Educators often need help finding cheap resources and ideas to truly engage their students. MOST teachers are expected to buy lab supplies for their classrooms, which can become pricey. Within this blog, there are several free or cheap resources available to science educators: 

Brain Busters: 

Brain busters are a great start to any class! They create an engaging start to the period and can even incorporate the course subject. Get your student’s minds flowing and pique their curiosity. 

Here is an example: 

How can you throw a ball as hard as you can and have it come back to you, even if it doesn’t bounce off anything? There is nothing attached to it, and no one else catches or throws it back to you. 

The answer?

Throw the ball up in the air.

Find more here ->


Demos are an easy way to get students engaged in a course subject. Make sure your demos are interesting and make the students ask questions. These can be done with cheap materials with some links provided below! 

Capillary Action Experiment

  1. Use 7 glasses (or beakers) and only fill four with water. Line them up with an empty glass in between each full one. 
  2. Dye the water in the glasses in four different colors using food coloring or food gel. 
  3. Fold paper towels into long tube-like shapes and fold them. 
  4. Place the paper towel fold in between two cups and watch the capillary action take place! 

All of these materials can be found at home, or are very cheap. You can adapt this easily to correlate with plant life or cells ->

More demo ideas:

Science Films: 

Movies are an awesome way to connect students to a subject and catch their attention. You can gauge attention during movies by making handouts with questions. The best way to justify your students watching a film for the class is to connect the film with state standards!

Home Alone (original): Incorporates Physics through topics like projectile motion, tension, and inertia. Great for around the holiday break! 

My Octopus Teacher: This is available on Netflix currently and is a great resource! It gives insight into biology, reproduction, and the food web. 

Apollo 13: Incorporates engineering, space exploration, space physics, and the scientific method. This movie may demonstrate the nature of science which is a standard for science education.

Virtual Field Trips: 

Jelly Fish Cam: ->

  • Great for learning about phyla and the animal kingdom. 
  • Can prompt students to ask questions about the development of jellyfish. 
  • Why do jellyfish have the traits they have? (Prompts student research). 

Agriculture Exploration Cam: ->

  • Engineering in modern science. 
  • GMOS and their space in agriculture. 
  • Waste produced by farms and pollution produced from farms. 
  • Gets students asking questions about where their food comes from. 

Volcano Cam: -> 

  • Can be incorporated into plate tectonics. 
  • Demonstrates how volcanic activity functions and how it can form islands such as Hawaii. 

Free Virtual Labs:

Free virtual labs are awesome resources for educators to engage their students without buying pricey materials. Students can get hands-on experience while being able to get creative without wasting materials. Below are some awesome resources: 

Circuit Construction Kit: DC – Virtual Lab: 

  • Engages students with series and parallel circuits.
  • Explore conductors and insulators. 
  • Helps students be hands-on with circuits in physics without spending money on buying equipment. Engages students by allowing them to actively explore the content. 

Acid-Base Solutions Virtual Lab:

  • Students explore acid and base strength through solution concentration. 
  • Limits mess, material costs, and can be engaging for students as a regular lab would. 
  • Teaches pH by making solutions and using concentration measurements. 

Gene Expression Essentials Virtual Lab:

  • Enages students by having them reenact the sequence of protein synthesis. 
  • Students can ask questions and develop answers via the virtual lab by adding or subtracting biomolecules. 
  • Gives students an up-close view of protein synthesis. 


With the development of the internet, the resources for teachers have grown substantially. As listed above, these resources are readily available and FREE! There are so many great opportunities for educators to get ideas for engaging classroom content such as brain busters and virtual field trips. 
Feel free to dig further into the resources provided above to find even more ideas for engaging your students. There are also plenty of paid resources that provide free trials such as Teachers Pay Teachers. Subscriptions to the National Science Teaching Association also provide many resources and magazines for educators for a subscription fee. 
Stay open to utilizing the resources available to you as a science teacher, the world is ever-changing and so are your students! 


  1. Hi Katie, this post was super informative and well formatted! I especially liked the idea of using virtual labs in a science classroom. What strategies would you recommend for keeping students engaged during virtual labs or field trips?

    • Hello, I would recommend using a discussion-based worksheet to guide students through the field trip. This keeps the students on the topic but also insures they are making the connections. Thank you for the comment!

  2. Hi Katie! I love the title you chose for your blog post, it’s attention grabbing! I also completely agree with your tweet! The capillary action experiment is super cool and I can see students really enjoying this demo because of the fun colors. It’s a great demo to use in the engage stage of the 5E Learning Cycle because it engages students in a way that pushes them to form questions and promotes wondering. Of the resources you have provided above, which one did you personally find most interesting and are excited to use in the classroom?

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I am most excited to use the virtual labs because of the accessibility and no waste of materials. These are especially great for educators who pay for their own supplies.

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