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Hands-On Life Science Activities For Grades K-6, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7865-5
448 pages
March 2006, Jossey-Bass
Hands-On Life Science Activities For Grades K-6, 2nd Edition (0787978655) cover image


This is the second edition of Marvin N. Tolman’s bestselling book Hands-On Life Science Activities for Grades K-6. Like all the books in The Science Problem-Solving Curriculum Library series, this revised edition offers compelling activities that help teach students thinking and reasoning skills along with basic science concepts and facts. The book’s activities follow the discovery/inquiry approach and encourage students to analyze, synthesize, and infer based on their own hands-on experiences. This new edition includes an expanded “Teacher Information” section, inquiry-based models and complex cooperative learning projects using materials found around the home. Many of the activities easily become great science fair ideas, as well as lessons and activities that correlate with national standards grid.
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Table of Contents

About the Author.

About the Library.

How to Use This Book.

Correlation with National Standards Grid.

Key to Icons.

Listing of Activities by Topic.

Section One: Living Through Adaptation.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 1.1: What Is Adaptation?

Activity 1.2: How Do Adaptations Affect Where Animals Live?

Activity 1.3: Why Are Feathers Special?

Activity 1.4: What Purposes Can Feathers Serve?

Activity 1.5: Can You Make a Feather?

Activity 1.6: How Can We Be Tricked by Color?

Activity 1.7: How Is Color Used by Living Things?

Activity 1.8: What Happens When the Camouflage Is Gone?

Activity 1.9: What Happens to Camouflage When the Environment Changes?

Activity 1.10: How Do Birds Adapt to Eating?

Activity 1.11: What Are Some Other Eating Adaptations?

Activity 1.12: What Are Human Teeth Like?

Activity 1.13: How Important Is Your Thumb?

Activity 1.14: How Do Animals Move?

Activity 1.15: How Do Some Animals Communicate?

Activity 1.16: How Do Seasons Affect Animal Adaptations?

Activity 1.17: How Do Animals Adapt to Seasonal Change?

Activity 1.18: Can You Design a Better Bird?

Animal Adaptations Word Searches.

Do You Recall?

Section Two: Animals.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 2.1: Who Are the New Members of Our Class?

Activity 2.2: How Can We Keep Our Pets Healthy?

Activity 2.3: How Many Pets Can You Find?

Activity 2.4: How Many Other Pets Can You Find?

Activity 2.5: What Kind of Pet Would You Like to Own?

Activity 2.6: What Can Hair Tell You?

Activity 2.7: How Many Play Animals Can You Find?

Activity 2.8: How Can You Make a New Animal for a Funny Zoo?

Activity 2.9: How Can You Make a Bony Animal?

Activity 2.10: What Can Footprints Tell Us?

Activity 2.11: What More Can Footprints Tell Us?

Activity 2.12: What Clues Can Help Us Read Tracks?

Activity 2.13: What Animals Live Around You?

Activity 2.14: What Do You Need in Order to Study a Nature Square?

Activity 2.15: How Can a Chart Help Us Make Observations?

Activity 2.16: What Equipment Can Help Us Study Our Nature Squares?

Activity 2.17: How Can We Report Our Findings?

Activity 2.18: How Can We Attract Wild Birds?

Activity 2.19: What Is a Bird?

Activity 2.20: How Can You Make a Birdhouse?

Activity 2.21: What Do We Need in Order to Keep Pets in an Aquarium?

Activity 2.22: How Can We Keep Small Animals in Our Classroom?

Activity 2.23: How Do Earthworms Live?

Activity 2.24: Why Is the Snail So Unusual?

Activity 2.25: What Organisms Live Around Us That Are Too Tiny to See?

Activity 2.26: Is It Alive or Not?

Activity 2.27: Is It Living, Once-Living, or Nonliving?

Animals Word Searches.

Section Three: Growing and Changing: Animal Life Cycles.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 3.1: What Is Growing Up?

Activity 3.2: How Much Do People Change?

