Elementary Science

Limited supplies

One o my biggest fears is that I will not have the resources or materials to make a child's learning experience all that it can be. Are there any suggestions to make science still fun and engaging, even though the right materials and resources might not be available?

Mary Milligan
Mary Milligan
685 Activity Points

Hi Mary--
I can understand your concerns. In the perfect world, we would have access to whatever we teachers need to help students learn. The good new is that there are many science activities that can be done with basic objects. Check out this blog on Low-budget (or no-budget) science.
--Mary B

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
10110 Activity Points

I am new to teaching science in elementary school. Thanks for putting up the Low Budget Experiments.

Dale Merritt
Dale Merritt
800 Activity Points

The blog that Mary suggested has a lot of good ideas. One thing the blog suggested is not asking students to bring things from home. It is true that would be a hardship for some families but asking for paper towel and toilet paper tubes doesn't cost anything and they can be used in lots of science experiments. Many other things that go in the trash or recycle can be used in science. Another great place to get stuff for you science class are garage sales. I have found wonderful treasures there for very cheap prices. If you say you are a teacher looking for classroom supplies they will frequently give you the stuff cheaper or free! Also another good resource is the Dollar Tree Store if you have one near you. Recently I purchased all the supplies I needed for a Force and Motion workshop I was doing for a local school district at the Dollar Tree Store!! Good luck in your careers!!

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48550 Activity Points

Thrift shops can be a great resource as well. I have picked up cheap aquaria for student projects and even once found a power cord for an old coffee pot that happened to fit an autoclave (A fancy name for a pressure cooker that I use to sterilize agar for working with microorganisms at the high school level) that was sitting unused in our storeroom because the cord had gotten lost sometime before I came to this district

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Like many of the posts that I have read, I am very afraid that I will not have many available resources and supplies in my school to be able to give effective science lessons for my students to experiment and explore. Science is very important for education to give students the opportunity to test, explore, and experiment with many possibilities. I appreciate the post that was made on how to find good supplies for a bargain, this will be very helpful and useful to me in the future.

Natalie Chao
Natalie Chao
1270 Activity Points

I have found as a education student that there are so many places and resources that want to help teachers. I think this is truly promising for the world of education. Maybe more people are realizing just how important it is.

Lisa Jasinski
Lisa Jasinski
1090 Activity Points

Mary, one of the first suggestions I would make is to figure out what you want to do with your students, make a list, and then go on to Donorschoose, http://www.donorschoose.org/ . This is a wonderful resource where you take the time to write a small grant, tell about your project, pick the supplies from provided catalogues, and let others help you fund it. If you take a moment and go through the website, you will see dozens of great ideas and projects that others are seeking funding for. It’s a great way to get a feel for how to write your own grant, plus ideas for other things you want to do. Another great aspect of this site is there is often matching funds from local and national businesses that will match dollars pledged. Your first grant will take a little over an hour to write, but it is a really cool feeling when you see all the people from around the world help you make your dream project come true. Once you are funded, you receive the materials, then send thank you notes/photos to those that provided funding. With each grant you write, you become eligible to write larger grants. Give it a try, I would love to hear how you do.

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

Thank you. I am an education student and I often wonder how I will be able to tech my students if The school did not provide the resources for me. I do not want to be that teacher that is always asking for hand outs and wanting the parents to contribute because you do not know their situations. Now with these new resources and advice from people in similar situations I fell a little more confidence in going into a classroom with limited resources.

Breanna Woods
Breanna Woods
2915 Activity Points

Hi Mary,

Your question is one that it seems that almost all teachers are currently struggling with...find the money and resources to give our students the education they deserve. This journal article, Frugal Equipment Substitution, a Quick Guide, has some great ideas for finding economical solutions in a science classroom. Another great resource for frugal ideas is the Frugal Science Teacher series. The link I provided goes to the K-5 version, but there is also a book for 6-9.

Hope those resources help!

Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

There are lots of sources for inexpensive labs. I am going to upload my collection. Adah


Inexpensive Labs Collection
(14 items)
Blow-by-Blow Inquiry: Students use their minds and lungs in this engaging inquiry activity
     -Journal Article
Someone’s in the Kitchen with Science
     -Journal Article
The Case of the Missing Music
     -Journal Article

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

As a future teacher, i was very concern with this situation as well. Thankfully all my university professors have told me that the best way to get things for any kind of activities for your students is just to go to thrift shops, or also if you need cardboards, pizza places sometimes give you boxes that they don't use, homedepot donates a of items as well. As long as you explain yourself, the reasons why you need it and how it will help students, people are always willing to donate things for the classroom. Sometimes, even parents do most of the donations too!

Romina Krause
Romina Krause
3820 Activity Points

Many times Ihave encountered the same problem with materials. I have learned that planning ahed is the key to have all the materials needed. If I know that I am going to make rockets next month, I star asking the parents for Alka- Sletzer tablets and I also go to the nears CVS or Walgreen and asked them to save me the canisters fro rolls of film. Other times I email the rest of the faculty asking to borrow certain items. People are willing to cooperate if asked in advanced.

