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New teacher without text do you create lessons without a book?

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Treena Pieper Treena Pieper 440 Points

I find it very frustrating when the next lesson plan i must create has no text book. What do you as teachers do when you dont have the resources?

Gwendolyn Huggins Gwendolyn Huggins 1060 Points

When the lesson is not in the book I supplement from science websites, magazines and other science teachers. They are valuable resources.

Georgia Public Braodcasting ( has an educational series of videos on both chemistry and physics. These are about 30 minutes long each and come with accompanying note taking guides for students. They can be quite effective if not overused.

Kara Stark Kara Stark 1435 Points

I am currently in student teaching at the University of Houston and I have found that when I do not have the proper resources such as a textbook etc, I have to then use my thinking cap on what I can supplement with. I have found that websites such as or even for my first graders has been helpful.

Ashley Pletka Ashley Pletka 1925 Points

I found this website that has tons of resources, including many from over 300 textbooks. I am sure you could find something on here that would be helpful. It has a 30 day free trail so you can see if it would be useful before you decide to purchase a membership.

Brianna Del Bosque Brianna Del Bosque 2230 Points

When you don’t have a book to do a lesson plan you can always research the topic. There are many resources out there online to help like teachers pay teachers.

Dina Oti Dina Oti 1245 Points

Hi! There are many resources here from NSTA and numerous supplements you can find online and in libraries to create lessons from, its just a little bit more of a challenge. 

Jennifer Clark Jennifer Clark 425 Points

I do not have a text book in my grade either. However, I do use the NGSS standards as a guide to tell me what I need to teach. There are lots of resources of lessons that are based on science standards. I use the website which follow the NGSS standards. Once I find a good lesson to cover my unit I search Pinterest for alternate resources and worksheets to use.  It is unfortunate that you do not have a text to reference, sometimes even if the students do not have a text book you may be able to get a teachers guide for the lesson. 

Jessica Adair Jessica Adair 580 Points

I use the NGSS standards to help me make decisions on what I am going to teach. I also look on pintrest for visuals, worksheets and interesting ways to present the content. The NSTA website has a lot of different ideas and resources as well. Reach out to other teachers in the district or other school that might have a book that you can use. Even without a textbook, I fully believe that students can be taught correct ideas- unfortunately, it just might take a little more work on the teachers part. New teachers should be given supplies!

Yes, I agree with most of the other replies here. I tend to supplement my own learning with videos and website from the internet. One resource that I particularly enjoy is A lot of the resources on there are free and so is a subscription to it. I enjoy how detailed some of the other teachers get with how the implemented that particular lesson into their classroom.

Christine Medaglia Christine 770 Points

Hi Treena, I can relate! I teach one section of Science and it's a combination 7/8 class. No real text or pacing guide to follow, either. And since I'm only teaching one section of science, I don't really show up on the Science Dept's radar. My suggestion would be to track down a teacher with a book and ask for 1 copy. Then make copies of chapters for students to use. If you have many classes, maybe just make a class set so you don't have to use so much paper. This is exactly what I do and it works great. Then, depending on the topic of study, I supplement with worksheets, lessons I find online, and other relevant activities. If you can't find a teacher to lend you a book, maybe you can find an adequate text online for cheap. (Would be out of pocket expense, sorry...) I love the website! Buy lots of books there and find great deals. You can also sell your books there too. I don't know if that advice will work for you and your specific situation, but it has worked out really well for me so I thought I'd share. The internet has become my best friend as there are TONS of free ideas, worksheets, etc. Also, NSTA is proving to be a great resource, too. I hope this advice helps and just remember, even as new teachers we are smarter than our don't let them see you sweat and you'll be fine! Good luck in finding a text! Christine

Christine Medaglia Christine 770 Points

Treena Pieper Treena Pieper 440 Points

Thank u for the reply. That is kind of what I do. I have made copies for my students as a class set. It's just really IRRATATING when I have I search the Internet for material just so I can teach. I am finding that it takes up a lot of time away from other things ...just to hunt down material. Frustrated teacher.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

I rarely use the book at all...our book sucks. I really follow the curriculum map for guidance and create power points as I go along. If you talk to most text book companies they will send you a pre-view copy for free as well...I have a bunch of chem books if you really need one :)

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Chris- Awesome advice. Do you have to return them, or are the books yous to keep? Naomi Beverly

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

What level are you teaching? I know that it is more work (initially) but setting up some high quality lab experiences (directed by your state standards) and then adapting existing online resources to your needs could serve you well. Have you tried any of these? MIT Opencourseware - Learn Chemistry - A variety of digital texts - Teaching Secondary Chemistry Resources - Someone else also suggested purchasing used text books from sites like When I was teaching at a Catholic high school, I did purchase a class set of introductory level college textbooks from our local university's book store for a very low cost. These worked very well.

