SERIES: Shut Up and Take My Money Teacher Style

Shut Up and Take My Money Teacher Style: Moon In My Room

Moon In My Room Shut Up and Take My Money Blog Series About Classroom Gadgets from the Pensive Sloth

One of the hardest science concepts to teach well is moon phases and patterns in the sky.  It’s a 4th grade science standard here in Texas and it’s tested on our 5th grade science STAAR test.  Every year my kids struggle with this.  Every. Stinking. Year.  Last week I noticed my father-in-law had a digital clock that also showed the current moon phase.  I’d never seen such magic.  After resisting the urge to “borrow” it, I headed to Amazon to find one of my own, and I found something better–Uncle Milton’s Moon In My Room (On sale and I only paid $15.99!).  It’s pretty much as described.  A model of the moon for your room that you can control with a remote.  Here’s a video you can watch so you can see for yourself how spectacular this gadget is.

 

What I like and how I plan to use it:

  • The plastic moon is 3D, bumpy, and looks pretty realistic.  We’ll have to pass it around so the kids can feel the surface.
  • It’s easy to use.  You push a button on the remote to change phases and you can cycle through several times to help the kids see the pattern (much more important than just memorizing phase names).  Or, you can push the automatic button and the moon will cycle through all phases on its own.
  • I think we’ll hang a chart beside the moon for the kids to use to help identify the phases, then turn off the lights and quiz ourselves to practice.  Waxing gibbous, first quarter, waning crescent…oh the fun we’ll have!
  • Students can draw the moon they see at night in their moon journals, and we’ll match our classroom moon to the current moon phase.
Teaching Moon Phases for Science STAAR with Moon In My Room Gadget

Here’s a few photos I took while playing with the moon! First, before I unboxed it. Second, the full moon lit up with the remote beside it. Third, a waning crescent moon with the remote.

What I don’t like:

  • The model moon lights up.  This is only a problem because I worry my students will think the real moon makes it’s own light.  Not true.  This is a perfect opportunity to introduce the limitations of models to students.  Teachable moment!
  • I will probably lose the remote and it won’t work without it.

I’ll come back and post an update in a few weeks to let you know what my students think.  If you’re looking for more Shut Up and Take My Money posts on cool things to buy for your classroom, hop on over and read about the Amazing Moving Plant and the Circuit Scribe.

–The Pensive Sloth

 

***NOTE–I was NOT paid and am not affiliated with any of the above groups.  I’m just a teacher-consumer interested in new tools to make learning fun for my students!***

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Shut Up and Take My Money Teacher Style: The Amazing Moving Plant

The Amazing Moving Plant Shut Up and Take My Money Teacher Style Blog Series About Classroom Gadgets from The Pensive Sloth

It’s time for another Shut Up and Take My Money–Teacher Style post because there are so many cool things in the world you just have to get for your classroom!

If you’re a elementary science teacher, then you know that SPRING means Life Science and your classroom is hopping with critters and plants.  Ours is literally hopping with crickets that were supposed to make it into the eco-columns, but that’s another story!  Well, the other day I was watching TV and saw a commercial for something called the “Tickle Me Plant.”  The official name is Mimosa Pudica, but some people call it the sensitive plant or shy plant.  What really struck me about this plant was that I knew it would be a hit with students…and might just help them to learn a little about plant adaptations.  Basically, when the plant is touched, the leaves drop and it kind of looks like the plant is dying, but it’s not!  Wait a little while and the plant will be back to normal again.  Here’s a quick video so you can see for yourself:

Then tonight, while shopping at Michaels, I accidentally discovered an aisle filled with cool science toys and there it was!  The Amazing Moving Plant (Mimosa Pudica).  And on sale!  I’m planning to set it up and let it sprout at home before introducing it to students so that when I take it to school, it is ready to wow them with its adaptation of ‘playing dead’ when disturbed.  Here’s a few other plants with cool adaptations I plan to show my students.  We might even do a little research!

Plant Adaptations Anchor Chart from The Pensive Sloth for 5th Grade STAAR Life Science

I’ll let you know how it goes!  For more Just Take My Money–Teacher Style, you can read about Circuit Scribe and how your students can DRAW working electrical circuits.

–The Pensive Sloth

***NOTE–I was NOT paid and am not affiliated with any of the above groups.  I’m just a teacher-consumer interested in new tools to make learning fun for my students!***

UPDATE–The kids LOVED this!  It took some time for the seeds to sprout, and only about half of them did, but they really enjoyed watching them grow.  Unfortunately, we planted them so late in the year that we didn’t really get to enjoy the plants before the summer break.  I sent the plants home with a student.  I’d love to know if they’re still alive.  Let’s hope they remembered to water them!