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HOW TO ORGANIZE SCIENCE SUPPLIES in the CLASSROOM

Science centers and stations bring the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to life! There are so many science tools like magnifying glasses that require storage. Check out my storage solutions using shelves, drawers tubs, baskets, and more to facilitate strong classroom organization.

Science, in particular, naturally calls for a ton of materials for hands on learning experiences and experiments.  Where can we store all of these items?  How can we organize them so they are accessible to students?  These are questions we all struggle with at some point in our teaching journey. Read below to find some practical solutions.

This blog post will…

  • share some tips and ideas with you about organizing and storing science materials in the classroom
  • offer suggestions for science centers

Science Supplies Tips

  • If you are like most schools, then you share the resources for the required units with other teachers at your grade level. If this is the case you may want to consider sharing the storage responsibilities. Perhaps you could house all of the Simple Machine materials while another teacher stores everything related to the water cycle. This will allow your team to keep the kits complete and make rotating them easier.
  • Determine which science-related items span several themes as well as materials you may have that students will be interested in using regularly at choice time (microscopes, magnifying glasses, etc). Store these in containers with labels that students can easily access and put away as needed.
  • Distribute the supplies needed for a science activity all together by partners or science groups. Investing in a set of dishpans will allow you to do this. I like dishpans because they can be neatly stacked into each other and stored easily when not in use. Trays serve this same purpose. They also stack neatly and can be slid on their side into a cabinet for storage.
  • Obtain a large, transparent bin that is large enough to hold everything in your collection together. Keep an inventory of what is included. You’ll want a copy in the box and another that is accessible to you at all times.
  • You might want to keep the related papers (worksheets, lesson ideas, plans, etc) in a binder that is separate from the bin. This will allow you to update your unit easily as you find additional resource or align the current materials to the Common Core.
  • Use smaller containers within the larger bin. For example, as part of my Magnetism unit the students test a variety of objects to determine if they are magnetic. I have prepared bags with the materials a pair of students will need. I then placed all of those small bags together into one large Ziploc bag along with copies of the recording sheets so the activity is ready for the next year.   
  • Borrow, don’t buy. Prior to starting a new unit I look for related book titles on Amazon. I then take that list to my local library website and request the titles through them. They are kind enough to gather them from surrounding towns and I make one stop to pick up 20-40 books for my students to enjoy. Then comes the best part… I return them all to the library until next year. This saves me tons on money and storage space.
  • Keeping digital copies of your printed resources will also save you lots of space.
  • Ask parents to donate consumable items. When we do our plant unit, we request seeds, soil, cups, fruit, etc from parents. We use all that we need and then pass on the remaining items to other classrooms so there is nothing to store.
  • Borrow as much as you can. I live in the Boston area and both the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium have educator resource centers and allow teachers to check out kits for the classroom. These contain amazing resources, books and materials that enhance my teaching and don’t need to be stored in my classroom. Check out the local options in your area.

Science Center Ideas

  • Set up an area in the classroom that enables students to explore and discover.
  • Use trays to make the materials portable.
  • Rotate the supplies seasonal, thematically or as interest continues.
  • Let the children run the center. Assign a scientist of the week and have them research a science topic they are interested in. Encourage them to gather resources to share with the class and make them available to be explored.
  • Include scientific tools: magnifying glasses, microscopes, etc.
  • Place a bin of science-themed nonfiction literature in the center.
  • The great thing about a science center is that it can be put together on the cheap: look to nature…acorns, leaves, pinecones, shells, soil, seeds, etc.

FROM THE BLOG POST:

HOW TO SET UP SCIENCE STATIONS (CLASSROOM SET UP IDEAS)

Invite your learners into the world of SCIENCE using science stations in your elementary classroom. It is a highly effective way to increase student engagement. Read below to learn how you can implement it in your classroom!

This blog post will…

  • define science stations and their purpose
  • offer three factors to consider 
  • suggest furnishing and supply ideas and other tips

What are science stations?

Science stations are a framework that invite students to learn about the world around them through hands on learning experiences including science experiments. Students are active participants in their learning.


What is the purpose of science stations?

The purpose of science stations is to provide opportunities for students explore science concepts in the role of scientists.


When planning your science stations, you should consider three key factors:

  • Time: How will you fit it in your school day?
  • Location: Where will the science stations be in your classroom?
  • Storage: How will you organize and store science materials?

What furnishings and supplies do I need to set up my science stations?

  • Use trays to make the materials portable.
  • Include scientific tools: magnifying glasses, microscopes, etc.
  • Place a bin of science-themed nonfiction literature in the center.
  • The great thing about a science center is that it can be put together without breaking the bank: Look to nature…acorns, leaves, pinecones, shells, soil, seeds, etc.

What other tips and ideas should I consider when setting up science stations?

  • Set up an area in the classroom that enables students to explore and discover.
  • Rotate the supplies seasonal, thematically or as interest continues.
  • Let the children run the center. Assign a scientist of the week and have them research a science topic they are interested in. Encourage them to gather resources to share with the class and make them available to be explored.

SCIENCE CENTER TIPS

  • Set up an area in the classroom that enables students to explore and discover.
  • Use trays to make the materials portable.
  • Rotate the supplies seasonal, thematically or as interest continues.
  • Let the children run the center. Assign a scientist of the week and have them research a science topic they are interested in. Encourage them to gather resources to share with the class and make them available to be explored.
  • Include scientific tools: magnifying glasses, microscopes, etc.
  • Place a bin of science-themed nonfiction literature in the center.
  • The great thing about a science center is that it can be put together on the cheap: look to nature…acorns, leaves, pinecones, shells, soil, seeds, etc.
Science centers and stations bring the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to life! There are so many science tools like magnifying glasses that require storage. Check out my storage solutions using shelves, drawers tubs, baskets, and more to facilitate strong classroom organization.

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