Teaching Science with Cartoons!

I know that I am an adult, but I have a love for cartoons. I think this love comes from my dad – one of his all time favorite movies is Ice Age. He watches it EVERY time it is on t.v. (of course he also passed on his love of Star Trek, but that is for another post). Anyway, today I want to share some of the videos that I have used throughout this year to introduce or reinforce some concepts.

Ice Age – Continental Drift Scrat

I used this video to introduce the idea of continental drift and the Theory of Plate Tectonics. It is of course not factual, but a very fun way to introduce this idea. We also go back and analyze the video afterwards and replace the fiction from the video with our scientific evidence.

Lava

This has been my most requested repeat video this year. I used this after we studied the ocean floor. It of course shows in slow motion how seamount islands are created.

Finding Nemo – Angler Fish Clip

After learning about the layers of the ocean I used this video to discuss the dark zone in the ocean. We also discussed how animals created their own light using bio-luminescence. Nemo is always a winner with my students.

Finding Nemo – Crush

I didn’t get to use this clip this year, but we did talk about it while we discussed currents. I think it is neat to see what currents might be like inside the ocean.

That’s All Folks!

Those were all the ideas I have so far, but I am sure as the year continues I will have more to add. Do you have any cartoons you have used in your science class?

 

Teaching About Toilets and Thinking Outside the Box

With the beginning of this new semester we have started our unit on hydrology. This unit focuses on all the water found on the Earth and the water cycle.

I feel like as a middle school teacher I am constantly thinking of out of the box ways to pull my students into a lesson. It is something that is becoming more common in the Science classroom as we search for real life inquiry phenomenon to aid our students understanding. Usually some of my out of the ordinary ideas come up in the form of videos – I mean have you realized how many clips from kids movies can contain science??? I’ll share some of those ideas another time.

This past week I was teaching the kids about ocean currents and more specifically the Coriolis Effect. (Just in case you forgot what that is – it is the concept that water rotates clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere) In the middle of class I immediately thought of toilets flushing. I mean as a kid I had always heard that toilets flush one way and another way in Australia. I mentioned this to the kids during our lesson and then set out to find information.

Now many people claim that this is not true. For example in a fact check  I read that this was false because toilets contain such a small amount of water and so forth. Plus with the way toilets are made today it really depends on where the valve is placed inside.

I did not stop there, because there has to be a glimmer of truth behind this tale. My digging proved to be true. On The Guardian – Speculative Science I found many accounts about toilets and their flushing on the equator. One man even said that while in Ecuador he saw an experiment that proved this phenomenon.

Well this was all the encouragement I needed to add this to my science tool belt. I created an info-graphic for my students to color and add to their notebooks.

untitled

You can find this in my TpT store if you are interested. I know that adding a toilet to a handout seems a little weird, but as a middle school teacher the stranger (and sometimes grosser) things are the better!

Happy Teaching!!