19 Days and counting: Summer is almost here! #AprilBlogADay

The end of the year always calls for rocket cake!
The end of the year always calls for rocket cake!

19 Days!

Nineteen days of school (not including weekends) s all that is left with my students this year. Nineteen days! Where did the year go? As the year winds down, students tend to get a bit restless. Can you blame them? They have worked hard all year, and what is the reward? Day after day of high stakes testing!

Obviously, this is not a great way to end the year. I wrote the other day about activities to use in middle school science (or engineering classes) that we had a lot of success with at my former school. So, what am I doing this year to end the year in a positive manner? Well, there are a lot exciting things in store over the last few weeks.

  • STEM Maker Fest: Our students have been working hard for months on their STEM Maker Fest projects. May 16th is the big day, and we are hoping we have a huge turnout of families from our community. I can’t think of a better way to end the year than celebrating all of the major accomplishments of our students with the community. We hope to make this an annual event, and next year we hope to become an official Maker Faire affiliate.
  • Bottle Rockets: I just can’t give up this activity. It is so much fun! My engineering students will be building and launching bottle rockets for our last project. I am revising the criteria and constraints since I am working with high school students now. This time, we’ll use two bottles per rocket, include a parachute, and hopefully launch and recover a payload.
  • Exploration Journals: I am beginning my sketchnotes/doodling/exploration journal experiment this week. I passed out the sketchbooks to my students on Friday and asked them to decorate the cover with anything that represented what they learned in chemistry this year. I also asked them to write “Chemistry” on the  front cover and their names on the inside cover. On Thursday, we’ll start this journey, and I hope it is successful!

I am finding that the end of the year in high school is more stressful than middle school. In middle school, we had a week of testing at the end of April, and it was pretty much time to be creative and exploratory the final weeks of school. In high school, testing started last week and will continue until the last day of school. During this high stress time, I want to provide experiences for my students that are still valuable and fun. Hopefully, the ideas I am working on will help my students to find a little bit of enjoyment in the end of the school year.

By Janelle

Space geek, science nerd extraordinaire. That's me! Want to know more, visit the About page.

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