Low Cost Options, Priceless Teaching Tools

In my previous blog post I discussed setting up different labs using a dollar store budget. I worked at a school in the Atlanta area where a majority of students qualified for free/reduced lunch, and I couldn’t always order the kits or other lab materials that I wanted to use. If you are at a school similar to mine in which resources are sparse and want your students to have engaging, hands-on learning in your classroom, I have listed some resources below that I used for my own lessons I planned. Happy planning!

  1. Atlanta Community Food Bank Kids in Need Program – This program serves preK-12 teachers in schools that have 80% or more of their students enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, or high school teachers at schools with an average SAT score of 900 or less. Of those eligible teachers, districts participating in this program are Dekalb County (including Atlanta Public Schools and Decatur City), as well as the surrounding counties such as Clayton, Cobb, Fulton, and Spalding. This program was a great resource for me to grab some cool, free stuff for my students! You can sign up to reserve a time if your principal has signed teachers up to participate in this program. Reserve as soon as you are able to do so, spots fill up fast. Once you reserve an appointment time, you arrive and fill-up a cart with teacher goodies. It’s like a supermarket sweep for teachers! The donated supplies are brand new and free for teachers.
  1. Dollar Stores – Do not underestimate the power of the dollar store! I used numerous materials from plates, to plastic forks and spoons, to yarn in the local dollar store. It is a lifesaver for lessons, especially science ones.
  1. Parents – If you compile your classroom supply list in advance, parents can be a great resource for students to bring in materials for experiments. Just make sure you give them enough notice and don’t make your request super expensive for parents.
  1. Hobby LobbyIf you are an educator, you more than likely already know about this resource. This store has a variety of items to use as a resource for decorating your classroom, lesson plan resources, and everything in between without breaking the bank.

This is not an exhaustive list! If you have any other recommendations for shopping on a budget to deliver excellent, engaging science lessons for your students or you know of someone who has done so, feel free to comment below!

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