Professional Development

July 11, 2020

6 Useful Tips for Teaching Science While Distance Learning

When it comes to teaching science while distance learning, how do you feel? If you aren’t feeling confident, don’t worry! First of all, know that you are not alone. Secondly, I’ve got you covered. No matter what science is looking like for you, I have some ideas on how to get it in while distance learning.

Will it look the same as in-classroom instruction? No, but that’s okay! You can still teach, engage, and assess students in science while teaching remotely. These tips might help you squeeze a little more science time in to help students master their standards without creating too much chaos for yourself.

1.Use Loom to Record Lessons

Students love to see their teachers at home on their computer screens (my own kids sure did!). If you can’t do a live teaching session, use Loom to record your whole group teaching part of your science lessons for students to watch. You can record yourself and your screen.

I personally use Loom a ton and love it! You can record yourself introducing the topic, use the screen recording to share teaching posters, vocabulary cards, and other visual support aids while you talk. You can find my step-by-step Loom tutorial HERE.

If you can’t record yourself (or just don’t have time), you can also find quality videos to help you teach your content on sites like YouTube and BrainPop Jr. Just remember to always carefully preview them before you share them with your class.

2.Keep a Class Science Journal

Keep a class science journal both in the classroom and while teaching science through distance learning. If you have to teach remotely, you can use your video conference platform to keep adding to it while you teach your students.

Get started with a class science journal for your little learners with these simple instructions! See how this teacher incorporates interactive and shared writing into her routine!

Students can collaborate on the video conference by raising their hands or in breakout rooms. Then, you can track learning all year long no matter where you are.

3.Use Student Science Distance Learning Journals

In many classrooms, teachers use student science journals. They are so beneficial! Anytime we can get students to write about science, it deepens their understanding by:

  • Supporting ELLs who need more interaction with new vocabulary in authentic ways
  • Helping clarify and streamline students’ thinking
  • Allowing for opportunities to share learning with others
  • Giving students practice communicating learning and asking questions they have about a science topic
Have students write about their learning in a science journal! This is also a simple way to integrate writing and reading in your kindergarten or first grade classroom.

When students are doing science distance learning style, have them use a journal (or whatever paper they have) to keep a science journal. You can monitor their thinking, understanding, and progress by having them send in photos of their journal pages. Then, students can also share their work in a class meeting.

4.Teach and Assess Science While Distance Learning With Boom Cards

Boom Learning has Boom card decks for all subjects. Boom cards are digital task cards that students can complete on any device. You can use them to teach a topic, have students implement new learning and practice, or to assess learning.

You can use them both in the classroom and when teaching science through distance learning. After you assign decks to your students, you can monitor their progress as they work through the decks. This makes assessments super easy!

You can find all of my Boom card decks HERE and TRY A SCIENCE DECK before you buy it HERE.

5.Share Your Screen on Zoom or Google Meets to Use Teaching Posters

Whether you use Zoom or Google Meet or something else, if you can share your screen, you can implement the teaching posters you might have for science units to teach science while distance learning.

HERE is my guide to using Zoom in the classroom.

HERE is a guide to sharing your screen on Google Meet.

By sharing your screen, you can scroll through any teaching posters you might have or digital books to help teach and engage students while learning.

6.Split Larger PDFs into Single Pages to Share With Students

**Please note: The following tip is something that I am okay with you doing AS LONG AS the resource was purchased by you ( you hold the license) and it is shared ONLY WITHIN a secure online classroom format. This is not the case for every teacher author, so please reach out if you are not sure.

If you purchased a science unit or have a unit from your district, you may not need to share the whole file with your students. They might just need one page, like a cut-and-paste or graphic organizer. You can take a PDF apart a few ways to make it simpler for your students.

Take a Screenshot and Save It as a PDF

Open your PDF to the page you want to share with your students. Then, take a screenshot of it and save it as a PDF. Just in my opinion, this is the easiest option.

First, take a screenshot. Here is a screenshot I took of a page in a large PDF file that I want to save as a PDF so my students could do this cut-and-paste activity.

Next, I’ll open the screenshot and export it as a PDF.

How to Take a Screenshot:

  • On a Mac, press command + shift + 4 and drag your mouse to create the area you want to grab the area of your screen you want to include.
  • For Windows, press Windows + shift + S and drag your mouse to create the area of your screen you want to include.
Use a PDF Splitter for Smaller Files

There are several free PDF splitters you can use online for smaller files (50 to 100 MB. They make it super simple! First, upload the file you need.

Then choose to either split every page or group some pages together. You can customize exactly what you need. Finally, you can download your new split file as a PDF.

Here are just a few online you could try:

pin it

Okay first grade teacher friends, if you want:

  • to be set for science for the whole year
  • have 39 weeks of curriculum planned for you
  • have all teacher and student materials in one place

I’ve got you covered. The First Grade Science Bundle has everything you need for science for the whole year. If you want to purchase just monthly bundles or individual weekly units, you can do that, too!

These engaging science units are targeted for first grade, but some activities can also be used in kindergarten or second grade. Check them out and let me know if you have any questions. I’m always happy to help!

Happy Teaching,


Mega Read Aloud List

Use this FREE mega list of science-related read alouds for kindergarten through second grade to help you teach science all year long! This list covers 39 science topics with 4+ book suggestions for each topic. Grab it today to be set for the entire year of science read alouds!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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4 Responses

  1. I have been teaching for 23 years and I think all of your knowledge, lessons and resources are incredible. I think you should help your district write curriculum or at least be a Specialist, but that’s only if you are still teaching. Then again, it might be that you just love sharing AND love being in the classroom with the kids ! I just want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely and your resources on TPT. You help make a difference in teachers’s lives AND students’s! Yes, you help make the world a much better place! Again, thank you !!!

    1. Hi Sarah! You are too kind!! Thank you for taking the time to leave such a sweet message! I have been out of the classroom for a few years and while I miss it SO MUCH, I knew when I was pregnant with our son and my daughter was coming home (adoption) soon, that I needed to stay home. Our little plan to gradually grow our family went out the window! Ha ha! I am thankful that Lord has provided a way for me to encourage and help teachers. In person PD and webinars are a TON of work, but so fun! I love connecting with teachers! Thanks again for your sweet message. It just made my day!

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