Category Archives: Our classroom

Mass versus Weight

Our students seems to struggle with the concepts of mass and weight.  In general, people often use the words “mass” and “weight” interchangeably, but these words have different meanings.

Mass refers to the amount of matter in an object, and it does not dependent on gravity; your mass on Earth would be the same on the any other planet or anywhere else in the universe.

Weight is a measurement of the  “heaviness” of an object, or the strength of gravitational pull on that object. Your weight would change between the Earth and any other planet because the gravity is different in these places.  My students are required to memorize the acceleration due to gravity on Earth, 9.8 meters per second squared.

We have several class discussions to help students understand the differences between mass and weight, including units of measurement for each quantity.  My students also liked the explanations on the following website.



Number Line Classroom Décor

Do your students struggle with the concept of scientific notation and metric prefixes? We have constructed a physical number line in our classroom using the metric prefixes associated with scientific notation. We review the concepts of metric prefixes and scientific notation at the beginning of the year but have found that our students do not fully grasp the concepts.


We expect that our students be able to use the prefixes from pico- to tera- in our classroom.

Misconceptions our students have:

  1. Our students think that negative exponents mean its a negative number. Our solution: Zero and One are included in our number line
  2. Our student don’t understand that it is a scale based on the powers of ten.  They don’t grasp that the difference between 10^3 and 10 ^6 is really 1,000. Our solution: Pictures on the number line help students visualize the size difference.
  3. Our students are not familiar with the metric system even though they have been exposed to it.  Our solution: Students start off the year using the number line activity to reinforce the metric system.
  4. Our students are just use to moving the decimal and they do not understand what that actually means.  Our solution: We added the pictures to try to allow the students to visualize the size and scale of the prefixes. We also show the Powers of Ten video to our students.

If you would like to purchase the metric system number line classroom décor, please visit Learning 365 on Teachers Pay Teachers.

How to make your classroom interactive?

How do you make you class more interactive and have the students participating more during class? Here are several tips on making you classroom more interactive that we have found useful in our classroom.
1. Attention grabbing statements and questions to start your class.

We start off the day with our Question of the Day, our hook or bell ringer for that day.  We incorporate current news, video clips, and real world problems into this time to get our students “hooked” about the upcoming lesson.

2. Encourage student participation verbally, written, and electronically

We have various methods that students can participate.  We use whiteboards, calling on students randomly, poll everywhere, or plickers to help encourage student participation.
3. Integrate real world issues and problem solving in to class discussion

Giving students real world problems helps them connect the material from your class to their lives.  We get ideas from online science websites as well as scientific magazines.  Scholastic has different aged magazines depending on the grade level that you teach.

4. Ask higher level questions to students

These can be used as a bell ringer or closure/exit tickets for your students.

5. Partnering/Small work groups on classwork

When we do this sometimes students get to pick their groups and sometimes we assign their groups.  It also helps to assign specific jobs in each group to help the students keep on task.

6. Allow student’s to given feedback on class activities

This can be done at the end of a unit, the end of the grading period, or at the end of a semester.  We use google forms to collect the data, it makes it easier to read as well as easier to organize since it is electronic document.