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Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  

After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definition of the word based on its context. They also had to identify the context clue. Some of the words were:  incessant, pandemonium, terrorize, epidemic, and exasperated.  Once they finished, we had a discussion about the words. For example, I asked them, "What are some things that make your parents feel exasperated?"  They love sharing! Afterwards, we watched a four minute video of some amazing bottle flippers (they loved the talented toddler)!

Next, we marked the text.  As we read, I pointed out  and asked questions regarding the author's strategies. The students made notes in the margins.  For example," How did the author begin the article and was it effective?"  The first article began with "Gurgle, Thud, Crunch."  One of my students yelled excitedly, "That's onomatopoeia!"  The class agreed that this was a good way to begin because it describes the sounds of bottle flipping.

After that, I gave the kids a break by having a bottle flipping contest.  Each student got 10 tries.   I gave prizes to the top three flippers.  The girls, most of whom had never attempted bottle flipping, gave it a try, as well.  I think the girls and I both have a new appreciation of the art of bottle flipping.  I told the winners that this would likely be the only time at school that they would be rewarded for this skill.

Friday we will read a second article on the topic.  We will compare the text structures, as well as the types of details and support used in each article!

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