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Welcome to Science for Ohio's Teacher to Teacher section where teachers throughout Ohio are sharing some of their best ideas via the online community. We are proud to offer this service by hosting these activities on our Miami University website. Unless otherwise noted, all of the links are in Microsoft Word format. Click on the links below to download activities. Click on the Science for Ohio icon above to view Science for Ohio inquiries.

Note: We hope you find these activities useful; however, these activities have not been edited by the staff at Science for Ohio. As always, responsible, safe, quality instruction is at the discretion of the classroom teacher.

Seeing Is Not Necessarily Believing
written by Heather Blaylock
Eighth Grade Teacher
Lakota Plains Junior School
Liberty Township, OH 45011
Summary: In this inquiry activity, students are shown an unidentified object that bears a striking resemblance to a candle.   They are asked to use the steps of the scientific method to develop and test a hypothesis and finally draw a conclusion whether the data supports their hypothesis.   The trick to this inquiry is that the "candle" is really a cored section of an apple with a sliver of a nut for a wick.   The end of the observation period will conclude with the teacher actually eating the candle, an action that will put most of the student's hypotheses into doubt.

Is Soil Alive?
written by Nickole Utz
Third Grade Teacher
Wilson Elementary
Cincinnati, OH 45244
Summary:  In this inquiry students will observe soil samples. Students will then form
hypotheses as to whether or not soil is alive. Students will also read and discuss information about soil and components of soil. After completing the observations, readings, and discussions, students will be able to state whether or not they believe soil is alive and list the four components of soil.

Is Soil Alive?
written by Jennifer Gerstle
Third Grade Teacher
Wilson Elementary
Cincinnati, OH 45244
Summary: Is Soil Alive? is actually several activities in one inquiry.   In thinking about Is Soil Alive? students use a Thinksheet to think through their own concept of "alive."  Students then do an activity in which they observe and infer what is in soil.   The Family Page extends this learning to the community by providing families with challenges to explore at home.

Are All Plants the Same?
written by Susan Putnam
Fourth Grade Teacher
Clermont Northeastern Elementary
Owensville, OH 45160

Summary:   Students observe the similarities and differences among different plants. Note:   This inquiry is part of a larger unit still in progress.

Does Gum Lose Mass When You Chew It?
written by Laura Black
Seventh Grade Teacher
Nagel Middle School
Cincinnati, OH 45255

Peas in a Pod
written by Justin Bradbury
Second Grade Teacher
J. F. Dulles Elementary
Cincinnati, OH 45248
Summary:  Peas in a Pod is actually a two-day inquiry lesson.   The first day is an introduction to the concept of differences within same species of plant.   The students will view a Power Point presentation where they will have the opportunity to view and compare several different types of roses and maple leaves.   The second day, Do all pea pods have the same number of peas?, is a hands-on inquiry where the children will investigate similarities and differences within the same kind of plant.   Partners will be given 10 pea pods each to determine of all pea pods are the same.

What Is the Best Way to Build a Bridge?
written by Jeffrey Walters
Sixth Grade Teacher
Liberty Elementary
Hamilton, OH
Summary:  This inquiry will last 6 or 7 days.   The first day will consist of me getting an idea of my student's prior knowledge and educating them about the history of and techniques behind building a bridge.   My students will then have to create a design for their bridge.   Then the students will be given their materials (popsicle sticks and glue) to build with.   After they build I will have them journal about the difficulties of this process.   Then we will test the bridges.

Seeds, Inside and Out
written by Candace Sharp
Fourth Grade Teacher
Demmitt Elementary
Vandalia, OH 45377
Summary:   Seeds, Inside and Out is a controlled investigation that asks the question "What is inside a seed?"  Students will complete an anticipation guide to begin to think about the purpose and components of seeds, use a dichotomous key to sort seeds and examine the seed coat of various seeds, hypothesize what the interior of a seed looks like, dissect a pinto bean to examine the parts of a seed, and draw a diagram of a seed.   The follow-up activities include planting seeds to explore the germination process.

Launching a Year of Science
written by Matt Spangler
Amelia Middle School
Batavia, OH 45103

Summary: Launching A Year of Science: An Inquiry Based Unit on the use of the Scientific Method exposes students to several different experiments. The unit is designed to be the first unit of the year, but it can be used throughout the year to teach students about how experiments are performed. The unit begins with the question, "Will a small, medium, or large water balloon travel the highest when shot out of a sling shot?" The second part of this unit begins with a teacher using "special powers" to make water disappear. Finally, students work independently to create and answer a question by designing and performing their own experiments.

Seeds on the Go
written by Erica Flee
Fourth Grade Teacher
Woodland Elementary
Liberty Township, OH 45044
Summary:   Prior to beginning this inquiry, students will review the necessary items a seed needs in order to germinate and grow into a plant.   They will discover through discussion that seeds will need to scatter themselves away from the parent plant in some way in order to survive.   Then they will begin the Seeds on the Go inquiry, which is actually two activities in one.   In Seeds Travel, students observe several different seeds and write their observations and questions regarding those seeds.   Then, the teacher will read a book called Seeds: Pop, Stick, Glide by Patricia Lauber about the different methods of seed dispersal.   Then, students will make a hypothesis for each seed about how it leaves the parent plant.   In Leaving Home, students will test out their seeds using various methods to determine what method of dispersal their seed uses to leave the parent plant.

What is the Difference between a Physical Change and a Chemical Change?
written by Holly Sattler
Sixth Grade Teacher
Ayer Elementary
Cincinnati, OH 45255
Summary: This inquiry is a good introduction for physical and chemical changes.   This concept can then by applied throughout the year in various other activities.

Plant and Animal Interdependence
written by Marty Smith
Fourth Grade Teacher
Morgan Elementary
Cincinnati, OH 45231
Summary: This involves a series of 3 activities that enable students to see first hand the interdependence between plants and other pond life. The first lesson, How Does Pond Life Depend on the Plants in the Pond?, brings pond plants into the classroom.   Students are introduced to an interesting range of pond organisms that have made a life among the plants.   It additionally teaches a lesson on adaptations by allowing the students to observe how the plants live floating on the surface of a pond rather than growing in soil.   The second lesson, How do Animals Use Plants to Survive?, studies how other species depend on plants.   The last lesson uses the previous question to assess student understanding by having them create a triarama of an organism they select, showing its dependence on plants.

Swing Low Sweet Pendulum
written by Jennifer Johnson
Fourth Grade Teacher
Symmes Elementary
Loveland, OH 45140
Summary: In this inquiry activity, students develop an understanding of the concepts of motion, force, speed, direction and variables through the construction and observation of a pendulum.  Through this inquiry, students develop an understanding of different variables and learn to adjust them to ask questions and seek answers to get needed results. The students record observations and results on the provided data sheet.    This activity is purposeful, planned, and requires a lot of teacher guidance.