Bird Feeding Stations: Bringing Nature to the Classroom – submitted by Dave Gervais

As most investigations do, this one began with a question. I had a log delivery to my house. The logs were primarily birch. What caused the damage to the birch trees that I was chopping up for wood? The holes were too shallow to suspect woodpeckers. I peeled off the bark, fully expecting to see insect galleries. There were none, but my internet search soon yielded pictures of similar damage caused by sapsuckers.

Some of my bird feeding stations have fat to attract woodpeckers. And so, I stood vigil to see if the fat might attract sapsuckers as well. Pictures from my reference book aided the identification.

Setting up a bird feeding station at school would be easy. The cost is minimal and there is no complicated storage. The seed could be stored in class in a steel trash bin. The lid should seal well to prevent attracting mice or other rodents.

Students could participate by taking turns filling the stations. Throwing in a few old logs and stumps would provide a natural setting. Identifying the birds and studying their ecological niche would be a great science activity.  Students could also take part in the bird feeder surveys that are advertised from time to time.

Thanks for the submission Dave!

Science of Ice and De-Icing – Steve Spangler

From sand and gravel to rock salt and magnesium chloride, the people who maintain our roads are constantly searching for the most most innovative ways to keep our road clear of snow and ice. Our science guy Steve Spangler looks at the science of de-icing with a cool experiment you can try at home. Continue reading

Frames – submitted by Otto Weavers

Purpose: To introduce students to making frames and then using those frames to create structures that serve a variety of purposes.

The first task is to teach students how to join two wooden pieces using glue, gussets (paper or thin cardboard triangles) and a template. This skill will serve them well for later applications such as soldering metals and sewing materials.

Click on this link for the complete activity. 

 

 

Activity Ideas: Daily and Seasonal Changes – Grade 1 – by the Ontario Science Centre

This module is part of a series produced by the Ontario Science Centre on getting your students learning in a play-based classroom featuring indoor and outdoor activities centred on the Earth and Space curriculum strand.

What it’s about:

  • Students use materials provided to construct a shelter for a toy animal.
  •  Students test their shelter by blowing on it (like the Big Bad Wolf). Will it be able to withstand a strong wind?

Connections/Extensions:

  • How would the characteristics of the shelter change with the seasons (e.g. shelter from strong sun,
    waterproof shelter for rain, insulation from cold, etc.)?
  • How do animals in Ontario adapt to changing seasons and colder weather (e.g. growing a thicker coat, migration, hibernation, storing food, etc.)?

Link to the complete resource

Other OSC elementary classroom resources 

Colour Mixing Gobstoppers – by Steve Spangler

Color Mixing Gobstoppers (Candy Science)

Gobstopper candies are known for their colors, but what would happen if they were dissolved in water?

Hard candies are known for their bright colors, delicious tastes, as well as having a ton of sugar. While munching on a handful of candy every once in a while can be a tasty treat, we like conducting experiments with them, too! We especially love Gobstoppers. They have layers of colors that, when they dissolve into water, do something very peculiar…

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