Audrey Perez Audrey Perez 3720 Points

Thank you so much. these links were very helpful!

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Chris- Thanks for posting these great ideas. Naomi Beverly

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64765 Points

Treena wrote, "I find it very frustrating when the next lesson plan i must create has no text book. What do you as teachers do when you dont have the resources?" Hi Treena, I can give you the basic answer how I prepare when I don't have the resources. However, it may be more timely and helpful to you if you let the forum know more about your situation. What age level do you teach? What do content do you want to cover next? What types of lab equipment and chemicals do you have available? The first year teaching keeps you very busy, but without a teacher's edition or student textbooks it can be overwhelming. I have found the teachers that post to these forums to be lifesavers and so creative when it comes to developing lessons. Let us help you brainstorm, Ruth

Treena Pieper Treena Pieper 440 Points

I teach 8thgrade physical science.

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64765 Points

Hi Treena, What chemistry topics have you covered as far in your class? Ruth

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

There is another strand in this Chemistry forum that you might find helpful entitled "VERY BASIC Chemistry Lesson Ideas?" You might get some ideas there.

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64765 Points


Have you looked at the American Chemical Society's Middle School Chemistry site? It has some really great chemistry lesson plans that would be perfect (in my opinion) for your physical science course. Another place you might look is ChemMatters Magazine.

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67955 Points

Many teachers are now flipping their classes, and often use a combination of videos and simulations, as well as other online materials. If you are committed to use a textbook, have you considered using CK-12? They have an extensive library of free materials, usually very high quality, that can be adopted, and printed, if necessary. You can also create custom 'flexbooks' with standard chapters, and add some of your own content. Take a look at

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

I agree, the Flexbook option at
is very helpful for creating a free digital textbook that is customized to your course.

It's great for a situation with no texts, an outdated text or as a learning alternative for differentiation.

I also like using Memrise for an alternative pathway for learning content and/or reviewing content

As suggested by others, look for online videos and vodcasts/podcasts about chemistry topics.

Finally, if you really want an up-to-date textbook, discuss the issue with your principal, curriculum director or school board. Funding may be available or can be planned into upcoming budgets.


Ashley Trudeau Ashley Trudeau 1410 Points

I also don't have chemistry textbooks to work with, so I use this website a lot: It has lots of labs, worksheets, and tutorials.

Mitchell Miho Mitchell Miho 3090 Points

Treena, I was lucky to be a part of a great science department and they have provided me with a lot of resources and a sequence to follow. However, if i did not have these materials available, i would definitely talk to the other teachers in the science department. They will most likely have some materials or a sequence that they like to follow and from there you can look up resources online and match lessons and powerpoints with your state standards.

Brian Hayes Brian Hayes 555 Points

This is how it was for me when I first started teaching. What I did was use an old text of mine to help me narrow the scope of the content to what other books included then I gathered resources my students could access like websites to give them that support what I did in class to teach the concept the way I would use a book as a resource for them to refer to not my actuall class work.

First off, let me say that, I don't really find myself using the textbook with my lessons, I mostly focus on the standards that need to be covered. But I do use the textbook as a reinforcement material for the other resources I use, for example,, I use this simulation website for common concepts in chemistry. For example, talking about the gas laws, there is this simulation called balloons and bouncy, I use this because it shows common gas properties in a safe and visual way. You can also use the videos for students to explore or reinforce concepts. Students have liked being the one in control on playing with the videos. But then you do have to talk about the parts of the simulation or use as a post-lesson assessment.

 Deanna Keeney 2955 Points

Here is one of the best sources I have for chemistry presentations. I went to a conference and they gave me a disc and things got a lot easier... ppts, worksheets, labs, etc included. I take slides from this source or just hide slides as I go. I understand that paid for the materials to be developed through a grant and part of the grant was that it needed to be shared... was the site. You may need to contact [email protected] directly as there was an issue with the site request option. Send for the disc! It covers the major topics in chemistry and I think their is one for Biology now.

