February 2015 - momgineer

LEGO Pull-back Racers Hands-on Engineering Fun!

I have seen a few of these pull-back racers pop up on Pinterest from time to time, from amazing bloggers like Frugal Fun 4 Boys and these various rubber band racers, but I thought we could take it one step further and make it more of an engineering activity.

Building the racer was likely the least exciting part of this activity! I gathered several different rubber bands. Try varying the size as well as the thickness. We used a tape measure and counted how many times we wound the rubber band to see which rubber band worked best!

LEGO pull back racer engineering
With each rubber band, we wound it around the rear axle 3, 4, and 5 times, and then measured how far it went each time. Before starting a new rubber band, I had my kids guess whether it would work better, and make the car go further, or if it wouldn't work as well.
LEGO pull back racer engineering

This activity was so much fun. After using the car, they made several more based on what they thought would make the car work better (different wheels, different style of car, etc.). I am sure we will be doing this one again! I think you will enjoy this one, too, so I'm linking up with Teachers are Terrific in today's What is going on in your science class linky!

Be sure to head over and check out more science ideas!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Five for Friday: Feb 20, 2015

Time for another Five for Friday post! I hope everyone had a great week!


This week was school vacation week for the local schools, so Spanish class, piano lessons, and swimming lessons were all canceled. Our homeschooling music class was not, so at least we got that in! Fortunately (unfortunately?) we didn't miss much because on Wednesday my guys woke up with a cold and were pretty miserable, so we ended up having a quiet rest-of-the-week at home.
Peeking in on music class!
Let's talk about the snow (again)! I know everyone in the Boston area is sick of it, but I don't mind. I'm enjoying getting to use my snowshoes. I've also been running in the snow, which is even more challenging. It's also fun to see all the animal tracks and shadows.

With all that snow, it's the perfect time to snuggle up with some books and eat homemade soup and bread.


It also means that my floors are a ridiculous minefield of toys! There are LEGOs, Angry Birds, dominoes, cards, etc. EVERYWHERE. Luckily I'm not insanely neurotic about toys all over the floor...
I'm so excited that I finally finished my Matter / Chemistry unit and got it uploaded! I also made my first ever flipagram, which you can see here.
Matter! Chemistry for Kids

and here's a sneak peek at something I just started working on:

Thanks for hosting the link up, Doodle Bugs Teaching! How was everyone else's week?

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Wordless Wednesday

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Five for Friday: Friday the 13th!

Time for another Five for Friday post!


This week we had so much fun making our own scratch art paper and making valentines with the paper! It was so simple to do - just color with crayons on card stock, then paint on using a foam brush, with a 50/50 mixture of black tempera paint and dish detergent. Let it dry and scratch away!

Homemade scratch art paper

We are continuing to learn about important people during Black History Month, and have made great use of these amazing freebies I found on TpT:

It's not a good week if you don't get in some fun science experiments! My kids have been helping me work through all the experiments in my upcoming Chemistry/Matter unit. Today we blew up gloves with the good old baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction:

We have had a lot of snow in the past couple of weeks, and more is on the way. We have spent tons of time outside snowshoeing, sledding, and playing in the snow. The bitter cold has also allowed us lots of reading and snuggling time, and yummy baked goods:

I updated my Interactive Notebook Flip-Flap Foldable Templates this week! I was very excited to add over 20 new templates, so if you already own this resource, look for the update! I have lots of examples of use included in the file:

Interactive Notebook Templates

Thanks for hosting the link up, Doodle Bugs Teaching! Happy Valentine's Day, all!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

What is going on in our science class: Genetics!

Thank you to Teachers are Terrific for hosting this fun science link up! Be sure to head on over to see what everyone is doing in their science classes this week:

This past week we have been studying genetics! First, we did a fingerprint lab. We all captured our fingerprints on tape after rubbing them in pencil scribbling.This was a great active way to show we were are all unique!

Our second genetics lab focused on traits we inherited from our parents. As homeschoolers of my own biological children this lab works really well. If doing this with a group of other kids, I would definitely use clip art and/or images of other people to be respectful of the many different types of families. We looked at seven different traits, such as the ones shown below:

I am really loving the science book we have been using, so I thought I would mention it. It's just right for my first and third grader:

 R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (Life)

Thanks again for the link up! I can't wait to read all the posts.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Wordless Wednesday: More Snow & Ticket to Ride!

...in other news, it wasn't until a few hours after posting this that I realized it is Thursday, not Wednesday. Ha!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

You might hear people say NO SUH!

