Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024


Forums / Life Science / First Day of School Science Activities

Life Science

First Day of School Science Activities

Author Post
Lauren Patton Lauren Patton 120 Points

Hi everyone! What is your favorite first day of school science activity/demonstration? I will have my own classroom here soon, and am looking for awesome ways to capture my students' curiosity and imagination with science!! Best, Lauren Patton Future Biology Teacher

Linda Ngo Linda Ngo 2775 Points

The school that I student teach at, they have a science as one of their outclass to attend. I observed there and the 1st graders were discussing about which animal lives in waters, forest, jungles, and so forth. The science teacher give each student the animal, but they could not show it to others, so their hand is closed tight. The the teacher asked to stand for those who think they live in the jungle. Then after standing up, the students can show the whole class their animal whether if they were correct or incorrect.

Jaida Bennett Jaida Bennett 3730 Points

I think an awesome way to capture your students attention is to make them choose their own inquiry science activities. In order to accomplish this, you should make a spinning wheel with an arrow that show cases 4-5 topics that you already created a lesson plan and hands-on activity for. The class should elect one person a week to spin the wheel; whichever activity the arrow lands on, they will have to complete it. Once that lesson is chosen and completed, that lesson should be taken off the wheel and another lesson should be added in its place. This method allows the students to be a participant in choosing the concepts they want to learn in a fun and interactive way. This also adds a surprise factor to your class which will always keep your students on their toes. 

Lauren Switzer Lauren Switzer 425 Points

You can use a science lesson to create your seating arrangements. Pass out a picture of an animal to each student. Make sure no animals are duplicated. Let students share their animal with the rest of the class. Discuss what all of the animals have in common and what makes them different. Have the students group themselves based on their animals' similarities (i.e. classify the animals). Then group their desks to match the groups they've created. This doesn't have to be a permanent seating arrangement, but it's a fun lesson that allows the students to be (or appear to be ;)) in control.

Chasity Collier Chasity Collier 1930 Points

My favorite activity to do on day 1 is an activity I call Where Did the Water Go? It is very easy to do- it is a discrepant event that is sure to get the kids excited about coming to school the next day. The materials you will need - 3 styrofoam cups, water, chemical called (sodium polyacrelate- go to Flinn Scientific to order). Once you order this chemical you will have enough for YEARS of demonstrating. Prior to the activity put a small amount of chemical in one cup (enough to cover the bottom of the cup). Once kids come in tell them you have 3 empty cups and show them from the front of the room (they will not notice the chemical because it is white and is camouflaged into the cup from their seats.) Pour water into one of the empty cups and tell students you want them to watch the water and try to keep up with where it is in the demonstration. Pour the water from one of the empty cups to another, switch them around (do not pour into the cup with the sodium polyacrelate until you are ready for demo to be over). Finally when you have done this for awhile and you are ready for some talk and excitement pour the water in the cup with powder. The sodium polyacrelate will absorb and gel and get stuck into the cup. I then flip each cup upside down and ask where did the water go? It appears to have disappeared. I ask students to write down their observations (note booking). i ask students to write down questions that they have-(engaging in science practice standard 1, I ask kids to think of some variables we could test (changing cups, liquid, etc). Tell them the next day you reveal the secret...they can't wait to come back for more. Sodium Polyacrelate is a polymer that is used in baby diapers...THEY WILL LOVE IT!

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

We have a discussion about science and scientists and the fold origami talking puppets that the students decorate as a particular kind of scientist. Then they use their talking puppets to explain who they are, what science they study, and some of the tools they use.

Huiyuan Yu Huiyuan Yu 3185 Points

It was a lake trip, our professor take us to a lake, and we observed water and recorded the data

Marissa Berger Marissa Berger 3819 Points

Hello Lauren, I have always enjoyed a "Statue" activity for a beginning class, for any subject, but you can do the questions related to science. The students will then form a statue related to the answers to the questions. Everyone will then guess what everyone's statue is. Questions could be like, What is your favorite food? to What do you think an atom is? It is a great way to get the class loosen up and ready to learn about science.

Antonia Passalacqua Antonia Passalacqua 425 Points

Hello Lauren, A good beginning of the school year activity would be one that gets students thinking about the scientific progress to set the standard for the labs that would come for the rest of the year. Some ways to do this are setting up different stations that could be good for observation like, the characteristics of a flower, or even the way worms interact. You can have students make hypothesis based on their conceptions of the different stations. You can also do another exercise that can be done in perspective lab groups as a team building exercise. This consists of giving each group a handful of marshmallows and spaghetti sticks. They have to building a tower with the materials and see who's stands up the longest. Its quite a fun first day activity. Hope this helps!

Hunter Flesch Hunter Flesch 4195 Points

For one of my science classes in college the teacher started the first day of class outside and had everyone build paper rockets and launched them. He gave them several different design options, but he really let everyone do their own thing, which engaged each person's creativity!

Hunter Flesch Hunter Flesch 4195 Points

For one of my science classes in college the teacher started the first day of class outside and had everyone build paper rockets and launched them. He gave them several different design options, but he really let everyone do their own thing, which engaged each person's creativity!

Hunter Flesch Hunter Flesch 4195 Points

For one of my science classes in college the teacher started the first day of class outside and had everyone build paper rockets and launched them. He gave them several different design options, but he really let everyone do their own thing, which engaged each person's creativity!

Whitnie Hutchinson Whitnie Hutchinson 4598 Points

Hi there! I am currently in your situation, thinking ahead (even though I still need to student teach) on what can I do to draw my students in close on the first day of school. Pending on your grade, on thing that always drew my attention in the upper level sciences were things that exploded. This is something that we know all students think of when they think of science and giving them the chance to experience it right away will get them excited for class. A volcano or something along these lines was something I always looked forward to in class. Best of Luck!

Ana Gonzalez Ana Gonzalez 885 Points

Hello Lauren! I think a great activity to do the first day of class is to emphasize the fact that they are all scientists. I am currently taking a Science in Elementary course in college. My professor had us think about what it meant to be a scientist. We discussed our answers and then looked up the definition on Google. We were all amazed to learn that we were all technically scientists. I think this is a great way to start off the school year. Students will feel a sense of pride in the science classroom.

Toneka Bussey Toneka Bussey 1928 Points

A great way to start off the school year is to set up stations for the students to conduct observations and experiments.  It's also a great way for the students to collaborate and learn classroom procedures.

Hannah Tweedy Hannah Tweedy 2810 Points

You could do the classic option with baking soda and vinegar in a bottle that blows up a balloon.  This would be especially interesting for younger elementary students! Good luck!


