02 August 2015

First Day Tried & True Linky Party

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Good morning. I'm so happy to be participating in this blog hop. The first day of school will be here before we know it and I can't wait.

The first day of school can be tricky, but I've learned a few things to do on that first day that will get the students thinking! Enter: The Black Box Experiment.

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When I did my student teaching some years ago, my mentor and I planned our first day out completely. One thing he did was the black box experiment. When I began my 2nd year teaching, I did this experiment with my 2nd graders. I filled a regular pencil boxes (the same you can get at the store for $0.50 to a $1 right now) with everyday school items. Mostly just some things we found around the classroom. Then I closed it and wrapped it in black bulletin board paper.

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On the first day of school during science time, I pulled out the boxes. I had made about 3 to 5 boxes (enough for each table). I didn't tell the students what was in it. They had to use their senses to figure out what was in the box. It was a great experience for them and for me as well.

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When I did it with my mentor, we simpy had the students write about it. When I did it with my 2nd graders, I created a worksheet where they could draw what they thought was in the box and write down their reasons. At the end of the day, I used their drawings and posted them on my bulleting board.

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The answers they gave were funny while others were spot on (I think everyone knows the sound of a coin). You can gain some insight into their thinking as well as get a sample of their writing and drawing. I remember one student thought there were cards in the boxes. Another thought there was a toy elephant inside!

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Through the school year, I made references to that experiment, especially for my struggling students (making the analogy that even though we don't know something, eventually we will figure it out aka open the box). At the end of the year, we opened the boxes and the students were surprised at what it was. Some were happy while others were disappointed. Next time, I plan to put small 2nd grade promotion certificates and small prizes inside the boxes! If you'd like to try this experiment in your classroom, you can purchase this set in my TPT Store. It gives you more details and plans out the entire lesson from start to finish.

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Have a happy first day of school! Don't forget to check out other great first day activities!


  1. I love this idea. I bet the kids found it fun and suspenseful! I'm happy to have participated in the blog hop with you. :) Jodi from The Clutter-Free Classroom {www.CFClassroom.com}

  2. What a neat idea! I'm sure the kids just love this. Thanks for sharing - Angela from Mrs. Willyerd's Virtual Classroom

  3. I have done this same experiment in 5th grade, but I call it the science inquiry experiment. Black box has a much nicer ring to it though!! Thanks for sharing!

    The Whimsical Teacher

  4. You save the Black Box for the entire year? What suspense! Love it!! Fantastic activity!
    Tricia from "Tricia's Terrific Teaching Trinkets"

    1. Yup! Not until the last day. The students will constantly remind you about the box too!

  5. Hi Chandra! Your blog is adorable and I love the black box experiment idea! There is no way my kids could wait until the end of the year. Actually, I'm probably the one who would have the hardest time waiting. Ha ha! I might give this a try. Now, what to put in the box. Hmmm.
    Undercover Classroom

  6. I love your black box experiment idea! What a fun way to introduce observation! Some of my students would try to open that box before the end of the year! I'm going to give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Education Electrification



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