How to turn a lesson into Halloween magic

How to turn a lesson into halloween magic

You’ve seen it–that magical moment when you students just “clicked” with your lesson. They were engaged, even if just for a few brief moments, instead of daydreaming or wishing they could be texting their friends.

Adapting your lesson to a Halloween theme is more likely to engage them. Kids are already fascinated by Halloween. Connect your science lesson to it, and they will be more engaged and interested.

The holiday becomes a catalyst for engagement.

How to adapt your lessons

Three simple steps:

Step 1. Look at the lessons you have planned for the next two weeks.

Are there any demonstrations you will do? A small modification may be all you need to turn it into a Halloween-based science lesson.

Step 2. Look for connections to Halloween: pumpkins, smoke, goo, colors, or mixtures.

Pumpkins

Can you do the experiment inside a pumpkin? I’ve seen the classic baking powder + vinegar demonstration called a Halloween experiment because it was done inside a pumpkin.

Witches Brew and Potions

Does the demonstration involve mixing anything together? That can be called witches brew or potion.

Smoke, Goo, Glow, and Colors

Does it involve anything along the lines of smoke, goo, something glowing, or the colors orange, black, or red?

Orange and black are classic Halloween colors. (Here’s a demonstration with black dry ice.) Red can bring up imagery of vampires or (for older kids) blood. (Here’s a simple density demonstration using Halloween colors.)

Mad Scientist

As a science teacher, you always have the option to pull the catch-all theme: mad scientist.

Step 3. Make it more than a label

For themes like this to work, they need to be more than a silly label placed on an ordinary experiment. Most kids will see through superficial labels.

So how do you take a demonstration, mix it with your theme, and come out with something to engage the kids?

How you Present it Matters

A man was once showing non-teachers how to teach. He had a delicious cake with the lesson topic written on top with icing. “Anyone want some?” he asked. Of course everyone did. When the first volunteer came up to get his delicious piece of cake, the teacher describes what happened:

I then sank my fingers into the top of the cake and tore out a large piece. I was careful to clench my fist after tearing it out so that the frosting would ooze through my fingers, and then as [they] sat in total disbelief, I threw the piece of cake to [him], splattering some frosting down the front of his suit. Would anyone else like some cake? I inquired. For some reason, there were no takers.

The teacher then brought out a fancy plate, silver fork, and napkin, and carefully cut a slice of cake from the non-destroyed side and offered it to the class. (Source: Teaching, No Greater Call.)

How you present your Halloween-themed demonstration makes an enormous difference. You can put a shallow label on an ordinary experiment. Or you can present it well, with the details that impress. Maybe dress up as a mad scientist or maniacal witch and brew a concoction of magical science.

Get inspiration

Here are some effective ways others have incorporated Halloween into their lessons. Launch your ideas from these inspiring demonstrations:

Halloween Science: Fluorescent Chlorophyll Halloween Science Fun Candy Potions ~ Invitation to play with Halloween Candy

See my Halloween science Pinterest board for more ideas!

How do you adapt your lessons?

Share with us what you have done to adapt your lesson to a holiday theme. What makes it successful? Do the kids love it? Do they learn more?

Giant Ant Farm review


We received a Giant Ant Farm and some harvester ants from Heath Scientific to try.

The Ants

Harvester ants are HUGE. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill tiny sidewalk ants. Even without a magnifying glass, you can clearly see their mandibles and other body parts.

The Farm

The Giant Ant Farm is fantastic for more than one child. The large, double-sided viewing area gives plenty of space for kids to come close and observe the ants.

The only drawback is the base: we’ve accidentally knocked it over a couple times. Then again, we have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, so accidents are not unexpected. I’m certain that older kids wouldn’t knock it over. A large-base alternative that won’t get knocked over is the ant hill, which has a smaller viewing area but is more stable.

Taking care of the ants

Ants are low-maintenance. They just require a few squirts of water and crumbs of food. The ant farm came with a years supply of food, which makes it easy to feed them.

For all ages

My 4-year-old and a 2-year-old were absolutely fascinated when we set up the ant farm. Elementary aged kids will love the farm as well and they will be thrilled to see the tunnels the ants build.

