are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science
department, within your school district, or to distribute to any
teacher who may find these lessons useful. I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the
copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the
original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work.
NOTE: This disclaimer is
modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science
Spot and Middle School Science. Thanks, teachers!
GENERAL GAME CONCEPTS
feel as if you are
doing all the work, not your students, try active learning!
This teaching philosophy gets your students moving. It has your
students use flash cards to learn the different models of the solar
system, cut and paste vocabulary, or perform skits to show the features
of the three main volcano types. My hat's
off to Louis
for all his
inspirational training and wonderful suggestions!
Board Team Competition
!NEW WHITE BOARD TEAM
This is a
have white boards,
cut out of one larger one bought at a local hardware store. I train my
students early on to move into four teams, send one team member to pick
up the white board, marker, and eraser, and assemble in one area,
placing the white board so they can work on it without other teams
seeing their answers. They are careful to wait for me to count down and
say, "Show me your answer!" so as to not tip off another team to their
answer. I run White Board Games frequently, at least twice a week.
Works great for the 13-15 year old bunch! I love to see their heads
together, working out good answers.
Click here to download a new Pdf with 10 White Board Team Game suggestions!
EMAIL ME to request an audio
podcast: How to Set Up Team Games.
are the best way I know to add some action and spark to the day. I play
games EVERY day that I can. At least 3 or 4 times a week! kids love
them nd they learn so much when they are actively engaged in learning!
However, you must train your students properly or, as you can
imagine, chaos can reign. Not necessary if you follow a few
simple steps and take the time to train your students.
for detailed directions.
to request an audio podcast: How to Set Up Team Games.
teams. Prepare an
overhead transparency with a long line down the middle. Put the same
question, puzzle, problem, on each side. Teams line up on each side of
the overhead. Give each team one transparency pen of a different color.
The pen is passed down the line like a relay race baton. First person
in each line starts at the signal and gets to write down one thing
only. If you have sentences that need correcting, for example, they
only make one correction each. Then the pass the pen to the next person
in the line and go to the end of the line. It's totally "legal" for
team members to look at the other team's work. This often gets a team's
weakest member past their turn with some dignity. Good game for
requiring all the team members in the long line to pay attention to
what is happening so they know what to do next.
Safety Equipment Hunt
worksheet with photos
of safety equipment in the classroom. Have students walk around the
room, listing the location of each safety item shown on the worksheet.
Discuss by comparing their answers to an answer transparency. This
could be done with four teams or individually.
Safety Equipment Flashcard Game
Play a fun
with partners. Each pair places their set on the table. scrambled
together. Then the teacher says, "Put your finger on the eye wash." Or,
"Put your finger on the equipment you would use to put out a fire."
Each student uses both pointing fingers, so one of the pair could get
both of the eye wash flashcards. When down to just a couple flashcards,
stop the game, count the piles, and shake hands with the winner!
Someone Who Knows Safety Hunt
students walk around
finding students who know the answers to questions related to science
lab safety. The "Someone Who Knows" must write the answer and sign
their name on the student's paper. Adapted from material submitted to Successlink.org
by Paula E. Young.
| Run off Safety Game
Scenarios in four
colors. Laminate. Run off your Science
Lab Safety Rules. Click here for my
rule pieces. Run four sets of these in
white. Laminate. To
play the game: hand out the same scenario to each team. Hand out a set
of Safety Rules Pieces. Teams put their heads together and quietly pick
out all the rules that were broken in the scenario. When a team is
done, they should say, "Done!" loud enough for all to hear. The teacher
writes down team numbers in order of finish. When all teams are
finished, the teacher quickly walks around the room checking for
accuracy. If first team finished is correct, they are in first place
and receive 4 points. If they miss one and the second place team gets
all correct, then they change places and points, etc. (Second place
gets 3 points, third place gets 2 points, etc.) I do only one Scenario
at a time, but you could do several if you have time.
