8 Fun Ways to Decorate Your Classroom For Science
September 10, 2019
Does the thought of decorating your classroom for science excite you? Or does it make you feel overwhelmed? With the right decor, you can turn a blank classroom into a fun and exciting learning environment where you can help foster a love for science in your students.
Did you know these decorations can engage and encourage your students to learn better? Educational studies have looked at how different decorations impact students’ ability to learn, and they have found balance is essential. On the one extreme, an overabundance of visual stimulus in your classroom can feel chaotic and become a distraction that makes learning more difficult. On the other end of the spectrum, a boring, sterile classroom environment can also hinder learning.
According to a study that looked at over 150 classrooms, an effective balance involves incorporating fun, educational science classroom decorations while keeping 20 to 50% of your wall space clear. How can you apply this to your space? Here are eight fun ways to decorate your science classroom and maximize the 50 to 80% of your classroom space you decorate. Our ideas go beyond just your classroom walls.
1. Welcoming Door Decorations
Door decorations welcome students into the classroom and get them excited to learn. You can decorate both the outside and inside of your classroom door. If your elementary classroom is home to multiple subjects, then you may want to consider including an ode to each of the subjects you teach on your door. If your classroom is dedicated to science class, then you can take the full door surface to celebrate science. Let’s look at a couple of ideas for how you can decorate your door:
Use caution tape along with a dramatic sign that says something like “experiments in progress” or “scientists only beyond this point.” You may consider adding bubbling beakers or vials to add to the intriguing effect. For elementary students, this type of door decoration can make science look adventurous and fun.
Go with the current season. These displays serve as a fun visual aid for talking about the changing seasons and keep your classroom decor fresh. Cut out paper and dig through your craft supplies to put together an autumn scene of falling leaves, a sparkly snow scene, a rainy spring scene or a sunny summer scene.
2. Interactive Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards are a go-to medium for decorating a classroom for science, and for good reason. Bulletin boards provide a blank canvas where you can change out fun and educational displays that you can reuse again in the future. You can make bulletin board displays even more fun and effective by making them interactive. An interactive bulletin board can be more engaging to kids since they can get involved rather than just look at it.
So, let’s talk about a couple of fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing as you create an interactive bulletin board for your science classroom. Consider a main topic you’re covering, and let this be the focus of your board. For example, if you’re learning about major bones in the human body, you can create an outline of a skeleton and include labeled bones that students can put in the right places.
A foundational concept that can work at any grade level regardless of what topics you’re covering is the scientific method:
- Print each step of the scientific method along with a picture on individual cards.
- Create a flow chart on your board, allowing students to place the cards where they belong in the process.
- You can mix up the cards before class so your students have a quick puzzle to solve, which reinforces their understanding of the scientific method.
3. Colorful Window Decorations
If you have windows in your classroom, you can use this space to brighten up your classroom. A quick and easy way to do this is with fun window clings, which you can purchase. There are also great DIY options you can try, too. Make your own decals out of tissue paper and fabric starch, or use window markers to draw or write science-themed pictures and words on your windows.
You can build simple window boxes or buy planters and place them on your window sills. Plants flowers and give students a live visual aid as you learn about how plants grow. You can also get your students involved by enlisting their help to water and fertilize the flowers. Get creative about what sort of planter you use. For example, Scholastic recommends using an old boot with holes drilled in the bottom as a planter in your classroom.
If you teach in a basement classroom with no windows, why not create faux windows out of paper? As with the door decoration idea, you could change out these “windows” with the seasons to show outdoor scenes. Or you could create windows that look into a laboratory, a butterfly sanctuary or any other place you choose.
4. Fun Ceiling Decorations
We tend to look around the room when we’re coming up with decoration ideas, but you can also look up for inspiration. Ceiling decorations can involve the ceiling tiles themselves, or they can be a hanging display you attach to the ceiling. For all of these ideas, you can recruit students to help you create the hanging displays for your classroom.
An example of a ceiling decoration that uses ceiling tiles is a periodic table showing all 118 elements. This idea is better suited for older elementary students. If you don’t have 118 ceiling tiles, you can include multiple elements on each tile, or you can select what you deem the most important elements for students to learn. Consider adding a picture for each element to show how this element is used in the real world.
One popular idea for a hanging display is to create a three-dimensional solar system:
- You can use foam balls, paint, fishing wire and whatever other craft supplies you want to make your solar system.
- You may even want to try glow-in-the-dark paint for a fun surprise.
- For elementary students, don’t worry about it being perfectly to scale.
If you’re learning about electricity, try hanging lightbulbs from the ceiling at varying lengths. You can paint the lightbulbs if you want, or just leave them bare. Either way, you have a display that will electrify your students.
