Rabu, 30 November 2011

Science Fair Projects for the 5th Grade on the Phases of the Moon

You can see a full moon at least once per month.

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The phases of the moon occur as it rotates around the earth. The position the moon is in relation to the earth dictates how much of the moon you are able to see in the night sky. Many fifth graders are fascinated with outer space, and a science project that focuses on the moon and its phases may be perfect for your child. Simple science fair projects can teach your fifth grader a great deal about the moon and its phases. The completed project may also be used to assess your child's understanding of the subject.

Related Searches: Moon Stays the Same

It may be difficult for your child to understand that the moon doesn't actually change with the phases, but rather the amount of light reflected on it. Use white and black paint to help him create a project that shows how the shape of the moon waxes, or grows larger, and wanes, or grows smaller. Encourage your child to cut out several large circles from a piece of cardboard. Use pictures of the moon phases to paint each circle with a different amount of white and black paint. For example, only a small amount of the moon is visible during the crescent phase, and the black paint indicates the shadow that prevents your child from seeing the whole moon. Continue with the remaining phases. Mount the painted circles on a large piece of cardboard and help your child label each one.

Photographic Record

This project will take about a month to complete. Provide your child with a digital camera, and encourage him to take several pictures of the moon every night, starting with one phase and continuing until the moon returns to that phase. Keep track of the date and what type of moon your child saw. Develop the pictures and have your child choose the best one for each day. Create a record of the moon phases for the month using a large piece of poster board. Help your child affix each photo to the poster board, labeling each with the date and the phase of the moon.

Lunar Month Moon Chart

Help your child create a moon chart that illustrates how the lunar month works. Cut several foam balls in half. Have your child use pictures of the different phases of the moon, as well as a calendar that lists the phases of the moon, to paint each foam ball half according to the phase of the moon for the current month. Provide your child with white paint for the moon and black paint for the shadow. Help your child draw a calendar on a large piece of cardboard. Glue each moon half to the corresponding day to show that the phases of the moon occur each month, and that a lunar month typically lasts about 29.5 days.

I Am the Earth

Give your child a white foam ball with a dowel poked into the bottom of it. Place your child, holding the ball by the dowel, in front of a portable desk lamp. Darken the room. Encourage your child to pretend that he's the Earth, and ask him to move around the lamp. Call attention to the way that the shadows move to cast more or less light on his foam ball. Recreate the experiment at the science fair, if possible. If not possible, take pictures so that your child can record his discoveries for the judges.

References100 Amazing First-Prize Science Fair Projects; Glen VecchioneGiant Book of Winning Science Fair Projects; Bob Bonnet and Dan KeenePhoto Credit NASA/Photodisc/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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Techniques for Writing a Formal Paper in Middle School

Learning how to write a formal paper is essential for middle schoolers.

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Middle school students are often first introduced to formal essay writing. Formal essays typically must include an introduction with a thesis statement, a few paragraphs discussing the ideas touched upon in the introduction and a conclusion. However, depending upon the assignment requirements, students might need to include more than a few paragraphs in the body of the essay. There are usually additional requirements as well, including a title, double-spacing, indentations and style techniques to make the essay flow, such as transitional sentences.

Related Searches: Brainstorming and Outlines

Before writing anything, students should first brainstorm and organize thoughts in an outline. Outlines are great organizational tools for formal paper writing. When students begin with a well-organized outline, the final draft will be much better organized. The outline should address the key elements of the paper, including the substance of the introduction, the main points of each succeeding paragraph and the thrust of the conclusion.


The majority of formal papers require a thesis statement, which should be placed in the introduction. Each teacher has different preferences, but most good introductions have a few lead sentences, a thesis statement and a final, transitional sentence. Transitional sentences are important, helping set up the next paragraph. This avoids choppiness and helps make the paper flow.

Body and Conclusion

The body is generally comprised of several paragraphs that support the thesis statement in the introduction. Each paragraph gives the student another opportunity to introduce facts in support of the thesis statement. The conclusion is the final paragraph in which the thesis statement is reiterated and a few key facts from the body are included to support the conclusion. A good stylistic technique is to set forth a sentence that reiterates the thesis statement without quoting it verbatim.

