Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Forces and Friction: Star Wars Edition

I've got a few students in my room who are obsessed with anything and everything Star Wars...This past weekend I located some Star Wars graphics on Scrappin' Doodles and because I constantly ask Bennett to do his Chewbacca and R2D2 voices {at least 5 times a day} I decided it was appropriate to make a forces & friction lesson ASAP! I located some Star Wars figures from Toys 'R' Us...I was unsuccessful locating R2D2 and C3PO, even after going to 3 different stores...We'll just do without them for the time being.

I divided my class into small groups. Each was given some drinking straws, a ruler, a recording sheet (downloaded FREE from our TpT Store), and of course...a Star Wars figure! Students determined how many straws it took to move their character one inch and then five inches in various locations of the school. The more straws that were used (force) made the characters go further. When we ventured outside to take our measurements on the sidewalk, blacktop, and in the grass we also had another variable that made it more difficult...the wind!   

Download for Free on TpT!
My students are curious to find out if the diameter of the straw has any effect on the amount of force that is applied...and a few of my students are going to engineer some "wind barriers" to see if we can prevent the wind from blowing our characters over! We will go back tomorrow and revisit I will also be making some changes to the actual template that I created. Feel free to take a looksie at the original template on TpT! Here are some of pics from today:


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tag, You're It!

I'm a little behind on this...Kim from The Teacher's Lane, Jessica from Apples and Paper, and Joanna from First Grade Fanatic tagged me a few {weeks} ago...I'm not going to officially tag anyone in this post, but feel free to respond to my questions if you wish! :)

So here are the rules:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post & then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!

Ok, 12 random facts...Let's see here...

1. I know a lot of random facts that will probably get me no where in life, but maybe one day being runner-up on Jeopardy. I can name all of the presidents in order they served, I have the periodic chart of elements memorized, and I know all of my locker combinations from 6-12th grade, including my gym lockers!

2. I love to annoy my co-workers by playing "Would You Rather" and by daring them to do miscellaneous 'things' for my one month's salary.   

3. My real name is Katie. It's not Kate, Katherine, Katelyn, or Katrina. It's just Katie! My mom always wanted to have a girl and name her 'Katie Lynn' but her college friends beat her to it. Three of her friends named their daughters 'Katie Lynn' but each with a different spelling before I was born.

4. I DO NOT like being called 'Kate'.    

5. I don't like even numbers. So is it odd that I'm writing this on #4? My soccer and cross country jerseys always had to be odd numbers and when I go to buy a house, the house number will be a deciding factor!

6. My favorite 80's movie of all time is "Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon". No one understands it...But how could a movie with Rudy Huxtable and El De Barge not be a fav????

7. My friend got me hooked on hot yoga. At first I thought it was redonkulous, but now I look forward to it every Tuesday and Thursday night.  

8. I have a slight obsession with organization.  

9. My teeth were what I'd call a 'hot mess' when I was younger. I had braces three times and I have 4 fake teeth. They are wired together which makes it a pain to floss, but it's kinda funny when I set off the metal detectors at the airport.

10. I love quoting movies. I do it all the time. This also annoys my co-workers.

11. I still kick it old school with VHS. I have some tapes that I just can't seem to get rid of...DVDs just don't do Caddyshack and Christmas Vacation justice!

12. One more...ahhh. Ummm, I'm drawing a blank here. I'll let Steve think of something for #12.   


1.  How does your school handle report card/interims?
Well, it's nothing fancy or elaborate, we just send them home in an envelope and the parents sign the outside and keep the report cards.

2.  What's your current favorite song? 
Ummm...without question my favorite song is "Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse! It's been my fav for quite some time. In my opinion, it's their undisputed masterpiece.

3.  Pancakes or French toast? Sausage or bacon? 
I'm picky about some foods! I prefer my pancakes lightly glazed with butter and cinnamon sprinkled on top...with a side order of bacon.

4.  Are you planning a trip for spring break? 
Nope...Saving my vaca for the summer...To my fav place, NYC! 

5.  What's your favorite subject to teach?
This year I am all about teaching comprehension, geometry, and physics.

6. Have you ever had a student teacher? Did you enjoy it?
I am going to give Diana a big shout out here! She was with me last year for her methods classes and I was planning on having her this year for student teaching, but that didn't happen. I was monster sad. She is amaze-balls.

7. What is your school mascot? 
"Sparky" the STEMbot

8. What's your best tip for organizing your time while at school?
I always complete the many {things} at school that I can't take home with me and I get to school before there's a copier/laminator line!

9. Do you wear a lot of jewelry or very little? 
A girl can never have too much bling.

10. What's the last movie you saw in the theater? 
It's been so long I don't even remember????

11. If you could live in a past time era, which one would you choose?
I'm kinda partial to the 80's {even though I already lived in it}. I love me some jelly shoes and slap bracelets.

