It’s inevitable. One day this year, or probably more, I’ll get sick. There’s nothing harder than waking up at 6:00 in the morning, realizing you’ve got a cold, and having to call in sub plans. That’s why most of us just go in to work sick – it’s easier to go to work than it is to craft meaningful lessons that will occupy and entertain your students for a whole class period. When you’re done reading this blog post, you’ll have a dozen great ideas to use for easy peasy sub plans that will save you a ton of time and effort, and keep your students learning science even when you’re not there!
What are sub plans?
A sub plan ideally is a single day assignment that students can complete independently. Because you never know when you’re going to be sick, it’s convenient if the sub plan is not curricular but instead is a stand alone activity that is not dependent on students having any prior knowledge that you might not have taught them yet.
What should a sub plan include?
When I write sub plans, I include rosters and any special medical considerations a sub might need to know. I also include seating charts and behavior referral forms just in case the sub encounters behaviors s/he can’t manage. But the best classroom management plan is to prevent any problems by assigning a high engagement activity that is easy enough for students to complete without assistance but challenging enough to be interesting.
How do you write sub plans for middle school science?
I’ve found that a great sub plan is an enrichment activity that incorporates informational text into scientific literacy. Not only does it address NGSS skills, it also addresses Common Core skills. The trick to great sub plans is to make them relevant but not necessarily curricular so that they can fit anywhere in the year when you may need them. Building scientific literacy and using informational text to analyze information is always a skill that’s high on my priority list. Give students a scientific passage to read like scientists and engage with the text. Have them analyze and evaluate data and form opinions. Ideally, let them defend their opinions using data to support their answers.
Ideas for sub plans for middle school science:
- Should GMOs be banned?
- Are vaccines safe?
- Does the groundhog actually predict the weather?
- Are most US Presidents only children?
- How do you start a compost pile?
- Do goats make good pets?
- Are brown eggs healthier?
- How can we stop an asteroid that’s headed for Earth?
- Is vaping safer than smoking cigarettes?
- How do the pyramids work?
- How do placebos work?
- How accurate are DNA kits?
- Does intermittent fasting work?
- How does heat stroke work?
- What’s happening to bees?
- What is Roswell?
- What is Stonehenge?
- What are cicadas?
- Are artificial sweeteners safe?
- How do air conditioners work?
- How do insect repellents work?
- Is the face on Mars real?
- What happened to the Salem witches?
- What is Area 51?
- Can meditation lower your blood pressure?
- Is organic food better for you?
- Are vampire bats real?
- What are Nazca lines?
- Is Bigfoot real?
To create a relevant sub plan or mini-unit, select appropriate reading passages, preferably from both sides of the spectrum on opinion pieces, and add in some background information and data. Then, generate some relevant analysis questions.
Additionally, preparing these plans in advance can give you handy enrichment activities for early finishers.