Common Core & NGSS

How do I motivate students outside the classroom?

Distance learning took many teachers by storm.

With the advent of Covid19, teaching went from being in front of a classroom of students to being behind a computer with periods of facetime. The magic of the classroom and active student engagement was gone. Every teacher was faced with the same question. “How do I motivate students outside the classroom?”

Before I describe the following Harry Potter contest, imagine using other books you’d like to feature. How could you incorporate a biography? A STEAM book? Historical Fiction? Think how this system could work in your own classroom between students, between classrooms within the grade level teams, or between grade levels in the same school. Have fun. Think outside the box.

Our school librarian was concerned that our students would opt for entertainment games instead of reading a good book. She and the other librarians in our school district came together and created a Harry Potter Contest. The contest was designed to be a competition between schools.

After creating the different elements of the contest, the librarians designed a website with weekly instructions and a leaderboard featuring house points. Before the contest began, the librarians sorted the schools into houses. My school was sorted into Hufflepuff.

(As a side note, we just finished the contest and it was a HUGE success. Students were engaged, books were read, lively conversations took place, and best of all, the schools came together in a friendly reading competition. Oh, and Hufflepuff won!)

Harry Potter Contest

Week One

  1. Reply to your Hogwarts invitation letter via electronic owl (Google Form)

Prompt positive responses are worth 5 pts; late responses will still be accepted, but will only be worth 1 pt.)

  1. Access a copy of the first Harry Potter book. The audiobook is currently available to stream for free online (in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Japanese) from Audible Stories; and the ebook is free on Amazon for Amazon Prime members (please talk to your parent/guardian for assistance).
  2. Take a picture of yourself reading/listening to the first Harry Potter book (worth 1 pt). Submit to your house email box.

Week Two

  1. Read Chapters 1-4
  2. Find out what wand you would get by taking this quiz
  3. Design your own wand or Arm yourself with a wand such as a chopstick, stick, or pencil. Post a pic with a sign showing your quiz results (worth 5 pts). Submit your results to your house email box.
  4. Take the Ch 1-4 Trivia Quiz (Teacher created Google Form) Your answers must be submitted by noon on (TBA). Participation is worth 10 pts. The winner from each House will battle the other Houses in a Trivia Match. Extra points will be awarded to the house that wins.

Week Three

  1. Read Chapters 5-8
  2. Show your House spirit by making a House bookmark. Post a pic of you using your new bookmark (worth 10 pts)
  3. 3. Ch 5-8 Trivia Quiz Your answers must be submitted by noon on (TBD date). Participation is worth 10 pts. The winner from each House will battle the other Houses in a Trivia Match. Extra points will be awarded to the house that wins.

Week Four

  1. Read Chapters 9-13
  2. Create your Patronus animal out of origami
    • Dog (easy)
    • Cat (easy)
    • Horse (that flips) (medium)
    • Bird (that flaps) (medium)
    • Snake (medium)
    • Rabbit (medium)
    • Fox (not hard, per se, but has more steps to it)
    • Phoenix (not hard, per se, but has more steps to it)
    • Mouse/Rat (doable, but slightly tricky at times)

Share a pic of your Patronus (worth 15 pts)

  1. Chapters 9-13 Trivia Quiz. Your answers must be submitted by noon on (TBD date). Participation is worth 10 pts. The winner from each House will battle the other Houses in a Trivia Match. Extra points will be awarded to the house that wins.

Week Five

  1. Read Chapters 14-17
  2. Make something for the Hogwarts end-of-year feast (for some inspiration, click here)
  3. Take a pic of your food/beverage for the virtual banquet table (worth 20 pts) Submit to your house email box.
  4. Ch 14-17 Trivia Quiz Your answers must be submitted by (TBA) to be in the running to compete in the Trivia Cup Final against the other Houses; the winner from each House will battle the other Houses in the Trivia Cup Final held at (TBA) with questions from the whole book.

    The winning school wins the HOUSE CUP!

    The winner is awarded the right to display the HOUSE CUP for one year, until the next competition.

 

STEM Tuesday– The Human Body — In the Classroom

STEM Tuesday CoSTEM Costume Contest

 

This month we’re peeling back the layers to take a look inside the human body! In the body, trillions of unique cells work together to form the tissues, organs, and body systems that allow you to run and jump, laugh and cry, and feel pain and joy.

The books we’re highlighting this month dive into how the body works to sustain life. They are a great starting point for different sciences activities and discussions in the classroom. Here are a few to try:

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Science Comic: The Brain – The Ultimate Thinking Machine by Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins

Another title in this popular graphic novel series that focuses on science topics. Readers will explore the ultimate thinking machine – our own brain! How our brains evolved, how our brain controls our senses, how we remember things, and more.

