science

  1. Create a Colorful Windsock

    Create a Colorful Windsock

    In this Remarkable Idea, students make a windsock and watch their windsocks blow in the wind!

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Fine motor skills
    • Science
    • Weather
    • Art
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • White construction paper (11” x 17”)
    • Crayons
    • Yarn, cut into 12” long lengths
    • Crepe paper in assorted colors, cut into 18” long strips
    • Electric stapler that can be switch adapted
    • Fan that can be switch adapted
    • SuperTalker FT
    • Step-by-Step
    • Several switches

    Preparation:

    1. Create and place a “directions” picture/symbol on the Step-by-Step.
    2. Record the Windsock directions script on the Step-by-Step, one direction per step.
    3. Record each color name on the SuperTalker FT.
    4. Create an overlay for the SuperTalker FT with various color pictures/symbols.


    What to do:

    1. Show students the sample windsock. Use the switch adapted fan to produce wind, and demonstrate how windsocks blow in the wind.
    2. Students use the Step-by-Step to give directions on how to make windsocks.
    3. Students follow the directions to create their own windsocks.
    4. Use the SuperTalker FT to select crayon colors, and crepe paper colors to use for their streamers.
    5. Students use the switch adapted electric stapler to staple the paper roll together and to staple the crepe paper strips on the windsock tube.
    6. When all windsocks are finished, students take turns turning on the switch-adapted fan and blowing the windsocks.


    Script:

    “We are going to make windsocks!”
    “Windsocks are fun to take outside on a windy day. Windsocks blow in the wind!”
    “On your white paper, color a picture of a windy day!”
    “Write your name on your picture.”
    “When you’re finished, roll your picture into a tube and staple it.”
    “Now choose your streamers, and staple several on the bottom of the windsock.”
    “Staple a piece of yarn across the top of the windsock as a handle.”
    “Now your windsock is ready to hang in the wind!”
    “Who wants to turn on the fan and make some wind to blow the windsocks?”

    Keywords

    weather | supertalker ft | step-by-step | science | following directions | fine motor skills | art | alternative methods of access |

  2. I Predict Partly Cloudy

    I Predict Partly Cloudy

    In this Remarkable Idea, students read the weather map in the daily newspaper and make a prediction of future weather based on what they have learned.

    This activity addresses:

    • Science
    • Making predictions
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    What to do:

    1. Find the weather map in the local newspaper or online.
    2. Cut or print out the weather forecast.
    3. Repeat this activity for four consecutive days studying location of the days´ high and low pressure systems and related weather information such as sky conditions, temperatures and wind direction.
    4. On day four, students make a prediction of what the next day´s weather will be based on the trends they have observed.
    5. Record the weather forecast on the Step-by-Step with Levels.
    6. Students share the weather prediction for the next day with classmates by activating the message on the Step-by-Step.
    7. On day five, students check current weather conditions and compare them to the prediction made the day before.


    To vary the activity, study weather trends for a month or more, graph results and then use this information for a science fair display.

    Keywords

    step-by-step | science | making predictions | alternative methods of access |

  3. Elementary, My Dear Watson

    Elementary, My Dear Watson

    In this Remarkable Idea, students test their knowledge of chemical symbols by identifying the name of the element, its molecular weight, and its location on the periodic chart.

    This activity addresses:

    • Science
    • Chemistry
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Write the chemical symbols to be reviewed on the blank side of the large overlay for the All-Turn-It Spinner.
    2. Divide the blank side of the small All-Turn-It Spinner overlay into three sections and label them element, molecular weight, and location on periodic chart.
    3. Create an overlay for the QuickTalker for each chemical symbol. 4. Record each chemicals description on the QuickTalker.

    What to do:

    1. Have students take turns activating the All-Turn-It Spinner using the switch.
    2. Students can use the QuickTalker to discuss the chemicals.
    3. Students can find the chemical on the periodic chart.
    4. Take turns until all chemical symbols have been reviewed.

