Science Teaching Tips 6 to 10

Teaching Idea

An Activity File for Science
Barry, 4th Grade Teacher: Sacramento, CA

"Create a file that includes activities that can be used to teach science lessons. The file can be divided into topics that need to be covered. The file can also include the different types of activities that can be used to teach science such as ideas for bulletin boards, science fair projects, learning centers, games, problem solving skills, role of gender and various cultures in science, career possibilities, and computer programs, etc. Concrete materials for concept development and process development can also be filed separately."

Teaching Idea

Making Candles For The Holidays
Tim Russell, 10th Grade: Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)

Around the holidays it is great to make something that ties into the curriculum and the season. I like to make candles with my students. I usually send a letter home asking for $2.00 per student for supplies. That allows me to purchase about 100 pounds of paraffin.

Teaching Idea

Kim Simsyer, 4th Grade Teacher: Michigan

"When I need a filler, I play Scattegories with my students using the content they learned that week. For example, I give them a letter, let's say B, and then I list things like outer space, animals, lab equipment, scientists, inventions, and then they have to name one that starts with the letter "B". Then we go through everybody's answers and those students that have a correct answer that no one else has get a point. We add up the points and give away prizes to the winners. It works great, but sometimes you need more time to declare a winner."

Teaching Idea

"Teach About Weather and Meet the Standards"
Teacher Grades K-6

"A good way to teach about weather is to use a weather forecast resource such as the one offered on The resource, located on the home page, provides weather information for the United States, Canada, and International regions. The site offers a great map that can be used to teach regional forecasts and with a simple click on any region, students are brought to any specific location of choice. You can use this to reinforce charting and graphing of weather trends for any given region, conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius, or for comparing and contrasting weather patterns depending on location. These type of sites also provide radar summaries, ultraviolet index exposure levels, and other features that can be used to teach environmental awareness."

Teaching Idea

"What Planet Am I From?"
Teresa, 4th Grade Teacher

"This game requires students to be in groups of nine. Within each group, each child is labeled a different Planet. In each corner of the room, draw a Sun in the center and circles for each planet. Make each child stand in his/her circle according to his planetary position. I usually use masking tape for this.

Once I have two or more groups set up, I start the game. The teacher describes one of the planets. If the teacher is describing Mars, then which ever student who is Mars that steps out of the setup first is the winner. If a student stands out of alignment incorrectly, they must also leave the planetary alignment. Students who lose must get out of the planetary alignment. We play until one planet is left. I usually give prizes to the whole group."

Teaching Idea

"Bone Activity"
Katie- 6, 7, 8th Grade Teacher-Math/Science/Health

"Have you ever had trouble in Health or Science class with students trying to memorize the different names of bones? To make it a bit easier and fun, give each student or each group of 2 a long piece of masking tape. Have them rip them into 8 pieces (or as many bones as your working with to memorize) and then right the 8 bone structures like hip bone, femur and so on. Then, they place the tape on their body where the bone is at. For example, I would place the hip bone label on my hip. If they are working in groups of 2, they can label 4 on their partner and the other partner could label 4 on them. Students really love this activity. You can also use this activity for other body systems. Have fun!!! "

Teaching Idea

"Layers of Planet Earth"
Sarah M., Grade 7 & 8 Science Teacher

"To teach a child the layers of Earth is a difficult task, he/she can not imagine what we are describing. So I took an apple and cut it in half. Wow! Every part we want to describe is in that apple. Starting from the core moving upward to the apples skin which, represents the earths crust. It even led them to draw the layers. They are reminded of the Earth's layers each time they have an apple. Try it! It works!"

Teaching Idea

"The Force of Plants"
Anas Najim: Science and Biology Teacher

"As a Science Day project the student were interested in the idea of how plants are strong enough to grow through concrete tiles?

To show this, we placed some beans in four jars, kept them wet. Covered each with a small piece of wood and placed different weights on each jar starting from 50 grams to 1 kilogram. In a few days the beans started growing and bang ...the weights started falling off as the strength of the plants toppled of the weights and the project students were astonished to see what force do plants have in weight lifting. The students won the first prize."

Teaching Idea

"Get'em Moving!"
Mike Hassleback, Science Teacher

"As a middle level teacher, I am always trying to teach concepts that involve sequence. I find when I physically involve students in the learning process, I have great success.

A simple example is when I review the order of the planets. I ask for 10 volunteers. 9 students receive a planet's name and the remaining student is the sun. The student representing the sun is given a large spot light to hold in the middle of the room. The planets then revolve around the sun.

We then take it a step further and involve their math teacher to determine the exact distance each student must stand from the sun exactly to scale based on the size of the walking diameter of the room. Later, we add the moons of each planet and involve all the students in the class. If we have extra students, we add comets.

I find that with type of activity students really become engaged."

Teaching Idea

"Watch Them Grow"
Kelly, Elementary Teacher

"Every spring I have my students grow small plants in my classroom. I provide students with all the needed materials. We have a contest to see which group of students can grow the largest plant. I give students 15 minutes at the beginning and end of the school day to care for their plants.

I usually start this activity 30 days prior to starting my plant unit as a discovery lesson. It really helps to engage them in the unit.

One thing that I have learned is to make sure to schedule this activity when you do not have long breaks off of school."