October is one of my favorite months as a teacher! There are just sooooo many different themes you can integrate with your learning objectives. A few that I have done are:
Human body- bones, brain, blood, muscles etc. This is the perfect month to learn about those things and students will think its cool and gross.
Ah I can’t even possibly fit it all in! Well this week I’ve chosen Harry Potter so I wanted to share activities I’m doing.
Herbology- (Study of different plants).
A lot of teachers teach about plants and animals in the Fall. Why not call it “herbology” class just like at Hogwarts. Herbology is the study of magical and mundane plants and fungi, making it the wizarding equivalent to botany. Herbology is a core class taught at Hogwarts in which students learn to care for and utilize plants, learn about their magical properties and what they are used for. Many plants provide ingredients for potions and medicine, while others have magical effects of their own right.
I found some fresh herbs at the store and let students “investigate” them by smelling them, cutting, tasting and drawing. The students made a rubbing of the herb as well and looked up what it can be used for. You could have students identify different parts of the plant depending on the curriculum you’re teaching. You could also look at plant cells under a microscope.
Potions class- (Chemistry)
Potions is a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts. In this class, students learn the correct way to brew potions. They follow specific recipes and use various magical ingredients to create the potions, starting with simple ones and moving to more advanced ones as they progress in knowledge.
Potion 1: Color changing water
I always start off my potions class with this simple but amazing demonstration from The Imagination Tree. Use red cabbage water, vinegar and baking soda to “magically” change the water color right before students eyes!
Potion 2: The Burning Snake
- Powdered sugar (or grind table sugar in a coffee grinder)
- Baking soda
- High-proof alcohol, rubbing alcohol, fuel oil (Use something that will burn hot. We used rubbing alcohol.)
- Heat-resistant bowl or pan
- Matches or gas firestarter
In your plastic cup (Small Cauldron), mix:
- 4 parts powdered sugar
- 1 part baking soda
We used 4 teaspoons sugar: 1 teaspoon baking soda
Set the powdered mixture aside.
In your large Pyrex or metal bowl/pan (Fireproof Cauldron):
Flip the cauldron (cup) full of powdered mixture over in the bottom of your heat-resistant mixing bowl or pan. It’s like making a sand castle. Leave the cup in place.
Add Dragon Drool (alcohol or fuel) to bowl. Stop when the bottom of the bowl is covered. The more you add, the longer you’ll have to wait for your fire to burn out.
Lift the cup away carefully. You want to keep the powder dry, so try not to let it spread out into the fuel.
Have an adult ignite the fuel using a firestarter or match and stand back. We just dropped the match in and let it burn along with the alcohol.
Never add more fuel to the burning snake. You risk igniting the alcohol stream. This potion will probably burn longer than you expect. Ours kept going for several minutes. Keep careful watch on it!
At first, you’ll see a flame and some small black balls. Then, if you’re lucky…
Caution: The bowl will be hot. Don’t let little fingers (or big ones) touch it. And be sure to let the bowl cool completely before you rinse it.
You can do all sorts of mixtures and talk with your students about why you get different reactions. Depending on the students age, you can identify if the potion is a mixture or solution. You can discuss types of chemical changes. So many possibilities.
At the end of the potion class I like to let students make their own potions with some common ingredients I relabel. They absolutely love this!
Potion 3: Invisible Ink (lemon juice)
Students can use lemon juice and a q-tip to write out words on white paper. Then, carefully hold the paper over a heat source and reveal the hidden writing.
Read about color-changing invisible ink here!
Next, let students make their own potions. I gathered common ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, corn syrup, maple syrup, and glitter. Then, I renamed the ingredients using these awesome free printable labels. Students were able to mix whatever they wanted, write down the recipe and tell us all what the potion could be used for.
- Develop a way for Hogwarts students to cross the Black Lake instead of by boat. I’ve had students design special shoes that let them bounce over or walk on the lake.
2. Build a wand (from easypeasyandfun)
3. Build a broomstick
4. Golden snitch catapults (from science-sparks)
5. Build a marble run similar to the Gringots track
6. How fast can you build a spider web out of dental floss or yarn like in the Forbidden Forest?
Well I hope you feel inspired to integrate some fun things in your lessons this week!
Check out other themed posts here: