Counting Atoms-Preview

A  low-stress, almost no-prep way to teach the idea that molecules are made of certain atoms that fit together in a certain way.

Students will use the website to research the composition and structure of 8 interesting molecules.

Brand new lesson. No video yet.

Preview of the Student Handout

Parts of this Lesson:

  • Video presentation (Preview coming soon)
  • Student Handouts (Preview above)
  • Teacher Notes (Members)
  • Editable versions of Student Handout (Members)
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Newton Car

Problem- you’re looking for a good lab that illustrates Newtons laws of motion, but you don’t want something that takes a ton of prep, looks chaotic, and stresses you out.  If that’s you right now (which described me before I found this idea and modified it), this lab might fit your needs.

In it, your students will assemble their own Newton Car, which flings a canister one direction while the car goes another.  Look over the lab, and decide whether to keep it as-is, or go any number of directions with other experiments, as well as with the conclusion.

As presented, this lab takes 4 days, but don’t be surprised if it takes longer.

Brand new lesson. No video yet.


Teacher Notes, Student Handout, PowerPoint

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Ants Observations

In this lesson, an outside experience coupled with an essay from one of America’s greatest writer’s (Henry David Thoreau) helps us appreciate nature more, and make better observations of it.

Download Teacher Notes

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Roller Coaster Lab

The best science lessons are those that are a win/win for students and teachers, and this is one of them. Students win because they get to have fun designing a 15 foot-long roller coaster track that a marble rolls on. And you win because your students are doing a complete STEM project. And since 90% of the instruction in this lesson won’t come directly from you, it’s also inquiry-based.

As presented, this is a 3-day lesson:

  • Day 1 begins with a short intro., then students spend the rest of the period building their track.
  • On day 2 they finish building and start graphing their coaster.
  • On day 3 we’ll apply formulas and principles of speed, velocity, and energy.

Teacher notes, 3 Student Handouts, editable versions of handouts

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An Effective Bellringer For Your Science Class

You already know the first few moments of class are critical. It’s when tone is set and students are most attentive and excited.

It’s also when you’re just coming in from watching the hall, need to take attendance, answer a ringing phone, and deal with late students.


Is there solution to this? Yes there is. Here’s a simple class starter to get your students engaged from the moment they enter your classroom while giving you a chance to take care of your essential housekeeping items.

Decide what the most important key term is in your lesson tomorrow (hint- it’s probably a vocab. word). Write that word on your board. When your students come in have them take out a sheet of notebook paper, write down the word, find it in the book, and write 2 facts about it.

Chalkboard with science key term of the day written on it

Chalkboard with science key term of the day written on it

It will take your students about 3-4 minutes to do this, which is just the time you could use to get yourself fully prepared for the lesson.

When your students are done writing their facts, call on a few to share one of their facts. You can use that opportunity to start small discussions and ask them questions to see how well they understand the concept.

The next day, do the same with another word.

Sure, this will take time to train your students to do. But after a week of so you’ll can start reaping the benefit of getting yourself fully prepared for class while your students’ minds are being primed.

And speaking of benefits, here are a few you’ll enjoy with this bellringer:

    • Students enter with purpose since there’s already something they know they have to do
    • Books are already opened when you start the lesson
    • Discipline: class is more settled and waiting for you to begin
    • Class is already thinking about the major topic of the day before you say a word
    • When you use this term in class you know your students have a decent idea what you’re talking about; you used to hope and assume they did
    • When discussing/sharing facts, information flows from them to you instead of the other way around (think about that one), and hence…
    • You’ll have student-led discussion about the most important idea of the day during the most important part of the class period

Here’s a downloadable copy of this science class starter you can keep on your computer, or print.

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Fun End of Year Inquiry Science Activity

Measuring Volume lab-completed
Measuring Volume lab-completed

Measuring Volume lab

Let me guess- you’re already thinking about the end of the school year.  You’re tired, but you’d like one more meaningful activity.   Maybe something that could even give a nice spark to the end of the school year.  Is that how you feel? If so, you should consider the classic “Measure Colored Liquid” activity (it’s also commonly called the “Measuring Volume Lab”).

Essentially, here’s how the lab goes- students get into groups, and each group gets 6 test tubes and 3 beakers of colored water.  The instructions tell them to put certain volumes of certain colors into certain test tubes, and to also pour between the test tubes along the way. If they follow the directions perfectly, they’ll end up with a beautiful rainbow across their test tubes, all with the exact same amount of liquid!

Measuring volume lab-empty test tubes

Lab-at beginning

Measuring Volume Lab-midway through

Midway through

Measuring Volume lab-completed


You’ll definitely want to look over the different versions of this great end of the school year science activity so you can decide which is best for your students, and to give you a chance to prepare (please don’t start getting ready for this lab as your students are coming in the room!).

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Fun Science Christmas Experiments

Science Christmas Experiment-Santa's Magic Dust

Christmas experiment- Santa’s Magic Dust

Christmastime is here!  So on the last day before Christmas break, instead of throwing a puzzle at your students or putting on a video, why not celebrate by turning one of the most chaotic days of the school year into one of the most memorable?  These science experiments combine the magic of both Christmas and Science.  Have fun with this- think of it as your gift to your students.

Most of the experiments that follow are commonly known, but were chosen because they could be colored red and green in some way.  Knowing that’s all a demo needs to qualify, you might even come up with some of your own demonstrations to include.  Good luck, and merry Christmas!

Click here for Free Teacher Notes For The Experiments

This lesson all begins with “The Physics Of Santa Claus“, a hilarious 5 point argument that scientifically examines if Santa Claus could possibly exist.  Following that are these demonstrations…

Science Christmas experiments:

Science Christmas Experiment-Cupric Chloride BurningChristmas Glow Show– Create a breath-taking red and green flame
Science Christmas Experiment-Meteor Shower Lit In DarkChristmas Eve Meteor Shower– Beautiful flashes of light that resemble meteors
Science Christmas Experiment-Rudolph's flip-flopRudolph’s Flip Flop Steam inflates a balloon; later, air pressure sneaks in a wonderful surprise
Science Christmas Experiment-Santa's magic dustSanta’s Magic Dust The spirit of Christmas keeps a balloon from popping over a flame
Science Christmas Experiment-Santa's sleighSanta’s Sleigh The secret that powers Santa’s sleigh is finally revealed!
Science Christmas Experiment-Reindeer ToothpasteReindeer Toothpaste– Proof that elephants aren’t the only animals who brush their teeth!
Science Christmas Experiment-Inverted fountain of beliefInverted Fountain Of Belief– Watch green and red water defy gravity
Science Christmas Experiment-crazy Christmas bottlesCrazy Christmas Bottles– Density keeps the liquids in one set of balanced flasks intact, but upsets the other set

Beforehand: Things to do and to be aware of…

  1. As soon as you’ve made the decision to do these activities, take the time to try out each demonstration.  You’ll need the practice and insights you’ll pick up from the experience.
  2. Set out all materials the day before.
  3. Think about safety all throughout these science activities.  Make it a fun and memorable event for everyone.  And as unlikely as an accident may be, you must always assume something could go wrong, so plan for it.  You’ll noticed “Cautions” throughout the teacher notes- please take them seriously.
  4. Close the blinds in your room in preparation for the first 2 experiments.
  5. You’ll probably have (and need!) around 15 minutes left over after the Christmas experiments to prep for next class.  The things on the “Day Before/Of Checklist” (included in the download on this Science Experiments page) marked with an asterisk are items you should set out enough of to last you through all your classes throughout the day.
  6. Get your Christmas music ready.  Have it long enough that it plays after you’re done and they have something to listen to while doing the puzzle.


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NEW testing213









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Make Science meaningful and fun!

Lessons with a simple approach:

  • Put demonstrations in your students’ hands
  • The demonstrations make them curious so…
  • They want to listen to the explanation.

See the Lessons right now!



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[fvplayer src=”″]

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We all know that heat rises, but it’s still stunning to watch it happen!

Materials: dropper, food coloring, beaker (or glass) with water, candle.

[S3VIDEO file=’demos/convection-demo.mp4′ authurl=’true’ autoplay=’true’ allowfullscreen=’true’ buffer=’1′ displaymode=’overlay’ clicktoplay=’Play Demo’]

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Heat Transfer“)


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trash testing flash to html5 video

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Improving Your Teacher Time Management

It’s mid-morning. The bell just rang, and you just started a 45 minute prep. Should you:

A. Grade papers,

B. plan lessons,

C. make copies, or

D. go to the workroom in search of cake?

Answer- B. Plan lessons.

Where did that quick answer come from?  Check out this chart-

What your mind is capable of doing, from morning to afternoon.

What your mind is capable of doing, from morning to afternoon.

The above chart shows what happens to your brain throughout the day. The earlier it is, the better your mind works. Which is why planning lessons- the hardest to do of the 4 choices above- is what’s recommended.

The reason for the slow down is because your mind is like a cup- it can only hold so much.  So, in the mornings, when your mind is less crowded, it works better. But as the day wears on, thoughts and cares fill your “cup”, making it less effective.  And the reason for that is because of the increasing collective weight of all those thoughts and cares.

So when is it ok to grade papers? And, more importantly, when do you get cake? Try to remember this question- “What’s the most important thing I need to do right now?“. If you ask yourself this and attempt an honest answer, you’ll usually know what to do. Since grading papers normally takes less brainpower than planning, grading should usually wait. But if you’re caught up on planning and behind on grading, then sure, go ahead and grade.

Here’s a suggested method that will help collect all those thoughts in your head, and to know which is the most important that you need to act on right now.


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Save Effort And Increase Participation When Calling On Students

Get some craft sticks and write a students' name on each. Your done! Now you can easily increase student participation.

What’s your method of calling on students? Does it take much effort? If it does, popsicle sticks can help!

Get some craft sticks and write a students' name on each. Your done! Now you can easily increase student participation.

Get some craft sticks and write a students’ name on each. Your done! Now you can easily increase student participation.

Here’s how it works: First, get some popsicle sticks (also called craft sticks in a hobby store) and write a student’s name on each. Put them in a cup or beaker or basket. When it’s time to call on a student, draw a random name.


  • Everyone’s more involved, not just the same 3-4 students who always raise their hands.
  • Random- students don’t know when they’ll be called, so they pay more attention. Random also means no one can accuse you of picking on them.
  • It’s simple, cheap, and takes little time to create; yet you can use them all year.
  • Get more balanced participation, which gives you a better idea of what students actually understand, and not just the few brave enough to offer the correct answer that no one else might have even known.
  • Livens the pace of class.
  • It has game-like feel to it- ‘Who’s name will be drawn next?’
  • One more benefit you may not notice but is really nice- having this system in place means your mind is a little more free to focus on the main points you’re trying to make.
As you draw names you can either leave them out and keep going until everyone's been called on, or put them back in each time so everyone's always a possible draw.

As you draw names you can either leave them out and keep going until everyone’s been called on, or put them back in each time so everyone’s always a possible draw.


  • Make a different set of sticks for each class you have
  • If you draw a name you’d rather not call on (because they’ve already spoken in class, they’re not great readers, or you just don’t have the patience) set the stick aside and draw another.
  • You don’t have to use this system permanently; you can still call on any one at any time, and ask for hands/volunteers.
  • As you call names leave their stick laying out so you’ll draw others, causing more students to participate. Or, put sticks back in after every draw so everyone’s always in.
  • Use a different colored marker to write names for each class (black for your 1st hour, blue for your 2nd hour, and so forth). You could also use a different colored stick for each class you have.  Either way- if the a stick ends up in the wrong cup it’s easy to find.
  • Use these also for selecting students to pass out papers, or to assign new seats, or  (100 other things).

No, it’s not a perfect system, but it can improve how you call on students and simply your life. If so, keep using it!

