Monday, August 29, 2016

STEM + Stories: Earth Science

Birdseed Mining
I really enjoyed this month's STEM + Stories! We did two activities I found on the American Geoscience Institute's lesson plans for Earth Science Week*. I made fossils from plaster of Paris (SO messy but fun and some of the fossils did dry too hard for the kids so we had to add more water during the program) and we did a birdseed mining activity. I had the kids wear eye protection for both activities as there was dust involved.  Everything was pretty much as described in their lesson plans but I did want to blog about this program because their lesson plans for Earth Science Week are all awesome, dirt cheap (pun intended), and they have ideas for elementary through high school. So this is a great resource to have in your pocket.
Homemade fossil

I read three books: Gold Fever by Verla Kay to go with the mining activity, A Rock is Lively by Diana Hutts Aston, and If Rocks Could Sing by Leslie McGuirk. I did introduce the California Gold Rush era a little bit to give some historical context as the age range for this program is 5-12. Most of the attendees were in the middle of that range. This book has some great cross-curriculum uses in a school setting as it is written in rhyme. Worth checking out if you can track down a copy.

I had a lot of fun with this program series and plan to offer it again next summer!

*Earth Science Week is October 9-15 in 2016. 

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