Reanna Reilly Reanna Reilly 785 Points

I really liked the idea in which you group students seating arrangement based on the commonalities their individual animal has! I think this is an awesome introduction into Ecology! I also really liked the mini science experiment in which you filled a styrofoam cup with some mystery liquid and then ask for students observations in questions - a great way to peak interest! Bouncing off that idea, in my science teaching classes in college, we would mini science experience before the start of each class. There would be one group of students that went every class period for the entire semester. The groups would research a scientific phenomenon, find a short experiment to introduce the topic (no more than 10 min), present it, and then everybody else had to figure out how and why it worked/reacted the way it did. It was a great way to spark interest, get students engaged, and stimulate discussion! I think to start out not only the first day of school with this but every lesson would be a great way to conduct a science classroom!

Ana Najera Ana Najera 748 Points

Hi Lauren,

During the first week of school I like to hit on common student preconceptions about scientists. I ask them to draw a scientist and prompt them to think of their location, what the scientist is wearing, etc. They usually draw an Einstein or 'mad scientist.' This opens up a great discussion about what we think scientist do and look like. This is a theme I use throught the year when I highlight different science professions. I like to highlight diversity as well, since most students draw a male, caucasian scientist.

Also, check this out for an engaging hands on activity: 

Caroline Hunkele Caroline Hunkele 1875 Points

Hi Lauren! 

I think a wonderful way to start off the class and get students excited for science is to plan a lesson around a phenomenon. When the students see the phenomenon they will be engaged and want to know how it happened. You could also plan an experiment or activity that gets the student creating and exploring together. No matter what you do as long as there is room for students to explore and grow they will be engaged! 



Aaron Grinstead Aaron Grinstead 1965 Points

Hi Lauren, congratulations on getting your own classroom! I still remember when we got to chemical reactions my middle school science teacher demonstrated to us how it can look by setting some type of gas that was mixed with water to form bubbles on fire. The special thing about this was that it was held in his hand! Now I understand that most of us don't want to start a fire in our classrooms, but what I am trying to get at here is to give the studnets something amazing to look at and they willing to start to ask questions on how it happened. I still remember the lesson my middle school teacher taught and I can say without a doubt it was because he started with that activity first.

Leslie Helmick Leslie Helmick 205 Points

On my first day of 8th grade science my teacher 'accidentally lit the counter on fire,' in reality it was fire safe counter with oil sitting on top of it. He used this demonstration to peak our interest in science and do something exciting that we would not expect. It made me really excited for science that year and the teacher made a very good first impression on me and my peers

Carla Torres Carla Torres 180 Points

Hello! I am currently taking a science class for Elementary students and my professor began the class with a demostration based on a demo named Exploring Air & Air Pressure to give a simple and clear explanation of air pressure and she used inexpensive items to demonstrate it. First she began by asking for two participants and her materials were two ballons and two plastic bottles which one had a small hole. Then she placed the balloons were the cap goes in each bottle and asked participants to blow on the balloon. In this case a participant was able to inflate the ballon which was the one with a hole in the bottle. She then proceed with asking the class why was the reason one could blow the ballon and the other couldnt and she ended by given the explanation of air pressure. 

Amanda Cantu Amanda Cantu 225 Points

A great first day of science class activity is the Cup Challange. Students are in teams and are challanged to make a pyramid of 6 cups using only rubberbands and string. No hands on cups. Studens will get to know each other. Will learn to work together, communicate and concentrate.

Brittany Joachim Brittany Joachim 315 Points

This year I did an activity where I posted different quotes around my room.  Students wrote about which quote they relate to the most.  Then I had students move to the quote they wrote about and discuss in groups with sentence starters.  To me it is a good activity on the first day to set the tone.  It tells students that we work in my class.  I also talk about respect and that we respect each other and they show me that by having their group discussions.  I would love to do a lab on the first day however I think it is important to do a lab safety day and spend a day on lab expectations before that is done.  A first day of rules is dull in my opinion and students do not absorb the rules.  I also do not think a first day of FUN sets a good tone for this year.  That being said, I do teach 8th grade so it may not be the same environment as you!  Whatever you choose to do have the best first day.

Mushi Day Mushi Day 505 Points

I think a cool demonstration to do on the first day of school could be to do stations with enclosed boxes and have the students stick their hands inside and record their observations to figure out what is in each box. It's really fun!

Brielle Davis Brielle Davis 480 Points

This website has a lot of great, fun first day of school science activities. My favorite is 

 The Rainbow Lab – As a science teacher, I need to make sure that we talk about lab safety and our classroom safety guidelines right away. However, I believe it is easier for students to buy in with lab safety when they are actually doing a lab instead of watching videos and slideshows. The Rainbow Lab from Educational Innovations is an easy (and safe) way to review lab safety, measurement, the importance of following directions, and proper lab technique. If students followed directions and measured correctly, teachers should see a rainbow of colors (created from red, yellow, and blue liquid solutions) all at the same height in their six test tubes. It’s simple, but students get excited when they see the rainbow, and it leads to great conversations about lab safety. Liz LaRosa from MiddleSchoolScience Blog has a great free version that is more student-driven, inquiry-based, and uses Excel or Google Sheets for those with available technology in the classroom.

Kelsea Hector Kelsea Hector 1085 Points

I am only commenting on this so I can find it for reference later. There are some really great first day ideas on here! 

Alexis Brown Alexis Brown 735 Points

I am a fourth year at Wartburg College going for elementary education, but gearing towards middle school science at the moment. Coming up on my first year of teaching, I have been attempting to decide what would be a good first day activity for all of my classes and have landed on Draw a Scientist. This is an activity that I have heard of before and it has stuck with me for years. The idea is that you ask students to draw a scientist doing science. Even if they are in middle school, a drawing and coloring activity is something that they will appreciate on the first day! After everyone has drawn their scientist, have some of them share and look for similarities and differences. This is a great way to see what they know about certain fields of science and what type of demographic is typically scientists. You may find that most of your students only draw older, white men (think Einstein mixed with a mad scientist). By pointing this out to your students, you can have a discussion on why they drew what they drew and begin challenging them on the first day to rethink their beliefs of what a scientist is and what they do! 

Sarah Benton Feitlinger Sarah Benton 1775 Points

Science Room scavenger hunt- you can adjust to guide students to things you want them to check out (and things you don't) this is great not just for the nuts and bolts of where things are (which is especially helpful to new students) but you can also generate some curiosity and excitement about what is to come this year in science. Maybe there is a new classroom animal. For example, we have guppies as a 4th grade water quality project, but this summer I took them home because of a long commute to school. The students are used to seeing the guppies in the tank. They won't be returning to school until we are ready for the project. At the end of the summer I put a horseshoe crab, coral and a sea sponge in the empty, dry generated a lot of excitement and questions at the beginning of the year. Maybe you want to get them excited about tools they might use in the upcoming year, so the scavenger hunt might guide them to microscopes, a weather station or something like that. You don't have to have a dedicated science classroom to make this work, it is also a great way to point out all the science in a general classroom too!