    Keywords

    switches | science | quicktalker | chemistry | alternative methods of access | all-turn-it spinner |

  4. Solar Cooking

    Solar Cooking

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will learn about the power of the sun and use the Scientific Method to conduct an experiment.

    This activity addresses:

    • Science
    • Choice making
    • Cause and effect
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • TalkingBrix 2
    • Step-by-Step
    • Something to cook in your oven (nachos with shredded cheese, smores, toast, Pop-tarts, etc.) Be cautious when using meat or eggs as they may not cook at a high enough temperature to be safe for consumption.
    • Pizza box
    • Old newspaper
    • Clear packing tape
    • Plastic wrap
    • Aluminum foil
    • Black construction paper

    Optional

  5. Timer
  6. Thermometer
  7. Preparation:

    1. Write your vocabulary words in a place where all students can see them.
    2. Record definitions of “Hypothesis” and “Conclusion” to TalkingBrix 2.
    3. Write the steps of the scientific method onto the board, and record them to a Step-by-Step.
    - Ask a question
    - Construct a hypothesis
    - Test with an experiment
    - Analyze Data and draw a conclusion
    - Communicate the Results
    4. After the vocabulary definitions are no longer needed, record “Correct” and “Incorrect” to the TalkingBrix 2 so students can share their results.

    What to do:

    Test with an experiment
    1. Cut a flap out of the top of the pizza box, leave a “hinge” for the flap. Bend the flap back and cover the inside of the flap with aluminum foil.
    2. Place plastic-wrap across the hole left by the flap on the outside of the box and tape the edges down. You want to make this as airtight as possible.
    3. Place some sheets of newspaper in the bottom of a pizza box and around roll up sheets along the sides for insulation. Cover the newspaper with black construction paper, this will help to absorb heat.

    Cook
    1. Place your chosen food on the black construction paper in the center of the box. (Optional: Place your thermometer in the Solar Oven). Close the lid (Optional: Start the timer)
    2. Place the Solar Oven outside in the sun. Use tape to keep the flap open. Position the Solar Oven so that the aluminum foil can catch the sunlight and reflect it onto the marshmallow.
    3. Place a control food near the Solar Oven.
    4. Wait. (Optional: Record the temperature at set time intervals.)

    Analyze the Data
    1. Compare the control food and the variable food (you can also take pictures to share later).
    2. Allow the scientists to further analyze the results by eating the food.

    Communicate the results
    1. Each scientist should review the data collected to determine if their hypothesis was correct or incorrect. Students can use the TalkingBrix 2 to communicate their results. (Remind students that having a correct or incorrect hypothesis is neither good nor bad, but part of the scientific process.)
    2. Optional: Chart the progress using the temperature and time data collected.

    Vocabulary:
    Hypothesis
    Conclusion
    Control
    Variable

    Script:

    “The sun’s energy can be converted into heat and electricity. Today, we are going to use the energy from the sun to cook some food.”
    “A hypothesis is an idea that has not been proven but leads to further study.”
    “A conclusion is a decision reached by reason.”

    Additional Suggestions

    This experiment will work better on a day with a high UV index. If you live in the United States, the UV index can be found by using the tool here: http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise/uv-index

Keywords

talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | science | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  • Let's Talk Tarantulas

    Let's Talk Tarantulas

    In this Remarkable Idea, students will learn some facts about tarantulas and make their own to bring home.

    This activity addresses:

    • Life science
    • Choice making
    • Social skills
    • Fine motor skills
    • Cause and effect
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • Step-by-Step
    • TalkingBrix 2
    • 1 1/2-inch Styrofoam balls (2 for each student)
    • Toothpicks
    • White pipe cleaners
    • Shorter pieces of white pipe cleaners
    • Black, brown, and red paint
    • Painting materials (brushes, bowls, plates, locking plastic bags)
    • Pictures of a male and female tarantulas

    Preparation:

    1. Record the definition of “molting” on a TalkingBrix 2.
    2. Record the definition of “exoskeleton” on a TalkingBrix.
    3. Record tarantula facts to the Step-by-Step.
    4. Attach two Styrofoam balls together using a toothpick for each student.

