Archive for the ‘Science and Math’ Category

Pre-Class Materials for the SERC Home School Science and Math in Action Block of Classes

Mean, Median, and Mode Learning Tools

I would like to use Legos to teach with for the next math class, but SERC doesn’t have enough blocks. Could anyone lend us a large container of Lego blocks for a couple of days? I would need to get them on Monday or Tuesday. Please e-mail me McDonaldK@si.edu.

REMEMBER: Keep an eye on our blog for any weather updates.


Mean, Median, and Mode (Image: Philip Martin free clip art)

Vocabulary (ALL AGES)

  • Mean
  • Median
  • Mode
  • Range
  • Divide


 All Ages (5-12)

I would like everyone to watch these videos, with the understanding that division will be too complex for the 5-7 year olds, but this is a great introduction (3 min) to mean, median, and mode:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C9LBF3b65s the mean, median, and mode Toads.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0grjKjxFlDc This is a Youtube video of the MMR Rap (see below) to help students learn mean, median, and mode:

The MMMR Rap (download here)

The M, The M, The MMMR Rap.
The M, The M, The MMMR Rap.

Now Mode, Mode, I’ve been told,
is the # that you see the most.

Median, Median, Median, is the man.
The man in the middle, the man in the middle.
Just line up the #’s the best you can
From smallest to largest,
From smallest to largest.

Now Mean, Mean, he is the best.
Of course he is better than all the rest.
Just add, add, add all your #’s,
and when you divide
you won’t believe your eyes-
you’ll only have one # to your surprise.

Last but not least is our friend the Range-
He isn’t the best, but he sure is strange.
You start with the Hiiiggghhhh and subtract
the Loooowwww!!!
You’ve got the Range and there is no mo’!

The M, The M, The MMMR Rap.
The M, The M, The MMMR Rap.
When you sing it out loud–it’s all just a snap!

http://www.kidsmathgamesonline.com/numbers/meanmedianmode.html this page has wonderful practice games online, for mean/median/mode. Younger students will need their parent’s help.

http://files.pbslearningmedia.org/dlos/tpt/landmarks/index.html here’s a fun online exercise using dog training to learn about mean, median, and mode. For ages 5-12 parents will need to help the students with the exercise.

http://lessons4now.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/mean-median-mode-posters.jpg here’s a free poster online that can help students remember mean, median, mode, and range.

http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/mean-median-mode-range.html the two free worksheets on this page are a good starting place for mean, median, mode, and range.

8-12 yr. (Only)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7MxGyEaN64  a fun hip song about mean, median, and mode

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNdVynH6hcY this is another catchy hip song and video about mean, median, and mode.

http://www.mathsisfun.com/median.html this page is best for the 8-12 year olds, and there are good practice questions at the bottom.


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Happy Holidays from SERC to our Home School Community!

Before our staff go on break we wanted to post some materials for the Science and Math in Action class and also for the Ecosystems on the Edge film class.



For students in the science and math in action class I’ll post the final pre-class materials after the new year, but here are some resources to hold you over.

For those working on the gingerbread man quadrant graphing worksheet, here is the original (with the answer key drawn out) graphing_characters.pl.

For those that need practice with graphing here are a few worksheets that might help:

3rd grade graphing votes and pizza bar graphs

season’s bar graphing 3rd grade

worksheet on reading graphs


There is also a great video series all about the golden mean and Fibonacci sequence by Vi Hart. There are three parts and well worth watching over the holidays. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXX0&feature=youtu.be

christmas_079_01_thmFILM CLASS

In the next class we will be reviewing the nearly completed videos that you are working on. Here is your assignment, before the next class:

SERC Film Class Final Film Showing Questions

As a part of the final film class you will be asked, as individuals, to present information to the audience about the film production process.

Please answer the following questions, and bring them with you to class. You may give me (Karen) either  a printed hard-copy version or you may choose to do a hard copy version along with a short film clip of yourself talking about your experience.  The film clip is optional. SERC Film Class Final Film Showing Questions

  1. Why did you sign up for the SERC documentary class? What was your goal?
  2. What interests you about documentary making?
  3. What did you contribute to the documentary that is being presented?
  4. What did you enjoy most about the experience of making this short documentary? (Give 2-3 things)
  5. What was most challenging? (Give 2-3 things)
  6. What do you think you will do with your new found filming skills?
  7. What information would you like to learn more about with regards to documentary making?

As promised here are the links from the last class on Green Screens:

A short history of Green Screens and film modification http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8aoUXjSfsI

A video about using green screens and lighting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3PZO_lCBkw

A kind of shaky intro on how to use green screen effects with Windows Movie Maker http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6FkJxl8STw

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Home School Science and Math in Action Block (Class 2) : Graphs and Charts

Here are the pre-class study materials for the next Science and Math in action class. Please be sure to arrive to class on time. We look forward to seeing you soon!



