I don’t know about you, but there are days when we run out of time for science. We usually have fire drills, assemblies, or uninvited visitors, including animals. All these cut into our learning time and the first to go is typically science because we don’t test in science as we do for reading and math. Because of this, I needed quick science lessons for my 3rd grade class.
Time always seemed to slip away, I decided I needed to get some quick science lessons I could pull from my teacher’s toolbelt. I’m sharing these ideas so you can also add some tools to your toolbelt.
Keep in mind these ideas and activities apply to a variety of grade levels, but I’m focusing on third since that’s when I used these featured lessons.
QUICK SCIENCE LESSON #1 VOCABULARY GAMES
If you didn’t get a chance to see last week’s blog post, make sure you check out these five fun ideas for teaching science vocabulary. Students can complete these activities in 5 – 15 minutes so that you can squeeze these into your day. If I can’t get a complete lesson in, I at least like to review the language so my students are familiar with the terminology before we dive into experiments.
QUICK SCIENCE LESSON #2 CROSS-CURRICULAR
Integrate science with reading to save yourself time. I love to use informational picture books for this. I especially love Gail Gibbons’ picture books. She includes excellent illustrations and doesn’t overwhelm students with text on the page. It’s just enough for students to digest each topic. I like using these picture books, mainly when we are focusing on informational comprehension skills.
While these may not be the quickest science lessons, they do help squeeze in critical concepts during other times.
SCIENCE READING PASSAGES
Sometimes when we are running low on time or if I know I’m going to have a sub the next day, I’ll include science reading passages. These reading passages are significant for use in your literacy centers too!
These include three paragraphs, four multiple-choice questions, and one written comprehension question. I use many graphic organizers and activity pages with the reading passages to help students comprehend what they just read.
I love using these for quick science lessons because they’re print and go to save me even more time!
We had such a short time between our lunch and recess, and we had precisely 15 minutes, including bathroom breaks, transitions, and interruptions. We used science PowerPoints to make use of this weird time.
To start, we’d display the PowerPoint on an interactive whiteboard and review it together.
The next day, the students would open the PowerPoint on their devices. They would read through it with a partner and share:
- 3 facts
- 2 things they learned
- 1 question they still have
They would go over the PowerPoint independently the following day and complete an open notes quiz. I’d allow the students to discuss their findings with a partner so they could get instant feedback.
These PowerPoint lessons and quizzes made for excellent grades.
Try this quick science lesson States of Matter PowerPoint, with your class!
SCIENCE TASK CARDS
We played a game called scoot. I place all the task cards in a circle after we’ve gone through all the PowerPoints. Students have about 30 seconds to answer each task card. When I say, “Scoot,” students must move to the next. If they don’t finish all the task cards during that time, I give them more time to go through the task card independently.
Remember that you may want to consider using 12 task cards at a time, depending on your time.
Finally, I found videos to be extremely helpful for quick science lessons. We used Mystery Science to watch videos about related science topics. My students enjoyed these videos because Doug (the narrator) talked to them and asked them discussion questions.
Since it was a video, we didn’t collect grades or check for understanding, but they were still informative and useful in our classroom.
I’d love to hear about the quick science lessons you use with your students. How do you squeeze it in? Let me know in the comments!