    What to do:

    1. Begin by telling the class that you are going to be discussing and making tarantulas. Give them each a tarantula body to paint either brown or black. Students can paint with a brush, finger paint, roll the balls in paint, or place the body in a locking plastic bag filled with paint and shake it - make sure it’s completely zipped shut before shaking! - and set aside to air dry.
    2. Introduce the two vocabulary words “molting” and “exoskeleton” to the class and select a “Word Whiz” to activate the TalkingBrix 2 to tell the class the definition of each word.
    3. Give each student an opportunity to activate the Step-by-Step to learn different facts about tarantulas and discuss them.
    4. When the vocabulary words appear in the tarantula facts, have your “Word Whiz” activate the TalkingBrix 2 to remind the students of what the new words mean.
    5. Build tarantulas of your own making sure to use the new knowledge of tarantula anatomy. Each spider should have two body parts, eight legs, and two palps.

    • Have students determine based on the color they choose for their tarantula if theirs will be a male or a female spider.
    • Attach four legs to each side of the tarantula. To be anatomically correct, legs should all be attached to one Styrofoam ball.
    • Each student will attach eight legs and two palps to their tarantula.
    • Finish painting the tarantulas. A little red can be added to the males and a little black to the females as accent colors.

    Script:

    Molting definition: “Molting means to lose a covering of hair, feathers, or an old shell, and replace it with a new growth in the same place.”
    Exoskeleton definition: “An exoskeleton is a hard covering that supports and protects the bodies of some types of animals. The word exoskeleton actually means “outside skeleton”.
    “There are around 700 species, or types, of tarantulas.”
    “Tarantulas build their homes underground.”
    “Tarantulas eat insects, grasshoppers, and beetles. Some tarantulas even eat small birds!”
    “Tarantula’s natural enemies are weasels, skunks, snakes, and owls.”
    “One other predator that the tarantula must fear is … people. Some people actually keep tarantulas as pets, and in some countries they even eat them!”
    “Tarantulas have an exoskeleton. This means instead of having bones inside their bodies like people, they have a hard covering on the outside of their bodies. As a tarantula grows, it must molt or shed its exoskeleton.“ (Videos of this can be found online)
    “During a molting phases, a tarantula can even regrow lost legs.”
    “Their life span is up to 30 years for females 5-10 for males.”
    “A tarantula’s body can be up to 4.75 in (12 cm) long and its leg span can be up to 11 in (28 cm).”
    “Tarantulas weigh 1 to 3 oz (28 to 85 g).”
    “A female’s lifespan is up to 30-years, and a male’s lifespan is 5 to 10-years.”
    “A male tarantula is usually thinner than a female and has black and reddish hair.”
    “Tarantulas have two body parts - the cephalothorax and the abdomen, eight legs, and two pedipalps - sometimes called palps for short - that are used for feeling and moving things.”

    Keywords

    talkingbrix 2 | step-by-step | social skills | science | fine motor skills | choice making | cause and effect | alternative methods of access |

  • Here Comes Fall!

    Here Comes Fall!

    In this activity students will conduct an experiment called chromatography to see the different colors in a leaf, and discuss why leaves change color in the fall. In addition to this experiment, students will use fall colors to create marbled leaves.

    This activity addresses:

    • Following directions
    • Sensory experience
    • Science skills
    • Science of bubbles
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    • BIGmack or LITTLEmack
    • Jelly Bean
    • My Art Spinnerr
    • Battery Device Adapter
    • Adapted scissors
    • Leaves
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Small glasses/jars (baby food)
    • Coffee filters/filter paper
    • Hot water
    • Pencils/sticks (one per student)
    • Shaving cream
    • Baking pan
    • Finger paint
    • Construction paper

    Preparation:

    1. Cut out leaf shapes from the construction paper.
    2. Record the word “Autumn” on a BIGmack or LITTLEmack.
    3. Record “red”, “orange”, and “brown” on BIGmack or LITTLEmack so students can choose their colors.