Other Elements

Many middle school teachers require certain formal elements as well. For example, the assignment might call for a certain font — such as Times New Roman — 1-inch margins, double-spacing and indentation. It is important for students to follow these guidelines, since getting in the habit of following essay instructions is crucial to academic success. Lastly, if the formal paper is a research paper, reputable sources are a must and following the instructions regarding how to cite those sources is also important.

ReferencesPatrick Henry High School: Formal Essay FormatAscension Episcopal School: Writing Rubric for Formal Writing: 5th, 6th, and 7th GradesResearchPaperStar: Middle School Research Paper FormatPhoto Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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Teaching Research Skills to High School Students Using a Scavenger Hunt

It's important to include off-line resources such as libraries in your hunt.

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It can be a significant challenge to teach high schoolers material or skills they consider to be dull, difficult or troublesome. Unfortunately, research and many other fundamental educational skills can fall into this category. Letting kids graduate from school without these skills isn't an option for good teachers, so it's important to find ways to make the process entertaining and engaging. One method that's been successful for many schools is organizing a scavenger hunt to teach research skills.

Related Searches: Initial Planning

A scavenger hunt can be a powerful educational tool, but it requires significant planning. Decide in advance how elaborate your hunt will be. Some last only an afternoon, while others can occupy an entire weekend. Educators' websites and schools that have run or participated in scavenger hunts can be helpful. The Friends of Millard Fillmore scavenger hunt, for example, has been held every year since 1969 in the San Francisco area. Their rules are posted online, and can provide much useful guidance to first-time organizers. Consult with both school and public librarians, since they'll also be impacted by your project.


One of the primary functions of the planning process is to gain a clear understanding of your goals for the scavenger hunt. Some teachers might use a hunt to spark an interest in research, while others could use a more elaborate hunt as a full-scale tutorial in research methodology. Wherever your set your own goals, they should at least include online and offline materials, and some discussion of how to choose authoritative sources. Every student should also learn how to cite sources in one of the common formats, such as AP or Harvard style.


Selecting suitable questions is one of the most important portions of the exercise, and can be the most time consuming. Categorize your questions by subject matter, or lay out separate sets of questions to be answered from the internet, print sources or private databases, if they're available from your local library. The questions need to be hard enough to provide a challenge, but not hard enough to discourage the competing teams. Teacher-oriented websites can provide lists of age-appropriate questions, but bear in mind your students are just as capable of finding them as you are. Draw your questions from multiple sources if possible.

Conducting the Hunt

Begin the hunt by giving each team the set of questions and reminding them of the ground rules. Kids are naturally competitive, so you'll probably need to establish penalties for concealing library materials and other forms of gamesmanship. Have staff available to answer questions and adjudicate disputes, either in person or by telephone or text message. At the conclusion of the hunt, it will take some time to read all the submissions and evaluate the quality of the answers given. Having colleagues available to help with the evaluation process is especially useful.

ReferencesEducation World: Community Scavenger Hunt Teaches Research Skills, Much MorePacific University Oregon: The Scavenger Hunt As an Interactive Teaching Tool to Develop Research SkillsFriends of Millard Fillmore Scavenger Hunt: FOMF RulesPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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How a Camera Barrel Works

The lens barrel indicates focal length and maximum aperture.

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The camera’s lens barrel contains the optical equipment that helps produce a clear, focused and correctly exposed image. A well-constructed, durable lens barrel helps minimize the effects of rough handling that can damage the precision lens elements. Advanced lenses provide manual focusing and auto-focus options that work with the camera body’s shutter system.

Related Searches: Lens Assembly

The lens barrel houses and protects a group of lenses or lens elements. Lenses made from optical glass are precision ground and polished. Different lens shapes include convex lenses with an outward curve or thickness in the center. Plano-convex lenses feature one flat side plus an outward curved side. Concave lenses are curved inward or thin in the center. One lens barrel can group the lenses in various configurations, such as the Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8L with 15 elements arranged in 12 groups. Adjusting the grouping of the elements optimizes the light-bending properties for a crisply focused image.