SYSTEM AND MEASUREMENT GAMES
White Board Game
conversion problems. One
member of each of four teams writes the problem on the white board and
all team members help solve the problem without letting the other teams
see their board. Hold up answers when teacher asks for them. Each
correct answer gets a point. Called Show Me the Answer here in Missouri!
using the metric system! Click here
for entire lesson. Includes great Metric Mania Scavenger Game!
here to download a pdf file with the entire mini-metric Olympics
lesson plan. Even provides the "medals!" Highly recommended! NOTE: Now for sale
for $3.00 by AIMS Education Foundation.
|A cut and paste
vocabulary assignment. Cut
out the definitions and past with the correct word. Much more fun than
the "standard" vocab sheet. The action of cutting and pasting helps
most students remember better! Click here.
Design Vocab. Team Game
|Run a completed
"Answer Sheet" off on four different colored papers. Cut out and
laminate. Teams must match the vocabulary words to the correct
definitions. First team done (and correct) wins! Click here for general Team Game
Design Team Relay Games
overhead transparency with a
long line down the middle. Put the same question, puzzle, or problem on
each side. Teams line up on each side of the overhead. Give each team
one transparency pen of a different color. The pen is passed down the
line like a relay race baton. First person in each line starts at the
signal and gets to write down one thing only. If you have experimental
designs that need correcting, for example, each student can only make
one correction. Then the pass the pen to the next person in the line
and go to the end of the line. It's totally "legal" for team members to
look at the other team's work. This often gets a team's weakest member
past their turn with some dignity. Good game for requiring team members
in line to pay attention to what is happening so they know what to do
MINERAL IDENTIFICATION GAMES (& CHEMISTRY OF MINERALS
AND PERIODIC PATTERNS)
|The Element Symbol Flashcards have
element names on one side and the students add the symbols on the back
for points, using their Element
If two students have free time, I ask them to quiz each other. Can also
play a pairs game where both sets of flashcards are in front of the
pair. "Put your finger on the symbol for Iron." They can use both
pointing fingers, so one of the pair could get both of the Fe
flashcards. When down to a couple flash cards left, count the piles,
and shake hands with the winner.
|Element Symbol Bingo
||Great fun! Give
out blank Bingo cards
to pairs. They can write in element symbols in the blanks. The quick
way to make tokens is to have students rip little pieces of notebook
paper. I use a packet of Element Flashcards and call them off at
random. The pair that calls, "Bingo!" must match symbols to my cards to
win. Prize is usually a piece of candy from my Candy Bucket.
|Patterns of the Periodic Table Skits
groups of students are assigned a pattern, such as: atomic # increases
L to R; atomic mass # increases L to R; metallic properties decrease L
to R; Atomic radius increase top to bottom and decreases L to R; Groups
of elements have similar properties (such as Halogens, Nobel Gases,
Alkali Metals, etc.); Period # indicates # of energy shells, Group #
indicates # of electrons in outer shell. Build a mental image in their
minds beforehand of the front of the room as a huge Periodic Table. The
edge of the chalkboard is Group 1A from floor to ceiling. Way over on
the other side of the chalkboard, is Group 8A. The Transition Metals
are in the middle. Have each group present their skit, letting the rest
of the students guess which pattern they are acting out.
|Periodic Table Puzzle
two teams. Give each team an enlarged version of the Periodic Table. I
enlarged mine on our "Poster Machine." Cut this version apart by
groups: Group 1A, 2A, etc. I include labels on small cards: the
Lanthanide and Actinide Series, the Periodic Table, and the Transition
Metals. Give each group the long strips and the label cards, upside
down on a table, and have each group turn them over and reassemble the
Periodic Table. First team done correctly, gets the point.
|Virtual Missouri Mining Map
Louis Mangione staple is The Virtual Map. This is THE BEST WAY I know
to teach a map and its locations to a group of young people. Works for
foreign language classes, history, geography, science, you name it!
Have your students stand. You sketch a map--I do Missouri--in the air.