Carlos Castillo CARLOS CASTILLO 720 Points

i like the idea of a scavenger hunt, i believe its great for a first day of school activity

Kimberly McNorton Kimberly McNorton 845 Points

I love this idea. It will help my students become better associated with the science materials and their location in my room.

Kristen Crooks Kristen 1280 Points

What an awesome idea and a great way to get the students excited and comfortable with the classroom!!

Ebone Eastland Ebone Eastland 595 Points

I absolutely love the idea of a scavenger hunt of the science room on the first day of school. This will definitely peak the interest of the students and get them interested in science. I love it!

Nichole Shady Nichole Shady 595 Points

This is an awesome first day idea. I love the idea of having students use tools they may need later in the year, like microscopes. It's also a great way to familiarize younger students with their new surroundings. It could also be used to get have students think scientifically by posing clues for them solve to find different things in the room or throughout the school. In one school I helped in, they got the entire school involved and had students go into different classrooms and parts of the building.

Zoxchilt Zuniga Zoxchilt Zuniga 805 Points

wow! what a great way to do engage students on the materials that will be using throughout the year. Maybe with older students you can make the clues into a riddle question.

Laura Respondek Laura Respondek 915 Points

Thank you for your post Sarah. I am really interested in activities that I can do with my future students in the classroom especially in the first day of school and you gave me great ideas.

Brenda Del Valle Brenda Del Valle 1215 Points

Awesome idea! I am a few months away from becoming a teacher and this is definitely something I will consider doing. I love reading all these great ideas teachers have.

Lacy Fitzpatrick Lacy Fitzpatrick 1260 Points

Wow this was great! I'm going to be a teacher soon and I think this post was pretty useful! I've also, always been curious about class pets. I would love to get one if they're allowed where I'll be working.

Sara Pierce Sara Pierce 3922 Points

What a fun and engaging way to include all students at any level of understanding! Also, it may provide an opportunity to introduce new concepts in a fun way!

Olivia Meincke Olivia Meincke 3754 Points

This is a great idea and i love it because you can adjust for your classroom and your students. The first day of school can always be stressful so having a fun but educational activity is always a positive. This is also nice because like said you can point out and find all the science in the general classroom.

Joanna Lovern Joanna Lovern 240 Points

I am new to NSTA and am checking out all the great resources. I found your first day of school scavenger hunt idea and love it! Such a great way to familiarize students with the tools and concepts.

Joanna Lovern Joanna Lovern 240 Points

What do you do in the water quality project that incorporates the guppies?

Nina Kucher Nina Kucher 606 Points

The scavenger hunt sounds like a wonderful activity to do during the first few days of school.

Tayler Maiers Tayler Maiers 4510 Points

This is a great first day activity to do with the students! Especially now since science is not always implemented into the classroom, or if it is, it seems to be very minimal lately. Like you stated, this is a great tool to show the students around the different objects/tools that are used in science instruction and that they might be using in a lesson someday. It allows for the students to also explore the classroom and the objects and to get just a little bit more comfortable with the classroom space and the science tools. Side note - I also think it is great for classrooms to have a "classroom pet" as it was called when I was in elementary school. It is a great resource for students to learn not only about these certain animals and what they need to survive, but it allows for the students to have a chance to take care of the animals and learn about responsibility, too. Thanks for your post, I will for sure be taking this idea into my future classroom!

Toneka Bussey Toneka Bussey 1928 Points

Great way to incorporate tools inquiry into the classroom exploration!

Mollie Cox Mollie Cox 1735 Points

I did a Volcano activity for a demonstration. I did not do it on the first day of school but I think it would be a fun demonstration to show the students. They will be able to come up and look at the lava and volcano up close table by table. My students got a really kick out of the volcano. I made it look very realitstic.

Adriana Garcia Adriana Garcia 4685 Points

A volcano demonstration would be a really great to get the kids excited for science on the first day of school. Great idea!

Jessica Tamez Jessica Tamez 975 Points

Using the Volcano for an activity would be perfect to get the students excited, and motivated in the lesson. I have not personally attempted this in the classroom but I would love to learn how, because I think it would be awesome for the kids to see. Thanks for sharing!

Christina Manriquez Christina Manriquez 1190 Points

I did a space demonstration showing the distance the planets are from the moon and had the students physically moving to show how far away they were and included a solar system skit, where each child was a planet and had to act their part. It was a different way of showing the solar system and was actually a lot of fun. I think doing anything interactive to get students going will start the year off really well and will have the students excited as well!

Michaela Aiello Michaela Aiello 330 Points

This sounds like a fun idea! I like the idea of having students act out the different planets because it gets them moving and involved. I think any activity thats allows students to move around and be hand on is great.

Emilia Espitia Emilia Espitia 825 Points

This is a great idea! I had never thought about using theater/drama in the science curriculum! This would also be a great ice breaker activity, because the students will have to work together and let their guard down a little, to act silly and fun. I love it! 

Brianna Gage Brianna Gage 600 Points

Thanks for sharing this idea! I would love to incorporate this into my lessons about the Earth and its Moon because I enjoy activities that get students up and moving.What grade would you suggest doing this type of activity with? Is there a website I could learn more about this activity?

Nicholas Morrow Nicholas Morrow 825 Points

That sounds so awesome. It sounds like a great way to get the students who might not initially be interested in the planets engaged in learning about them and build up their interest.

Maya Alkhazshvilly Maya Alkhazshvilly 190 Points

Hello! This sounds like a really fun and interactive way to get students engaged into learning! I am a pre-service teacher and am wondering what kind of formative assessment was used after this fun activity! Thanks in advance.

Holly Moberly Holly Moberly 925 Points

Hey Christina, I love this idea, do you have more details posted somewhere or have any links to the skit?

Kourtney Fyffe Kourtney Fyffe 1185 Points

I showed my students condensation by using a cold cup of water and ice and asked the students how did the water get on the outside. A lot of the students said that the water leaked through the cup, but then I showed them a cold coke can and asked why water leaked through the can when their isn't water in the can. I thought it was a great way to make them really think.

John Ryan Nunez John Ryan Nunez 615 Points

I really like this demo as it brings me back to my middle school days in science. It really poses a lot of thought and inquiry for the class to discuss as a group with important key terms along with the activity.

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

What a great way to spark a debate and have students question reasoning about how this phenomena happened.

Sade Samuel sade samuel 1200 Points

I am currently in student teaching 3rd grade. I am placed in Reading ELA split class so I have not got to experience science in the class room, This post was very interesting and I cant wait to experience science in elementary school next semester.

