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16 Feb 2012
Comments: 4

Kicking it up an iNotch: The Water Cycle Explained

Many times I am asked (especially by Science teachers) if there is an app for a specific concept or topic. While there are multiple free instructionally sound resources for Math and English Language Arts, many times I struggle with finding appropriate (and free) apps for Science. When there is not an app or the app for the topic is more consumption-based than product-based in nature, consider using your arsenal of iTools to cook up one of your own.

I came across the Water Cycle app a few weeks back. It is a drag-and-drop labeling animated app which is a nice tool but fairly low on the Bloom’s Level. It works fine for an intro but doesn’t really allow students to truly apply their knowledge of the water cycle.

Science 2.8C: Explore the processes in the water cycle, including evaporation, condensation and precipitation, as connected to weather conditions.

The Water Cycle App

That’s why I was so thrilled when Ms. Carnazzo (2nd grade teacher) sent me her Water Cycle iLesson. Rather than letting an app teach the students the water cycle, Carnazzo’s class kicked up their iLearning a notch by creating their own screencasts to illustrate their knowledge of the water cycle using the app ScreenChomp. Students also used the app(s) Songify and Talkapella to make water cycle songs.

Carnazzo's Class Teaches the Water Cycle using ScreenChomp


Students worked in small groups of 4-6 to create their screencasts and scripted and practiced their lines prior to recording. Ms. Carnazzo located the images using MorgueFile and had them accessible for students to bring into the ScreenChomp app. (Check out all of Carnazzo’s iLessons).

See “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” for more app integration ideas to support Bloom’s Taxonomy!

25 Jan 2012
Comments: 1

Add Some iSpice to your Weather Study

This post could not have come at a better time as we are experiencing all matter of wacky weather this week (I actually spent about an hour with a wet vac in my garage at 2 am to remove rising water).

Wunder Map app highlights precipitation


Science 2.8 (A): “measure, record, and graph weather information, including temperature, wind conditions, precipitation, and cloud coverage, in order to identify patterns in the data”

Ms. Carnazzo recently posted student weather reports using the Talking Tom & Ben News app. Prior to recording their weather report, students gathered weather data in their journals using personal observations, the internet, and the app WunderMap (also check out online version). Maps in WunderMap include webcam images and data on temperature, wind, and precipitation as well as multiple layers (e.g. precipitation, clouds, animated radar and satellite, and severe weather).

Carnazzo Student Weather Reports

While this is a second grade science apptivity, the idea can also be translated to a secondary classroom.

Science 8.10 (B): “Identify how global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather using weather maps that show high and low pressures and fronts”

How do global patterns of atmospheric movement affect our local weather?


In this scenario, students would use the internet to acquire weather data and information on pressures and fronts. The students could then use Videolicious app to create a “weather forecast” presentation. Images for Videolicious could be screenshots from apps (the Weather Channel and Wundermap) or the internet, and actual images taken of the weather outside. Students would also be provided with the vocabulary (e.g. front, high pressure, low pressure, air mass, etc…) they must use in their presentation.

USA Today features National Pressure Data


Many times these science-based apptivities are conducted in a series of stations. Consider having students use an interactive tool (other than the iPad… dare I say?) to create their own weather report after gathering their data and research from the internet and apps. This could be done prior to creating the weather report.

Consider Multiple Station Activities to Support Weather Study


Students could also create weather reports using Little Bird Tales (and screenshots), or Jing, or SMART recording software and a notebook (see weather forecasting interactive lesson).

SMART Weather Reporting Interactive Notebook

15 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Clever Carnazzo's Cards

Meritorious Motion

Appy Alliteration: With an affinity for alliteration and all things Apple, I set out to congratulate Carnazzo on her creative use of cards with her class. Julio Barros, the iCardSort app developer, was kind enough to send us a few priceless promo codes for the full incredible iCardSort version. I forwarded one of these codes to Ms. Carnazzo in recognition for her savvy use of Songify and received another c-app-tivating lesson:

Meritorious Motion: Her class had been studying motion in science and had recently completed an empirical experiment to see which type of motion different items would show. After students completed the appropriate activity, she used iCardSort to group items to see what properties (e.f. bounce, spin, slide, roll) items in each group had in common. Students wanted to show that some items could be cleverly classified in more than one group so some are on the lines overlapping 2 groups. Students then brilliantly brainstormed other items that they thought would fit in the different groups. The pretty bright pink cards are their additional ideas.


If you are interested in replicating this lesson with your studious students, visit the iCardSort public decks in the next few days for the deck.

Noteworthy Newsletter: Also check out E-string‘s noteworthy newsletter which includes the original techchef4u HOTS Math Vocabulary lesson and some app-tastic Vimeo videos that highlight how to use iCardSort and how the app can be used in a lovely literature circle.




