Science Sub Plans

Like most teachers, you will find that a substitute teacher is needed every now and then. Sometimes the absence is planned and sometimes it is not. Substitute teachers have a very difficult job. Not only are they expected to cover a classroom full of often unknown students, but they also usually receive very short notice on the days they are to work.

substitute plans science teacherMore often than not substitute teachers find they are left with very little information and direction provided to them. Don’t be that teacher – set your substitute up for a successful day by utilizing my Secondary Science Sub Plans.  

This download includes two components: 1. An editable substitute handbook in which you can fill in information such as classroom policies, emergency procedures and contacts and even helpful students; and 2. Secondary science lessons that will engage students and allows them to be self-directed learners.

This resource will give a substitute teacher the tools he or she needs to make sure that both they and the students have a productive day.  I can promise you by showing the substitute teacher that you’re taking the time to help them, they will always be on call to help you.

substitute plans science teachereScience Lessons Included:

Communicating with Graphs - students are asked to either use different graphs to answer the questions, or use the data to complete the graphs (line, bar and age structure).

Arachnid Id - Students are given informational cards on 12 different spiders and are asked to read them in order to solve a puzzle that uses descriptions from the cards.

Periodic Table Word Search - Students are given element symbols and will need to use the Periodic Table to discover the name of the element  in order to search for it in the word search. you have the science lesson, but just need the editable substitute teacher handbook?  Click on the picture to check out this invaluable resource.
substitute teacher

Thank you for joining our featured event "Need Sub Plans?  We've Got You Covered" which is part of the monthly Secondary Smorgasbord Blog Hop hosted by Darlene Anne Curran (The ELA Buffet) and Pamela Kranz (Desktop Learning Adventure).
Please check out the TWO LINK UPS available for this month's event below:

TpT Sellers are GIVING BACK

2015 brought a lot of changes for my family and one of them was moving back to the northern East coast, which also meant moving back to cold and snow...brrrrrr.   I could not imagine heading outdoors this time of year without my scarf, mittens, hats and a warm coat, but unfortunately, I know many do because they are without them.  

My daughter came home this month and told me about a program her preschool class is organizing which collects winter clothing for other preschool kids who are in need.  When she started collecting her own mittens exclaiming, "I need to take these to my school for the mitten tree!" I let her know I had a better idea where we could help out AND she could keep her own mittens.

This season my family will be giving back to our local Head Start program through the Giving Tree program at my daughter's school.  So, on December 13, 2015, I will donate 100% OF MY SALES from my Nitty Gritty Science Store to help the children and families worry less about staying warm and worry more about finding the best place for snowball fights and sledding!

This holiday season if you have some items on your wish list, know that by purchasing them on December 13, 2015 you will not only be getting a fantastic lesson plan, but you will also be helping children in a most fantastic and warming way!  

Please make sure to check out other seller's stores as many will also be donating a percentage of their sales that day!  Look for this logo on store pages to see who's participating or check out the Link-up below.

Sellers: Please use this dropbox link to download logo to use on December 13, 2015.

5 Days of Holiday CHEER!

I got a sneek peek, and guess what?  You're on the NICE LIST...well, of course you are, you're a Science teacher!  Well, then you deserve something extra special, like the 5 Days of Holiday Cheer coming to your inbox December 7 - 11!  

Wait, you haven't signed up to receive the Nitty Gritty Science Newsletter?  There's still tons of time! Once signed up, you will not only receive some AMAZING deals and resources during this 5 Days of Cheer, but you can expect exclusives, freebies and science resources all year long!  

Since your here, let me give you an early gift... enter below for a chance to win a $25 Gift Certificate to use in my Nitty Gritty Science store too.  This is going to be fun - let the holiday season begin!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keys to a Successful Science Interactive Notebook

Science Interactive Notebooks are the cornerstone of my science curriculum and continue to be because of these Keys to a Successful Science Interactive Notebook that I keep in mind when designing new material for you.

1. Introduce topics by asking a guiding question.

A guiding question is essential in helping students focus on the topic of study and frame their new knowledge in a way that helps them solve a problem.  I include my guiding questions on the top margin of each Teacher Output page (notes) as shown below.

2. Deliver information using a "chunking" strategy.

Chunking refers to an approach that breaks up long strings of information into units or "chunks" that are more manageable by reducing the cognitive load as the learner processes information making it easier to commit to memory.

3. Encourage students to use color to highlight key vocab and text.

Allowing students to use color when completing their notes stimulates the creative side of their brain and helps them visually separate and recall the information they are writing.

4. Apply new information immediately.

What makes an interactive notebook "interactive" is the teaching strategy of giving students an activity for them to complete in their notebooks that will actually make them USE and APPLY the information you just gave them immediately.

5. Use a variety of interactive activities in order to reach all the different learning styles.

One reason I see interactive notebooks fail is because students lose interest in them when they are given the same foldable or same flip book for every new topic introduced.  I go to great lengths in making sure that my science interactive notebooks will offer original activities for students of all learning styles throughout the year.

