General Science and Teaching

Getting the Students Excited About Science

Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:01 PM

Are there any activities, engagement lessons, links you would recommend to get students interested/excited about learning science?

Aleida Torres
Aleida Torres
225 Activity Points

Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:56 PM

Hey Aleida! I think it's great that you want to get students actually interested in science; I had some teachers who didn't seem to care regardless and their teaching methods really kept me from loving science as I otherwise might have.

For one, having a good hook that draws on student's prior knowledge is a great way to engage students. If you can tie that to student interests and their own experiences, it'll be even more engaging. It could also be helpful to show an interesting video clip- there are plenty available online!

Using trade books can also help students who can be engaged in learning through reading and looking at realistic pictures. The NSTA store has many fiction and non-fiction trade books:

Using hands-on activities is also a great way to immerse students in the learning process and have them engaged and connected to the science concepts that are the focus of the lesson. has some great ideas for science projects for different grade levels that can be used as science activities in the classroom. Another great site that features STEM-based projects is I hope this is useful, and feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!

Rida Rangoonwala
Rida Rangoonwala
310 Activity Points

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:50 PM

Yes! To keep students engaged in learning and excited about science, we should present science not as facts to be memorized but as a process of exploration and discovery. I would consider “must-haves” to include the Phenomenon-Based Learning Books (from NSTA Press) and accompanying materials (from Arbor Scientific). Here are links to the elementary version

the middle-school version

and the high-school version

of the books.

On any of those pages, you can scroll down, and under “Details,” you’ll find a link for downloading a sample chapter. And if you click on that link, you get not only the sample chapter, but also the table of contents and the Introduction. Teachers will find the Introduction quite informative in describing how they should present the activities in ways that will be most pedagogically effective for all levels of students.

The books are based on "Phenomenon-Based Learning" (PBL), which builds knowledge of, and interest in, physical science as a result of observations of real-world phenomena, in this case, some fun gizmos and gadgets. The idea is to teach broader concepts and useful thinking and performance skills (as with NGSS) rather than asking students to simply memorize facts and formulas. Students will investigate an interesting gadget and, motivated by their own curiosity, explore and discover how it works and what physical phenomena are involved. So the approach to learning is based on curiosity and creativity.

You can see the kits of materials designed to go with the books here:

Click on any book to see the kit(s) for that book.
The kits are expensive, but they provide enough materials for dozens of activities and would be a great investment for any school, even without the books.


James Dotson
James Dotson
100 Activity Points

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