Rosemary Montero Rosemary Montero 1680 Points

I did this activity with the students on melting chocolate. At what temperature does chocolate go from a solid to a liquid? Is it different for white and dark chocolate? • Put one piece of chocolate on a paper plate and put it outside in the shade. • Record how long it took for the chocolate to melt or if it wasn't hot enough to melt then record how soft it was after 10 minutes. • Repeat the process with a piece of chocolate on a plate that you put outside in the sun. Record your results in the same way. • Find more interesting locations to test how long it takes for the chocolate pieces to melt. You could try your school bag, hot water or even your own mouth. • Compare your results, in what conditions did the chocolate melt? You might also like to record the temperatures of the locations you used using a thermometer so you can think about what temperature chocolate melts at The students had fun and they learned.

Karina Alfaro Karina Alfaro 1185 Points

This is a great idea! Students love chocolate, so they would be engaged in learning about it melting and at what temperatures. Thanks for the idea. 

DeeDee Fortenberry deedee fortenberry 370 Points

What grade was this?

Lacy Fitzpatrick Lacy Fitzpatrick 1260 Points

This seems like a fantastic student activity, that really could capture their attention. Especially since it's using candy because I don't know what student doesn't like candy. I would love to know the range of grades that you could use this activity for? Like how young could you go? If you go younger, what are some modifications that you could do in order to make sure it's a safe experiment but still fun? I only ask because I'd like to teach 2nd grade (currently student teaching) and would love to know if you think this would be appropriate for 2nd graders!

Cassie Weilmuenster Cassie Weilmuenster 460 Points

This would be fun to do around Valentine's Day or on Valentine's Day as well. Fun!

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

You could make s'mores with the chocolate and eat your science experiment at the end of the activity.

Ayda Parra Ayda Parra 1066 Points

This is a great idea to work with temperature and tools. Easy and Fun! thank you for sharing it.

Christina Guerra Christina Guerra 1500 Points

I'm student teaching and today I watched a great "turn and talk" with my kindergarten class. We read a book called "The sun, the wind and the rain" It discussed the rock cycle in a very friendly child manner. It was also nice to hear what different information the students got from different parts of the book.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

I just came across this "evolution puzzle" activity while searching for stuff on evolution. It seems like it would be a great activity to just introduce science in general.


Science_Puzzle.doc (0.04 Mb)

Christine Duprow Christine Duprow 815 Points

Love this! Thank you for the share.

Crystal Finch Crystal Finch 20 Points

I love this! Thank you!!!

Amy Jorgensen Amy Jorgensen 425 Points

Hi Lauren- I think it's awesome that you're already starting to think of science activities you can incorporate in your future classroom. I recently learned about the following website: The women who started this blog are experienced science educators who know how to create cheap science activities that are fun, explorative, and provide students with explanation. I think this website would have tons of ideas for you to do a short activity with your students the first day of school. AND the materials for each activity are affordable, too! Hope it helps.

Elizabeth Cooke Elizabeth Cooke 7245 Points

I followed the link to the 99 Cent Science bloodspot. The first image that popped up was the cookies made from science lab cookie cutters. Kinder and first grade could mix icing and natural food coloring to decorate the cookies.

Crista Smith Crista Smith 625 Points

I like the idea of doing something science related on the first day and some of the activities people have already mentioned seem like they would be a good fit! This got me thinking about how I would incorporate it into the busy first day and I think that a science activity would be a good way for a teacher to model several different instructional routines like gathering materials, working in a group, putting things away, etc. and then have the students practice them. Since teaching routines is such a huge part of the first few weeks this would be a way to help the students practice them in an engaging and fun way!

Melissa Cuza Melissa Cuza 710 Points

For young children, we decorated rocket ships using paper towel tubes and we tied a string at a diagonal from one end of the class to the others to get the rocket ships to go from Earth to the moon. Just make sure if you make a pointed top that it has an opening for the string to go through. Let the kids get creative, some of my kids made wings on the rocket ships and tied strings to the end so that it would have a nice effect and the kids had so much fun with this.

Madeleine Moses Madeleine Moses 960 Points

Here is an idea:

Michele Riordan Michele Riordan 995 Points

Thanks for the site. Great ideas!

Lacy Fitzpatrick Lacy Fitzpatrick 1260 Points

I never thought something as simple as creating an interactive anchor chart that could be used on that first day of school could be so helpful! Now that I am thinking about it, this seems like such a great idea to bring in their prior knowledge on subjects and get them thinking about what they'd like to know more of or clarification on. This was great, I definitely will use it. The better part is, it doesn't even have to only pertain to science on the first day. This could be a really simple interactive for many different subjects on the first day.

Kia Shields Kia Shields 3432 Points

Hi! I really like this idea because the teacher will get to know what the students would like to learn in science for the year. Also this activity can be done at the beginning of a new lesson or unit. Students can write what they already know about the topic on a sticky note. The teacher will know students' prior knowledge on the new topic. By knowing some of the things students already know, the teacher can spend less time on that content. Great post!


What a great idea! First day back can be an exciting and scary time for students and new teachers like me. I think incorporating a science project will help the students be engaged and have a memorable experience. thank you

Debra Knight Debra Knight 675 Points

I always begin the first day with the students doing some real science. I have them observe an unknown substance , usually cornstarch and water. They determine the properties of this unknown substance. The next day, they observe regular ice and dry ice, and we begin GEMS Dry Ice Investigations. I also make sure that safety is always addressed for each activity. Doing science on the first day sets the tone for the rest of the year. On the first day, all the other teachers are going over rules, talking a lot. Students appreciate not having one of their 7 classes doing something fun and doing science.

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64775 Points

You might look into doing several biology discrepant events just to get your students thinking. Another idea is to do an engineering design challenge like Save, Fred or build the biggest tower. It's a great way to have student thinking scientifically even if the activities are not directly related to biology. I also suggest having student set up their lab notebooks on the first day of class.

Shantelle Dozier Shantelle Dozier 1500 Points

I am jumping into this to make sure I don't miss out on any future posts. Thanks for the great ideas!

Payton Blankenship Payton Blankenship 140 Points

The First Day of School is a nerve-racking experience for many students because they do not know what to expect from classes and teachers. Therefore, I find it important to give students a snapshot of how the class works. For teachers implementing inquiry-based learning practices, they need to demonstrate to students that they will never know what to expect in class, because they are in control of their own learning outcomes. Teachers could create a framework for a problem or project, allow students to work collaboratively, and bring students back together for a discussion on what they learned. The majority of suggestions for middle and high school science first day of school demonstrations are student-centered approaches where students are introduced to the scientific process.Teachers could provide guidelines to inquiry that help students think metacognitively and diverse assessments that analyze student's understanding.

Lory Hernandez Lory Hernandez 1183 Points

Payton, I really like your idea of group work and discussion in the classroom. This form of teaching should be implemented in every grade level. It is a positive way where students can learn from one another as they are collaborating together on a group project. Different roles are divided between the students in each group allowing students to depend on one another. Discussion, in my opinion, allows students to reflect on what they learned that day, provide opinions about the assignment, and possibly suggest what they want to learn more about. This process makes students become active learners! I can see my future classroom using these learning strategies.