NOTE: The teacher does this backwards so the map is facing the right
way for the students!! Sketch the map BIG. I do from above my head to
nearly the floor. Encourage the students to get involved. The more they
are actively involved, the more they learn. We require our students to
know the location of several minerals mined in Missouri. With flat
hands, we trace the location of coal (northern half of Missouri),
sphalerite (southwest), lead (southeast surrounding St. Francois
Mtns.), etc. I repeat the outline of the map and then fill in the
mineral locations. Then I just trace an area and ask the students what
mineral is located here. Works great!
ROCKS AND ROCK CYCLE GAMES
|Cut & Paste Rock Cycle Vocab
for a nice cut & paste vocabulary review. Remember: "Big" kids get
a lot out of this kind of "little" kids exercise! And because they have
to think about the words, they learn much more than if they just did
the customary "copy the definitions."
|Rock Cycle Vocab TEAM GAME
a completed "Answer Sheet" off on different colored papers. Cut out and
laminate. Teams must match the vocabulary words to the correct
definitions. First team done (and correct) wins!
flashcards showing names of different formation processes, arrows,
types of rocks, characteristics of different rock types. OR
Put on one piece of paper and enlarge on "Poster Machine" & cut
out. Give to teams of students. They assemble into Rock Cycle Diagram
with arrows showing formation processes and characteristics matched to
proper rock types. Have each team assemble on a desk top for a game
and/or paste to newsprint for points. Click here for Rock Cycle Puzzle. Refer to Rock Cycle Notes for proper placement of
|Ride the Rock Cycle
Stacy Baker, Pleasant Hill School, Peoria, IL)
this activity students roll a die and travel through different stations
to learn about the rock cycle. After their journey, they use the
information from the "trip" to create a comic strip." Click here for Rock Cycle
Worksheet. Click here for Rock Cycle Dice.
Me the Rock!" Game
both Rock Cycle Labs in which your students have learned the three rock
types and their formation processes, review with this game. Each team
listens carefully to your clue, such as: "Show me the rock that is made
of rounded pebbles cemented by sand and clay (Conglomerate)," or, "Show
me the rock that is formed by heat and pressure and has medium to
coarse texture (Gneiss)." Each team picks out the rock from their lab
tray that they think answers the question, sends a member up to the
teacher, while hiding their rock in their hand, then reveals the rock
when the teacher says, "Show me the Rock!" Point for each team that
picks the correct mineral. They know this game, having already played
the Mineral version.
WEATHERING, EROSION, & DEPOSITION GAMES
|Cut & Paste Weathering Vocab
trick, almost! They seem to remember their vocabulary better when they
cut & paste, instead of copying definitions! Click here.
|Weathering Vocab Team Game
a completed "Answer Sheet" off on four different colored papers. Cut
out and laminate. Teams must match the vocabulary words to the correct
definitions. First team done (and correct) wins!
|Types of Weathering Game
team holds two cards: Mechanical and Chemical. Teacher reads a
description of a type of weathering, such as: formation of potholes in
winter. (Mechanical) On a signal from the teacher, team leaders hold up
the correct card. Could also offer BONUS point to teams who know the
exact type, such as Frost Action (Frost Wedging.) Great fun, especially
if you have several smaller teams and keep the action moving quickly.
to Types of Weathering Game mentioned above, except the teacher reads
headlines from recent newspapers, such as "Landslide destroys village
in South America," or "100 feared dead in Russian avalanche." Team
leaders hold up correct card identifying either: Weathering, Erosion,
WATER SYSTEMS GAMES
Distribution of Water
a diagram of a pie chart, showing the distribution of water worldwide.
Make labels with small cards. Hand to each team in a closed packet.
"Mark! Set! Go!" First team done correctly gets 4 points, etc.
|Water Cycle Game
a nice diagram of the Water Cycle. Make small cards with the labels.
Hand to each team in a closed packet. "Mark! Set! Go!" First team done
correctly gets 4 points, etc.
