7 NSTA Resources that Save Science Teachers Time and Money

Having worked at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for many years, I get to talk to a lot of science teachers. One of my favorite things about them is how much they share with each other. In fact, I joked at our recent national conference that all the selfies were really “groupies”! So, inspired by this sharing, I wanted to pass along some of NSTA’s best time- and money-saving resources, written by (you guessed it) science teachers. The books below all contain tried-and-true ideas, and in the spirit of sharing, I made sure to list a free chapter from each. You won’t have to pull out your wallet for this one—each freebie delivers actionable advice you can use in the classroom tomorrow.

Frugal Science teacher book coverThe Frugal Science Teacher, PreK–5: Strategies and Activities

This collection of essays, carefully selected by former NSTA President and current Science and Children editor Linda Froschauer, outlines creative and inexpensive ways for preK through fifth-grade science teachers to keep their expenses to a minimum in five categories:

  • Student-Created Constructions
  • Teacher-Created Constructions and Repurposed Materials
  • Teaching Strategies That Maximize the Budget
  • Instructional Lessons That Maximize the Budget
  • Funds and Materials

Chapters provide inexpensive alternatives to costly classroom projects, offer re-imagined uses for items teachers already have at home or school, and suggest new and untapped resources for materials. Even more important than offering ideas for frugality, the activities and strategies—such as “String Racers,” “Discovery Bottles,” “Ecosystem Jenga,” and “An Outdoor Learning Center”—enhance teachers’ abilities to develop their students’ conceptual understanding. (Read a sample chapter: Materials Repurposed: Find a Wealth of Free Resources at Your Local Recycling Center)

Even More Picture Perfect book coverEven More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K–5

Since the debut of the Picture-Perfect Science books and workshops more than 10 years ago, authors Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry have learned one thing for certain: Elementary school teachers are constantly clamoring for even more ways to engage children in reading and science through picture books. To meet that demand, the 15 all-new lessons in Even More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons bring you:

  • Even more convenience: You can cover reading and science content simultaneously and save time with ready-to-use student pages and assessments.
  • Even more confidence in your own expertise: You get relevant science concepts and reading comprehension strategies to keep your teaching on track.
  • Even more ways to entice even reading-phobic children: Each lesson makes students yearn to learn science from such captivating fiction and nonfiction picture books as Houdini the Amazing Caterpillar; Captain Kidd’s Crew Experiments With Sinking and Floating; and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Plus: This latest volume even connects the lessons to A Framework for K–12 Science Education and the English Language Arts and Literacy Common Core State Standards.

Just as teachers like you have been hoping, Even More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons delivers the whole package: teacher-friendly lessons, strong standards-based science content, and a kid-magnet formula that will get your students engrossed in science while they improve their reading skills. (Read a sample chapter: The Wind Blew)

Everyday Science Sourcebook coverThe Everyday Science Sourcebook, Revised 2nd Edition: Ideas for Teaching in Elementary and Middle School

Think of this unique reference book as Inspiration Central for elementary and middle school science teachers. The Everyday Science Sourcebook is structured like an easy-to-use thesaurus. Just look up a topic in the Index, note the reference number, and then use that number to find a wealth of related activities in the Entry section. For example, looking up meteorology can lead you to notes on the Earth’s temperature. From there, you’ll see entries on how students can make a liquid thermometer, graph air temperatures, and measure the conversion of solar energy to heat energy. The Everyday Science Sourcebook deserves a prominent spot on your bookshelf. Refer to it daily as a springboard for ideas that make science memorable. (Read a sample chapter: Weather)

Tried and True book coverTried and True: Time-Tested Activities for Middle School

A compilation of popular “Tried and True” columns originally published in the award-winning journal Science Scope, this book is filled with teachers’ best classroom activities—time-tested, tweaked, and engaging. These favorites are organized by topic, including physical science, life science, Earth and space science, and instructional strategies. Teachers will appreciate the accompanying activity worksheets and visual aids. These ageless activities will fit easily into your middle school curriculum and serve as permanent go-to resources when you need a tried-and-true lesson for tomorrow. (Read a sample chapter: How the Brain Visually Perceives the World)

Frugal Science Teacher book coverThe Frugal Science Teacher, 6–9: Strategies and Activities

Teachers of all grades and disciplines often dip into their own wallets to outfit their classrooms with materials and supplies that school and district budgets can’t—or won’t—cover. Science teachers tend to find themselves supplementing their shrinking funds with even greater frequency. Chapters in this book provide inexpensive alternatives to costly classroom projects, offer re-imagined uses for items teachers already have at home or school, and suggest new and untapped resources for materials. Even more important than offering ideas for frugality, the activities and strategies—such as “Wiffle Ball Physics,” “Geology on a Sand Budget,” “Forensics on a Shoestring Budget,” and “Ever Fly a Tetrahedron?”—enhance teachers’ abilities to develop their students’ conceptual understanding. (Read a sample chapter: Making Mendel’s Model Manageable)

1111TakeHomePhysicsTake-Home Physics: 65 High-Impact, Low-Cost Labs

Take-Home Physics is an excellent resource for high school physics teachers who want to devote more classroom time to complex concepts while challenging their students with hands-on homework assignments. This volume presents 65 take-home physics labs that use ordinary household items or other inexpensive materials to tackle motion and kinematics; forces and energy; waves, sound, and light; and electricity and magnetism. The result: Students learn background knowledge, reinforce basic process skills, practice discovery, and bridge classroom learning with real-world application—all while getting excited about homework. Teachers can also integrate science and literacy by requiring the use of lab notebooks with formal write-ups. Materials lists and safety notes, as well as both student activity pages and teacher notes are included. (Read a sample chapter: Bernoulli’s Principle)

New Science Teachers Handbook coverThe New Science Teacher’s Handbook: What You Didn’t Learn From Student Teaching

By reading The New Science Teacher’s Handbook, you will learn 12 specific steps that will help you on your way to becoming a skilled classroom teacher. The authors make each chapter both helpful and fun to read by including:

  • The Story—actual experiences that happened within one of the authors’ classrooms. As the authors note, these true stories demonstrate that even those who go on to write books on best practices in the classroom didn’t start off as perfect educators.
  • The Moral—what the authors learned from the story.
  • Steps for Success—multiple solutions you can choose from to fit your concerns and school environment.
  • What Does Success Look Like?—how the classroom looks after implementing the steps for success.
  • Resources you can turn to if you want to explore each topic in more detail.

The book addresses areas that are often underrepresented, if not completely ignored, by prevalent science methods pedagogy textbooks. “Whether you are on your way to becoming a science teacher or a teacher in your early years,” the authors write, “we feel confident the ideas presented here will help you become the teacher you’ve always wanted to be.” (Read a sample chapter: Starting Class the Right Way: Starter Activities)

Inspired by these books? We have one last money-saving idea for you. Take advantage of our FALL14 promo code at the NSTA Science Store, which will get you $15 off purchases of $75 or more of NSTA Press titles.

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