photo 3am_h1_zpse9aaabda.png                   photo 3am_am1_zps226e1806.png                   photo 3am_products1_zps40ddd5e3.png                   photo 3am_freebies1_zps0afbc6a9.png

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Springing Into Science Blog Hop - It's Time to Integrate

If you just hopped over from Laura's blog at Differentiation Station Creations, welcome to The Research Based Classroom. I am really excited about this blog hop because this is exactly what we are doing right now. Hopefully you will find some interesting ways to integrate science into your classroom during this hop.

I wish I was a little more relaxed as a teacher. I just feel the pressure to get so much done with my young class that I find it frustrating to get all of the great things scheduled that we could be doing. This is where integration has become my best friend out of necessity. There just isn't enough time in the day to do it all.  Right now as the year begins to wind down my biggest goal is to help my readers become stronger and there is nothing like a little science motivation. First graders love creepy, crawly bugs so what a great way to turn some of that spring fever into energy for learning. We started out by gathering all of the insect books in our classroom and in the library to begin our study.
We started reading and gathering information about insects and adding the information to our R.A.N. chart (Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction). It's similar to a KWL chart, but I like it a lot better. It comes from Tony Stead and Linda Hoyt's book Explorations into Nonfiction Writing, Grade One.  You can see we are still in the middle of it. When we finish all of our reading, we will have moved all of our background knowledge into the confirmed column or the misconception column and the chart will be a lot fuller.

Integrating nonfiction reading about insects into our Daily Five helps us find time to get our research done. As students move to Read with Someone, they can read nonfiction books about insects and record new information on sticky notes together. Plus with two young readers, they have just dramatically increased their chances of making sense of some of that hard science vocabulary. Some students will also choose to read from here during Read to Self. At the end of our literacy centers it takes about 10 minutes to talk about and put all of the new information on our chart. And if two or more students write down the same information, we just stack them on top of each other. As one students shares their notes, I always ask, "Does anyone else have the same information?" so I can hang them all up together and save the time of having kids repeat the same fact.

Next it's time for an order at Insect Lore.  In the past I have ordered the $15 live butterfly kit where you get about 5 caterpillars, but this year I splurged and ordered the school kit so that everyone has their own caterpillar. Both ways are fun, but let's just say more is more fun. They actually ship eggs but since I'm too cheap to pay for overnight shipping, they have always hatched during shipping. This year's caterpillars were so incredibly small that one escaped out of the tiniest pinhole in the top of the cup they were shipped in. But this is them after 6 days. They grow so fast!
You can't see it in this picture, but I have actually used a large paper clip to poke a hole through the lid. This is so after the caterpillar forms into a chrysalis on the lid, I can use the hole to hang it in our butterfly cage. I just take a small paperclip and bend it to form an S hook. You can easily hang them on the sides of the cage. Last year we had to poke the holes after the chrysalis was hanging from the lid and it just made it harder. Don't try taping the lids to the sides of the cage-been there, done that! But if you get the small set, you can tape the paper onto the top of your cage and the tape has always worked.
Now that we have our caterpillars to watch grow, we are starting to narrow our research to just caterpillars and butterflies. We are recording our observations and new learning into student butterfly observation journals. Here are a few pictures from the student journal:
They are being done individually, Emet is just the name of his caterpillar.

I love his description of the caterpillar.
My Lifecycle of a Butterfly research journal is available at my TpT and TN stores, but you can enter to win it this weekend.  There will be 10, yes 10, lucky winners. It includes all the pages for a student journal plus large pictures of the lifecycle of a butterfly to use in interactive writing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now we definitely aren't done without some arts & crafts integration. We have used liquid starch and tissue paper for our butterfly craft.
That is about 3/4 liquid starch and 1/4 water in the baby food jar. Paint the starch on the paper, lay down the tissue paper and then paint another coat of starch.
They need a few hours to dry. Then we glued on the black butterfly frame and smashed
them under a stack of heavy books from our reading series. 
The students cut out around the frame and we hung them out in the hall.

The caterpillars are also done with liquid starch. Just use die cut circles of tissue paper.

The net on the side has holes just big enough to fit a small paper clip through without ripping it.
While we are waiting for each of our caterpillars to turn into a chrysalis you will definitely want to head on over to Life Over C's to see more ideas for integrating science into your curriculum.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Love these ideas! They flow exactly with what we have been doing this week and will be doing next week. Except that we don't have caterpillars. :( Thanks for the opportunity to enter your giveaway! Kim at Life Over C's

    1. I have to say the caterpillars really get the kids excited. In the fall the Monarch butterflies come through Utah and I am going to try to find some milkweed and find my own caterpillars next time.

  2. Hi Brandi! I love your RAN chart...what a great way of breaking things down and rechecking their understanding! Great colorful butterflies as well!!
    Elyse :)
    Proud to be Primary

    1. The RAN chart is a fabulous way to have everyone interact with the new information they are learning. I tried it with spiders back in the fall and I'm sold on them now.

  3. I love, love, love RAN charts. We recently used them for our animal research reports and the kids wrote some of the best reports I've gotten in a long time.

    I love overhearing students discussing any book, but especially nonfiction books. Love this post.

    1. Thanks! I think the RAN chart beats a KWL any day of the week.

  4. Would you be willing to share your RAN chart headings?

    1. Absolutely. Here is a link to the headers at the top:
      Here are my spiders:

      I love the RAN chart over a KWL any day!

  5. Where did you get the green chart for your RAN Chart? I love it!

    1. I made it. It's just butcher paper from school. The headers are linked in the above comments.