26 May 2011
Comments: 0

Appy Hour: Science App-Teasers

Appy Hour will provide you with a fast-paced introductory approach to FREE apps that are appropriate for secondary students. App-teasers for Science will be sampled. After this class you will think beyond the concept of an App as simply being a game – you will leave with a menu of appealing concrete lesson ideas you can serve as soon as you are back with your students! An iPad with all required apps will be included for use during the duration of the class.

c/o Lisa Jackson

Jog iTunes with Me

Science Appy Hour (this Jog the Web Tour was designed by ljacks)

app_happy_science (Menu of Math Apps Sampled)

Check out More Apps for Science

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted.

Check out Podcasts for Science.

A few Children’s Books for Science: Four Seasons, A2Z on Global Warming, Introducing Planet Earth, and A Seed Grows.

19 May 2011
Comments: 0

Podcasts 4 Science

Our Web 2.0 Part 2 Moodle course provided some wonderful discussion on useful Science podcasts. Why reinvent the wheel? Here are some of the resources (with descriptions) that were provided from teachers enrolled in the course. Use these as mini lessons, reviews, independent study pieces, or to clear up common misconceptions.

  1. Absolutely Wild Visuals (Animal Olympians): Showcases some of the library’s most compelling wildlife footage. These mini documentaries highlight wildlife hunting for food and show how their survival depends on their physical prowess. I thought this would be a great resource for the students during our animal unit in science.
  2. Whale Trackers: Is a series of documentary programs that journey across the world’s oceans to explore the lives of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. It explores their range of species and diverse habitats and examines the threats the animals face. My students are currently working on an “All-About” Books Project and one group is writing about whales. I thought this would be an excellent resource for them to use and could also be used during our animal unit.
  3. Science in the Real World: Though I am not a science teacher, I would love to share this podcast with the science teacher on my team. It breaks down specific topics in science. My team generally builds our integrated projects around a science lesson. As a team, we could use these podcasts for integrated projects if there is a topic that coincides with what students are learning.
  4. Creepy Creatures of Texas: Students will find this podcast very interesting to see so many bats escaping. Instructionally, they will see characteristics and habits of animals
  5. Sid the Science Guy: Is a show form PBS that focuses on science concepts for Kindergarten age children. My students will enjoy it very much and it will help reinforce our science concepts in a fun motivating way. (Also Check out Volume 2).
  6. DragonflyTV: Students can listen to these podcasts about real-life SCIENCE experiments by kids! I love that this is produced by PBS Kids. There are TONS to choose from – I can’t wait to utilize this in my classroom. How could you not use this instructionally?! My kids would love to watch these science experiments – either to supplement our own science experiments with, or to lengthen and add to our existing experiments. This is an AWESOME resource for me!
  7. Kids’ Science Challenge: This will benefit my students. They have cool experiments and different things about science. These experiments are easy to reproduce and get the kids involved. This can be worked into the classroom as a Science center for the kids to get involved.

Also check out The Science Show for Kids, Douchy’s Biology, EcoGeeks, Meagher’s classes: Chemistry & Physics, Physics: 50 Examples, and Physics in Action.

  1. PE Talk: This podcast gives an array of discussion topics concerning Physical Education class. Both teachers and students can gain knowlege through podcasts such as “Skill progression”. Teachers can gain ideas on how to teach certain skills just as students can practice their skills at home in a one on one situation. Different assignments can be created for students to either physcially or with pen and paper identify warm up activities, skills, movements, etc.
  2. Essential Fitness with Wess Murray: Wess Murray is a personal trainer/wellness coach. His ideas on weight loss, nutrition, training, and performance can supplement the content that is taught in the classroom. Teachers can use his motivational approach as a “different voice” than the one students always hear. Sometimes this “different voice” in what students need to jump starts students towards a physically fit life.

Some of these podcasts can be subscribed to which will feed into iTunes, others can be saved as an audio or movie file and imported into iTunes, and some are even bundled as an app. Please post others you find in the comments section along with a description and/or how they can be used.

12 May 2011
Comments: 0

Science Interactive Resources

Here are a few interactive sites I have gathered for Science:

Here are two Glogster Learning Stations I created for teachers to use in conjunction with interactive sites as a resource : Basics of the Periodic Table, Monkey Mayhem Periodic Table

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted.

12 May 2011
Comments: 0

Simpsons in the Classroom

I have used Simpson’s clips for years in my classroom as hooks, theme-based lessons, and to illustrate Mathematical concepts from fractions to Pi using Simpsons Math. Check out my Girls Just Wanna Add Sums Packet and the Simpsons Math site for even more resources on this topic/episode.

Now the Simpsons’ will be invading a Science Classroom near you. From periodic tables to Newton’s Laws, Simpson’s can provide a new perspective (or a frame of reference) on illustrating the not so concrete laws of science (e.g. Angular Momentum, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Metric System, Newton’s First & Third Law, Photon Pressure, Zinc Film, Inelastic Collision, and More…)