January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Lesson Plan: Ornamental Corn Inquiry (Grades K-2)

Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

by Valerie Joyner 

Ornamental corn

Ornamental corn

Ornamental corn, available this time of year, is great for setting up an inquiry activity for your primary (K-2) students to explore.  If the weather in your part of California is still warm, you can begin this activity right away.  However, due to the size and diversity of weather conditions around California, you may need to purchase a few ears of ornamental corn now and save the activity until the spring when the weather warms up. 

Focus Question:  What are the kernels on an ear of corn?

Materials you will need:

1 or more ears of dry (colorful) ornamental corn (available in the fall)

1 or more shoe box size plastic containers (1per ear of corn)

My Corn Book – 1 per student

Corn Book Sample

Corn Book Sample

Depending on your students’ writing ability, you may have to take dictation for the students, make sentence strips for them to copy using their words, or allow students to write on their own.

Access to water and sunlight

Chart paper and pens

ENGAGE:

Have your students sit as a group in a large circle.  Hold up an ear of ornamental corn and ask the students what they think it is.  Do not tell them it is an ear of corn.  Pass the corn around and ask students to touch and smell it.  Once everyone has had a chance to observe it, ask them what they think it is.  This can be confusing for some students as they may not understand why an ear of corn is dry and colorful.  Allow students to come up with their own ideas.

EXPLORE, EXPLAIN and ELABORATE:

Explain to the students that they are going to be scientists and discover what happens when they put the corn in water and watch it for a few weeks.  But, first they must observe it closely and then predict what they think will happen.

My Corn Book

Step 1 – Distribute ears of corn to each group.  Allow students time to observe and discuss their observations with each other.  When they are finished they should record their observations and color the ear of corn as accurately as possible based on their observations.  You will need to tell the students this is not the time to take artistic freedom and color the corn pink, blue, or rainbow-colored. 

Notebook Page 1

Today I observed an ear of corn.  It is   _________________________________

_________________________________________________________________.

Step 2 – Have students place an ear of corn in a plastic container and add 1” of water.   Allow students time to predict what they think will happen and record their predictions.

You may be very surprised with their predictions.  In the past my students’ predictions have been everywhere from it will turn yellow so you can eat it, to it will pop, to it will turn the water a different color, but seldom do they predict it will grow.  Allow all predictions.

Notebook Page 2

We put the corn in water. Then we put it in the sun.  I predict the corn will ________________________________________, because ______________________________________________.

Ornamental corn in plastic bin.

Ornamental corn in plastic bin.

Step 3 – Place the corn in a warm sunny location.

On a daily basis, put the corn in the sunny location and check the water level and quality.  You will need to rinse the ears of corn every day or two to ensure that it does not become cloudy or smelly.  Within a few days students will notice that the kernels are getting larger and soon begin to sprout roots.

When the students notice roots sprouting, bring the corn inside and allow students to observe and discuss what is happening.  After they have had a chance to observe have them record their observations through writing/dictation and by coloring the ear of corn on the pages accurately.

Notebook Pages 3-5(or more)

Today we observed the corn.  It has ________________________________________________.

Repeat Step 3 allowing students to record their observations each time.

Within a few weeks the ear of corn will send up green shoots in addition to the roots.  Often the kernels will begin to fall off the ear with their attached roots and shoots.  When this happens the students become aware that the ear of corn is actually a group of seeds.

Step 4 – Final Observation

Allow students to make one final observation.  Discuss the word “results” and ask the students to share verbally their “results”.  Have students record their results in their Corn Book.

Last Notebook Page

Results:  When you put an ear of corn in water it ______________________________________________________.  I think the kernels on an ear of corn are _____________________________________, because ___________________________________________.

EVALUATE:

Use the students’ results page to check for understanding.  The students should understand that an ear of corn contains the seeds of corn.

TIPS:

  • Predictions are difficult for students this age.  They may want to copy each other’s ideas and ask an adult for advice.  Remind them that a prediction is their own thinking based on what they already know.
  • When students color in their ears of corn remind them that they need to color it the same as their observations.
  • Depending on students’ writing abilities, either have them record the date of each observation or add the date for them.  It is important to establish proper recording skills as early as possible.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES:

  • Plant the seeds in the school garden or in a paper cup.
  • Plant the ears of corn in the school garden or planter box and continue to observe
  • Measure the shoots, then record and graph measurements
  • Compare and contrast the results of all the ears of corn.

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

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California Science Test Academy for Educators

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018

California Science Test Academy for Educators

To support implementation of the California Science Test (CAST), the California Department of Education is partnering with Educational Testing Service and WestEd to offer a one-day CAST Academy for local educational agency (LEA) science educators, to be presented at three locations in California from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As an alternative to traveling, LEA teams can participate virtually via WebEx on one of the dates listed below.

The dates and locations for the CAST Academy are as follows:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018—Sacramento
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018—Fresno
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018—Irvine

The CAST Academy will help participants develop a deeper understanding of the assessment design and expectations of the CAST. The academy also will provide information and activities designed to assist educators in their implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional learning to help them gain an understanding of how these new science assessment item types can inform teaching and learning. The CAST Academy dates above are intended for school and district science instructional leaders, including teacher leaders, teacher trainers, and instructional coaches. Additional trainings will be offered at a later date specifically for county staff. In addition, curriculum, professional development, and assessment leaders would benefit from this training.

A $100 registration fee will be charged for each person attending the in-person training. Each virtual team participating via WebEx will be charged $100 for up to 10 participants through one access point. Each workshop will have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 50 virtual teams. Each virtual team will need to designate a lead, who is responsible for organizing the group locally. Registration and payment must be completed online at http://www.cvent.com/d/6tqg8k.

For more information regarding the CAST Academy, please contact Elizabeth Dilke, Program Coordinator, Educational Testing Service, by phone at 916-403-2407 or by e‑mail at caasppworkshops@ets.org.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.