Activity 3.3: How Does Growing Up Begin?

Activity 3.4: What Is a Chicken Egg Really Like?

Activity 3.5: What Are Some Other Animals That Hatch from Eggs?

Activity 3.6: How Can You Hatch Eggs in the Classroom?

Activity 3.7: What Is a Tadpole?

Activity 3.8: What Is a Good Environment for Tadpoles?

Activity 3.9: Where Do Butterflies Come From?

Activity 3.10: What Is Wormy?

Activity 3.11: How Long Do Animals Live?

Growing and Changing Word Searches.

Do You Recall?

Section Four: Plants and Seeds.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 4.1: What Plant Is This?

Activity 4.2: How Do Seeds Begin to Grow?

Activity 4.3: What Happens to a Growing Plant If It Has No Light?

Activity 4.4: How Do Seeds Travel?

Activity 4.5: How Can Plants Grow Without Seeds?

Activity 4.6: What Is Another Way to Grow Plants Without Seeds?

Activity 4.7: What Can You Do with Plants That Become Too Big for Their Containers?

Activity 4.8: How Do Containers Make Plants More Interesting?

Activity 4.9: What Is a Terrarium?

Activity 4.10: What Do Plants Need in Order to Grow?

Activity 4.11: How Does Water Travel in a Plant?

Activity 4.12: How Do Plants Respond to Light?

Activity 4.13: How Do Plants Respond to Gravity?

Activity 4.14: How Can We Make a Visual Record of Plant Growth?

Activity 4.15: What Are the Parts of Some Common Plants?

Activity 4.16: Why Are Leaves Important?

Activity 4.17: How Are Leaves Alike and How Are They Different?

Activity 4.18: How Can You Preserve the Leaves You Collect?

Activity 4.19: How Can You Collect Bark Without Damaging the Tree?

Activity 4.20: How Do Roots Grow and Develop?

Activity 4.21: What Are the Parts of a Flower?

Activity 4.22: How Can You Make a “Dandy” Tasting Salad?

Activity 4.23: What Parts of Plants Do You Like to Eat?

Activity 4.24: Can We Make a Whole Meal with Just Plants?

Activity 4.25: How Can We Know What Kind of Tree It Is?

Activity 4.26: If We Can’t Climb It, How Can We Measure It?

Activity 4.27: Is This a Plant?

Activity 4.28: What Is This Strange Growth?

Activity 4.29: What Does Your Strange Organism Grow On?

Activity 4.30: What Have We Learned About Mold?

Plants and Seeds Word Searches.

Do You Recall?

Section Five: Body Systems.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 5.1: How Do Fingerprints Compare?

Activity 5.2: How Big Is the Average Person Your Age?

Activity 5.3: How Can You See Your Pulse?

Activity 5.4: What Is a Blood-Pressure Cuff?

Activity 5.5: How Do the Body Systems Work Together?

Activity 5.6: What Is Your Lung Capacity?

Activity 5.7: How Does an Apple Skin Protect the Apple? (and How Does Our Skin Protect Us?)

Activity 5.8: How Does the Skin Help Regulate Body Temperature?

Activity 5.9: What Do Our Bones Do for Us?

Activity 5.10: Are Human Bones Large or Small?

Activity 5.11: How Many Bones Can You Count?

Activity 5.12: How Can Doctors Tell Whether a Bone Is Broken and Where?

Activity 5.13: How Is a Splint Applied to a Broken Bone?

Activity 5.14: How Are Bones Connected at a Joint?

Activity 5.15: What Are Tendons, and How Do They Work?

Activity 5.16: What Is Bone Like Without the Mineral Material?

Activity 5.17: How Many Muscles Can You Identify?

Activity 5.18: How Do Voluntary and Involuntary Muscles Differ?

Activity 5.19: What Is Muscle Sense?

Activity 5.20: How Fast Are Your Reactions?

Activity 5.21: How Fast Do Your Nails Grow?

