Play-Doh in 4th Grade? Yes, please!

I know I have work to do when I mention science and students groan. Whaaaat?! Who doesn't love science? Solution? Play-Doh! Linking up today with Laura over at A Grace-Filled Classroom for Classroom Ideas.
One of our fourth grade Earth's Systems NGSS standard (4-ESS2-1) is to make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.  Since my husband and I are BIG National Parks fans, we try to visit them and get out into nature as often as we can! (And I'm sure you know that 2016 is the centennial of the national parks so all fourth graders & their families are FREE!! However, fourth grade teachers are not free. . . sigh. . .)

Anyway, landforms and the effects of weathering and erosion is SO cool to see in person. I never get tired of looking at majestic mountains,  hiking through deep canyons or being awed by natural landforms. Since I take A LOT of photos, I put them altogether in a powerpoint to show my kids. Many of them have never been to a national park, and their mouths dropped open when I showed them the pictures. This evolved into my Landforms Photo File, which includes all the teaching points to go along with the pictures. (This is my cheat sheet as I teach!) Click on the photo below to learn more.
But looking at pictures is not enough; I wish my kids could experience the landforms, as well. In comes the Play-Doh. (The Dollar Tree had 4 packs for a dollar.) As we learned about each landform, students worked in partners to build, mold, roll, pinch, and shape the landforms.
 They LOVED working with the Play-Doh & it doesn't stick to the desk or stain hands. Easy clean up and rapt attention!

Now they beg to take out the Play-Doh! It works well to keep hands busy during any lesson & perfect for your tactile learners. Sometimes during or after read aloud, students use the Play-Doh to create the scene/setting we just read or they build their interpretation of a character. Play-Doh is not just for pre-school! How do you keep students engaged? I'd love to hear your tips! Head on over to the blogs below for more classroom ideas to start your year!

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