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Science Chat: A First Day of School Science Lab Icebreaker Activity

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What will you do to make the first day of school a great day?

What is the most important day of school?  The first day!  The first day of school is the most important day of the entire school year!!

It is the day when students form their first impression of your class.

It is the day when students look at you and decide on the spot if they are going to like your class or hate your class.

It is the day when students have heightened social anxieties and need to know that they have a friend in your class.

You, the teacher, have one day to get it right.  If you do, the rest of year is made so much easier.  If you don't, you will spend a lot of time, effort, and energy trying to change the behaviors and attitudes of your students.

Will you be the teacher that goes over a long list of class rules and reads aloud from the class syllabus?  Or will you be the teacher that plans a fun and engaging activity for the students on Day 1?

Science Chat is perfect for the first day of school.  I've been doing activities similar to this for years, and I have finally found the time to polish this one up and post it to my TpT store.  The big idea of this activity is that students can be up and moving around the room and getting to know their classmates in the process.  When the students arrive at your door, they have probably been glued to a desk all day long.  They will love the opportunity to be out of their seats for the first time all day.  In addition, how the students perform in Science Chat will give you a good idea of the ability levels of your class.

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So what exactly is Science Chat?  The activity consists of 10 Lab Stations.  The students will move around at random until they complete all ten.  At each lab station the students will complete a science task AND answer questions about their group mates.  Students must scatter after each station so that they are not with the same group the entire time.  After all, one of the objectives is for them to meet everyone in the class.

Each lab station should take about 10 minutes to complete.  You want to give the students time to chat.  It takes me two class period to finish all of the lab stations, but in my opinion, it is time well spent.  You can easily leave out lab stations for a shorter activity.

A different concept is covered at each station.
Station 1:  The Microscope
Station 2:  Graphing
Station 3:  Electron Microscopy
Station 4:  Making Observations, Comparing and Contrasting
Station 5:  Lab Equipment
Station 6:  Laboratory Safety
Station 7:  Classification
Station 8:  Metric Scavenger Hunt
Station 9:  Prefixes and Suffixes
Station 10:  What makes an animal an animal?

Set up for the lab is quick and easy.  You'll need only about 30 minutes for set up, and the materials list consists of items you are sure to have on hand.
  Microscope
  A prepared slide of your choice.
  Four images taken with electron microscope (Included in product.)
  Two plants (potted or cuttings)
  Meter stick
  Graduated cylinder
  Triple or quadruple beam balance
  Stopwatch
  Thermometer
  A lab with safety features (Examples:  Eyewash fountain, safety shower, fire extinguisher, fire blanket, fire alarm, etc.)
  A group of objects that can be classified into groups.  (Teacher’s choice.)
  Bag of sugar (or object with similar mass.)
  Can of soda (or object with similar volume.)
  Coin
  Paper clip
  Wood block (or any square or rectangular object.)
  Cotton ball
  4 photographs of living organisms (included in product.)





Sweeten the day by giving the students a grade on the activity.  It is unlikely that a student will get all of the answers correct, so make sure to base the grade on effort and participation.

What will the student take away from your day 1 activity?  They were allowed to get up, stretch and move around!  They were able to make some new friends!  And they started the year off with an excellent grade.  Win-win-win!

I hope that your school year is wonderful!

3 comments:

  1. I am having a hard time finding your stations on TPT. Have you posted them yet?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry for the slow reply. I have only just now seen your comment! Here is the link to my lab stations on TpT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Amy-Brown-Science/Category/Lab-Stations-265543

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  2. Yes, they are posted on TpT at this link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Amy-Brown-Science/Category/Lab-Stations-265543

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