Maria Andrea Cobo Maria Cobo 1780 Points

These are awesome! Definitely looking at this for the next school year. Thank you for everyone who posted. 

Thora Ansell Thora Ansell 1175 Points

A good first day of school activity could be reading Hurricane City by Sarah Weeks. This books is a really funny and covers storm names for every letter of the alphabet. This book teaches children about how hurricanes names are alphabetize and switch from girl boy order. After explaining this and reading the book. You could have the students put their names in alphabetic order and also in a girl boy pattern. This will not only teach them about the hurricane name list, but it can also help them learn the names for their classmates.

Elyse Chan Elyse Chan 865 Points

I really like the idea as I am always looking for ways to integrate different subjects such as reading and science together. Also, hurricanes are such a fun and interesting topic to have with the students. Thanks for sharing! 

Lacy Fitzpatrick Lacy Fitzpatrick 1260 Points

Wow this is such a good idea! It is so important for the students to learn each other's names, as well as us as the teacher to learn their names as soon as possible and I think this activity will do the trick! I also like that it's not too difficult of an activity to scare them out of wanting to participate on the first day of class and that it can be used for pretty much any grade!

Amy Thomas Amy Thomas 485 Points

I really like the idea of having a science experiment on the first day of school.  I think this will help students get excited for school and give them an idea of the type of science they will be learning throughout the year.  Good idea!

Jared Hernandez Jared Hernandez 2240 Points

As a pre-service teacher I am able to express lessons which have been successful with students who I have recently met and have taught a lesson to. I usually begin lessons with an exciting set or demonstration. Usually as an introduction a very cool demonstration is exceptionally effective for engaging the students into science. Making sure that the school year is started on a positive note is an important thing to keep in mind. Depending on the age of the students I would begin with some type of hands on  experiment, something as casual as making silly putty or planting plants. 

Sara Reyna Sara Reyna 375 Points

Scavenger hunts have been the most engaging for students, especially for the first day of school/week. You can use this to tap into student's prior knowledge and find out what needs to be taught or retaught. 

Matthew Gaston Matthew Gaston 55 Points

Scavenger hunts sound great, especially the diagnostic aspect! I am wondering what type of scavenger hunt one might do to get a grasp of what students know and what students need to learn.

Angela Emely Angela Emely 10 Points

It’s so nice to be able to help our fellow teachers out–especially new ones. Check out this great resource for assignment help online.

Isairis Gonzalez Isairis Gonzalez 1075 Points

I really liked the Scavenger Hunt idea, but it would be good to get an idea of what the kids know or maybe forgot. This will help you have an idea of what their prior knowledge is.

Emily Lopez Emily Lopez 750 Points

Try giving your students the opportunity to choose from pile of animals. Have the student draw the animal or maybe have them draw their favorite animal and describe what that animals needs to survive. 

Lacy Fitzpatrick Lacy Fitzpatrick 1260 Points

I love how interactive this could be but also how simple it can be because I know as a student teacher, that first day (coming soon) will be scary and like it could all end in a disaster... with activities like this one, I think the students will be in love and also not even think it's an assignment but more of a little fun activity. It can be a Segway into different lessons about animals and it's a great idea!

Callie Cook Callie Cook 714 Points

This is a really simple idea but can really tell you a lot about the child. It will also help catagorize the children based on creativity and involvement. It will give you an idea of whether or not the class has a lot of creative students in it that will prosper from activites that are a creativity based. It will also give you a sense of how much the students will put in to their work.

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hello, here is the link to a YouTube channel I have been developing called FunScienceDemos. It has over a hundred video demonstrations that cover a wide array of topics that young learners should know. These videos are completely free and NGSS aligned. If you check out the channel and want to subscribe, we regularly release new videos and in the coming year we will be creating worksheets and complimentary materials to go with the videos. I hope this helps Best, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Annamarie Door Annamarie Door 4820 Points

That link didn't work for me but this one should:

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

I just recently discovered these videos while teaching science summer camp. They are fantastic. Thanks for the great work and resource.

HeeJu Shin HeeJu Shin 870 Points

Hi! In my science content class at my university, we read the book "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" and kinda played with it. We also tried to figure out if the oobleck was solid or liquid. It was fun, and I think you can have this activity in your class. Oobleck is mixture of corn starch and water.

Amerah Hashim Amerah Hashimi 1090 Points

Hi, For an introduction to Science, I did what seemed like a spontaneous picnic outdoors. We sat around outside with our journals, ate a snack, and observed intently to everything around us. The students used most of their 5 senses to write descriptive words and phrases to jot down all that they observed outside. I added a competing factor to this as well. I told the students that the person with the best, most detailed observations would get a prize in the end. They were all very engaged, focused, and driven to tune themselves into nature! I hope this inspires some ideas of your own!  Sincerely, Amerah

Tori Pinkston Tori Pinkston 995 Points

Not sure what grade level you are looking for, but for the younger students this is always a fun science experiment ! :)

Melissa Ruiz Melissa Ruiz 495 Points

Some activities that would be fun to teach students on the first days of school would be to state of change in matter. Bring an ice cube or a cup that is full of Ice and have students observe what happens as the day goes on. A good lesson to teach students about liquid and solid. Anything like that students enjoy if it's hands on or they can see the object. 

Dulce Reyes Dulce Reyes 2565 Points

My students enjoyed doing the lava lamp activity. This was a simple but fun experiment! It gets students interested in science. 

Kristin Lott Kristin Lott 265 Points

Hello, I am trying to remember fun science activities I did when I was in elementary school. One activity I remember is when I grew my own plant. I was 5th grade, and we had to grow our own plants. This activity was very fun and interesting. I learn so much from this activity. I learned how to grow a plant and how often to water the plant. I think this will be a great activity for students to learn about science! 

Brina Coffman Brina Coffman 880 Points

marshmallows and toothpicks, have a competition to see who can build the tallest tower!

Carrie Sharitt Carrie Sharitt 975 Points

The past two years, I have done an inquiry activity on the first day since they really struggle from transitioning from the cookbook labs of middle school to the inquiry labs of high school. Last year, I did the inquiry cubes and this year I did the black box activity. Both were activities where the kids were somewhat controlled (not all over the classroom) but were able to work in groups. These allowed them to realize that some activities would not have one 'correct' answer and experience a simple inquiry based activity. These activities also let me see/assess their processing skills and critical thinking abilities.

There are lots of links if you google 'black box inquiry activity' or 'inquiry cubes activity' but here are two good links :)

Yolanda Garza Yolanda Garza 855 Points

I like the idea of introducing non-traditional pets such as mealworms which turn into beetles. Doing this at the beginning of the year allows students to watch the science happen before their eyes without even knowing it. It may not be a first day activity but maybe you can schedule it to a time frame in which you will be teaching life cycles. Hope this idea helps some!