6. Use quick assessments to check for understanding.

I have found that having students complete a mini-quiz the following day after notes helps refresh their memory and gives the teachers an opportunity to check for understanding.

7. Set aside some class time for students to work on interactive notebook activity.

Science interactive notebooks are the foundation for teaching new material, so it's important when assigning an activity to set aside at least 15-20 minutes of class time for students to work so that the assignment is understood, students have access to materials needed to complete activity, and opportunity for questions/clarification are given.

8. Have students share notebooks with peers and parents.

My biggest fans of my Science Interactive Notebooks are parents.  They are absolutely thrilled to see the creativity of their students work and students are proud to share them.  I think it's important that parents see them at least once a quarter.  Here's a Parent Letter you can use to explain what it is and allow them a place to leave comments for their child's work.

If you're new to Science Interactive Notebooks, make sure to download my Intro to Science Interactive Notebooks for FREE or feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

If you're looking for more Science Interactive Notebooks, check out my Triple Play Bundle that features my Earth & Space, Life and Physical Science Interactive Notebooks:

Plate Tectonics and Sea Floor Spreading for Science Interactive Notebooks

Teaching the concept of sea-floor spreading can be easily modeled using my simple, yet powerful interactive resource for science interactive notebooks.
Earth Science Interactive Notebooks - sea floor spreading
Click image to view product

Using the given template
Plate tectonics earth science sea-floor spreading
click image to view product
and a sheet of colored paper, students will be able to manipulate a model that will allow them to visualize, label, and describe the evidence of Hess's theory of sea-floor spreading which include evidence from molten material, magnetic stripes and drilling samples.  This activity can be found in my Earth Science Interactive Notebook: Plate Tectonic chapter which also features INB activities for:

Plate tectonics sea-floor spreading

All of my science interactive notebook chapters come with the TEACHER INPUT NOTES (as seen above in first picture), detailed instructions for STUDENT OUTPUT ACTIVITIES, MINI-QUIZZES for each concept of the chapter and ANSWER KEYS!

Have fun and enjoy watching your students get excited about their Science Interactive Notebooks!


It's EARTH SCIENCE WEEK!  Doesn't that make you just want to sing!?!?
This year the American Geosciences Institute will be organizing Earth Science Week which runs October 11-17 and celebrating the theme "Visualizing Earth Systems".

Everyone can participate in Earth Science Week and most of the work has been done for you.  You can find a list of engaging and educational classroom activities that are based on the Next Generation Science Standards and are marked with the appropriate grade level here.

Each day this week I'll be celebrating Earth Week by sharing freebies, special promotions and products with you.  Make sure to follow me on Facebook ( to be notified!  My first gift to you, offered for a limited time, will be instructions and printables for making this Earth's Interior interactive activity that is featured in my Earth Science Interactive Notebook: Plate Tectonics.
Interactive Science Notebook
Click picture to download FREEBIE

Did you miss Earth Science Week this year?  Don't worry, the American Geosciences Intstitute love Earth Science so much, that they even made it possible for you to extend the celebration from one week to the whole school year!  Check out this amazing 2015-2016 Activity Calendar which provides, "information about "Visulalizing Earth Systems" activities, career opportunities, happenings, important dates in history, even participation tips, and links to resources on the Web".
If you've organized a special event, celebrate your students' work at school and throughout your community.  I would love it if you wanted to share here with other educators  - please send your photos to or share in the comments below on your celebrating!

Interactive 3D Topographic Map YOU CAN BUILD!

science interactive notebooks topography map
Are you ready to have your students FLIP OUT over topographic maps??  Well, with the help of the researchers at UC Davis and interactive 3D projection technology (and a little sand) you CAN BUILD THIS and blow your students minds!
Using this setup of a Microsoft Kinect, digital projector, and a sandbox, you can now make an interactive topographic map that will show contour lines and elevation in real time and respond to you and your students' actions.

The sandbox in it's natural state gets transformed when the Kinect and the digital projector are turned on and display the graphics from above.

countour lines
contour lines lesson plans
Don't have time to build one yourself or feeling overwhelmed with the technical portion?  Take advantage of those awesome brains coming into your classroom every day! This is a perfect STEM project to get your science students excited about technology and engineering, just like these students from Ithaca's High School FIRST Robotics Team 639. The students built the following Augmented Reality (AR) sandbox in 2013 and have since donated it to a children's museum.
contour lines
Ready to get started?  Go ahead and download these instructions for construction and software setup.  Think your students need some more background on topographic maps and contour lines?  Then check out this chapter from my Earth Science Interactive Notebook series: Mapping Earth's Surface

Want to see more?  Here's a video ( showing a virtual dam failure and levee break - simply amazing!!

C'mon, tell me this wouldn't get your students excited about Earth Science.  Have fun with this one!!

Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get more engaging science lessons and resources that will enhance your curriculum and engage your students throughout the school year.

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