and the 4th column. In the first column I wrote “English” and placed a washed out image of the USA behind it (we are 1 out of maybe 3 countries that use it). On the 4th column, I wrote “Metric” and placed a washed out image of the French flag behind it to signify that it was created by French scientists as a standard unit of measurement around 1791.
For page 2, the columns on the left are in English units and the columns on the right are for metric units. As part of the lesson, we brainstorm all the different English units we use everyday and categorize them according to their use: mass, volume, or length. I then introduce the base unit for mass, volume and length in the metric system: gram, Liter, and meter. Then I introduce the prefixes that can be used with the base units: kilo, centi, and milli. (I mention them, but I don’t really go into deci, deca, or hecto because they are not as commonly used.)

Then I explain how you can mix and match the prefixes with the base units and I have the kids list as many as they can and we go over what they mean, as well as practice their abbreviations. For example centi + meter = centimeter (cm) and its used to measure distance (length).

At this point I pass out the rulers and we go over where the cm side is and how each number represents a cm, and the little lines between are millimeters. I have them count the small lines and they see that there are 10 mm for each cm.
Now that they are familiar with the “other side” of the ruler, I show them how to measure their hand span (pinky to thumb with fingers spread apart as much as they can), their index finger length, the width of their index fingernail, the back of their hand (make a fist and measure across the knuckles) and their foot length. (When we are all done measuring I tell them that their foot fits between their wrist and the bend of their elbow. They don’t believe me, but when they do it they think its pretty cool!)

The one thing that is different in this lesson than the original is that I am having them measure in inches, also. Mostly just for practice and that they can compare the values and see that the values for cm are larger than the values for inches.

So after we have taken those 5 measurements, I take the rulers away and they have to estimate the values for the lab table, width of paper, pencil length, width of chair, and width of a floor tile. This part is great because now they use the known values of, lets say their hand span or fingernail width, to find the unknown values of those 5 objects. (and while they are doing this, I call up one at a time to measure and mark how tall they are in cm)
Once everyone is done with their measurements, we talk about what some of our estimates are and compare values. I then hand the rulers back and they measure to find the true values. After a few minutes, I then ask for the actual measurements, one item at a time, and we see who was the closest and if anyone had it exactly! Their answers are usually pretty close!

Right Side:
When everyone is done, and if there is time, I’ll have them start the right side activity which is practicing and reviewing the units that we learned today. I made this handout as a way for the kids to start using metric vocabulary and to become familiar with “thinking metric”.

Handouts:
For the foldable, it is formatted to print out on Legal sized paper (8.5 x 14). If you have legal size printer paper and legal size copy paper, then that is a one option. If you do not, there is an option in the print menu that can shrink it to fit onto 8.5 x 11 paper. ( see next post)

• Metric Notes pdf (For this one and most of my in class activities, I would have the kids glue this into their notebooks after they have completed the lesson)
• Metric Notes Practice pdf – right side practice or hw

# Surface Tension Demonstration

I do this lesson as an observation with the students gathered around the table. We talk about surface tension and most kids have a general idea of what it is.

I fill up a glass with water, but not all the way to the top. I ask the kids “Can this paper clip float on top of the water?” Kids usually say no. I add a little drama and try really hard to get the paper clip to float on top of the water and act really disappointed when it drops to the bottom each time. Then I “remember” how to do it the right way.

I slowly add more water to the glass and the kids watch as the water rises over the top but does not run down the side of the glass. It forms a dome. We talk about surface tension again.

I then take a paper clip (the smaller ones work really well) and hold it horizontally. I place one edge on the lip of the glass and slowly slide the paper clip onto the dome of water. I give it a slight tap and the paper clip slides across the top of the dome to the other side. The kids think its such a neat trick. We then make observations of how the paperclip is slightly indented into the surface of the water and that the surface tension is holding it up.

I then add another paperclip and we make more observations. Sometimes the paper clips bump into each other and float around the top. We keep going until I can no longer place anymore on top. I think we had 15 floating at once as our highest count.

After we discuss this demo and wrap it up, I show the kids how to use a pipette and have them practice using it so they are ready for our surface tension lab the next class. Using a pipette is a fine motor skill and takes practice so all the water doesn’t gush out at once or come out in uneven large drops. I show them how to hold it with their thumb and first two fingers on the bulb end and to keep the pipette on a slight angle. You don’t want to hold it perfectly horizontal because you want the water to be near the opening and reduce air bubbles. Holding it vertically doesn’t give you as much control. You want to hold the pipette steadily and have good control.

One other key point is not to the have the tip of the pipette touch anything or submerge into the water. When they do the real lab, I remind them that the pipette tip should not touch the penny or any drops of water on the surface of the penny. I bring up that whenever I watch crime shows and they show some kind of testing liquid from a dropper touching the item they are testing it drives me nutty because they just contaminated the bottle they were using and its not using proper “CSI” techniques. =)

The kids then practice with different amounts of pressure and experiment on how to get a good even flow of drops of water, and to practice counting them. The kids really get into it and we see how many drops of water they can get in a row.

Using Publisher, I made a tri-fold brochure for this demonstration, here is the pdf.

# Vocabulary Foldable

This is my first attempt at making a foldable, I may make adjustments before school starts, but I think it might work as it is.

Using the Microsoft Publisher template “Blank Page Sizes-1/2 Letter Booklet-4.25 x 11 inches” – I placed dashed lines every 1 inch, leaving enough spots for each vocabulary word I wanted to use. I then used Word Art to type each word and centered it between the dashed lines.

For page 2, I used word art again to type the heading “Picture or Example” and on page 3 “Definitions“. Page 4 will be glued into the notebook when they are done making the foldable.

Print out the 4 pages (2 sheets of paper) and then double side it when you photocopy it. The bottom part where the directions are, can be cut off completely before it is glued into place.

Students will cut the dotted lines to make tabs, be sure not to cut all the way through, only the front flap. After they have cut the tabs, students can write the definition for each and either an example or picture, or both if they would like to, for each word. Students can use this foldable to study their vocabulary words by stating the definition and an example. They can self check by opening the tab and seeing the correct definition.

Here is the foldable as a pdf

# Mystery Footprints – Observation vs. Inference

This is another start of the year activity I am going to use to stress the importance between observation and inference. I have a ppt & worksheet for class (left side) and a homework assignment (right side) for this lesson.

I’ll start with the power point and have the students write down their observations and inferences as I show one frame at a time. There is a lot of room for interpretation and I look forward to what they come up with!

• This is the power point I modified for my class: Mystery Footprints
• UPDATED 9.16.09 – (I had a few typos towards the end, so the corrected version is posted. My 5′s are so helpful in pointing this out!) This is the booklet of notes and where they write down their observations and inferences: Footprints pdf. To make the booklet, copy two sided, fold in half, and glue the 4th page into the notebook. (I found this lesson last year but can’t find the link I downloaded it from. I reformatted it, but other than that there are only minor changes)
• And this is the practice assignment for homework and review: Practice pdf

# Bloom’s Taxonomy – Verb Wheel

I just saw this posted on another teacher’s blog and had to grab it! This is a fantastic visual resource that the students can refer to when looking for ideas to do their right page activities. This will be glued to the inside back cover of their notebooks.
Some more Bloom’s Wheels: