Engagement That Won’t Leave a Hole in Your Pockets

As future teachers we strive to provide our students with lessons and knowledge that will stay with them for years to come. We know that the best way to accomplish this is not through standing at the front of the class and pointing at a projection while students scribble down notes. Unfortunately, we also know that other methods cost a pretty coin and the salary of a teacher isn’t very deep. Therefore as teachers we must come up with methods that don’t take away our eating money.

Arizona schools putting more money into the classroom for the first time in  years | Local news | tucson.com

1. PhET Simulations

PhET is a free online simulation that focuses on displaying examples of various science and math concepts. It is provided for by the University of Colorado Boulder and includes over 158 simulations that can be utilized by students with the classroom or on their own at home. The programs allow various scenarios that allows the viewer to control and change different variables, to which it displays the outcome. Follow the link below to arrive in a simulation that allows students to play with variables to understand how mass and volume are connected to keep objects afloat!


This and other simulations can easily be found to make your classroom more engaging just follow the link below!


6 things that could reveal success of your child's classroom
Soon your classroom could look like this!

2. Youtube

Everyone knows about youtube. We fill our days with funny videos of cats, clips of our favorite youtube stars, or to listen to our favorite fan theories. No one ever stops to think about all the educational videos that lie wherein. Plenty of creators seek fame on the internet and some even try to teach you while they’re doing it.

As seen above Hank Green is a youtube content creator with a channel titled crash course that strives to help people gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. While Hank is busy putting out content you can gain access to other creators that upload old school videos of everyone’s favorite, Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Videos like these can be found all over youtube that can help our students master their understanding of educational topics.

3. Virtual Tours

Something that teachers may not consider are virtual tours! No need to send home permission slips and make sure everyone has their packed lunch. With these tours you can take students to the southern reaches of Alaska in Katmai National Park or over to the Statue of Liberty.

A bear sow and her cubs swimming in a river

There’s plenty of places that you can visit straight from your classroom with the simple push of this link: https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/take-virtual-visit-national-park

4. Recycling

Teachers may recycle their lesson plans from year to year, but now they can get their students in on the action by bringing in discarded items from home to put towards those lessons. By bringing in items that have no further use we can teach students the importance of recycling while giving them the opportunity to build some cool things. That’s exactly what the website little bins little hands helps accomplish. They have activities related to art or stem while even making them seasonal focused.

Recycled STEM activities and challenges for kids! Fun ways to use recycled items to come up with STEM activities you can do at home. Perfect for Earth Day STEM challenges. Have your kids design and engineer their own ideas from the recycling bin or from old items you have laying around the house. Little inventors will love STEM activities with cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, and odd parts. Set up an inventors box, put together a STEM kit or tinker tray filled with reusable STEM items for the young engineer.

Find their website here: https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/recycled-stem-activities-challenges-for-kids/

5. Podcasts

Now we all know that everyone enjoys music and with one of the top websites being Spotify, there can be a way to reach students on a fun and engaging level. Podcasts allow opportunities for students to broaden their scientific vocabulary and get them involved with current events going on in the scientific community. As stated there are plenty of podcasts out there such as Startalk with Neil de Grasse Tyson, 60-Second Science, and Stuff to Blow Your Mind on iheart.com. These are all great examples of activities you could do with your students to get them engaged in the classroom. While another great site that connects science in the classroom to current events would be Scientific American where they not only have podcasts but also amazing articles about the ongoings of the scientific world. Check out the links below!




These are wonderful ways to keep your students engaged in the classroom without breaking the bank. Don’t be afraid to search for your own low cost activities and find your favorite podcasts today!


  1. Hey Anthony,
    Great job and solid post! I think the options you brought up were strong and definitely useful. The virtual tours were one that I have not thought about before but are an effective way to allow students to explore science. I think it’s important that we present as many opportunities as we can for our students as this is an alternative form that could aid in participation. A question I have for you is where is one place you would want to virtually tour with your class?
    Great job!

  2. Hi Anthony!
    I really liked your ideas about recycling and podcasts, I thought that they were unique ideas that are simple, yet cost effective. Podcasts would provide students with a different form of engaging with science news, current events, and would help connect concepts they’re learning about to the real world, which is so important in the classroom! I also think that through recycling, you would have the opportunity to teach students about sustainability too. How do you think you could incorporate recycling into chemistry activities or labs? How could you teach students to be efficient with their lab materials and recycling their waste?

  3. Hi Anthony! I really enjoyed reading your blog post, you had many good ideas that I had not heard of before. Taking your class on virtual tours is a great idea, because you can travel the country or the world without leaving your classroom. Recycling materials is also a great idea, because this allows you to do science experiments and demonstrations very cheaply. Also podcasts is another great way to get your students engaged. Great post!

  4. Hi Anthony!
    I thought your ideas for engaging students were great! I appreciate how there was a lot of different mediums of engagement that you brought up, from watching a video, to listening to something, and to physically creating something with recycled materials. I thought your idea about the virtual tours was a great one that I didn’t even know existed! Definitely something I would consider using. I also really liked the podcast idea; do you think students would buy in to making their own podcasts about scientific topics, like we did in EDT421?

  5. Anthony,

    I loved your pHET simulator suggestion, I totally forgot about it when writing my post, but I love them. I used them all the time in high school and my field placement did too! I find them really helpful for visualizing concepts that cannot always be seen, like the movement of electrons through circuits! Do you have a simulation you really like or would use in your future classroom?

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