Cost-Effective Engagement for Young Scientists

There’s many benefits that come out of keeping your students engaged, such as an increase in attention and focus, higher motivation to practice critical thinking skills, and encourages a significant learning experience. However, keeping your students engaged doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg– I’m here to give you 5 ways to engage your students in a cost-effective way!

5 Ways to Engage in a Cost-Effective Way

1. Demonstrations

Demos are important for teachers to do in their classrooms because it’s able to provide students with experiences of real events, phenomenas and processes, which in turn, will help them to learn. The best part about demos is that they don’t have to be expensive! There are many affordable ways to be able to demo for your class. One website that I would highly recommend would be Science Bob. Science Bob provides many different experiments that can be done as demos, that are cost-effects, that for the most part, only require items that you already own!

The video above is on YouTube from Science Bob, on the “Soap-Powered Model Boat“– this video is an example of one demo that can be done that is cost-effective and with household items! There are many other videos and experiments on Science Bob like such.

2. Video Clips

There’s many ways that video clips are able to help students engagement, and of of the best parts is that it’s free! Some of the ways that is helps engage, according to BoClips, is that it:

  1. Reinforces teachings– by using video clips, you should expect better cognitive and affective learning from your students to help better reiterate your lessons.
  2. Improves the engagement of students– 92% of students say that video clips have a positive impact on their education (Kaltura 2018); students that are more engaged often retain more information.
  3. Develops a common base of classroom knowledge for discussion– video clips are good way to start a guided discussion, or a way to start group work on what the video pertains to.
  4. Enhances student comprehension– video clips give students the opportunity to take in and understand information through a medium tailored to the individual understanding.

3. Games

There’s many ways to use games in a cost-friendly way while still getting your students engaged. One source to give you some ideas is called The Sourcebook for Teaching Science. This website provides game ideas such as jeopardy, taboo, bingo, pictionary, 20 questions, and some others! Each one you would be able to tailor to your class or make it on your own. Games can be extremely engaging to students, as it provides sensory experience. It’s also a great way to actively engage students and grab their attention quick!

4. Brain Teasers

Brain teasers are a great way to start your class to get the minds of your students warmed up and thinking! Some of the benefits of doing brain teasers would be that overall, it boosts brain activity, increases memory power, and it also reduces the risk of, and slows the decline of dementia. Brain teasers are good for your students because it exercises their minds to be alert and active. In addition, it improves concentration, sharpen’s the brain processing power, and lowers stress. Braingle is a website the provides many science brain teasers, along with other subjects too!

Science requires an engagement with the world, a live encounter between the knower and the known.

-Parker J. Palmer

5. Readings

Some ideas with readings that will help keep students engaged is before reading, during reading, and after reading. Here is how each of these are helpful when getting your students engaged:

  • Before reading– helps activate students’ prior knowledge, teachers are able to ask what they may already know, which will help prepare them for what they’re about to learn. However, the biggest idea from “before reading” is to help students use what they know already.
  • During reading– the key idea is to have students reflect and keep track of their own comprehension. Reading slowly and re-reading can be extremely beneficial. “During reading” can also help clear up and answer questions and predictions made before reading.
  • After reading– when students follow through with what they’ve learned, it helps them to process what they’ve learned and their comprehension. “After reading” can also show how the students understandings have changed from the “before reading.” discussing in small groups or writing prompt will also help.


  1. Hi Emilia! I think if you want your students to read what you’re assigning, you have to be smart about it and have some type of strategy that will make them want to read and in a useful/helpful way!

  2. Hi Josie! Thank you for sharing such awesome ideas!! One that you mentioned really stuck with me because it is one I did not think of – games. Games can be so beneficial in classrooms, especially at the high school level when trying to keep students engaged! I will definitely reference the link you shared about science games for students in my future classroom.

  3. Josie,
    I really like your idea for the games because, at least for me, I always got very competitive about the games we played in the classroom so this can drive students to create a better understanding so they can perform better in the game. Nice job on your post!

  4. Hi Josie,

    I really like your suggestions on how to keep science engaging on a budget and I plan on utilizing all of these resources in my future classroom. In regards to your 5th point in your blog, do you have some recommendations on what I should have my students read alongside these reading strategies?

  5. Hi Josie!
    Thanks for sharing your ideas in this blog…it was really helpful to me that you took the time to elaborate on each of your five recommendations especially with respect to assigning students readings. You are absolutely correct–if you tell students something or have them read something passively, they will soon forget. Using reading strategies that get students to engage and interact with the information that they are reading will help them to assimilate new concepts and more efficient learners all around.

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