Kate Tummino Kate Tummino 5520 Points

I do an activity to reinforce the use of natural resources. I put students in groups with envelopes and they each have the same task but each has something wrong with the materials in their envelope of resources. It may be that their pencil isn't sharpened or their scissors are taped together. Whatever the problem they can't complete the task because their resources are mistreated or depleted. We then equate it not just to how we use the supplies in the room for the year but how we treat the resources in our world.

Annamarie Door Annamarie Door 4820 Points

I love this Kate! I'm always frustrated by how students don't understand taking care of supplies or how they don't get my goal of using our materials wisely. This will really help start that out from the beginning in a way that highlights what we don't want to be the end product. I was thinking about doing a starting lesson on resources just because it normally gets pushed to the end/not done. This will really put it where it belongs: in the forefront of our minds. I can also use this as a connection/lead in to the Hippocratic Oath and how, as learners of nature, we are to do no harm to living things. Thank you!

Julia Torres Julia Torres 975 Points

Inherited Traits/Learned Behaviors Scavenger hunt - I had my students complete a scavenger hunt around the room. They had a chart that listed different traits/behaviors and had to find students that could do the behavior or had the trait. This was more of an opener for a lesson regarding Learned Behaviors but it could be tweaked to use for students in your room and first day activities! 

Monica Chason Monica Chason 845 Points

I have my students do this Science Inquiry Puzzle every year on the first day. (I have mostly 9th graders) I printed the squares on different colored neon cardstock and laminated them and keep them stored in zip lock bags. I keep the small square in a separate bag so each student gets 4 pieces to start out with. After 3 years they are still looking great! It is a great introduction to the nature of science and getting students to be active in their learning. Also, I like seeing the students get frustrated when they can't easily solve the second puzzle. It helps you to see who are your students who are willing to persevere versus the students that give up easily. You learn a lot about your classes from this simple activity and get to have a great discussion about science!

Michelle Khan Michelle Khan 1075 Points

Also does it depend on the grade level too, I want to teach third grade and need ideas for first day math and science, which I would like to intergrate.

Tina Hamilton Tina Hamilton 12585 Points

Hi Michelle,

Smart idea to incorporate math and science! An important math skill for 3rd graders could be measuring things. For folks who like the scavenger hunt idea, try a matter scavenger hunt. Find a matter that is red, or square, or fuzzy, or a liquid. You could also include some matter that is longer than 6' or shorter than 3', etc. This is a fun way to think about the physcial observable properties of matter. 


Stephanie Lobo Stephanie Lobo 435 Points

A fun activity would be a science scavenger hunt. This way the students are up and having fun meeting and interacting with their peers. It also serves you, as the teacher, for a chance to observe and get to know your students. Observing them during the scavenger hunt, you will learn the ones that follow the rules, the ones that keep to themselves, and the ones that don't like to participate. These are things you need to keep in mind when creating lesson plans or seating arrangements. -Stephanie L.

Annamarie Door Annamarie Door 4820 Points

I teach only science, so for me, I get the kids for a short time and I am looking to make it pop. In elementary classes, I start with procedures or expectations but I weave that into an inquiry/discovery lesson. Mostly I use units from the Picture Perfect Science books by Karen Ansberry & Emily Morgan. They include lessons on discrepant events like the jumping beans for 4-5th biology (where students learn that not everything is as it seems at a glance) or "Earthlets" where students learn the value of piecing together all the information that they discover. I've used their lesson on the learn'd astronomer or Rachel Carson, "a sense of wonder" in both cases to introduce in a soft-start way that science is more than "doing". It includes pondering, wondering, ruminating over how amazing creation is...and helping students to place themselves inside that story as active participants in the science journey.

Kaylee Reese Kaylee Reese 645 Points

Building off the idea of the scavenger hunt, I think it would a good cycle to then have the students create their own scavenger hunt later in the year. Based on their interests or a research project, they could create their own scavenger hunt for the other students in the class. Each week could have a different scavenger hunt presented for the rest of the class (and teacher) to work on. (Also a good way to make Mondays more appealing.) They would have prior experience and they would be having fun as it is based on student interest.

Gladys Fitzgerald Gladys Fitzgerald 550 Points

I've doe the time capsule in the past and it is so much fun. We turn empty Pringles cans or paper towel tubes into miniature time capsules. Ask each child to create a time capsule that includes such items as a handwriting sample, a hand tracing, a self portrait, and so on. At the end of the school year, compare samples from the beginning of the year with new samples. It is great to see the changes at the end of the year.

Tracy Williams Tracy Kostenbader 130 Points

I love the time capsule idea and may try to implement this into my high school classes and the students' current skills set. Thanks!

Ictzel Barron Ictzel Barron 975 Points

These are all great ideas to incorporate in a science classroom. Thank you so much! I am excited to one day use these activities in my future classroom.

Bridget Simmons Bridget Simmons 355 Points

I really like the idea of doing a more hands on activity for the first day of school. The first day is such a nerve racking experience for young students sometimes, and doing something that could serve as an ice breaker and an educational moment at the same time would be beneficial. One activity that could be done is teaching about spider webs and how they are made. This process can be done by having a student hold a ball of yarn and say a fun fact about themselves, then they can throw the ball across the circle to another student while still holding their ball of yarn. This would be a fun way for the students to get to know one another while learning about spiders and their webs.

Sarah Benton Feitlinger Sarah Benton 1775 Points

If you have new students you can do a scavenger hunt around the science room. I've done this and the kids love it. It also helps to introduce them to any important safety items, and even things that end up being super helpful to you later, like the trash can, sink and pencil sharpener. You can also put out some things that will peak their interest as they wander around the room.

Sandra Saint-Val Sandra Saint-Val 1475 Points

Hi! The first week of school is always hectic for me because of all the important things that we have to get done. During the first week, the students are doing most of the talking because I want them to get to know one another and etc. In science, I informed them about lab safety. On Friday, the students explored many types of lab safety hands-on activity. Doing this helped them see the importance of lab safety. It also helped them remember the lab safety. For an example, I put a cup of blue water (food coloring) while I had my lab coat and goggles on. Some students went ahead and picked the cup up. They smelled it without my instructions as well. Some students caught on and said that they were not supposed to touch anything as well. As the closure, I asked the students why I included that activity. From that day on, they did not pick up anything without my instructions. Hope this helped!

Chien Hui Chen CHIEN HUI CHEN 850 Points

I am going to share you an idea that I see online. The activity is called Windbag Wonders Team Building. The goal is really quite simple… blow up the Windbag as fast as you can. There is just one little hitch. The bag is 8 feet long! So, how many breaths does it take to inflate an 8 foot long bag? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? After you uncover a little secret called Bernoulli’s Principle, you can inflate the entire bag with just one breath of air. Give each child two or three Windbags and have them inflate each bag. Divide the students into groups of 3 to 5 students. Have the students work together to build a free standing structure. The highest structure wins the challenge.