Internal Structure

The lens barrel is made of either plastic, aluminum or brass. A chassis or internal framework supports the lens elements. The iris diaphragm, known as a stop, consists of thin metal sheets that adjust to variable light conditions. The diaphragm’s leaf-like metal pieces slide into the barrel’s interior walls to open the diaphragm and let in light. When the aperture adjusts to a higher f/stop, such as from f/4 to f/16, the metal leaves slide to the center to minimize the opening and restrict the amount of light. The ring-shaped lens mount attaches to the camera body. Advanced lenses also contain auto-focus components. An auto-focus lens communicates electronically with the camera body through the lens mount.


The exterior of the lens barrel contains printed specifications. Notation includes the focal length, such as “ZOOM LENS 70-200mm.” This details a lens with varied focal lengths ranging from 70 mm to 200 mm for a medium telephoto effect. A distance indicator window displays values in feet and meters. Interchangeable lenses include a focusing ring on the barrel’s exterior. Rotating the focusing ring moves the internal lens, and adjusts the distance between the lens element and the camera body’s film plane or focal plane. The maximum aperture is indicated as a fraction, such as “1:3.5-4.” As the lens zooms, the maximum aperture varies.

Image Stabilization

Hand-held photography in low light conditions sometimes leads to camera shake that produces blurry images. Certain advanced camera lenses include image stabilization components in the lens barrel to counteract this motion. An acceleration motion sensor or gyroscope adjusts the internal optical elements. Images recorded at slow shutter speeds will appear sharp with this system. The exterior of the lens barrel will note if an image stabilization system is present. For example, the notation for image stabilization is “IS” on Canon lenses and “VR” on Nikon lenses. The lens barrel provides an On/Off switch to enable or disable the image stabilization feature.

ReferencesCanon: EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USMHow Products are Made: Camera LensNikon: How to Read Your NIKKOR Lens BarrelKen Rockwell: Nikon 18-200mm VRResourcesNikon: HomeCanon: EF Lens LineupPhoto Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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The Importance of Being Flexible in Lesson Plans

Flexible teachers spend as much time as necessary to ensure student success.

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Learning has become dynamic in the modern classroom, and the effective teacher shies away from rigidity in her day-to-day planning. Be flexible in implementing learning goals for your students. The composition of your class inevitably changes each year, situations arise, major and minor crises ensue, and life in general throws a wrench in even the most efficiently organized lesson plans. A valuable lesson plan guides -- not dictates -- a teacher’s direction with her students and gives her the leeway either to tweak or completely deviate from her planned teaching activity when the need arises.

Related Searches: Time Management

The effective teacher over-plans, even when she knows her class will not complete the entire lesson in the allotted time. By planning more activities than can be completed during the class period, you anticipate any miscalculations in time management. Extra activities can reinforce a concept, give students more practice or serve as an assessment. If the majority of the class seems confused during a lesson, take the necessary time to reteach and check for understanding. Stretch a lesson to two or three class periods if you find that your class has not grasped a certain concept you were planning for a single session. In this way, you ensure that most of the class masters a concept on which subsequent lessons will build.

Gauging Student Interest

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Activities to Increase Expressive Language

Learning to articulate thoughts and feelings is an important skill.

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It is a pleasure to hear your students provide well-articulated responses to classroom prompts, but developing this ability takes practice. You can increase their expressive language capacity by providing frequent opportunities for verbalizing thoughts, feelings and interests. Both school and life rely heavily on expressive language. By developing it, you are setting your students up for success.

Related Searches: Response to Reading

One of the most accessible ways to increase expressive language is through responding to classroom reading. This can take many forms. Read part of a story aloud, pausing to ask your students to reflect and respond to open-ended questions, starting with who, what, where, why or how. Encourage them to form opinions. Have them retell a story, focusing on components such as plot, characters and setting. Younger children enjoy retelling a story with puppets or as a short skit.

Expansion and Elaboration

Throughout the day, strengthen students' expressive language skills with two simple techniques called “expansion” and “elaboration.” Expansion is the practice of taking a child’s partially or incorrectly formed sentence and mirroring it back as a properly formed sentence. For example, when a child says, “I ain’t going to finish that now,” you respond with, “Oh, you are not going to finish that?” Elaboration asks you to mirror back a properly formed sentence, padded with additional information. In this situation, you might reply, “Oh, you are not going to finish that? That seems like a good plan; you will have time to work on it later.”

