What to Do When You Can't Do a Hands-On Activity | Science in the City

Feb 26, 2013

What to Do When You Can't Do a Hands-On Activity

My first choice, of course is to do activities as hands-on, either in partners, lab groups, or individually. Sometimes this is not feasible.....this might be because of behaviors, scheduling, lack of money and supplies, time, space, etc....so then what.

I have been struggling with a lot of these issues this year, and struggling with how to adapt and improve my teaching.  I do not want to go toward doing a lot of book work and worksheets or notes.  I really don't believe that is for the best for anyone.

Soooo....sometimes I've done demos.  This is ok, except my attention, to some extent is on the demo and I can't re-direct kids, or handle behaviors as much.  Also, the demo usually happens once and some kids, inevitably, aren't paying attention and miss it, or want to see it again.  I am starting to really like showing a video clip of the demo.  I can focus their attention on certain things, refocus them, prompt them, and play it over and over.  They are also great for things that take time, but can be sped up or slowed down.

Here are a couple that I have used recently:


  1. I've done ice-cream-in-a-bag with full classrooms of 4th and 5th graders! (Whew!). Here's a tip: to get the ice cream out of the bag, cut off the end and squeeze it out, like using a frosting bag.

  2. That's a great idea! Thanks :) I chickened out and showed the video, but maybe later in the spring we will do it. My classes this year are a bit crazy, and I didn't see that going well. I also worry about food activities because my own son has severe food allergies so I'm very conscious of foods in school.


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