  • Line Graph
  • Bar Graph
  • Tally Chart
  • Data
  • Symbol
  • Vertical
  • Horizontal
  • Pictograph
  • Interval
  • Frequency table
  • X axis
  • Y Axis

All Ages (5-12)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2YkbdNORp8 a short video (2 min) on line graphs.

http://www.commoncoresheets.com/BarGraphs.php students should visit this site with their parents, and download a grade appropriate worksheet for bar graphs, pie charts, and line graphs. They should begin studying how these work. These worksheets are for those at the 1st-3rd grade level.

http://www.math-aids.com/Graphing/ this page has some fun multiple quadrant graphic worksheets that 4th and 5th grade students can download and try, with a parent’s help.

 8-12 yr. olds

http://www.tv411.org/reading/understanding-what-you-read/reading-charts-and-graphs this is a good page all about reading bar graphs. It’s a great introduction.

 5-7 yr. olds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwZJvh_7oqA This is a good introductory video about tally marks. The copyright mark in the middle is a little distracting but good information (8 min)

http://www.kidsmathgamesonline.com/numbers/mathdata.html this is a fun introductory game that children can play online.

http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/bugs-in-the-system/ here is another fun basic graphing game, catching “bugs” and putting them into a graph (PBS).

http://www.turtlediary.com/kids-games/math-topics/graphs-games.html this series has two sets of games and graphing activities (grades 1-2) that kids might enjoy.

Ecosystems on the Edge Film Class


Please remember that next week we will be reviewing film clips and content from what you’ve put together so far, and using our Documentary_Rubric to evaluate these clips. You should bring your computers in case your clips won’t play on our machines.

I have found a second form of movie editor, caleed VSDC Free Video Editor that my be useful for those having difficulty in Moviemaker. You can download it here.  There is a short Youtube tutorial here.

We will also be learning some new filming techniques like using green screens. We’ll set up a green screen and I’ll show you how to use these types of shots and import images into different backgrounds.

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Science and Math in Action Students:

Please Remember to Have Students Do Pre-Class Study and Work for Science and Math in Action Block: Class 1 This Week

Click here for  a link to the materials for Class 1

flicker jitz

SERC Education in Now On Facebook

You can centralize all your updates about SERC programs in one place on Facebook. We’ll post home school information, public programs, special events, and special classes. Find us at SERC Education.


American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalists Award Challenge (for STEM)

Do you know students in grades 7-12 that love science and nature and conducting their own science experiment? The American Museum of Natural History, in New York, is hosting its annual Young Naturalist Awards challenge for students around the US. It is open to traditional students as well as home school students. If this sounds like your students or home school group please click here to follow this article to my blog for more information.

We Need Your Feedback About Home School Classes

Although the weather is cold we’re already planning home school classes for Spring. Please take this poll and help us with feedback about topics you’d like to see. You can also e-mail Karen at McDonaldK@si.edu with ideas.

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Science and Math in Action Block:

Class 1 Patterns in Nature

Learning About Patterns, Golden Ratio, and Fibonacci Sequence

flicker jitz

Nautilus shell cross section
Photo: Flicker Common Use Jitze Couperus

For those in the Science and Math in Action block here are the pre-class materials for your students. Please have them participate by doing the vocabulary and homework as well as watching the videos and visiting the links before class. I’ll send out a reminder next week as well, after the holiday.


  •  Pattern
  • Symmetry
  • Golden ratio
  • Ratio
  • Spiral
  • Fractal
  • Mirror symmetry
  • D’Arcy Thompson (person, what did he/she do?)
  • Benoit Mandelbrot (person, what did he/she do?)
  • Leonardo Fibonacci (person, what did he/she do?)

Homework: Draw examples of the following symmetry (show instructor first day of block of classes)—

Use this image as reference: http://faculty.uca.edu/johnc/BodySymmetry.gif

  1. Bilateral symmetry (draw an insect or animal with mirror halves)
  2. Radial symmetry (draw a starfish with arms that are the same)
  3. Spiral symmetry (draw a seashell with a spiral, or you could do a pine cone or spiral plant)

Resources: For All Ages (5-12)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7x3LBWn-Ao although an older video this one is one of the few good ones I found about patterns in nature (14 min).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZH3PBdH5WQ a great video by Disney on math and patterns in nature along with the Golden Ratio with Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjSHVDfXHQ4 a great TED talk about the Fibonacci sequence that we’ll study in class. Younger kids may get bored with this one, but it’s only 6 minutes.

http://www.demilked.com/amazing-nature-patterns/ check out some very beautiful patterns in nature. Try to identify the repeating design and how it might be functional.

http://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/patterns.html here are three simple pattern match games that are perfect for kids.

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