Engage in School: How to Hook ’em and Reel ’em In

Anyone who’s ever set foot in a classroom to try and teach students knows that one of the most challenging parts of teaching can be getting your students engaged. But what if it didn’t have to be so challenging?

By using the 5E Learning Cycle approach, you know you are giving your students a quality approach to learning, but how can you really make sure that the engage part is amazing? Below are 5 ways to hook your students and get them interested in the material.

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1. Demonstrations

By actively showing the students something that they probably don’t understand, but will be learning about, the students become engaged in the process. These can be demos such as elephant toothpaste, density simulation with different substances, or anything that is eye-catching and exciting.

This article has a lot of examples of cool demos you could do to engage your students in the material.


Image result for elephant toothpaste

2. Videos

Since it’s not possible to demonstrate many concepts in science simply because of how intricate and sometimes dangerous science can be, videos can be a great resource too!

This video is a good introduction to ecosystems and how life is all inter-related. It provides a relevant example and does so in an interesting way. This could really grab kids attention.

3. Simulations

Simulations are a great way to get kids interested in how something works. They don’t need to understand exactly what is happening yet, they just need to see that something may be happening because of what they do in the simulation.

For example, this simulation shows how proteins are made from DNA. You need to place key players in the correct location for the gene to be transcribed and translated. The student does not need a ton of prior knowledge about this process to be successful in this simulation.


Image result for phet simulation gene

4. Songs

Songs are a helpful tool to introduce topics in a non-threatening and entertaining way. They are also helpful because they can help students to remember information in a fun way instead of just memorizing what they think they need to know.

Songs can also help you to connect with the culture of your students and make connections to things outside of the classroom.


5. Brain Busters

Brain busters can get your students thinking and engaged with both each other and concepts related to what you may be teaching. This gives students time to talk and get ready for class while also actually using their critical thinking skills to solve a problem.

Some can be found here: http://www.oneminutemysteries.com/samplechapters.pdf 

Keeping It Affordable

Almost all of these suggestions are free or come at a very low cost. Keeping kids engaged is not something that should break the bank — for you or your school.

This website shows a lot of cool experiments you can do even at home without having to purchase expensive chemicals! How cool!



  1. Margaux, I loved the video on the wolves in Yellowstone National Park. I already had some background knowledge on the topic, just as students might have, but even from that short video that was less than 5 minutes long, I felt like I learned so much and it drove my curiosity on the topic up. Allowing students to see what is happening when it is being explained to them would help a lot of students process new information and keep them engaged! I also thought the Despacito cover was so catchy and the DNA song was so goofy they can both get students smiling and learning. Great job!

  2. Margaux,

    I really enjoyed your blog post! You provided many great ways to engage your students! I opened up your link for the Brain Busters, and it was a cute arrangements of different riddles for students to solve. I think that can be very useful for students to fuel their brain and start the class off on the right foot. My favorite resource you gave was the songs! Music is an amazing way for all of us to learn new concepts, especially if it’s funny or catchy. When you’re in classrooms, which of these do you think will be most helpful?


    • Thanks Michael! I totally agree that music can help us to learn new concepts! It’s much easier to remember things in a catchy song than from a textbook. I think when in the classroom, using a variety of different engaging things is crucial so that the students are always interested. I think demos are probably the most engaging because students can see things happening in real life, but all of these should probably be used often.

  3. Margaux, I really enjoyed reading your blog!!
    I didn’t even think of songs as being a way to engage students, I love that idea! Your examples of these songs drew me in, so I can’t imagine what it would do for students! Simulations are also a great idea. Do you think it would be more beneficial if you did one single simulation on the board and ask the students for help, or have each student (if possible) use an individual Chromebook and have them do the simulations on their own?I am also a fan of the link to the website you included at the end of your blog! It’s a great resource!

    • Thanks Katie! I’m glad you enjoyed the songs 🙂 I think that with simulations it depends on the material, but if students can discover the information on their own instead of just watching the teacher do it, that would be more beneficial to them. Thanks again!

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