    What to do for chromatography:

    1. Students can use the adapted scissors to cut a leaf into small pieces, and place them into the small glasses.
    2. Older students can use the scientific method and develop a hypothesis as to what is going to happen.
    3. Teacher adds a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the glass - enough to cover the leaves is fine. The alcohol will slowly change color from the chlorophyll in the leaves. To speed this up, place the glasses in a hot water bath.
    4. Students can use the adapted scissor to cut strips from the coffee filters.
    5. Attach the coffee filter strips to a pencil. Place pencil over glass so that strips hang down into the alcohol. After 30 – 90 minutes, bands of colors will be noticeable on the coffee filters.

    What to do for the art project:

    1. Place shaving cream on a table or in a baking pan and put fall colored finger paint (red, orange, brown) on top of the shaving cream.
    2. Allow students to swirl the paint around a little (not too much that the colors mix) and add glitter or other decorations.
    3. Place leaf cut outs or construction paper on the shaving cream.
    4. Students that cannot participate with the shaving cream and finger paint can paint their leaves using the My Art Spinner and Battery Device Adapter with a Jelly Bean.
    5. Once the paper is face down in the shaving cream lift it off, and scrape any excess shaving cream from the paper. Allow them to dry.
    6. Students can then play in the leftover shaving cream to draw pictures or practice writing.

    Scripts for activity:

    1. “Very soon the season will be changing from summer to fall. Another name for fall is autumn. Does anyone know what happens to the leaves on the trees in fall?”
    2. “Do you know why the leaves change in the fall? Plants have pigments in them that determine their color. Leaves have the pigment chlorophyll in them that make them green as well as another other pigments called carotenoids. Chlorophyll makes the leaves green while carotenoids can make the leaves yellow, red, or orange.”
    3. “When the weather is warm the tree produces a lot of chlorophyll which is why the leaves are green. As the season changes from summer to fall the weather cools down and the tree produces less chlorophyll, this is when we get to see the colors from the carotenoids.”
    4. “Today we are going to perform an experiment that will hopefully show us some other colors in our leaves, besides the green we see when we look at them.”
    5. Students can then play in the leftover shaving cream to draw pictures or practice writing.

    Keywords

    sensory | science | littlemack | jelly bean switch | following directions | bigmack | alternative methods of access |

  • Creature Features

    Creature Features

    In this Remarkable Idea, students work together in learning groups to answer questions about their favorite animal.

    This activity addresses:

    • Turn taking
    • Social skills
    • Reading skills
    • Science
    • Alternative methods of access

    What you need:

    Preparation:

    1. Create a picture symbol overlay for the BIG or LITTLE Step-by-Step that represents asking a question. Create your overlays.
    2. Record the following messages to the Step-by-Step:

    • What color is the animal?
    • What size is the animal?
    • Where does this animal live? (e.g. on land, in water, in the air)
    • What does this animal eat?
    • How does this animal move?
    • Why did you choose this animal?

    What to do:

    1. Start by explaining to the students what they are about to do. A common script would be, “Today we are going to learn about animals. We will divide into groups of three and discuss an animal that you choose. One person will be the reader who will read the group a question about the animal you have chosen. Another student will be the recorder and will write down your group’s answers. The third person will be the reporter and they will share with the class what your group discussed.”
    2. Divide the class into small groups of three students. Each group chooses a reader, recorder, and reporter.
    3. Put all of the pictures of animals on a table and let each group pick one picture. The students will work together to answer the questions about their animal.
    4. The reader will read the first question. For students needing assistance with speech, they can use the Step-by-Step to communicate with their group. Students in the group will discuss amongst each other and the recorder will write down their answer. Repeat this step until all questions are answered.
    5. Bring all of the students back together. The reporter will share their group’s animal photo and answers to the questions about the animal they selected with the class. As the students share their information the teacher can also add fun facts about the animal.

    Keywords

    turn taking | step-by-step | social skills | science | reading | alternative methods of access |