I find it fascinating to watch the ants too. You can see how they communicate and react to events like water raining on their farm. It’s unbelievable that even though no one ant is directing them, they still manage to get communal activities done. At first they’d dig and refill each others tunnels, but now they’ve built several together.

Teaching all about ants

ants

These resources, sorted by students’ ages, may help you in teaching about ants in your classroom or homeschool.

Pre-K

Ant unit: pre-writing, graphing, counting, craft, the letter A, patterns, and the ant life cycle.

Explore ants in the salt tray, Hey Little Ant story, ant snack, and the ant life cycle

Ant egg carton craft

Ant life cycle model

Elementary

Ant lapbook

Ants: pests or pals poll

Ant anatomy coloring page

Ant life cycle model

Ant zoom gallery: see an ant up close

Ant farm

Middle school +

Behavior of Ants 4-week lesson series

AntWeb: database of ant images and specimen records

Ant anatomy

Build a simple ant farm

Hands-on

Of course, one of the best ways to teach about ants is to allow students to experience ants hands-on in an ant farm or ant hill.

Fascinating videos

Sticky feet: how ants walk

Fire ants making a living raft in water

Ants herding other bugs

Excavating a colony

Underwater ant nest

Death spiral

More Resources

Do you have any great resources for teaching about ants in your classroom or homeschool? Share them in the comments!

Learn more about ants

This post is part of a series on ants. Join us here and on Pinterest and Twitter to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

Teaching Parallel Circuits to Your Students

Parallel Circuits

To start, we need to define current and voltage:

  • Current is the rate (or speed) at which the electrons are flowing through the circuit and is measured in amperes (Amps).
  • Voltage is technically the electrical potential difference between the beginning and end of a circuit….or simply, the force at which the current travels through the circuit. Voltage is measured in Volts (joules/coulomb).

We are going to start with the simple circuit we created in a previous post (connect the alligator clip to negative side of battery, then connect to knife switch, knife switch to lamp holder, lamp holder to positive side of battery).

Now let’s make some modifications and create a parallel circuit. In a parallel circuit, the voltage stays constant in each branch of the circuit.

Creating a Parallel Circuit

Using our simple circuit with the knife switch in the upright position, we are going to add another load (light) and create a parallel circuit.

  1. Take a wire with alligator clips and attach to one side of the existing lamp holder.
  2. Using a separate wire, attach one end to the other side of the existing lamp holder (*note: there will be 2 clips attached to each side of the existing lamp holder).
  3. Take the ends of the two wires that are free and clip one to each side of a new lamp holder with light bulb. When the knife switch is closed, both lights illuminate.

In a parallel circuit, the voltage stays constant in each branch of the circuit. So, using a 1.5V battery, both bulbs are receiving 1.5V of electricity. This is the reason both light bulbs have the same brightness. If you measured the current, you will find that the current is divided into each branch. Therefore, if 10 amps of current were flowing through the circuit, each light (or branch of the parallel circuit) would be receiving 5 amps of electricity. Adding the amount of current in each branch together, will give the total amount of current introduced into the circuit.

Now you’re well equipped to teach your students all about parallel circuits. Amazon has a many experiments to teach and explain how circuits work. Check out Energy Ball and Energy Stick.

Glitter Tattoos Profit Calculator

What should you Charge for Glitter Tattoos

Glitter Tattoo Station
A Glitter Tattoo Station is great for a bulk supply of Glitter, Glue, and initial 300 tattoo stencils. This initial investment can seem like alot, but if you price the glitter tattoos correctly, you can turn it into a great fundraiser.

If you’re at a fair or someplace where prices are generally high $4 to $6 is a good price range. If this is for a low budget event, then $1 to $3 would be a good price range.

Costs Breakdown

If you purchase from HeathScientific.net the approximate prices would be:

  • Glitter Station: $300
  • Glitter Tattoo Stencils: $3 (for 10 stencils)
  • Shipping: $13

Keep in mind that the Glitter Tattoo Station has enough glue and glitter for 1,300 tattoos but only enough stencils for 300. You will only have to purchase additional stencils to make 1,000 more tattoos.

Online Glitter Tattoo Station Calculator

  • Glitter Station: $300.00

Disclaimer: This calculator should not be taken as a guarantee for sales or revenue.

Where you can get supplies

For stencils, glue, glitter, or the full station – HeathScientific.net sells all of those products at very fair prices.