Jason Ward Jason Ward 1010 Points

I have text books but choose not to use them because the kids don't seem to enjoy it much. The way I set up the structure for the year is to chunk different standards into different units and then chunk each unit down into specific learner outcomes and the create materials to support each outcome. The Internet is so easy to just plug in a topic in a search engine and pull shared materials off of the web. In addition HCPSIII has pacing guides available for structuring a year. Hope that helps

Mary Elizabeth Kent Mary Elizabeth Kent 1565 Points

Treena, There are some great simulations at just type in your topic and search simulations. Also I love to use, brain pop, discover education with videos, and there are some really good videos you could down load from youtube. Our school blocks most video but you can also download a video converter and save the videos to a jump drive. One last thing, a teacher at our school asked publishers for a sample teacher book, student book, and workbook for a new class where she had no resources. Several of them sent her the materials and she makes copies for her students. It's worth a try. Good Luck!!

Nate Raynor Nate Raynor 260 Points

Hi I know this is late , but what I use is the FLINN BIOFAX curriculums. It's a great tool to use if you don't have up to date books. Nate Raynor

Sean McAndrews Sean McAndrews 210 Points

I'm mostly through my 8th year of teaching, and I don't use a text book in Physics or Chemistry anymore. It is hard at first to come up with a coherent set of plans and resources. I am still putting together a year long collection of notes, activities, and resources for Physics. PhET is good, science 360 has short videos, has good problems and info for chemistry. Forums like this have great things also.

Brian Hayes Brian Hayes 555 Points

While it can be more challenging to do teach with out a book, I found it kind of liberating. I found many texts and documents that I like more then the books I have now. As I move to a more flipped classroom I will probably go back to those texts since I won't need to print them as much as I use to. As long as some of the texts the students are reading are like a text book I feel you still prepare students for what they have to do.

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Brian- I agree that it is more challenging...but ultimately the lessons are generally better when we have to piece together high quality materials. It's fun once you get going! Naomi Beverly

Dana Dunnan Dana Dunnan 280 Points

Hi Treena-
Sometimes you get lucky and find a resource that you can build a lesson around.
In Atomic Theory and the Periodic Table, I found a great resoource in the book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. A Pulitzer Prize-winner, it read like a novel.
In my new book, which was aimed at folks exactly like you, I describe that whole lesson, as well as how I ultimately taught stoichiometry, and the Unified Gas Law.
You should find the book helpful, I hope. Notes to a New Teacher is described extensively at the website
Dana Dunnan

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Treena,
I am excited to try some of the great resources and ideas already mentioned by others in this discussion thread. Thank you for asking the question. I just did a search in the NSTA Learning Center and discovered several resources there that may be of help to you. One is called Teaching Chemistry with Toys. It is for K- 9th grades. Also there are at least a couple of archived (free) webinars on FREE Chemistry resources through the American Chemical Society. One webinar is called: Archive: Chemical Change - Introducing a Free Online Resource for Middle School Chemistry, May 20, 2013
Another is called: Archive: The Periodic Table and Bonding - Introducing a Free Online Resource for Middle School Chemistry, January 17, 2013
AND another is called: Archive: The Water Molecule and Dissolving - Introducing a Free Online Resource for Middle School Chemistry, March 18, 2013
If you do an advanced search in the NSTA Learning Center using the keyword 'chemistry' and filtering for middle school, over 200 resources will pop up.
Hope this helps and good luck in your endeavors to find and design your chemistry curriculum without a book to guide you. Sometimes having no book opens up greater possibilities :-)

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Have any of you used resources from the Royal Society

I was just listening to the Kitchen Chemistry podcast
There are Learn Chemistry Lectures here

Find out how the success of the synthetic organic fungicide azoxystrobin showcases the importance of organic chemistry to global food production with this article from Education in Chemistry
RCS chem net has a series of student inspired blogs

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Treena, There have been a lot of excellent resources shared in this thread after your initial request. We would love to hear how you are doing and what has worked for you since your initial post in February. Please let us know how things are going for you and your students. Our Best, Carolyn