  • Discuss why it is important to know how your brain works. What modern technologies do scientists use to study the brain? How did scientists study the brain before modern technology? How did this limit their knowledge?
  • Have students build a model neuron. Have students study a picture of the neuron and experiment with different ways and materials to create the neuron model. Use several neurons to model a neural network.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Human Cloning by Kristi Lew 

This title for older readers explores the use of cloning and the depiction of human cloning in science fiction.

  • Have students debate the pros and cons of human cloning. Assign groups of students to each side of the issue and have them research points that support their position.
  • Discuss the concerns over the way genetic advances and technology are being used now and in the future. When does human intervention into the basic genetic code of life go too far?

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion and Mike Lowery

With puzzles and fun verse, Leslie Bulion introduces human anatomy to middle-grade readers.

  • Have students choose a body part to research. With the information they learn, students can then create their own human body poetry and puzzles.
  • Have students swap the puzzles they created with classmates to see if they can solve each other’s riddles with the clues provided.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Human Movement: How the Body Walks, Runs, Jumps, and Kicks by Carla Mooney and Samuel Carbaugh

This book delves into how our bodies work when we play sports, dance, and walk. There are plenty of STEM projects, informative sidebars, and fun facts throughout the chapters.

  • Have students pick a type of movement – running, jumping, dancing, etc. Then have them prepare a flow chart that shows how the body creates this movement. What body systems are involved? How does the body know what to do? What actions and reactions occur to create the movement? What forces are involved?
  • What happens when an injury occurs to the body? How does this affect movement? Have students research a common injury such as a broken bone, sprained ankle, pulled muscle, torn ACL, etc. Then have them prepare a presentation on the injury’s affect on the body and movement.
  • Try one of the many STEM activities in the book!

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Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at http://www.carlamooney.com, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.

STEM Tuesday– The Human Body — Book List

STEM Tuesday CoSTEM Costume Contest

Heart and Soul 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s explore what makes our hearts go pitter-patter with these books featuring various aspects of human anatomy. 

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Superbugs Strike Back: When Antibiotics Fail by Connie Goldsmith 

For a long time we thought we had infectious diseases licked. But now we’re not so sure. What happens when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics? Goldsmith explores the science of superbugs in a accessible style that will make readers take notice.

 

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Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? REAL Answers to REAL Questions From Preteens About Body Changes, Sex, and Other Growing-Up Stuff by Julie Metzger, RN, Robert Lehman, and Lia Cerizo

Nurse Julie Metzger answers the questions many preteen boys and girls have about their bodies.

 

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Guy Stuff The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson and Micah Player

Advice, tips, and facts from a pediatrician fill this book specifically for boys. 

 

 

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Guts by Raina Telgemeier 

Here is another heartfelt graphic novel-memoir from Raina Telgemeier. Dealing with a sensitive stomach, anxiety, and panic attacks, the author shares many mental and physical health issues middle-grade students face. 

 

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Human Body Theater: A Nonfiction Revue  by Maris Wicks

This nonfiction, graphic novel presents a human anatomy lesson in a fun, humor-filled way. 

 

 

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Science Comic: The Brain – The Ultimate Thinking Machine by Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins

Another in this popular graphic novel series that focuses on science topics. Readers will explore the ultimate thinking machine – our own brain! How our brains evolved, how our brain controls our senses, how we remember things, and more.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Human Cloning by Kristi Lew 

This title for older readers explores the use of cloning and the depiction of human cloning in science fiction. 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Future Humans: Hows-Whys-Tech-Medicine-Human Enhancement-Genetics-Wrongs-Rights-Playing God- Who Wants to Live Forever? – Science vs Morality by Tom Jackson 

What does it mean to be human? Perhaps the future will force us to rethink our answer. Readers will explore artificial intelligence and deep questions on immortality and human potential. 

 

Body 2.0 coverBody 2.0: The Engineering Revolution in Medicine by Sara Latta

Discover the science of biomedical engineering and cutting edge research. This book for teens will inspire future medical professionals. 

 

 

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Illumanatomy by Carnovsy, written by Kate Davies

This book gives readers a chance to use three different lenses to view human anatomy. Readers can use the red lens to reveal the human skeleton, the green to look at muscles, and the blue to examine organs with x-rays. A unique way to understand what’s under our skin!

 

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Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef

It’s hard to discuss the human body without examining the life of the legendary nurse, Florence Nightingale. Reef’s biography will inspire future nurses and doctors. 

 

 

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Human Movement: How the Body Walks, Runs, Jumps, and Kicks by Carla Mooney and Samuel Carbaugh

Mooney’s book delves into how our bodies work when we play sports, dance, and walk. This is a great addition to science and sports collections. 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion and Mike Lowery

With puzzles and fun verse, Leslie Bulion introduces human anatomy to middle-grade readers. Try this one during poetry month!

 

 


STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including, THE STORY OF SEEDS, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia.  She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 multi-starred title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. Visit her at www.nancycastaldo.com. 

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. The Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, and a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy! Her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how young readers can use writing to be the voice of change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.