I have discussed on several occasions about having living centers in the classroom (read more here.) This year I found the best terrarium ever so I felt I needed to share it as well! It is made by National Geographic and already has been a major hit in the classroom (you can find it here.) I know it seems expensive but after four years of using about every type of enclosure out there I can say this one is worth the money (I purchased the 30″x12″x12″ size.) The light is separate but any LED aquarium light will work. I love the dimensions of this terrarium because it allows me to place it on a table and still leave room for the kids to work. Most enclosures this long are also very wide and tall and take up too much space. I found this one to be perfect. To set up any terrarium I suggest putting a thin layer of pebbles as a base and then at least 2-3 inches of potting soil. I also add a heating mat on each terrarium, typically I stick it on the back side like in the picture above. Add a few rocks and twigs or old wood and you are set. We keep just about everything we catch in the terrarium. This year it has mealworms, crickets, beetles, snails, roly polies, grub worms, a small gecko, a small frog, and a caterpillar. The easiest thing to start with are mealworms, snails, and crickets. Crickets and snails are the best in my opinion because they are always moving and give you plenty to watch. This year the first day of school we went outside and caught a bunch of bugs for the terrariums (we have three in the room.) The kids learn so much from watching these living centers. Feeding the creatures is easy, they all love fish food. I of course add various fruits and vegetables so that we can watch them decompose. These are easy to find in the lunchroom, the kids waste so much food! There is also a fake turtle in the terrarium. The kids are still trying to figure out if it is living or not. Most of them think it is fake but I move it each day so they aren’t quite sure. I do this on purpose so they can learn the correct science words of living vs non-living. Right now they all ask if it is real and I simply respond “it is really there.” Won’t be long until they figure it out!
Listening center at one of the terrarium tables.
Look at what we all caught the first day of school!
This is a mealworm and the beetle it changes into after a few months.
We even had a praying mantis for a few days. I was worried it wouldn’t survive so we let it go after two days.
The video below is from a webinar with Region 10 where I discuss virtual field trips. This is one topic in a series of hangouts I will be doing with Region 10. You can see the full schedule here and register for FREE (required for CPE credit.) I hope you enjoy the presentation and will check out the topics on the schedule.
Watch the video HERE
Handouts and links mentioned in the presentation are below.
Google Earth Daylight Tool
Google Earth Measure Tool
Google Earth Creating A Path
Google Earth Path Video
Google Earth Past Path
San Diego Zoo Webcams
50 Great Wonders for Elem
Scholastic Student Activities
(repost from last year)
My 17 things to do during winter break post was fairly popular so I decided to make a list for spring break also. The kids stay home for nine days (including the weekends) so here is a list of 9 things to do during the break…
1. Take pictures all week and create a spring break book to share with the class. You can print the pictures and make a paper book or use a computer or iPad to make the story. Here are great apps for storytelling if you want to make a digital copy.
2. Make a picture graph of food sorted by color. Look through magazines, find pictures online or color your own. After you finish the graph try one new food from each color group. (challenge: make a pie graph also)
3. Create a new animal. Use your imagination or combine features of your favorite animals. Draw this new animal in its habitat and write three interesting facts about the new animal. This website might help!
4. Have a picnic with your family. If possible find a fun park to visit but even a picnic in the backyard will work.
5. Research about another country. It can be a country important to your family or even a place you want to visit. Learn about their clothes, shelter, food, symbols, flag, and animals that live there.
6. Go fishing… or at least feed the fish and explore a pond, creek or lake.
7. Learn something new like… ride a bike, tie shoes, fold laundry, cook a meal, how to sew, how to draw or build something. Dont give up!
8. Plant something! Start a garden or even just a small pot of flowers and estimate how long until they start growing.
9. Record the temperature every hour for one day. You can look online or use a thermometer. How will you record the data? How did the temperature change during the day? Why did it change? This app is great for recording the weather.