First Day of School Activities

From a lecture by Jessica Riccio.

As I’m going to be a first year teacher in the fall, I’m starting to think about how to organize my classroom and curriculum. We had a helpful discussion in class the other day and generated the following list of first day of school activities:

  • Have students build the tallest plastic cup tower – without talking! This will lead to a great conversation about why communication is so important in science.
  • Word Search with vocabulary from the entire curriculum.
  • Time Capsule with individual student goals and misconceptions. I really want to do this with my classes to give the students an opportunity to see their own growth throughout the year.
  • Wear a normal teaching outfit with one mismatched accessory (sneakers with a dress). Have students make observations about why you might have chosen to wear such a wacky combination.
  • Have student make collages of themselves and tape them together to form a class quilt.
  • Perform a “purse dump” (backpacks work well too) by dumping out your purse contents onto the table and having student draw conclusions about you. A great way to introduce yourself to students.
  • Have 2-4 students be the scientists and send them into the hallway. The remainder of the class learns 3 new rules for behavior: ex. only yes or no answers, only speak to people with similar symbols on the name tag, and only answer yes to questions asked with a smile. The scientists much determine what the rules are by asking questions.

One response to this post.

  1. Those are all great ideas.

    I have them each introduce themselves and tell one interesting or different thing about them. I do it too.

    Then, they form groups and using 4 sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper and 10 inches of masking tape, they have to build the tallest free standing tower.

    If we have time, we then talk about why they are taking the class (physics) and what their plans for college, careers, etc. are.

    It’s a nice way to break into the class. I save the rules and procedures and policies for the second day of class.

    Here’s an article I wrote with advice to new teachers:


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