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3395 Points

I checked this out on Steve Spangler's website. Cool!

Chih-Hsuan Chao Chih-Hsuan Chao 895 Points

The First Day of School Science Activities I would like to do five sense. I will encourage students use their five sense to observe the school.

Araceli Venturini Araceli Venturini 835 Points

Thank you for all these great ideas! My cooperating teacher began the first day of school with a safety video that was appealing to the students because it was a song. I am in a second grade class and have learned that no matter the age, children love songs! I would add a game board on lab safety to support this topic because we played it in our science class and it was so much fun!

Wendy Duan Wendy Duan 890 Points

I think a scavenger hunt will be a fun first day of school activity for science, where students are able to work together as teams and communicate with one another. Students can work together to find different objects from newspaper ads or magazines and then have them paste it on one sheet of paper with different categories.

Olivia Westfall Olivia Westfall 1510 Points

I think that just taking the students outside to observe the nature that surrounds the school would be a great first day of school activity for science. It is laid back, and it is student led so you can see what your students are interested in. It also allows for the teacher to float around and talk to the students about what they are seeing and observe their prior knowledge about science topics. Along with this, students will get to collaborate with peers and build a sense of community on the first day. I strongly support inquiry-based learning, and introducing the students to the idea of guiding and building their own knowledge from scratch will be helpful in the long run!

Alyssa Tannous Alyssa Tannous 980 Points

That is such a great idea, I want to try this!

Brittany Collins Brittany Collins 1185 Points

I will definitely take these activities into consideration!

Lesley Cooper Lesley Cooper 835 Points

I really love the idea of incorporating a scavenger hunt on the first day of school. Whether it is science related or not, I believe it's a great way to introduce students to the layout of the classroom, different materials, and where they are located. It is also a great way to get students out of their shells, help them feel more comfortable, and get them up and moving!

Katrice Trego Katrice 755 Points

I CT had students shake their first day "jitters" into a jar! The jitters were represented with fireflies and by the end of all the jitters being shaken out, there was a jar of "fireflies". From there the conversation went to bugs and insects and we started a lesson on them! It was such a smooth transition :) Great method to use!

Christine Khuong Christine Khuong 1135 Points

These are all such great ways in introducing kids to science! I really like the "spin-the-wheel" activity where the teacher plans a lesson/activity, and the students spin the wheel to complete it. That makes it fun and somewhat competitive! Thanks, guys!

Summer Robinson Summer Robinson 595 Points

My favorite first day of school science activity is a paper airplane contest. Separate the class into groups of 2-4 and give every group one piece of copy paper. The students are supposed to work together to make the paper airplane that will go the furthest. Although this activity relates directly with Physics, it is an activity that any science class can do the first day of school because it shows how one has to think through what they will do and how to improve a science experiment/scientific inquiry. It also helps students be more comfortable with each other and forces them to work together.

Danielle Cadenhead Danielle Cadenhead 845 Points

I absolutely LOVE this activity! Not only is this a much better ice breaker than "Three truths and a lie," but it also fosters immediate collaboration amongst your students! Another fun spin-off of this activity would be for them to use this later in the year with content. Students could be provided a prompt such as, "List what you know about force and motion." Students would then list everything they know about force and motion. Once everyone was finished, students would send their paper airplanes across the room. Each student would pick up a paper airplane that landed near them. They would then send these airplanes across the room. Students would pick up new airplanes and launch them one last time. Students would then pick up their last and final airplane, read them, and discuss them with their group members. Once this is completed, students will come together for a whole-group discussion about force and motion.

Monica Humphery Monica Humphery 250 Points

For the first day of school I like to get the students excited about learning science. The first thing I do is talk to students about all the fun science activities we will do during the year and show them work from prior students.

I enjoyed reading many different methods you all have come up with for first day activities. As a teacher I believe it is imperative to make an attempt at simultaneously breaking the ice so that students are comfortable with each other while at the same time subtly getting a feel for particular students that may have to make accommodations or adaptations for. Every student has various methods that can be utilized to best articulate lesson plans and assess their comprehension of it.

Steve Collins Steve Collins 50 Points

On the first day of school science activities, it is better if you do not start with the subject. You can have some activities related to science like come up with some species picture and let students guess what these are and ask them to tell their features or you can try science word search. On the second day of Science subject you can start with what the syllabus is all about and what is expected.

Ashley Lindemann Ashley Lindemann 915 Points

I feel this topic does not have a bright enough light shined on it. I never thought of doing a science activity on the first day! What a great way to start the year engaging and having fun. It would be way better than the first day coloring sheets they have the students do! I would work with starting to grow something and tying it into how the students minds will grow with science this year!

Michelle Alley Michelle Alley 2570 Points

Wow!! There are so many Great ideas in here that will be useful once I am in the classroom!! I cannot wait to try them out, thanks to everyone for sharing their AWESOME ideas for kids learning Science! ~Michelle

Yvis Lauzurique Yvis Lauzurique 4135 Points

I can't wait til student teaching so that I can learn some first day activities, the only guide I have is Pinterest. I think I will write down some of these activities I'm reading on these posts.

Liliana Bravo Liliana Bravo 20 Points

One of the most memorable science demonstrations that I recall was in my chemistry class, where on the first day, my teacher showed the burning of different substances to get the flame to show different colors, such as purple or green. This was a great way to capture the students attention and get them interested in the subject.

Another suggestions is to do activities that will both get students engaged and interacting with their peers. I have found this happens best when activities include a bit of competition between groups. Of course, when competition is an element in the classroom it is important to monitor students for any rising conflicts.

Michelle Nguyen Michelle Nguyen 1435 Points

The first day of school is always so exciting and the kids are eager to explore their new surroundings. An interesting activity that one can do for science is to do a scavenger hunt. This usually can takes place during any of the class period than can help students become familiar with their new classroom, satisfy their curiosities, and burn off some of that energy. While the students are completing the scavenger hunt, it really gives me a glimpse into the dynamics of each class. Some students like to work alone, some like to work with a partner, some are super focused and task driven, some students prioritize what they want to find first and make a plan, some students are more relaxed and let the answers find them as they walk around making quiet observations, some students pair up and find half of the items and share their information, some will trade answers for things they can’t find. It is really interesting to watch it unfold.

Callie Cook Callie Cook 714 Points

I have read a lot of post on scavenger hunts as a good first day activity. I like that you shine light on the dynamic of the class. It is important to get a feel for the classroom and the students within it. It is a good way to make notes of the different styles of the students in the classroom. This can be really usefull when planning future activites in the classroom. This will also help when choosing the groups whether they be large or small. 