PLATE TECTONICS GAMES
me the Answer"
White Board Game
parts of the Study Guide by putting students into small teams. Each
team uses their white board to answer a teacher question. They keep
their white boards hidden until the teachers says, "Show me the
Answer!" Great fun!
of Plate Boundaries Skit
your students into three groups. Each group is given the task of
developing a skit illustrating their assigned boundary: diverging,
converging, or transform/sliding. You can add further requirements such
as: show movement magma/lava, show resulting features, show direction
of movement. Video tape the presentations.
of Plates Games
a world map showing the major and minor plates. Make labels of those
you require them to memorize with small cards. Hand to each team in a
closed packet. "Mark! Set! Go!" First team done correctly gets 4
Waves Slinky Demo
for one website that discusses how to demo seismic waves. Basically,
use a compressional wave for P-waves, a side-to-side "snake" motion for
S-waves, and up-and-down wave motion for L-waves.
each student act out one of the three types of seismic waves. P-waves
repeat this sequence: take two steps forward and one step back; S-waves
repeat this sequence: take two steps to the right, then one step
forward, then two steps to the left, then one step forward; L-waves
repeat this sequence: take a step forward, pause, jump twice, take
another step forward, pause, jump twice. Have the entire group begin at
a starting line. If the students don't "cheat," the P waves should
arrive at the finish line first, S-waves second and L-waves third. Good
Waves Matching Team Game
for a quick team game, where each team has nine pattern pieces to fit
into a puzzle, which shows the main characteristics of each wave.
groups one of the three main types of volcanoes: composite, cinder
cone, or shield. Require each group to illustrate the following in
their skit: the slope of their volcano, the type of eruption, and the
type of lava. they cannot talk, but can makes noises, especially to
make the eruption noises. Everyone has to participate for full points.
Let the rest of the class guess which one is being presented instead of
having a group announce it. I've seen some great stuff with this
assignment and I think they remember them better.
off sets of different color cards. One set is the names of the three
major volcano types. Another set is a description of the type of
eruption. The third set is the type of lava. The fourth is the type of
slope. Teams match the cards into the three different groups.
GEOLOGIC HISTORY GAMES
Aging Team Games
good way to introduce the concept of rock sequencing is to present each
step with a separate sketch. We usually just give students the finished
product and many students have trouble with seeing how the finished
diagram came to be. Here are a couple of good sequencing games. I give
each team the four sketches along with 4 sticky notes. They have to put
the sketches in order and put a sticky label with each sketch
explaining what cause the change in each sketch. Click here for the first game and click here for the second game. These
are in worksheet form but can be easily converted into game pieces.
the entire class stand up in the center of the room, all huddled
together. Then touch the shoulders of students and have them step out
of the "huddle" and stand around the outside of the room. Eliminate
half at a time. As each "half-life" is completed, pause and ask them
what just happened. You can either tell them what you are doing. or
continue on, taking half out each time, and pausing for them to figure
it out. How many half-lives to completely "decay" our class? If one
half-life takes about 1 minute, how "old" is the class?
Eras Team Game
||Click here for the game pieces.
Run off on colored paper and cut out. I cut out the Eras and the
characteristics separately, then have teams assemble them in order with
corresponding characteristics. I also have sketches showing humans and
other large mammals, dinosaurs, one-celled life, fishes (copyrighted)
that I also run off as game pieces. I hand out the pieces clipped
together and when they open them, I don't tell them what to do with the
pieces. "Figure out what to do." They do a great job with this! Gets
them up and moving and thinking as a team!
each team of students a Geologic Era and give them 5 minutes to come up
with a pantomime illustrating at least two geological and two
biological events from the Era. No words or sound effects this time!