Giving Directions

Giving directions is another speaking opportunity that builds expressive language skills. Call on students to provide directions for playing a game at recess, solving a math problem or performing a common classroom routine such as lining up for lunch. Your goal is to get students comfortable with verbal expression. For a humorous approach, set out a loaf of unsliced bread, a knife and a jar of peanut butter. Ask students to provide directions on making a peanut-butter sandwich, and do exactly as they say. If they direct you to cut the bread in half, do it.

Story Telling

Make time for imaginative storytelling. The open-ended nature of this activity takes the pressure off students to provide a correct answer, invites their expression of humor and provides time for every child to speak. One approach is to provide each student with small objects or pictures (animals, people and natural objects) and use them in a round-robin story. You start the story, with something like, “Last night I had a strange dream about a dinosaur," and ask each student in turn to add to it with a sentence that contains her object.

ReferencesPBS Kids: Teaching StrategiesLD Online: Thinking with LanguageLincolnshire Family Services Directory: Strategies to Develop Expressive Language Skills in the ClassroomResourcesRolling River School Division: Activities that will Stimulate Expressive Language SkillsAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Suggestions for ParentsCalifornia Department of Education: Foundation, Expressive LanguagePhoto Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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Selasa, 29 November 2011

Block Printing Projects for Elementary School

Woodcuts were widely used in early printing.

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Block printmaking is an educational and enjoyably messy activity for elementary school students. Traditionally, block prints are made by carving designs into durable materials such as wood or linoleum, which are then inked and pressed onto paper or fabric. However, the carving tools used in this process tend to be too dangerous for young children. It's generally preferable to use soft materials like potatoes or soap bars. Alternatively, you can use safe commercial products such as scratch foam, which are available at most art-supply stores and can be carved with a pencil. The images will print in reverse, so the text and images must be carved backward to print properly.

Related Searches: Story Illustrations

Choose a favorite story or fairy tale and ask the children to create illustrations with a sharp pencil and a piece of scratch foam. Print out a copy of the story for each child with spaces for block prints. Have each child stamp her illustration in the assigned space. Alternatively, the children can print their designs on separate pieces of paper, cut them out and glue them onto the story pages. Bind each copy into a small book and have the children collaborate on the cover art.


Students can decorate T-shirts or other clothing by block-printing their designs on the fabric with a water-based fabric ink. For best results, have them use a soft but sturdy alternative to a linoleum block such as Soft-Kut. Children can create multiple blocks for different colors, or print a single design in multiple colors. If they want to use multiple designs or colors, they should allow each design to dry for at least 15 minutes before additional printing. Put several layers of newspaper inside the shirt to keep the ink from soaking through from one side to the other.

Vegetable Prints

Vegetable prints require no carving, which makes them a good choice for elementary school students. Instead, the child simply cuts vegetables and fruits in half and inks them to produce natural patterns. Good candidates for such block printing include green peppers, carrots, leeks, cucumbers, broccoli and citrus fruits. Provide trays of tempera paint, preferably matching the color of the vegetables you chose. Seeds should be removed before inking the vegetables -- the children can draw them in after the print dries. Possible uses for vegetable block prints include paper tablecloths for a picnic, informational posters on healthy diet choices or identification cards for vegetables planted in a school garden. This activity also provides an occasion to discuss important aspects of plant biology, such as the difference between fruits and vegetables.

Wrapping Paper

Bring a roll of butcher paper to class and give each student the opportunity to create a set length of wrapping paper with his own designs. Alternatively, have students collaborate on a single wrapping-paper design and give each child a segment when it's done. Potato printing is an ideal method for creating wrapping paper. A large potato is preferable, as it's easier to hold and offers higher definition. Children can use the same blocks to create matching gift cards.

ReferencesArts & Activities: Block Printing -- It's Elementary!Martha Stewart: Block-Printing T-ShirtsScholastic: Harvest PrintsMartha Stewart: Potato PrintsPhoto Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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