Engaging Students – Bringing Life to the Classroom

When it comes to a classroom, the proposition of it being dull is an undesirable definition. Teachers constantly strive to create an environment that both stimulates learning while also breathing life into the students who pass through the door every day. However, how can teachers create this sort of atmosphere in their classes without any fancy gimmicks and over-the-top spending?

Kicking the Class off with a Bang

While it can be tempting to dive right into the material for the day, creating a time for students to decompress from rigorous material at the start of class can help lead to engagement for the rest of the period. This could be a question that the class must work together to answer in the form of a puzzle or it could be a routine method on a day of the week. As an example, I had a teacher who would a lot a portion of the time at the beginning of class on Friday when students could ask him a question about anything. This led to students creating a list of questions that they were prepared to ask if their name was called during this time.


Demonstrations offer many different benefits for a class at the cost of losing student autonomy. However, this can be rectified through student involvement throughout the demo. In addition to this, a teacher conducting a demonstration should explain processes and ask questions about observable phenomena.

Pros for Demos

  • Only need to run one per class – which lessens the cost
  • Can perform more ‘dangerous’ actions since it is led by the teacher
  • All the focus is in one place


The implementation of videos for introducing and grabbing the attention of students to different topics should not be underestimated. Many talented individuals have posted information on sites like YouTube that can draw attention to a subject and create immense interest. In addition to this, many different videos are formatted to grab attention and keep it. As an example, there is a channel called TierZoo that goes through the biological traits of many different living organisms and creates a video ranking their survival capabilities in the frame of a video game.

Example video from TierZoo.

Problem. Solution?

Problem-solving is an important skill that should be built upon throughout any person’s life. Because of this, what better way to improve this skill than through the introduction of a topic? Having a simple problem laid out before the students will start a discussion as the class aims to discover a possible solution. In addition to this, students can work with provided materials or what they have to come up with a solution. These solutions can be tested and the teacher can float around the room and give support.


This is the most open-ended section of these activities. The main idea is simple, provide students with supplies or an idea of the major theme in the unit that they are encouraged to explore. As they interact or ponder over the topic ask them to document questions that they have or share it on a classroom board. After a while, have students show what they have encountered or asked among their classmates and draw attention to different areas that the class is intrigued about. This focuses on engaging students with what they discover and using this interest for the rest of the unit, either as a research question to be further inquired up or a path leading to the main concepts.

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