Activity 5.22: What Does Hair Look Like Under a Microscope?

Body Systems Word Searches.

Do You Recall?

Section Six: The Five Senses.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 6.1: In What Ways Do We Depend on Our Eyes?

Activity 6.2: How Well Can You Judge Depth with One Eye?

Activity 6.3: Which Is Your Dominant Eye?

Activity 6.4: How Well Do You Remember What You See?

Activity 6.5: Why Do We Need Five Senses?

Activity 6.6: How Do Our Eyes Help Us "Hear"?

Activity 6.7: How Does a Picture Stimulate Your Senses?

Activity 6.8: What Happens to the Iris as Light Changes?

Activity 6.9: How Is the Eye Like a Camera Diaphragm?

Activity 6.10: How Can You See Through a Solid Object?

Activity 6.11: What Is a Blind Spot?

Activity 6.12: How Effective Is Your Side Vision?

Activity 6.13: Can You Save the Fish?

Activity 6.14: How Can Our Eyes Make Colors Seem to Change?

Activity 6.15: How Well Can You See in the Dark?

Activity 6.16: How Fast Can You Judge What You See and Take Appropriate Action?

Activity 6.17: How Fast Do Odors Travel?

Activity 6.18: How Long Can You Retain a Smell?

Activity 6.19: What Foods Can Your Nose Identify?

Activity 6.20: How Is Taste Affected by Smell?

Activity 6.21: How Can You Tell Whether Taste Is Affected by Smell?

Activity 6.22: How Can You Match Things Without Seeing Them?

Activity 6.23: What Sounds Do Your Ears Recognize?

Activity 6.24: What Sounds Do You Hear in Paper?

Activity 6.25: How Well Do You Know Your Classmates' Voices?

Activity 6.26: How Well Can Your Ears Alone Tell You What's Happening?

Activity 6.27: How Much Can You "See" with Your Ears?

Activity 6.28: What Is a Stethoscope?

Activity 6.29: What Differences in Taste Do People Have?

Activity 6.30: Which Part of the Tongue Is Most Sensitive to Taste?

Activity 6.31: How Can We Classify Foods by Taste?

Activity 6.32: How Does a Sudden Change in Temperature Affect Us?

Activity 6.33: How Well Can You “Observe” with Your Sense of Touch?

Activity 6.34: How Much Can You “See” with Your Hands?

Activity 6.35: Where Is Your Sense of Touch Most Sensitive?

Activity 6.36: What Parts of Your Body Can Feel Things Best?

Activity 6.37: What Is Warm and What Is Cold?

Activity 6.38: How Many Touch Words Can You Find?

Five Senses Word Searches.

Do You Recall?

Section Seven: Health and Nutrition.

To the Teacher.

Correlation with National Standards.

Activity 7.1: What Are We Made Of?

Activity 7.2: Why Do We Wash Our Hands Before Handling Food?

Activity 7.3: Why Are the Basic Food Groups Important?

Activity 7.4: What Are the Most Common and the Most Popular Foods?

Activity 7.5: How Well Balanced Is Your Diet?

Activity 7.6: How Can We Test Foods for Protein?

Activity 7.7: Which Foods Contain Sugar?

Activity 7.8: Which Foods Contain Starch?

Activity 7.9: Which Foods Contain Fat?

Activity 7.10: How Do People Count Calories?

Activity 7.11: How Many Calories Do You Use?

Activity 7.12: How Are Teeth Shaped for Their Task?

Activity 7.13: What Does Tooth Decay Look Like?

Activity 7.14: Why Are Healthy Teeth Important to You?

Activity 7.15: How Can You Clean Your Teeth Best?

Health and Nutrition Word Searches.

