Cells are Building Blocks

As a science teacher it is our jobs to teach the information, give students opportunities to explore the standards, and engage the learners in real science! This year I started my cells unit with a great video. The video has dramatic music, but I wanted to make it more dramatic, SO not only did we turn the lights off and turn the volume up, I read the words that come across the screen in my best and most serious dramatic movie introduction voice.

Then we began our unit. We talked about the standard, achievement descriptors and I gave them a few teasers on what was coming their way (Fear Factor lesson, growing mold, and medical masks). We also put our vocabulary into our journals (I still haven’t found a way to do digital interactive notebooks, but I am open to suggestions) You can grab my vocabulary packets (which also have the standard posters in them) for these two units here and here. They will be on sale until February 1st!

5th Grade Cells Vocabulary Packet 5th Grade Microorganism Vocabulary Packet

We will look at several power point presentations during this unit, but that is not the focus I want to give you. We used technology (computers, cameras, microscopes) to look at cells. My new school had several prepared slides for the kids to look at cells under microscopes and I had a few slides to share with them also. While I was pulling kids up to the microscopes the rest of the kiddos were playing games with our vocabulary words on Quizlet. You can access my word set for FREE here. If you haven’t used quizlet before, now is the day to start. As a teacher you type your words and definitions in and share the link. Quizlet does the rest! They make several games and activities out of the words you enter in. My students love it and we have access without a username or password because my word sets are not private.

We start looking at the organelles of the cells using Jennifer Findley’s FREE poster resource found here.

Plant and Animal Cells Science Poster and Vocabulary Cards

Then we complete a webquest here. I like for students to have as few struggles as possible though, so I offer diagrams for my students who do not want to draw. Smith Science and Lit has a great set of FREE plant and animal cell diagrams here.

Animal and Plant Cell Match and Color Pages FREEBIE

After this we really get into the hands-on stuff!!!!! Eeeeekkkkk!!! I love hands-on learning and so do my students!

Germ Lesson

My students had done the glow germ lesson before, so I wanted to do something different. I started the lesson with putting on my lab coat (one of my new “costumes” for teaching), lab safety glasses (the kids each had a pair to wear too!) and medical mask! We talked about sneezing and the different ways kids sneeze (uncovered mouth, Kleenex, into their hands, into their sleeve. Then we started our lesson!

 

Each team had a piece of large white construction paper (I would have preferred white bulletin board paper but we didn’t have any at school —also next year I will have 4 different sheets of paper for each table), a spray bottle with water and food coloring in it (I did all different colors, but that didn’t matter —next year I will not use yellow because it didn’t show as big of an impact), a Kleenex (they really need about 5 Kleenex though), a piece of a T-shirt (I used gray this time because it is what I had with me, but next year I will use white), and a latex glove.

We used a spinner with the four different options on sneezes today and did 20 spins for the 20 sneezes. Next year I will do 5 sneezes of each type onto their own piece of paper for better scientific analysis.

When we landed on uncovered sneeze, the students simply sprayed the paper with the colored water. When we landed on sneezed into hand, the students sprayed the glove (on one of their hands) and then touched the paper once. When we landed on sneezed into sleeve, the students sprayed into the piece of T-shirt. When we landed on sneezed into Kleenex, the students sprayed the Kleenex and then crumpled it and set it on the paper.

 

We talked about which one had the least spread of “germs” (colored water), which one had the most, why they should cover their mouths with something when the cough, sneeze, or having a runny nose, etc.

It was a great lesson! They had so much fun with it! And the safety glasses and masks were a hit!

Fear Factor Lesson

I started with a Google Slide presentation on the board that had the Fear Factor logo on it. I also played some dramatic music. You can find a YouTube video of the Fear Factor theme music here. I used blind folds to add to the intensity of the moment, but I didn’t blind fold the students until I explained how the game would work.

Students would roll a dice to get a random number. Each number on the dice correlated to a edible microorganism. I promise that none of the foods will cause them to be sick or die, but that they may or may not taste very good. Then we put on our blind folds!

My six foods are:

  1. vanilla yogurt
  2. blue cheese crumbles
  3. buttermilk
  4. bakery fresh bread (yeast!)
  5. pickle
  6. sauerkraut

With each student, I place a die in their hand and have them roll it. Then I give them the food that they have rolled. Some of them feel all over it. Others smell the food. A few will decided not to eat what they are given. Others will dive right in!

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We have a great discussion afterwards of why foods would have microorganisms in them, like bacteria.

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