Thursday, September 15, 2011

Independent or Dependent Variable?? Confused yet?

During science we have created lifeboats and airplanes, but do you know why? We have been talking about independent and dependent variables, but could you explain the difference? Here are a couple fun links where you can test your knowledge of variables and their impact on a scientific experiment!

Identifying Independent vs Dependent Variables Read through some experiment descriptions and see if you can pick out the independent and dependent variables.

Science Pirates: The Curse of Captain Brownbeard is a multi-part game that help students better understand science and food safety concepts.


Sunday, August 21, 2011


Tomorrow is the first day of school and I cannot wait to meet my new students! We are going to have a wonderful year full of exploring! As I plan for the next couple weeks, I know we are going to have a blast in science and math! In order to get started, you need to have the right supplies! Here is the district's supply list and there might be a couple other items down the road.

During the first week of science, we are going to be learning about science safety and beginning to work in collaborative (working together) groups. I love when students get to work in groups because you're getting to not only use your brain, but other people's brains in our classroom. However, working in groups is not always easy. Can you think of a couple reasons why it might be difficult?

By the time you read this, you will have already heard this science safety video! It's great isn't it? Here are the lyrics:

Wait, you’ve gotta make sure that your lab is safe
Before you make a measurement, scope out the space
Got your gloves pulled up, got your goggles on
Don’t want to be another lab experiment gone wrong

Go with goggles, go with the gloves!
Go without food, and spit out your gum!
Go safe! Go safe! And get into it
Go safe scientists, no accidents!

Verse I
You know the science lab can be a pretty dangerous place
You gotta wear safety goggles to protect your face
And just in case you still end up with stuff in your eye
You should know how to find the eyewash nearby

And as a matter of fact, know where the exits are too
‘Cause if a fire starts, you better know what to do
And you don’t have to be a hero, try to break the mold
Be sure to follow all directions and just do as you’re told

It reminds me of this time I was sitting in lab
Trying to work through the experiment and give it a stab
When my partner started grabbing chemicals from the shelves
Started mixing up some liquids with unusual smells

Before he could stop, it began to bubble up
In a couple of seconds he was in deep, deep trouble
So maybe mixing crazy potions didn’t go as he’d planned
He didn’t follow the directions and he burned his hand (ouch!)


Verse II
It’s lab time and you’re ballin’, on top of things
Hypothesis made the call on what you want to see
But hold up, because it looks like you forgot some things
Before you pour, let me know what’s wrong with this scene

Your eyes are wide open to take in results
Or get blinded by all kinds of chemicals
They could splash up and mess up your complexion
So keep it hot, yo, and don those goggles

The same goes for your fingers, your hair, and your toes
No flip-flops, your kicks should have the tips closed
Your fingers should slip through the wrists of some gloves
No acid contamination on your palms

And your nose, you’ve gotta steer clear of the chemicals
Or they’ll burn your nostrils (and you kind of want those!)

Protect it, don’t smell it, just waft with me, waft with me
Don’t need no medics, just waft with me, waft with me
Hands over the flask, your nose hanging back
Keep your nostrils intact, just waft with me, waft with me


Verse III
Hey, I think I really like this lab stuff
I’m gonna do it again tomorrow ’cause I can’t get enough
Of safely making crazy things happen, it’s fun
It’s amazing, I’ve seen the reactions, I’m done

You’re almost done man, can you tell me your plan
For what to do with all that toxic waste in your hand?
I just heard the bell ring, I’ve gotta think quick
I think I’ll wash it down the sink

Whoa, whoa, whoa
Hold on, bro, how do you know where that goes?
By tomorrow the sink will be starting to glow
Put the waste in the designated receptacle
And clean your station off before you take off, yo

“Put the caps on the bottles?”
Yeah, that’s right.

“Wipe the tabletop off?”
Yeah, that’s right.

“Run the flask under water?”
Yeah, that’s right.

You cleaned up real nice, see, and nobody died

The lyrics were found at

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Need to Learn Your Facts??

Every year is a struggle with students needing to learn their multiplication facts. It would be easy to blame the student's previous teachers. However, because I moved to fifth grade a couple years ago, I had the opportunity to teach the same kids. I was their previous teacher. In order for students to be successful in the fifth grade, they need to have their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts memorized.

I have found the only way to truly accomplish this is what teachers call Kill and Drill. The title is much scarier than the actual task. The best way for me to learn something and retain it is to complete the activity over and over again. I would recommend buying flash cards (check out the dollar stores) or downloading them online (free).

Once you have the flash cards, start with the "easier" facts. With multiplication, this is the 0s, 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s, and 11s. When those have been memorized, you are halfway there! Next, 3s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, and 12s. Often it seems students will have most of their facts memorized and at this point is when the games can come in! Games reinforce what students already know! Students, feel free to use this excuse freely with your parents: "Mom and/or dad, I need to play on the computer in order to memorize my multiplication facts. Ms. Browne said it is good for me!"

Below are a couple websites that have flash games. They are free! I also recommend Googling "multiplication games." There are new websites popping up all the time! Please let me know if you find a good one!


Day One!

I enrolled in an online class about blogging. I have another blog I contribute to with friends, but I thought I would really like a way to communicate with my students and for them to be able to publish their work. This will also serve as a portal for parents to be able to see what we are working on in class and be "in the know." My goal with this blog is to open my students' eyes to what blogging is and insure that they are technologically savvy individuals by the time they go to middle school.

I want my classroom to be a technology-rich environment. By being technologically savvy, my students will be able to produce assignments, upload them, add pictures and music, link to other websites, etc. In my ideal classroom, they will be able to do all of this by the end of the year without the assistance of me. I hope to be able to sit back and watch what amazing techies they have become!

Here goes nothing! :)