Festive holidays and winter weather can be disruptive for the classroom schedule at this time of year but can also provide inspiration for appealing science activities. Take advantage of cooking themes to teach some chemistry or take a cue from weather reports to delve into a lesson about frost. The December 2012 issue of NSTA’s Book Beat features ideas to help you connect December themes with science lessons for students who might already be thinking of winter break and holiday fun. The free lessons this month include “Exploding Corn” from Sarah Young’s Gourmet Lab: The Scientific Principles Behind Your Favorite Foods, in which grades 6–12 students study how water can change state in the popping of corn. Also included in the downloadable lessons is “Chemical Change Café” from Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan’s Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, Revised 2nd Edition, which will help your grades 3–6 students explore the differences between a variety of changes in states of matter as well as the chemical change of cooking pancakes. Another handy free resource is the activity “Let’s Make Frost” from Project Earth Science Meteorology, Revised 2nd Edition, in which grades 5–10 students relate the formation of crystals to the phase change from vapor to solid. If you’d like additional tips for fitting in more science on pre-holiday school days, this issue of Book Beat also offers “Making the Most of ‘Lost Days’” from The Science Teacher’s February 2011 issue. Science is the subject for all seasons, but tying winter and holiday themes into December class time can also add an element of fun to learning.
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