You’ll actually be throwing “nones” most of the time…
As teachers we have to buy a ton of resources to facilitate and perform aspects of our lessons. And although those expenses can be reimbursed (and can be written off for taxes), that’s often intentionally made to be so difficult and annoying! Those small $5, $10, $15 expenses can add up to be hundreds by the end of the school year – trust me on this, it sucks!
To help save money, time, and effort, here are 5 specific resources that are completely free for teachers to use to help engage students in lessons:
- NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) (https://www.nsta.org/publications/freebies.aspx)
The National Science Teachers Association has resources for everyth
ing a science teacher might need – crazy how that works. There’s a section literally devoted to free stuff for teachers. If you’re not a member THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? Seriously though, entire lesson plans are available to either use or to pick engage/engaging portions from for almost any content area for free. And you can be sure these are high quality!
- PhET Simulations (phet.coloradu.edu)
It seems like everyone knows PhET – the opensource simulation sire from the University of Colorado Coulder. It’s a website with a ton of simulations on nearly every scientific phenomena taught in schools
. Let your students play around with a phenomenon instead of just explaining it to them. My favorite is the plate tectonics simulation (I’m a little biased as an Earth Science person). With this sim you can crash continental plates together and see them form mountains, or watch the Earth’s mantle gobble up an oceanic plate under a continental one. There are dozens of simulations for every kind of science field – and they’re all freeeeeee!
- Teachers Pay Teachers
Don’t put too much credence into the name – not everything on Teachers Pay Teachers costs money. However, if you have some money to blow, then the options really are endless! Here you’re getting/buying resources from other teachers directly – which means they work – and you’re helping support fellow educators! Signing up for their newsletter gets you access to even more free stuff – so do it!
- SciShow (youtube.com/user/scishow)
Okay… I love SciShow a lot. I have to admit, before they separated Crash Course into another channel, they really helped me get through some parts of AP Biology in high school. But not everything is so content focused! A lot of their videos present scientific content, discoveries, and ideas in fun and engaging ways. A couple of my favorites are their videos on some of the most deadly disease and dangerous chemicals, the former of which can be used to introduce bacteria in a biology classroom! (Also Hank is the superior brother).
- Puzzle Prime – Scientific Thought Questions (https://www.puzzleprime.com/category/brain-teasers/science/)
If you’re looking for something not something intrinsically related to content, but rather problem solving and scientific thought in general, check out Puzzle Prime. They have a section of “Brain Teasers” directly related to science and with varying difficulty levels. Throw one or two of these up at the beginning of class to get your students’ brains rolling and into science mode!
For your demonstrations, don’t get caught in the trap of thinking cheap is bad. Convection currents can be modeled in an enthralling way with only food coloring and inertia and momentum by throwing eggs into sheets (and hopefully hitting that sheet target). Don’t spend more money on resources than you did on getting your degree and licensure!