I haven't disappeared! I was taking a class that was so time consuming, I had no time for anything else. Fortunately, I made it and it's over!
It's not fancy, but my class had a great time making this community town. It consisted of paper printouts of town places glued to empty boxes and cups. The bottom of the town was butcher paper, black construction paper cut free hand by the children, and glued on to make a road. Students would take the community helper figures and place then around the correlating areas. They enjoyed playing with the town. Here are the Community Building Coloring Pages
Many teachers like to teach the life cycle of a butterfly in the spring. These kits are very expensive!
I have found a more economical way to teach metamorphosis. I bought a tub of live mealworms (reptile feeders for about $4.00) at Petsmart just for observational purposes. (I read that these feeders have a hormone that is injected into them to keep them in the larvae stage.) Too my surprise, about a month later, I opened the container to discover pupae, and beetles inside. So I did a lesson on the life cycle of a mealworm. I found a video on YouTube that shows the process in under two minutes and let the children watch then we did our own studies.
The children made a Mealworm Lifecycle wheel. This is free here: Superteacher Lifecycle Wheel
We also spent a week on rock study. Students brought a rock from home and we conducted a set of tests on them. They were inspected for crystal structures, given a drop of water to observe whether or not they would absorb it or not, given a penny scratch test, heaviness test, magnetic test, and scratched on a plate to see streak color. These results were written in booklets.
I also have kits with the different rock types in them. Students got to see those created by volcanoes and sand.
We also "excavated" gems from a plaster mold. I did not make this it was purchased from Barnes and Noble made by Smithsonian. The children loved it. The gems were very, very small but they did not seem to notice. Every time they found one it was a "diamond"!
This little guy is my new class pet courtesy of Petco and a Pets in the Classroom Grant. It was a very easy process to apply and I got my materials very quickly.
Apply here: http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/
This is my class playing with a STEM kit that I got through a grant in my district. They are experimenting with the incline of the trampoline as well as the different size/weight of the bean bags. This is an expensive kit purchased through Lakeshore.