5. Accent Chalkboard Wall
If you have permission to paint your classroom, this opens up a new range of possibilities for decoration. In keeping with the ideal balance of decoration and muted walls, you can create an accent wall to serve as a focal point for decoration while leaving your other walls more sparse.
By painting this accent wall with chalkboard paint, you create a giant canvas where you can let your creativity go wild. Old-fashioned chalk always works, but you can also pick up chalkboard markers, which you may find easier to use for drawing and writing.
If you like to draw, you can use this wall to create scenes that tie into what you’re teaching, whether you create a forest, the solar system, an underwater scene or a volcano. If you’re not artistically inclined, don’t worry — you can still put a chalkboard wall to good use.
Another way you can use your chalkboard wall is as a chalkboard. It may sound silly if you already have a chalkboard or a whiteboard in your classroom, but when you let kids work on the board, feeling like they’re writing on the wall can make it more fun. Just make sure to tell them this is a special wall, unlike their walls at home.
6. Informative Posters
If you feel a bit intimidated by the idea of decorating a classroom from scratch, don’t worry. There are many educational posters you can buy that make classroom decoration easy. Just remember not to cover all your walls in posters since this overabundance of visual stimulus can overwhelm students. Instead, cycle posters out so students focus on one or two at a time. Use these tips to find the right ones:
- Look for posters that illustrate concepts you’ll spend a whole unit or more on so that they remain relevant for months at a time. For example, if your class is learning about cells, then a diagram of a cell can be a helpful visual aid.
- Make sure you purchase fun, colorful posters geared toward elementary students. A diagram that’s too complicated won’t be very helpful.
- Find content that helps kids visualize the topics you cover. If you’re learning about geology, you might want a poster that shows common types of fossils along with their names. Or you may prefer a poster that shows a cross-section of the layers of the earth.
- If you can’t find a poster that covers the topic you’re looking for, find free clipart online and create one out yourself.
7. Projector Screen Saver
If you have a projector screen in your classroom, you may only think about using it when you show a video or a slideshow that is the focus of the class. Have you ever thought about using your projector screen as a decoration during class, though? You can do this by playing a video that functions as a screen saver while you teach.
This innovative strategy can be especially helpful for teachers who cover multiple subjects over the course of the day in the same room since screen-saver decorations can change each time you move to a new subject. When it comes time for science, students will be delighted to see a looping video of butterflies, outer space or a laboratory.
Just be careful that you don’t play videos that will be too distracting for students. Opt for ones that remain fairly constant and don’t include sound. An alternative, if you worry about distracting students, is to select a photo you leave up on the screen while you teach science. You may even be able to change the picture each day depending on what topic you’re focusing on.
8. Impressive Student Work
Once the school year is underway and your students have worked on creating science-themed crafts, posters or models, then you can start decorating your classroom with these samples of student work. If you don’t have room to keep everyone’s models or crafts on display, then select a few from each project and, with the student’s permission, make them part of your classroom’s decor for the year.
Over the course of the year, do your best to recognize every student for their awesome work. This may mean you incorporate smaller crafts into your class so you can maximize the amount of work you’re able to display in your classroom. There are lots of ways to do this:
- Install shelving at the back of the classroom where you can set students’ work
- Get creative and hang crafts from the ceiling.
- Display student work out in the hallway for more exposure
Showcasing student work is a great way to make your classroom come alive — and it’s also an excellent way to foster a sense of pride in your students. Every time a student comes into class and sees their model volcano proudly displayed up on the shelf, they’ll be reminded they’re a valuable part of your classroom community. Perhaps they will realize they have what it takes to tackle STEM subjects in the future with confidence.
Get Elementary Students Excited About Science
Decorating your classroom makes class more fun for your students. It can also get you excited for a new year of investing your time and talents into developing eager young minds. Who knows — you may be teaching a future scientist or engineer. At Science Explorers, we know that no student is too young to start getting excited about the STEM field.
If you’re interested in adding a greater focus on STEM subjects for your young students who are excited about these subjects, consider inviting Science Explorers after-school STEM clubs to your school. These clubs provide an opportunity for kids to enjoy hands-on learning in STEM subjects for an hour once a week after the normal school day comes to an end. The club covers topics that remain the focus of either three- or five-week sessions.
We make the process easy so school administrators and educators don’t need to worry about taking on extra responsibilities. Partner with Science Explorers to provide kids with an enriched science education in elementary school so they receive a solid STEM foundation and become eager to learn more about the world around them. It could be the start of an exciting lifelong career in the STEM field. Contact us today to learn more.