Have the other students guess which Era is being dramatized. Good way
to review the main geological and biological characteristics of the
WEATHER AND CLIMATE GAMES
of Air Team Game
the pie chart from the above worksheet. Print out the pie chart without
words, in color. Print out the words separately. Cut out. Give to
teams. Say, "On your mark! Get set! Go!" Each team assembles the pie
chart correctly and raises hand when finished. Thanks to Debra Kerr for
brainstorming this game with me!
of Air Team Skit
quick calculations before assigning this skit. Calculate 78% of class
and assign them to Nitrogen; 21% to oxygen; 1% to argon. Assign the 1%
to one student even if less than 1% of your class. A
catch-their-attention way to illustrate the trace gases, is to ask the
1% student to take off a shoe and throw it to the side to represent
carbon dioxide and the rest of the trace gases. You can add more impact
to this skit by asking the entire class to assemble themselves into a
giant pie graph in the middle of the floor. Have a pile of labels and
percents on cards that each section has to grab to label themselves.
Thanks to Debra Kerr for brainstorming this with me!
of the Atmosphere Game
||Enlarge a chart
showing the layers (unlabeled) of the atmosphere. I copied a student's
sketches from the above assignment
and enlarged and cut them out. Each team must place the sketches in the
correct layers of the atmosphere, such as: meteors in mesosphere,
person in troposphere, geese in the tropopause. Great fun!
Mania Team Game
!NEW VERSION OF GAME!
|!NEW VERSION OF GAME! Similar
to Metric Mania. Good review of all the different facts you'd like your
students to remember about the Layers of the Atmosphere! Click here.
of the Atmosphere Speed Game
each team a colorful chart with all the layers and pauses listed. I set
the timer for 5 minutes and the teams must list as many characteristics
as they can for each layer. Have the team choose the Recorder to write
it all down. The rest of the team looks up as many different things as
they can from their assignments. The Recorder just writes. You can make
it trickier by giving points for correct characteristics, but
subtracting for any wrong facts. Keeps them on their toes!
of the Atmosphere Flashcards
off simple cards with layer names on one side. Have the students write
important information on the other side, even add small sketches. Or
use index cards and have students write layer names on the one side.
This helps prevent them from seeing the answers through the paper. You
can do all sorts of quick review games using these cards. Put them in
order from the ground up. Put your finger on the layer you live in, the
layer where meteors are found, the layer that contains ozone, etc.
Students turn the card over to check their answer.
Transfer Team Review Game
for a quick team game that gets their heads together with some peer
teaching thrown in for good measure. Quick but potent learning!
Transfer Team Game
an example of a cut-apart game. (You'll need more pictures.) Give a
packet of these sketches and have them separate into three piles with
sticky note labels: radiation, conduction, or convection. Great fun to
listen to them debate the game pieces and teach each other!
good way to introduce the concept of Climate. Small groups or pairs
come up with a definition on newsprint. Post where all can see. Or have
each group write on chalkboard in different colors. They arrive at a
group definition by consensus. Post this for all to see. Main rule:
can't use the book's definition! In fact, try not to let anyone open
the textbook! Later discuss the definition of climate from the book.
out pictures from magazines or go high-tech and capture images of
various climate controls, such as: very snowy scene (latitude),
mountain scene (altitude), harbor with ocean view scene (nearness to
large body of water), island surrounded by water scene (ocean
currents), desert scene (center of large landmass), jungle scene
(latitude), etc. Ask each team of students to identify which Climate
Control is most at work in each scene. They can write answers on sticky
notes. Good team game!
Climate Zones Activity
3 different color sets of laminated cards: 1 set of cards with the 11
climate names, 1 set of cards in a different color with descriptions of
the 11 climates, and a third set of cards with the parts of the North
American Continent areas that match the 11 climate zones. I gave the
students copies of the Koppen Climate
to match Climate Names with Descriptions and, also using their World
Climate Zone Map, asked them to match the climate types with different
areas of the North American Continent.
out several climographs of the United States. Have student teams match
them to short climate descriptions. Good thinking exercise. Students
really have to think how yearly temperature & precipitation trends
would look on a graph. Click here for
a climograph of Nashville. Print out climographs such as this one,
minus the name of the city and the latitude/longitude information. Have
them match to the correct climate name/descriptions. The correct one
for Nashville is: Subtropical Moist: warm to hot summer, cool winter,
precipitation all winter. You could also have the students separate the
climographs into marine (low yearly temperature range) and continental
(high yearly temperature range) by looking at the temperature line
get out their CLOUD FLASHCARDS.