Roberta Urbietyte Roberta Urbietyte 3700 Points

Great topic! It is nice to see that I am not the only one. :) The educators shared some really good links. I was lucky enough to have my teacher's edition. So, I create my classes and share on my class blog. I know it is time consuming for educators but kids love it. The class became even more engaging.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

There is a wealth of great resources in this thread. As others (Adah, Chris) have noted many of us are "textbook" liberated. I would venture to guess that those of us who are are also also experienced educators with deep content and pedagogical experience. It can be hard to take the plunge as a brand new teacher. I would suggest starting with your curriculum scope and sequence. From there think about what you want students to be able to do to demonstrate their meeting learning goals and design your lessons using some of the resources listed here. The ACS is especially useful in that one can find complete lesson plans and even teacher notes documenting the experience of others who have used these lessons. The same is true of the RSC resources.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Treena and Everyone who has contributed to this thread! I am amazed at all of the wonderful resources that have been shared to help teach chemistry concepts here. I wanted to mention the SciPacks and Science Objects in our NSTA Learning Center as well. The science objects are free, and the animations are stand alone and can be used in the classroom. The SciPacks contain important pedagogical information that will help teachers isolate potential misconceptions for the concept(s) they are teaching. Great additional resources for teaching chemistry! Carolyn

Austin Arredondo Austin Arredondo 1540 Points

In future classrooms, I will not use texts from textbook to prepare lessons for the class. Instead, I'll create engaging activity that follows through the school's curriculum. Videos are also great resources!

Austin Arredondo Austin Arredondo 1540 Points

Also, the link from Ashley is a great start. Enjoy!

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Treena-- When I began teaching in my district, I felt the same way. I was trained differently. Over time, however, I adjusted. I learned to collaborate with my colleagues in the building and around the country AND teach to the standards. Now, I feel that I am a lot better than I would have been had I relied so heavily on a text. All the best, Naomi Beverly

Katherine Jurisich Katherine Jurisich 1365 Points

Thanks for the great resources!

Lolita Benitez Lolita Benitez 1580 Points

Great resources!!

Juleen Whall Juleen Whall 90 Points You can take pieces of content and shape your own online textbook from them. Free Definitely worth a peek.

Ricardo Garcia Ricardo Garcia 1405 Points

Hello everyone. I just wanted to share a good website for lesson plans and activities already constructed and available to teachers, including unit plans. Just google teachers pay teachers and for a fee you can purchase lesson plans from $1.00 up to $4.00. Some of them are free. Just thought I share

Jasmine Aguilera Jasmine Aguilera 1290 Points

When you do not have a text book, you can research the topic you are going to teach and narrow it down to exactly what you want to teach. Then from there you can look up a video to use as an engagement to get the students hooked on learning about the topic. Then you could find something to allow the students to explore with or have them show you what they know about the topic by having them do some kind of simple activity that you can find online about the topic being taught. Once you find out what they know you could explain the reasoning behind why what they know is true or false by modeling some sort of experiment that shows/proves what you are saying to be true. Once you have modeled an experiment that can be found online, use the experiment that you modeled and allow the students to do the same so they have hands-on experience and the knowledge sticks with them since they are now performing the experiment. Lastly, you could come up with a creative way to evaluate what they learned. There are lots of ideas you can find online such as videos, activities, lab experiments, maybe you could even search for stuff on Pinterest. A book is not necessary to create a lesson, it helps to have one, but if one is not available there are definitely many other options to choose from so that your lesson/ experiment goes well. I hope this helped a little! -Jasmine

Christina Au Christina Au 2470 Points

Hi Treena! Like Kara mentioned above, I also find BrainPOP to be helpful. It can be used at the beginning of a lesson to engage students as well as at the end of the lesson to review what we learned for the day. They also come with mini Pop quizzes that can be used for students to check what they learned. Activities and games are also included! Another website that I find really helpful is This website provides ideas for teaching as well as resources such as activity sheets and sometimes PowerPoint to go along with the lesson.

Zulaika Reyes Zulaika Reyes 2615 Points

Well I am a student teacher at University of Houston and the way I do it when I don't have textbook I look at the science TEKS and that gives me an idea. or if that does not work I ask other teachers in my grade level to see what lesson plans.