Eugenia Ruiz Eugenia Ruiz 970 Points

Maybe doing an activity to what science means to them. Then they can share in a table group. In a classroom we drew what scientist looked like, and it was a fun activity. Everyone practically drew Einstein, and there was a handful of women or children scientist so the discussion opened up that everyone is a scientist.

Sharon Stevens Allen Sharon Stevens-Allen 2475 Points

I currently teach middle school science and I use the first week of school to introduce students to the common skills and strategies that they will require in science. I try to have students engage in collaborative activities: work in small groups to build a geometric structure ( using triangles, squares, pentagons and hexagons shapes) from toothpicks and marshmallows, or using index cards and paper clips to build a platform for a book.  In addition, I will have the students take a learning style inventory to identify their learning styles.  Most students are a combination of learning styles.  When they take the inventory, they discover their best learning styles and I have them represent it in a ways that reflects their personal style ( draw a picture or write a short summary about their style).  I also am an AVID teacher, so I will start teaching them how to take Cornell Notes. After completing the Webinar about Engineering Design today, I would modify these first week activities.  I would introduce the Engineering process using the information from today.  Then I would have the students develop their first engineering project after they understand the process.  They would use engineering workbooks, to brain storm, sketch designs before they actually began building their projects.

Marla Menchaca Marla Menchaca 505 Points

Working on planning for the start of the year and was just reading through all of the posts here. I had already thought of the Scavenger hunt and also connecting it to safety in the classroom. I saw in one of the earlier posts the idea about the "Shared Resources" where one item in each envelope can't be used as is. I had a lot of issues last year with mistreatment of resources so I think I will incorporate this in some manner. Thanks for all the sharing.

Steven Autieri Steven Autieri 844 Points

Hi Lauren, I love to set-up a lab safety scavenger hunt where I hide clues throughout the classroom space. Students read a riddle on a strip of paper and need to locate the next piece of safety equipment to continue the process. It is a really engaging and hands-on way to get students to review lab safety procedures.

Lisa Wargo Lisa 420 Points

I like that idea - do you have some examples of your riddles? Thanks, Lisa

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64775 Points

This is a great idea, Steven. Would you mind sharing some of the riddles that you use with your students?

Steven Autieri Steven Autieri 844 Points

Yes, Ruth, I would be more than happy to. Let me get them converted to a doc and I will link them here.

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 64775 Points

Great! Thanks so much, Steven. Several years ago, I had one of my advanced classes create lab safety videos for my beginning science classes. It was a nice project for them. However, I have not repeated it because it took them so much time editing the final copy of their videos. What about others reading this thread? Like what does your first day with students look?

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Ruth The standard safety videos, including the one put out by the ACS, need some updating. We also have had students create short videos that each focus on one concept. I think students are more open to hearing about safety from their peers. I works well ?

Suzanne Stojka Suzanne Stojka 135 Points

My school requires me to go over class expectations but I'm going to get my students moving around the room while doing this instead of just standing there and telling them! i found a game called Scoot online. Every student is given a gameboard with 20 squares - you can use this same gameboard for any topic. You write questions on index cards or sticky notes around the room, these are numbered 1-20 also. Students start at whatever desk they are at and answer that question and put the answer in the corresponding box on their gameboard. Since I am using this to tell them my class expectations I am going to have 2 cards at each desk, the 1st card will tell them an expectation and the 2nd card will be a question about that expectation. after a minute or so you say "SCOOT" and students need to move to the next desk, if they started at 19 they go to 20 next...then 1...etc. You need to give students time to read and answer the question,but the game should be fast moving. For example: #1a - Before doing any lab or activity you must always read all procedures and safety precautions. #1b What 2 things must you always do before starting a lab? When students have completed all of the boxes they will have all of my class expectations written on their gameboard, but they didn't just have to sit there and listen to me! Lots of SCOOT games on Pinterest

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

The dry chemical mentioned in the "Where Did the Water Go" can be easily obtained from opening up a diaper and taking out the powder contained in it. It has the same effect as the chemical powder you could purchase from a science supply and it is much cheaper!!!

Stacy Holland Stacy Holland 6865 Points

Our campus has a first 3 days of high engagement policy. We spend time presenting build challenges, group activities to get to know each each other, and a mystery safety accident. Students are not in seats, moving around the room, interacting with fellow students and myself (the teacher). My favorite activity is a team building exercise "Lost at Sea." Teams are on a sinking ship and only have time to grab a few items, they must rank the items in importance to survival. Students have a great time completing the activity before I show them how the U.S. Coast Guard ranks them! As the teacher I quickly learn the personalities of my students.

Elizabeth Reed Elizabeth Reed 2085 Points

Hi Stacy,

I am currently a student at UNI taking a science methods course. In a little over a year from now, I will be having my own classroom. This activity sounds like so much fun! Especially since schools are really pushing the classroom rules/ routines the first couple weeks of school in place of learning content. I like your activity because it does tie into science, yet still builds relationships with and among your students and gets them used to what is expected out of your science activities. It is also a fun topic to think about--kids love survival games!


Jason McMurray Jason McMurrasy 325 Points

I have several observation/inquiry activities I do. A lot of them are like the campfire games you might play such as "Both up, 1 up 1 down, both down" which refers to the speakers hand positioning. I also use what are called inquiry cubes, where the students are observing a cube with different items drawn on each side. They record their observations, ask questions (inquiry) and share information with those that cannot see their side. They then try to figure out what is on the bottom of the cube.

Masyn Klose Masyn Klose 1975 Points

This was a super fun discussion to read through! I am a practicum student this year so it is super fun to hear all of the fun ideas of incorporating science into the first day of school! I remember back in grade school walking around outside the school my first day with my new classmates and we collected all sorts of materials from the outside world around us. We then talked about each item we found as a class and talked about the importance of the item to the earth and the people that live in it. This activity has stuck with me a lot longer than most other first day activities and this makes it even more special.

Heather Harkless Heather Harkless 385 Points

I think the first day of school sets the tone for the rest of the school year. As a future teacher, I want my students to be engaged and focused during science. I love all of the shared ideas throughout this post and I am looking forward to implementing them in my future classroom. I want to promote discussion, problem solving, hands-on activities, and inquiry in my classroom from the very beginning.

Kylee Bader Kylee Bader 510 Points

I would agree. The first day of school does set the tone of your classroom for the rest of the entire school year.

Alex Stammen Alex Stammen 570 Points

The first day of school sets the tone of your classroom for the rest of the school year. You want to get off on the right foot with your students and the first day of school needs to be an engaging day for the students.

Randy Florendo Randy Florendo 320 Points

A great activity to do on the first day of school is to have kids categorizing. Students will be handed a container of random items. They will sort the items into various groups and explain why each item were placed in the groups (common characteristics). Discussions can focus on similarities and differences. Activity can be tied into the kingdoms of life.

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Randy, I like your idea. Students can categorize by attributes, and then share their data with the class. This also seems like a great icebreaker.