Susana Bello
Susana Bello
1980 Activity Points

I do believe that now a days teachers are limited the supplies needed to make a child's educational experience great. I see a lot of teachers buying their own supplies for the children. A teacher can only buy so much. I think there should be an allowance for the teachers supplies each nine weeks for the students. When I am doing an experiment with my students I have to buy the supplies if my cooperating teacher do not have them. I believe there should w a way for the lack of limited supplies to change.

Sherena Johnson
Sherena Johnson
1350 Activity Points

Mary, I a a pre-service teacher so no experience yet but I have had the pleasure of watching many teachers in all types of locations. Teachers live in dollar stores as mentioned, but also you can make things using Pinterest or find budget ways of doing creative things. Certain things are still necessary but there is another website where you can post what supplies or equipment is needed. There are many people that go on to make contributions for your project. The website is donorschoose.org . Check it out. Hope this helps. Tania Marrero

Tania Marrero
Tania Marrero
2285 Activity Points

Hello, As I have come across different science teachers, I have found that low budget and lack of supplies is a reoccurring theme in schools. Thank you all for your wonderful ideas! Also, in my research I have come across the following site, http://lowcostscience.org/ and it seems to have some good ideas. Hope this helps! Best, Jessica Castro Herrera

Jessica Herrera
Jessica Castro
1015 Activity Points

Mary, Teaching in a 95% poverty school in a state where education is FAR from equal, I understand how hard it is to fund projects we want our students to experience. One of my greatest loves, is Donor's Choose. http://www.donorschoose.org/we-teach/119209 I have been lucky enough to have several projects funded through this and it is an easy way to start. Also, just check your local state online for grants. They are out there and many times fairly easy to obtain. Good luck, Lisa

Lisa Liss
Lisa Liss
230 Activity Points

Imagine the fun of learning how to build and operate a complete system... A flying machine that can land on a rover, all pre-programmed, designed, built, and operated by high school students. The kit and course materials allow teachers to create over 100 STEM experiments without significant curriculum development. Team Learning helps develop all aspects of the skills needed in the UAS community. Here's our business model 1-pager. UAS Academy Project Development Guidance v2.pdf 120.5 KB UASA is building a complete course of instruction covering a wide range of learning objectives, broken down into 40 minute classroom or lab modules. Apply today for a Grant to use UAS Academy Kit's in your school. The kits are made up of the hardware, software, and curriculum from the leading industry manufacturers. This is the same stuff your students will need to master as they head to college or join the workforce! http://www.uasacademy.org/#!

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

Something you should keep in mind as you design science labs... I have found that the more demonstrations/labs/inquiry activities I can do using ordinary household materials to show the science behind things, the better connections my students can make to the science. It is all fun and good to show force and motion on an airtrack, but how many cars float on air? While it is fun to create electric circuits using breadboards, do students have these at home to experiment with? If we want students to see science in the world around them, we have to show them, literally, the science in the world around them. I used to fuss at not having "Science" equipment, and for some things it would make MY life easier but it would show them less how dependent they are on physics, chemistry, biology, or earth science knowledge. That is why I really like the frugal science site Maureen shared, or the science-on-a-budget information that Mary and Adah shared. However, it doesn't matter if you have fancy equipment or cheap if you do not insist that students take the time to reflect and think about where they have seen examples of science in their own daily lives. I have boxes and boxes of equipment things from rummage sales and discount stores (and a few from science suppliers of cool toys!) and most are things like rulers, thread spools, dixie cups, Popsicle sticks, glue, string, ziplock bags, pipe-cleaners, beads, scissors, toys ....

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

Something you should keep in mind as you design science labs... I have found that the more demonstrations/labs/inquiry activities I can do using ordinary household materials to show the science behind things, the better connections my students can make to the science. It is all fun and good to show force and motion on an airtrack, but how many cars float on air? While it is fun to create electric circuits using breadboards, do students have these at home to experiment with? I used to wonder when I graduated from college how to do science without all the fancy equipment... If we want students to see science in the world around them, we have to show them, literally, the science in the world around them. I used to fuss at not having "Science" equipment, and for some things it would make MY life easier but it would show them less science not more. It would not show them how dependent they are on physics, chemistry, biology, or earth science knowledge for things they take for granted. That is why I really like the frugal science site Maureen shared, or the science-on-a-budget information that Mary and Adah shared. However, it doesn't matter if you have fancy equipment or cheap if you do not insist that students take the time to reflect and think about where they have seen examples of science in their own daily lives. I have boxes and boxes of equipment things from rummage sales and discount stores (and a few from science suppliers of cool toys!) and most are things like rulers, thread spools, dixie cups, Popsicle sticks, glue, string, ziplock bags, pipe-cleaners, beads, scissors, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, toys ....

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

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