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Author Information

Marvin N. Tolman, Ed.D., is a popular presenter at national meetings of science teachers, contributes to academic journals, reviews science education materials, and edits textbook and journal series. Currently, he is professor of teacher education at Brigham Young University and author of the popular Hands-On Science series from Jossey-Bass.
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“The Hands-On books are an awesome resource that has enhanced my science units. Every activity has easy step-by-step instructions, a materials list, and teacher information. My students and I love the activities.”-- Patti W. Seeholzer, third-grade teacher, River Heights Elementary School, Utah and winner of the 2002 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching


“A great resource for all prospective and practicing elementary teachers.”--David T. Crowther, associate professor, science education, University of Nevada, Reno


“The Marv Tolman science activity books were always a hit with teachers and were valuable for use with my science method course students.”--Dr. Donald R. Daugs, professor emeritus, Utah State University


“I love the Hands-On Science books by Marv Tolman.   They sit right next to my desk within easy reach. The lesson plans are teacher friendly and student friendly. The books are put together in such a way that it is easy to find any subject. From Kindergarten to 6th grade the lessons are set up for all students to use. I know, I have used them in all grades and my students love to be involved in science.   I highly recommend these books for any teacher whether you struggle with science or are an expert in the field.”--Marilyn Bulkley, fifth grade teacher, Garfield School District, Panguitch, Utah

“Our sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students have literally worn out our copies of Dr. Tolman's Hands-On Activities.  We have two copies of each activity book and students select them for their concise instructions, excellent diagrams, and easy-to-find materials.   Even though the title indicates grades K-6, students and teachers in seventh and eighth grades found the activities very helpful in classroom demonstrations and as a beginning point for science fair problems.  I loved the way that the activities are divided into the three different disciplines: physical, earth, and life.  It was fast and easy to locate just what you needed using the table of contents organization.  There was always an activity for whatever concept my students were learning. Our school will need to purchase the newly revised activity books.”--Rosalee Riddle, science teacher, Red Hills Middle School, Richfield, Utah and science curriculum coordinator, Sevier School District, Richfield, Utah


“Before my current position as science teacher educator, I used these activity books extensively in teaching science to my sixth graders. I found them very valuable and helpful in creating lessons that engaged the students in hands-on activities that effectively taught science concepts. Now, as an assistant professor of science education, I continue to use them as I discuss and model hands-on and inquiry-based science. Additionally, I highly recommend them to the pre-service students in my elementary science methods courses, many of whom use them in lesson planning and unit planning for my class as well as during their practicum and student teaching experiences.”--Leigh K. Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Science Education, Brigham Young University


“I have taught many science classes for our district over the last ten years, and I always rely on your Hands-On books for background information.  I have them pulled off of the shelf now because I am using them to come up with a science/math activity for my National Board Certification Program.  I know I can trust these books. The information is clearly presented, easy to understand, and the activities always work.”--Mary Selin, second grade teacher, Davis District and first grade science trainer for the district, Davis School District, Farmington, Utah


“I have used Marv's science books for several years. I love the experiments. The kids love to try them on their own. They have easy-to-follow directions and all the materials are readily available. I especially like the explanations of how and why. The best thing about these experiments is that they work! I haven't had one fail yet.”--Keetette Turner, kindergarten teacher, Granite District, Salt Lake City, Utah


“I began working with Marv Tolman ten years ago. I was new to the world of elementary teaching. I had heard of a workshop that helped teachers simplify, and pinpoint science concepts that could be taught repeatedly through hands-on, basic application. That workshop was the first of many and I still--ten years later—use the concepts to teach my students. The basic and simple mechanics of science that are incorporated into these lessons reach the gifted and struggling learner and can be adapted and adjusted to time and to the needs of students’ individual levels and learning styles.”--Marcie H. Judd, fourth grade teacher, Valley Elementary School, Kanab School District., Kanab, Utah.


“Many elementary teachers lack science background knowledge. The Hands-On Science Activities series provides teachers with both background knowledge and engaging methods to help all students learn science concepts. Marv explains them using simple, clear, and concise language that equips teachers to teach with confidence. These books have increased both the accuracy and the quality of science education.”--Julie Cook, Title I Literacy Coordinator and former kindergarten teacher, Logan City School District, Logan, Utah.


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