Making Slushies!

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One thing we have plenty of right now in Michigan is SNOW! We have tons of clean, white, cold, fluffy snow. The kids love to play in it, build forts, and throw it on the slide to help them slide faster. This week we decided to use what nature gave us to make some yummy juice slushies. First the students poured juice into a small zipper top bag, and sealed it closed. In a larger zipper top bag they scooped snow (about two or three cups) and then added a tablespoon or two of rock salt. The sealed juice bag was placed inside the large bag, and the large bag was zipped close. The students then squished and squeezed the snowy mixture around the juice bag. They discovered that the bag got pretty cold, use of mittens was encouraged. After a few minutes, the students began to see and feel the changes. The juice began to turn into slush. When at their preferred slushie consistency, they discarded the outer bag, and using a straw and spoon, enjoyed the delicious slushie.

To learn more about the science behind making slushies or ice cream using, watch this Discovery Education Video Clip on Making Ice Cream. You can find a recipe for homemade ice cream here, and a recipe for Slushies here.

States of Matter – Making SLIME

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2nd graders have been exploring the states of matter. They used Elmer’s white glue, water, Borax, and food coloring to create Slime, which is a Polymer. The Slime is unique in that it behaves like a solid and a liquid. You can pick it up and hold it in your hand like a solid, but is also acts like a liquid by taking the shape of its containers. The kids had a great time adding the ingredients and watching the liquid glue clump up into a big glob of slime! They played with it, stretching it, breaking it, rolling it and putting it all back into a big glob. To learn more about the properties of Slime check out this Discovery Education video clip on Polymers . You can find the recipe for SLIME on Steve Spangler’s or Science Bob’s websites.

What’s in the Box?


Inspired by DEN STAR Kim Miller, I checked out STEMbites on Youtube. I was excited to find these short, informative STEM videos. We are learning about shapes and the STEMbites: Shapes and Their Attributes was the perfect fit.

After watching the video I passed out 6 index cards and a length of masking tape to each child. I asked them to create their own box, or rectangular prism as it is called. I played the video a few more times while they worked. Many of the children decided to decorate the index cards before putting their box together. The children were given one index card cut the size of one square end and most had no trouble cutting the second one and putting the box together. The part that surprised me was as soon as the children made the box, they began to talk about what they were going to put in the box. I hadn’t thought of this, but what a creative extension to the lesson! A few students went one step further and added latches or locks to their boxes. These were created with the leftover index card pieces and tape.

This information is also posted on the Class Create Website.

DENSI2014 – A Few Links

I am having a great time in Nashville attending the Discovery Educator Summer Institute. It is an opportunity to renew friendships and to meet more amazing educators from all over the US, Canada and United Kingdom. The learning takes place in planned sessions and in conversations over lunch, over coffee and while gathering in the lounge in the evening. The Discovery Educator Summer Institute is the most powerful and valuable professional development and should be experienced by every teacher.

A few highlights:

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.40.44 AM Go to to get started. Kahoot is a game based classroom response system. Easy to set up and use. Students reply using any device – computer, iTouch, iPad. Can’t wait to use it with my students. It was a wonderful warm up activity for our group and a great way to learn more about each other. I have used the Hour of Code activities with my students, however I hadn’t attempted the non-computer activities.LeaAnne Daughrity led a session on coding that had us taking part in these non-computer coding activities. Solo cups were used to demonstrate the power of clear directions and we also used code to write our names. I learned even more about bringing coding activities to my students and staff. Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.43.47 AM

Center of the Universe with Lodge McCammon. I learned more about the Solar System in a session with Dr. Lodge. He used a combination of short video lectures (less than 5 minutes), peer discussion, and movement to engage learners. We used the song – Center of the Universe, written by Dr. Lodge and available as a Discovery Education resource. The video below is our final product. It was great fun to experience learning this way and will be a great way to engage my students and to learn.