Try it out and then let us know what other suggestions you have.

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Discovering Density 1

Students determine the densities of all kinds of objects made of clay, and “discover” that all clay has the exact same density. Just for fun, we’ll hide a steel ball inside one of the objects, which should cause minor panic (we hope).

[S3VIDEO file=’Movies/’ authurl=’true’ autoplay=’true’ buffer=’1′ allowfullscreen=’true’ displaymode=’overlay’ clicktoplay=’Play Lesson’]

[S3FILE file=’Handouts/’ anchor=’Handout, Notes, and PPT’]


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Scientific Method-1

This graphic organizer is meant to be a general introduction to the scientific method, and not an exhaustive way to convey every possible thing about the scientific method. Still, it’s very useful to introduce how science is supposed to work when you’re at the beginning of the school year or as you move into the season of science fair.

[S3VIDEO file=’Movies/scientific_method.mp4′ authurl=’true’ autoplay=’true’ allowfullscreen=’true’ buffer=’1′ displaymode=’overlay’ clicktoplay=’Play Lesson’]

[S3FILE file=’Handouts/Scientific_Methods.ppt’ anchor=’PPT and Teacher Notes (in the notes area of the ppt)’]

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Flapping Penny

Prove it to your students when you say that energy causes air molecules to speed up and expand.

Materials: penny (or nickel), glass bottle, large beaker, hot water, dropper

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-States of Matter“)


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What That Sound?

Occasionally you see something that your brain simply cannot compute. This happens here as we listen to the sound made when you insert a coat hanger into styrofoam and bang on it with a pencil.

Materials: wire coat hanger, piece of styrofoam, pencil

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Sound“)


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Rolling Marble On Plate

In this demo, a marble rolling round and round in circles gives your students a chance to apply what they know about forces when they predict what will happen when the marble is finally free of the plate.

Materials: styrofoam plate with removable wedge, marble

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Forces“)


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Student-Generated Light

When we call this a ‘student-generated’ light, it’s not a metaphor.

Materials: balloon (charged with static on someones hair), dark room, fluorescent light bulb or tube (any kind)


(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Electricity“)


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Attractive Balloon demo

In science sometimes we specialize in making simple things difficult. Like in this demo, where we find an unusual but VERY cool way to get a ping pong ball to move.

Materials: balloon (with a spot marked on it), ping pong ball

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Electricity“)


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Fantastic Floating Bubbles demo

Who doesn’t love bubbles? They’re fun, and in this demo they’re also helpful as they land on an invisible gas (CO2) and appear to levitate in mid-air.

Materials: baking soda, vinegar, bubbles

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Conserving Earth’s Land, Water, and Air“)


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Iron Filings On Magnet demo

It’s absolutely magical how iron filings, when sprinkled onto a magnet, line up and reveal the magnet’s invisible lines of force.

Materials: bar magnet, sheet of paper, iron filings in baggie

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Magnetism“)


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Hanging Magnet demo

This demo shows how you can set up a room full of bar magnets that just “happen” to all turn exactly the same way. Imagine that; there must be a reason they do that.

Materials: bar magnet, wire coat hanger, string

[S3VIDEO file=’demos/hanging_magnet-demo.mp4′ authurl=’true’ autoplay=’true’ allowfullscreen=’true’ buffer=’1′ displaymode=’overlay’ clicktoplay=’Play Demo’]


(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-Magnetism“)


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Cloud In A Baggie demo

You’ve probably already seen the elusive cloud in a baggie demo, and that means you already realize it’s not that easy to do. This one just might work in your students’ hands.

Materials: zipper-seal baggie, vinegar, baking soda, ice cube

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-States of Matter“)


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Coloring In Hot & Cold Water demo

Great science doesn’t have to be difficult! Here, we’ll add 2 drops of food coloring to hot water and 2 drops to cold water, and simply observe particles too small to be seen naturally stir the coloring at different rates.

Materials: hot water, color water, food coloring

(this is an excerpt from the lesson- “Interactive Notes-States of Matter“)


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