I had so much fun being interviewed by Lucy for her Teaching Across the USA series!

Since I'm not originally from MA, when we moved here these are the words that stuck out as different (and humorous)! The first time someone said "No SUH!" to me I honestly had no idea what the heck she was talking about (imagine it with a very thick Boston accent). Apparently it's like saying "No sir/ No sirree!/No way!" (incredulous reaction). What is funny is that I haven't heard it much since, but apparently it's not an uncommon saying.

Another one is "bubbla," which is Massachusetts talk for a water/drinking fountain (bubbler). I have heard this a lot and I knew to expect it, but it was still funny to hear it (and say it. Go ahead, say "bubbla!").

There are way more, such as wicked (or even wicked pissah), but another one you might be surprised to hear is "carriage." Not for a baby...not for horses...but for groceries! People here in Massachusetts call a shopping/grocery cart a carriage! For more amusing words you won't hear elsewhere (including town pronunciations) visit this Boston to English dictionary or this Glossary of Boston Slang.

Thanks again, Lucy! I look forward to reading all the interviews in your series!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Black History Month FREEBIE Roundup!

There are some AMAZING freebies available on Teachers pay Teachers for Black History month! There are hundreds listed for Martin Luther King, Jr., so this post will focus on other important people in black history.

First up is a Harriet Tubman freebie from Crockett's Classroom. We made use of this resource this morning and it was just right for my kids (1st and 3rd). We actually do a lot of oral learning so I read the passage to them, we talked about it, and then answered the various questions in discussion. I then left the passage out for them to read again if they wanted to refer to it during discussion. The safe house activity sparked quite a lot of ideas and really brought the learning to life. Thanks, Crockett's Classroom!


Another one just right for elementary students is this George Washington Carver freebie from Fun Teach. Word finds are always a big hit in my house so I know this one will be a big hit.
Differentiated passages are so valuable in the homeschool classroom, so the next resource grabbed my eye! I was so glad to find these Black History resources, but am so glad there are several highlighting women, such as this one about Rosa Parks from Sunny and Bright in First Grade.


Bow Tie Guy (I love his store name!) has a freebie for Grades 3-6 about Mary McLeod Bethune, also with differentiated reading passages:


Last, but not least is a Ruby Bridges freebie from 2 Brainy Apples. This one is for 3rd grade, but in the description there are links to other grades as well!


Do you have a favorite resource to share for Black History Month? Don't forget to leave feedback if you loved these resources!


If you are looking for a more rigorous research project, I created one for Black History Month (paid). This is a highly engaging resource for Black History Month, and easy for kids to use. Try a digital resource with Google slides:

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Pi Day is on its way! Pi Day Activities!

Pi Day is such a fun holiday to celebrate with kids! Here are some of my favorite low prep Pi Day activities.
Pi Day Activities

How will you be celebrating?
Low Prep Pi Day Activities
Pi Day circle art! This was a HUGE hit with my kids! Gather some lids, cups, circular containers and paint. Dip the circular objects in the paint and "stamp" on paper. This can double as a science lab about colors - try using red, yellow, and blue paint. Experiment with twisting the circles as you stamp or smearing them.

Pi Day Circle Art

If you have circular hole punches, you can try this low mess activity if that is more your style:
Pi Day Art low mess
Pi Day bracelet! You can do this two ways, either as shown below (number of beads equals digit value) or assign a different digit to each bead color you have. For example, you could assign 0 to the white beads, 1 to the red beads, etc. If you have more time on your hands, you can dye pasta and make a colorful Pi Day pasta necklace as shown in this other post.
Pi Day Bracelet

Pi Day Skyline! This was such a fun project and an idea I found on Pinterest in a few locations, including this post at What Do We Do All Day. which has a lot of great pictures and ideas!
Pi Day Skyline
If you have young children this is a great way to introduce the idea of circumference, but it also works well for older children and is a lot of fun! Details can be found in a previous post I wrote.
Circumference Activity for Pi Day
Pi Day Printables and Activities! These can be found for purchase at my TpT shop (there is also a free download available!). There are activities for lower elementary all the way up through high school. Here is a snapshot of some of the activities:
Pi Day Activities and Printables

You can access them directly by clicking on the images below:
Grades 5+
Not grade specific - but originally designed for upper grades

Be sure to visit my Pi Day board on Pinterest for even more ideas!


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Special thanks to Kimberly Geswein and Creative Clips by Krista Wallden for their font and clip art talent.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!