12. What is your favorite subject to teach?
I think I already answered that????


1.If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead who would it be? 
I'm going to see if Mr. Schottner reads my posts and respond with Ronald Reagan.

2. If you weren’t teaching what would you be doing?
I originally was planning on going to Michigan State to pursue a career in some type of art and design {I wasn't sure at the time}. I often think about it now...

3.What was your favorite thing about school when you were a student? 
Oh well, I was a big nerd. I pretty much loved everything about school until I got to middle school. I did always HEART getting new school supplies and writing my name on them...Organizing all my color-coded binders. 

4. What do you wish you were better at?
I've always wanted to be a procrastinator. I'm jealous when people can work under pressure and not get stressed. 

5. What is your favorite store to shop at? 
Nordstrom, Anthropologie, West Elm, Banana Republic, & Loft.

6. What is two things you need for your dream classroom?
More space and more technology!

7. Where do you want to travel to?
I'd have to say that anywhere NOT in Ohio would be fantastic.

8. Favorite TV show? 
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Everybody Loves Raymond, Law and Order Reruns, Bones, and just about anything on E!

9. What is your least favorite chores? 
Cleaning my bathroom, cleaning my bathroom, and cleaning my bathroom.

10.Would you rather be an actor, singer, or athlete? 

11.Who or what inspires you?
I'm usually inspired by things that I'm not yet able to do. 

12.What’s your favorite children’s book? 
"City Dog, Country Frog" by Mo Williems. 


1. Would you rather hit every red light for the rest of your life or have a footlong eyelash that you could never pluck?

2. Did you ever own an Ace of Base CD?

3. How do you feel about global warming?

4. What is the best advice you've ever received?

5. What is the best advice you've ever given?

6. You are walking on your way to school. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your principal has told you that if you are late one more time s/he will not sign your paperwork for a continuing contract. What would you do?

7. What is the most unusual think you know how to do?

8. Corey Haim or Corey Feldman?

9. Do you parallel park or drive around the corner?

10. If you had to change your first name, what would it be?

11. What is the most played song on your iPod?

12. Do you drink soda or pop?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's Been A While...Part 2!

I've been meaning to make some posts this week, really I have. But between report cards, a plethora of meetings, the 100th day of school, and catching up on RHOBH...I didn't! So here goes, got lots of Room 161 goodies to share!

I wasn't too excited for our third quarter science focus when I began planning a few weeks ago. Physics was my least favorite subject in high school and had an even worse time with it in college...However, the past couple weeks have been pretty fun and my kids are lovin' it!  

Laws of Motion Download
I created a small "Laws of Motion" book that has helped us out tremendously! It's nothing special, but it's a download you might be able to use with your firsties. We discussed each law and drew pictures and wrote a few sentences to demonstrate what each law means to us. Here is a sample of Kendall's book:

We used our books to help us with some force and motion explorations. Each group of students were given 30 pennies, a large rubber band, a a film container (yes, we kicked it old school), and a meter stick. Students had to create a "sling-shot" with the rubber band and their feet. They launched the film containers and measured how far it went. Then students added 15 pennies and 30 pennies respectively to measure the distance.

Gracie and Grace work together to see how far their film containers would travel.
Some students where able to shoot their film containers from one end of the cafeteria to the other. We realized that some students where pulling the rubber band back too far, so a few days later we tried it again and controlled the variable (rubber band) and pulled it back only 2 inches.

Once again, I took pics with my iPhone instead of my camera!
I'd share the papers we used to document this exploration, but I took it from ScienceA-Z. (If you don't have a membership already, I highly recommend doing it!)

Most schools probably celebrated the 100th day a school a few weeks ago, but since we started so late...yesterday was ours! Our first graders created self portraits using 100 objects. Mr. Schottner created a couple videos of our STEMtastic portraits. Check them out!

Oh, and one of my students created a self portrait that didn't make it into the video...he brought it in a few days earlier and we had to eat it before it went bad. Aidan created his using 100 cupcakes. It was pretty much the coolest thing I've ever seen!

Aidan's Self Portrait
And last, but certainly not least...Our monthly Team Schappelkins' Super Tasty Engineering Treats! Each month we select a special 'creation' for our first graders to create. Each student is given the necessary materials as we walk them through the directions (which are read aloud). If you'd like to see some of the things we've done in the past, check out my pin board on Pinterest

Mrs. Whitley found some valentine robots that we created and the kids loved it! Take a look!

Cameran and Kendall working on their robots.
Xander worked hard to get his robot to stand up!
Jordan helps another friend with their robot.
That's about it for now. Hopefully I'll get some more posts going this week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pets in the Classroom

Pretty excited! Got an e-mail from a "Pets in the Classroom" blogger and she featured Team Schappelkins' Pet Caretaker Interviews! I can't wait to share this with the first graders tomorrow! If you want to see the article, here's the link: