Lesson Drop Box

Share your best hands-on lessons and teaching ideas with your fellow teachers! This megabox contains lesson plans, teaching tips, and resources created by classroom teachers and educators from around the globe. ...


Share your best hands-on lessons and teaching ideas with your fellow teachers!

This megabox contains lesson plans, teaching tips, and resources created by classroom teachers and educators from around the globe. Whereas the other "boxes" on this website are one teacher's collection of materials, lesson plans, background information and ideas needed to teach a set of lessons on a certain topic. Click here to learn more about teaching boxes. This Lesson Drop Box provides a repository for all those "other" ideas that don't yet fit nicely into a tidy curriculum unit.

The guiding mission behind MyScienceBox is that teachers should have
free access to the best hands-on, classroom tested, science lessons.
Every time science teachers introduce new content into their
repertoire, they should not be required to reinvent the wheel by
designing new activities, scaffolding lessons, and creating new
assessment materials that hundreds of teachers elsewhere have done. So
add your ideas to the site and open your own teaching boxes to teachers
everywhere! It's easy!

How to add lessons to My Science Box (in 7 easy steps):

  1. Make sure you are logged into your account (or create a new account) then click the "create content" button on the left side of the page below your username.
  2. Select "book page".
  3. Enter a title for your page.
  4. The
    "Parent" pull down menu files your lesson in a hierarchical menu
    system. For instance, Irene's lessons are organized with a larger "box"
    with lessons inside. Each lesson is in turn broken down into
    subsections: an overview, logistics, background, lesson plan, etc.
    Initially, you will want to put your teaching box under the Lessons
    Drop Box. After that, you can file additional pages within your box.
  5. Use the "Categories" pull down menus to categorize your lessons so other teachers can find them.
  6. In
    the "Body" section, enter any text you wish or cut and paste from
    another application. The icons at the bottom of the window allow you to
    format your text just like a word processor. Mouse over them to learn
    what each icon allows you to do.
  7. When you are done, click "submit" and your lesson is LIVE ON THE WEB! Congratulations!



Brains and Neurons

How does a brain - less than 3 pounds of wrinkly pink matter - enable a person to sense their environment, think, feel, make decisions, remember things, and control every behavior? This is one of the greatest mysteries of life. For teachers interested in teaching students about the brain and its neurons, here is a set of lesson plans for exploring your brain. The first set of lessons (Brains & 2 point) explores the brain on a large scale - what is a brain, what are its parts, and how to dissect a brain. The second set of lessons (Neuron Game) explores the brain on a small scale - how do neurons in a brain communicate with one another and how do drugs interfere with the normal functioning of these neurons?

Attachment Size
Brains & 2 point.doc 405.5 KB
Neuron game.doc 281.5 KB

Ecological Footprint Survey


Generic Sub Plans

When I suddenly fall ill, or otherwise don't want to take 10 hours to plan a sub lesson, I usually go online to http://puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com/ and plug in some vocab words for some puzzles (they have some pre-made banks of words also!)

I make four puzzles using the exact same list of words. I usually start them with the word search (even non-readers can do this!) then go on to word scramble, then crossword. This because they need to know the words pretty well by the time they get to the crossword - also, the word search has the word bank on it.

Then, the first 4 students done with each type of puzzle get extra credit or small prizes. This works best with life science because there is a lot of vocab, but you might be able to use it for other subjects as well.

Great Scientists

When I was little,I heard about Sir Issac Newton's math.

Now this math is harder but simple.








>=1 less <=1 more

Ovulation Calendar

I used this to show my students what happens during menstruation. I have them fill out where the flow is, when ovulation happens, when the lining begins to shed, and when are the prime times to have sex for fertilization (or the prime times to avoid sex!) 

I included readings about what happens during menstrual cycles. 

Attachment Size
Ovulation Calendar.doc 50 KB
Menstrual reading.doc 87.5 KB
Menstrual Cycles.doc 42.5 KB

Rebuild the Bay Bridge!



Recommended Web Resources

On December 9, 2006 I led a workshop for new teachers called "Web Wonders and Wizardry". A main feature of the workshop was a list of websites recommended by myself and other educators. Here's the list for everyone to enjoy!

Portals and Search Engines
In addition to being able to search the Learning Studio’s catalog, you can also find an amazing list of teacher resources (click “Resource Guide” under the orange tab), including many ideas related to current exhibits (great if you plan to bring kids to the museum for a field trip!).
- Jo Falcon, Learning Studio

The Librarians' Internet Index is a publicly-funded website and weekly newsletter that lists “the best of the Web” according to librarians.
- Irene Salter

Does your district insist on literature connections to your science curriculum? The “Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve” website is a collection of science-and mathematics-related literature that can be searched by subject area, grade level, keyword, author and more.
- Connie Oliver

Many TI hands-on activities and many more can be found on the Exploratorium’s hands on activity site. Find science “snacks” on every topic under the sun.
- TI

Liz LaRosa started her website as a resource for her students. It has grown into an exceptionally comprehensive resource for teachers with free access to nearly all the lesson plans she created for her classroom. You'll find lesson plans related to every major science discipline as well has helpful stuff like what to do when kids are absent and managing lab groups (under "Odds and Ends").

- Liz LaRosa

Pedagogica has three amazing programs that can be downloaded for free from their site. “Biologica” allows the user to manipulate the genetics of dragons. “Chemica” has a sequence of activities for gas laws and a separate sequence for atoms and molecules. “Physica” provides a fabulous introduction to mechanics – vectors, F=ma, collisions and gravity.
- Irene Salter

Activities by Eric Muller, Karen Kalumuck, Paul Doherty and others.
- Eric Muller

Many activities, lesson plans in all fields of science, although chemistry seems to predominate.
- Tanya Phillips

Excellent experiments in physics, chemistry, geometry and more.
- Tanya Phillips

A wonderful website with many links to demos, helpful activities etc. for teachers. This is a young and talented chemistry teacher forced to leave her classroom due to her MS. She has generously put her brain pictures available to teachers. Melissa lives only a few miles from the Exploratorium.
- Melissa Getz

This website from Cold Spring Harbor is an incredibly rich resource for genetics. My favorites include the stunning computer animated videos of protein synthesis and "Recovering the Romanovs" (an interactive CSI-style investigation about the Russian princess Anastasia).
- Irene Salter

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology has put just about every known species in the Animal Kingdom on the internet in an interactive database (great for researching the classification of life).
- Irene Salter

Beautiful images of cells in all their mysterious and beautiful glory.
- Irene Salter

It has several lesson plan ideas, as well as simulations you can have your students run through. The site also allows you to choose a level for the simulations (elementary, middle or high school).
- Colleen O’Neil

Voyages Through Time is an integrated science curriculum for ninth or tenth grade based on the theme of evolution and delivered on CD-ROM.
- Ellen Kovisto

Earth and Environmental Science
The “Digital Library for Earth Science Education” provides a wide-range of resources such as lesson plans, maps, images, data sets, visualizations, assessment activities, curriculum, online courses, and much more.
- Judi Wilson

The USGS is your one-stop shop for both information and lesson plans. You can search for resources by California State Standard or by grade level and topic.
- Irene Salter

This wonderful list of resources was recommended by a group of kids from Goodwin Community Center and their mentor Nancy Hopeck. A heating and cooling company has provided a great list of web resources for learning about Earth Science.
- Nancy Hopeck and the kids of the Goodwin Community Center

This is THE classic earthquake simulation lab, introducing students to the reading of seismograms to determine the location and magnitude of an earthquake.
- Eric Muller

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology has real time data and seismograms for earthquakes around the world.
- Eric Muller

The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) has a fantastic resource for teaching about geologic time, fossils, and the evolution of life.
- Irene Salter

Another UCMP resource that is a fantastic "portal" to paleontological information on the Internet.
- Irene Salter

For information about our local watershed’s history and wildlife, there is no better source than Save the Bay. Take your kids to their Canoes in Sloughs program. It’s awesome!
- Irene Salter


My personal favorite interactive periodic table. Click on an element and get a wiki-pedia style article with everything you ever wanted to know.
- Irene Salter

A bunch of chemistry demos, labs, and activities.
- Irene Salter

200+ activities and demos by teachers, for teachers.
- Irene Salter

Zillions of demos, activities. Absolutely wow!
- Tanya Phillips

Live demos, how to do them, and the chemistry behind them by one of our chem. legends.
- Tanya Phillips

Lists many of the best links to demos, activities, etc. in chemistry.
- Tanya Phillips

Another legend with lots of wonderful chemistry activities.
- Tanya Phillips

http://exploscience.com/ or http://drschrempp.com/
This guy has some incredible chemistry demos caught on video. A very educational, fascinating, time-sucking distraction.
- Irene Salter

Just for fun – Tom Lehrer’s song “The Elements” with flash animation.
- Irene Salter

Space Science
NASA has incredible information and resources about each of its missions as well as specific resources for teachers.
- Irene Salter

If you are specifically interested in NASA’s hands-on activities for the classroom, here is a more teacher friendly way to search for them.
- Irene Salter

This has many space & astronomy activities that are teacher developed. Take the workshop if you can!
- Tanya Phillips

The Lawrence Hall of Science has links to many valuable astronomy websites.
- Tanya Phillips

This is one of the most wonderful sites about auroras. Here's the terrific and awesome Aurora's Paintings in the Sky.
- Ronna Voorsanger

The Exploratorium, NASA and Berkeley collaborated back in 1995 on using NASA images in on-line science lessons when this type of work was in its infancy. I created the Third Planet from the Sun you'll see at this site.
- Ronna Voorsanger

This web site has very cool wave animations and other articles and illustrations about acoustics.
- Nathania Chaney Aiello

The coolest visual illusions site. Each animation can be controlled and manipulated by the user.
- Linda Shore

This site has animations of classic atomic experiments and tutorials with interactive features.
- Linda Shore

For a fun, animated intro to simple machines lead kids to this site. It’s best suited for middle schoolers.
- Linda Shore

Recommened Videos

Please click "Add Child Page" to recommend videos to show in a science classroom. Please include the following info: (and attach study guide please if you have it!)

 - Title

 - Distributor (PBS, National Geographic, etc.)

 - Where found (Berkeley Unified Digital Library, Explo Library, Blockbuster, Netflix, Etc.)

 - Science Concept Targeted (DNA ethics, volcanoes, Bad Science)

 - Age Level (mostly 9th grade, middle school ok, PG-13, etc.)

Thanks for sharing!

Movie Worksheet Search Engine/Website


A great list by subject for videos, including worksheets! The Super Size Me worksheet even has before AND after questions.

Osmosis Jones

"Osmosis Jones" is a Warner Bros. Cartoon that follows the attack on a disease on a live action man (Bill Murray).

Grade level: Middle School, although probably suitable for integrated science class in high school as well.

Concepts: Diseases, human body systems

Found: Sometimes Blockbuster or other video stores will have it. I found it for $4 at a used bookstore!

See attached video guide

Attachment Size
osmosis_jones.pdf 37.1 KB
osmosis_jones Red death.doc 25.5 KB

Sex Ed Research Project (STD's and Contraceptives)

I have attached my rubric, and two worksheets for my sex ed project. In our library, we have blank papers To help the students with MLA format - I have attached samples of those was well. I am sure there are a few things that need explaining, but I can't think of them now, so please email me or add comments if you have questions, or post your version of it!


Christina Green

csgreen at gmail dot com

Attachment Size
Safe Sex Project.doc 122.5 KB
TOPIC chart blank.doc 41 KB
Contraceptive Worksheet.doc 33 KB
STI Worksheet.doc 34 KB

Teaching electron configuration

In response to a question on ways to teach electron configuration to students, here's a model I used with my 8th graders. We had been using beans to represent and build 2D models of atoms (green lentils = electrons, white beans = protons, black beans = neutrons). I made a handout for them to help them understand the idea of where electrons like to go when they are added (download it at the bottom of this page).

Bohr ModelBohr ModelI tell them to envision a football stadium where different people are assigned different seats. Generally, people want to sit closest to the field (the nucleus) so they can be nearest the action. Also, different sections of this stadium have more cushy seats than others - first come, first served. Thus, certain subshells fill before others in a given orbital.

The diagram (and the handout attached below) represents an electron seating chart view of the atom. I have kids build larger and larger atoms using the diagram as a "placemat" to place each electron.

With middle school kids, I don't go into orbital shapes or quantum theory but that could be an additional layer to extend this basic idea.

Attachment Size
Bohr Model.doc 55 KB