Engage in the Science Classroom (on a budget!)

As an aspiring teacher, one of the things that weighs most heavily on my mind is how I will be able to keep my students interested. Keeping students engaged and attentive has been been a concern of teachers since the start of education. As time and technology change, teachers need to be able to change and adapt with it. A lot of the time, this can come with an added cost in the classroom as well, for example, the advancement of smart boards or laptops in classrooms. Keeping up with the times is an important aspect for teachers to keep their students engaged, but how can we do this in a cost effective manner? In this post I will outline 5 different FREE resources that science teachers can use in their classrooms to keep their students informed AND interested!

1. Brain Teasers, Riddles, and Warm Ups!

To help get students in the mood to learn and participate, teachers can start their class off with a fun brain teaser, riddle, or other kind of warm up! These warm ups can be related to science or the specific topic that is being covered in class. Many of my classes have used warm up techniques like this, for example, creating a class playlist, Friday science jokes, and brain teasers have all been used to warm us up and make us more excited for class! I really like this engagement technique because it not only eases students into the lesson for the day, but it also makes them feel more comfortable to participate in class as well! Participation is a huge aspect of engagement and how much the students will take away from the lesson.

2. Free Science Apps!

There are so many different apps that students can utilize to help them stay engaged in class. There’s the obvious Kahoot and Quizlet apps, but there are also so many that can be used during class that will help keep students’ attention. One app that I’d particularly like to mention is the app Zooniverse. It is an app powered by volunteers who create a large database of all different topics for students to use as a research medium. It will allow students to relate what they are learning to real world issues that are occurring and figure out how curriculum affects their daily lives. Zooniverse is a great resource for individual research, group projects, web-searches, and more!

3. Homemade Games!

No matter what age level, all students seem to respond well to playing games in the class room. In a science classroom, there are so many different opportunities for games that many people don’t realize! One of my personal favorite ideas is playing a Periodic Table Guess Who or Battleship game; students use the elements of the periodic table and their knowledge about the properties of these elements to play a game of “Guess Who” to determine which element another classmate has chosen. This is just one example of many of the fun science-related games that can be utilized in the classroom. No matter the level, there is always a fun game that can relate to the content being taught!

4. Demonstrations/Home Experiments

Demonstrations and experiments are also great ways to keep students interested in what they are learning. Especially in times like these with the global pandemic stealing some of the hands-on activities allowed in the classrooms, demonstrations and at-home experiments are great resources to allow students to still get that hands-on feel with out their hands having to touch anything in class! Demonstrations in the science classroom are so helpful to help students visually see the things they are learning about; they also have a way of sticking with students! I will always remember when we were learning about exothermic reactions in AP Chemistry and my teacher did a demonstration in class where she lit methane soap bubbles on fire in the palm of her hand! Demonstrations are an important way in which teachers can engage their students if done correctly. At home experiments are also effective in helping hands-on learners. If students are given instructions on an easy experiment to perform at home and then prompted to communicate their results with others, this is activity is a much more engaging activity for students rather than just reading about a particular subject.

5. Memes!

Science memes are another fantastic way to relate to students and keep them engaged. Everyone loves memes! In one of my past classes, my Biology teacher offered extra credit if we created our own memes that relate to the particular unit we were on. She would print all of them out and put them on her walls in the classroom; her whole classroom was covered in biology memes! It is such a fun and exciting way to engage students. It allows them to show what they know about a particular subject that they are learning and create a twist on it! Students are able to show a bit of their humor while still learning the content necessary.


  1. Hi Lauren! I love your post– it’s so fun and colorful, very eye catching! You offered so many great ideas, I think my favorite was the memes, that’s one that I had not thought of and I love it! It’s such a good and creative way to grab the attention of students, especially with how popular memes have been in recent years. Well done! 🙂

  2. Hi Lauren! Thank you for sharing such a great blog post! The ideas you posed are definitely engaging and will be awesome to use with our future students. One that I really like was the idea of memes! Memes are extremely relevant to students nowadays and I think they would be a great way to engage students.

  3. Lauren,
    Nice job! I especially like your idea of bringing memes into the classroom. I think it not only brings some helpful humor into the class, but it also offers students the opportunity to check their understand if you decide to have them make their own! I also love the idea of the periodic table battleship because that also offers students the opportunity to test their knowledge if, for example, they can’t say the abbreviation only the full name, so it can help them remember which symbol goes with the name. These all sound like fantastic ideas!

  4. Hi Lauren,

    I really liked this post! From the colorful formatting to the content, everything was so well done. I wonder if you have also considered the use of movies, YouTube videos, etc. as engaging content for your students to spark thoughtful discussion. Do you see yourself using those kinds of resources in your future classroom?

  5. Lauren,
    That cat at the bottom of your blog is quite HISSterical 🙂
    I also liked that you mentioned that the pandemic can hinder many activities, especially hands-on ones where students are close to each other. The idea that you proposed about creating accessible at-home labs is such a wonderful idea! This takes the engage portion and moves it from a classroom experience and allows students to get engaged in science in different settings. Your idea about homemade games is something I have never thought about. What types of games would you like to make?

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