Work in pairs so there are two pictures of each cloud in front of the
pair. Say, "Put your fingers on the cirrus cloud." Since each student
can use both pointing fingers, one student could win both cirrus cards!
Play until only a couple cards are left. Have pairs count their cards
and shake hands with the winner!
||Run off copies
of Symbols and Abbreviations, Associated Weather, and Cloud Pictures,
so each cloud type has a picture card, a symbol card, an abbreviation
card, and an associated weather card. Have teams separate the cards
into matched piles for each cloud.
your students into a giant compass by forming a large circle along the
outer wall of the classroom. Ask them to point to North. Assign North
to the student standing at the North point. Talk about how North is
designated both 0o and 3600. Repeat for all the main compass points and
NW, SW, SE, SW. Pick different compass points, such as 90o and ask the
students to point to the point. Also give odd numbers such as 95o and
ask them to point to that spot. Thanks to my dear friend, Amanda
George, for this great idea!
Human Night Sky
in your "Human Compass" formation, review altitude, also. Have the
students point to the zenith of the sky, which is 90o azimuth. Point to
the nadir of the sky, which is under your fee, directly opposite to the
zenith. Point to the horizon, which is 0o azimuth. Point to 45o
azimuth. Then combine azimuth and altitude. Ask such questions as,
"Where in the sky is 0o altitude, 90o azimuth?" (on the horizon, due
East) "Where in the sky is 45o altitude, 180o azimuth?" (halfway up,
due South) Once you feel they have a working idea of altitude and
azimuth, give them the Astrolabe Lab.
game! Divide students into teams. Each team separates into halves and
goes to opposite corners of the room with their game cards and star
wheels. Give each team half a stack of cards. The cards are either
quick sketches of about a dozen basic constellations or the
constellation names. You give them all a puzzle to solve and the teams
have to match their answers to get a point. If the answer is Orion,
both the name and the sketch have to be chosen. Have team "runners"
bring the answer card, hidden from view, to you on a signal, then show
you the cards all at once. I color code them so matching teams are easy
to see. Blue constellation sketch-blue constellation name = 1 point. I
use simple questions, such as, "Which constellation is rising (or
setting) at 7 p.m. on December 10th?" or "Which circumpolar
constellation is overhead on June 15th?"
trouble teaching your students how a star "moves" through the different
parts of its life cycle and how they change position on the H-R
Diagram? Tape a giant H-R Diagram on the floor. Or chalk it out on the
parking lot. Include the X-Y axes, the Main Sequence diagonal, the Red
Giants and Red Supergiants, and the White Dwarfs. Have students label
dim and bright, hot and cool, and draw arrows to show increasing
temperature and brightness along the axes. Use hockey pucks (or
anything else that won't roll or blow away) to put some actual stars on
the diagram. Have various students walk themselves through the life
cycle of the sun and various other stars. Have them "drop off" the
Diagram as they become Black Dwarves, or Black Holes, relating a star's
fate to its initial mass.
important objective: to recognize all eight moon phases AND be able to
relate each moon phase to the relative positions of the sun, moon, and
earth. I usually start with these flashcards. Label them, This alone is
a challenge for most. I put a transparency up and have them refer to
their textbooks. Then the FUN starts! We play the "Put Your Finger On"
Game; separate into like phases, arrange in order as if they are moving
around the earth, etc. Click
here for one image of moon phases that could be made into
each team a different moon phase. Require the team to act out the moon
phase for the other teams to guess. They must include the Earth and the
sun in the skit. This makes them show the relative positions of the
Earth, sun, and moon, which is a state requirement here in Missouri.
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