Judy Machado Judy Machado 5355 Points

There are plenty of website you can visit to get ideas of lesson without a book.

Jill Bailer Jill Bailer 445 Points

When I was first teaching there was no such thing as the Internet and the book we had was awful! I found some other textbooks at the public library and was able to use them with the state objectives to design my lessons. Good luck!

Christine Bedwell Christine Bedwell 1605 Points

Some great ideas that everyone has posted. When I began teaching, our 4th grade team had to write units for social studies and science. Then we would sit as a team and review the units deciding what could be added/deleted to fit our standards a little better. I hated it at the time (I was also working on my masters) but that experience has stayed with me. Textbooks are out of date and are very rigid. There are thousands of online ideas and lessons that are up to date and give that inquiry component that you don't find in the texts. We have reading, math books, and science kits, but that are resources only. Last year I taught an ebola unit integrating reading, science, math, social studies, writing, and technology to third graders. We had Socratic Seminars that were amazing and this was 3rd grade. THEY were researching, discussing, and problem solving. (Even though some students still felt that people got ebola from the ocean! Go out on a limb...this is what is best for students. I also taught 7th/8th graders in Texas that failed the TAAS test in reading. There were no materials but I could certainly make copies of articles from newspapers that drew their interest. We has "scavenger hunts" to look for information and read poetry with emotion. Take this advantage and fly with it!

Michelle Brown Michelle Brown 270 Points

I'm trying to help new teachers with this very problem--how to create curriculum on your own. If you go to: and start from the first (bottom) post, it takes you through the process of designing the curriculum for the year from scratch!

Matt Nupen Matthew Nupen 585 Points

I've been using DocentEDU to turn news articles, online textbooks like CK-12, and my published google docs into complete lessons. It lets you add questions, discussions, notes, videos, and more to almost any website. Here's a lesson I made on the scientific method

Dejuanica Henry Dejuanica Henry 1065 Points

I found the suggestions here extremely helpful. It is sometimes difficult to create lessons without a textbook.

Yvonne Carrasco Yvonne Carrasco 945 Points

Awesome, I really enjoyed reading about this. Was extremely helpful for my pre-service. 

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hi Treena,  It can be difficult to come up with lessons on the spot. I have attached below the link to the YouTube channel that I have been developing. It has hundreds of free science demonstrations. These video demonstrations cover a variety of topics that young learners should know. They are NGSS aligned and can easily be integrated into the classroom or at home. We add new video demos regularly and in the coming year we will additionally be posting resources such as worksheets, math problems, science poems, and more. Check it out and subscribe to our channel. Best, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University 

Jessica Kim Jessica Kim 370 Points

Hi Treena, Don't ever feel lost because there isn't a textbook to teach from. There are so many lessons online that you can modify to fit the needs of your student. You can check the standards for your specific grade level on online so from there you can research different lessons and adapt it to your classroom! I really good website that you could use is The majority if not all are aligned with New Generation Science Standards. Hope this helps!

Amy Thomas Amy Thomas 485 Points

When I was looking for science lessons that could align with the NGSS standards I went on lesson planet. There were some great ideas for interactive lessons that my students would love. 

Marissa LaMar Marissa LaMar 380 Points

I would use some online resources. You can find articles or sample lesson plans you can adapt to fit your classroom.

Melissa Ruiz Melissa Ruiz 495 Points

When you cannot get a hold on textbooks to teach your lesson, always looking at websites for ideas is a great place. You can go on better lesson plans which is a great website that aligns with the NGSS standards. There are plenty of websites that are good for teaching science, but you might have to change it up to fit your material. 

Victoria Huynh Victoria Huynh 540 Points

When you don't have a textbook to create lesson plans with, there are many resources on the Internet that you can use that can help. You can search up science-centered websites, Lesson Planet, Teachers Pay Teachers, and even Pinterest. The only thing about Teachers Pay Teachers and especially Pinterest is that there are ideas that are great and also not so great, so you would have to filter through them.

Victoria Huynh Victoria Huynh 540 Points

When you don't have a textbook to create lesson plans with, there are many resources on the Internet that you can use that can help. You can search up science-centered websites, Lesson Planet, Teachers Pay Teachers, and even Pinterest. The only thing about Teachers Pay Teachers and especially Pinterest is that there are ideas that are great and also not so great, so you would have to filter through them.

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