Do the System Shuffle

I was really excited when I found this cut-n-paste activity from The Dork Side that had students organizing information about human body systems according to their role in the body and their key organs.

But I had also recently downloaded Danielle Knight’s Google Drive Toolkit, which has fantastic suggestions and templates to create digital versions of activities that would typically found in an interactive science notebook (ISN).

I have a classroom cart of Chromebooks.  I use Google Classroom regularly.  And my administrator has been on me about paper usage.  Plus, it seems even some 11th and 12th graders have not yet mastered using scissors and gluesticks (or they want to complain about how it’s “doing too much”).

Putting that all together, I created a digital version of The Dork Side’s System Shuffle.  I intend to distribute a copy to each student via Google Classroom.  When they open the file, there is a “stack” of “digital cards” they need to sort into the table below:

Slide1System Shuffle Human Body Systems Digital Notebook Activity

You can download the activity for free here at my TpT store.  I think this will make a good pre or post formative assessment to determine if students comprehend the structures and functions of each system.

The one downfall (so far?) is that the students can’t see all of the cards at once when they begin, so I think that might be frustrating for some.  However, I didn’t want to make the activity any bigger because my students will be working on Chromebooks with smaller screens, so it’s important to have as much visible as possible.


Becoming a Connected Educator


Source: Sylvia Duckworth

I saw this post on Facebook from The Physics Classroom and it really resonated with me.  This blog originally started as a project for my Master degree courses, and I’ve abandoned it since.  Since I get so much from the Internet, I should start contributing back.

Jelly Belly Classification

Any time you can combine candy and science, you know it’ll be a hit with students.

One of the great things about being an NSTA Fellow is having access to LOTS of good ideas.  I received this activity through that.

In this activity, students classify Jelly Belly jelly beans using a dichotomous key.  You can get a 4 pound container or 80 small bags of Jelly Bellies on Amazon for about $20.

Students obtain Jelly Bellies and attempt to identify them by color using this: JellyBelly Dichotomous Key

They record their findings here: JellyBelly Lab

They then test their findings by cutting each Jelly Belly in half and eating one half.  If the flavor matches the one they determined via the key, they eat the other half.  If it does not, they go back and determine if they made an mistakes or it they have discovered a new species!

A great activity to practice logical thinking and using dichotomous keys!

Banana DNA Extraction

I love labs that use household items.  This article on extracting DNA from a banana from Scientific American is a perfect example.  All items are easily obtainable and the directions were much simpler than some others I saw.  Although we couldn’t let the alcohol and liquified banana sit as long as I would have liked due to shortened periods, we had pretty good results.

I also referenced a similar lab from PBS Nova.  It had some good questions to be asking students:

Extracting DNA from Bananas

Collecting Physics Data with Your Phone

I don’t have a smart phone, but you bet all my students do!  (One day soon, I’ll upgrade…)  Since my schools is piloting BYOD (bring your own device) in the classroom, I may be able to use some of these apps in the future.

Physics Gizmo

physicsgizmoTurns your Android device into a motion detector using blue tooth!  Looks much cleaner and easier than Logger Pro.

Another one to look at: Physics Sketchpad (also Android)

These types of apps are an awesome development!  They will allow students to access real world data without the need for super-expensive sensors.

Angry Birds & Projectile Motion

Thanks to the super popular Angry Birds game, students have a pretty good concept of non-horizontal projectile motion.

This article from PBS is very helpful when thinking about how to implement the game into your instruction: Teaching Physics with Angry Birds

Another great article from The Physics of Angry Birds

Google Chrome provides an online free version of Angry Birds (can be used with any browser, however).  This makes a great Friday or day-before-break activity.