10 Tips for Organizing a Science Classroom

Science classrooms have a lot of different activities going on. Lectures, demonstrations, and lab experiments all require a lot of tools and equipment that can clutter up a classroom in no time flat. The key to keeping track of all of the lab equipment and activities going on is to create stations with systems.

Organized science classroom school

For visual organizers, a color-coding system can be used across the board so that every aspect of the classroom organization is divided into different colors for different classes. Keep lesson plans for each class in their respective color-coded binders. Use color-coded clipboards for checklists. And, color-coded wall files for student folders to hold notes and assignments for absent days.

Lesson Planning

Organized teacher demonstrating lesson school

Lesson planning is one of the biggest time commitments that teachers have outside of the classroom. Between group planning for the grade level and individual planning for the classroom, teachers can easily tie up hours in planning for classroom time. Organize lesson planning activities to streamline the process and save time.

    Use a digital lesson planning template.

    The concept behind moving to digital templates is that less paper means less clutter. Keep lesson planning materials in a digital filing system that can be easily searched to retrieve records. No filing cabinets or bookshelves full of binders.

      Use Color-coded Folders or Binders.

      Most lesson planning can be kept in the digital space, but some pieces are useful to be printed. Lecture notes for teachers or daily breakdowns of lesson plans can be kept in a color-coded folder or binder with a different color representing each class.

        Keep Sub Plans in Separate Color-coded BInders.

        Be prepared for substitute teachers on the fly by keeping a sub binder for each class. Use the same color-coding system that is already in place to designate different colored binders for each class. Sub binders should have all of the static information that a sub will need to teach each class. A generic set of lesson plans that can be used when there is no time to prep for a sub. And, a drop-in folder where you can easily add lesson plans as needed for the days the sub will be covering.

          Supply Cabinets

          Organized Science Classroom with Cabinets

          Every cabinet in a science lab classroom is full of lab equipment and supplies needed for various science experiments. Keeping track of all of the extra stuff is half the battle of organization. Use checklists to keep track of the contents in each cabinet. Print lists out on standard size computer paper and laminate the checklist sheet so that it can be used with a dry erase marker. Use Velcro hook and loop discs to attach checklists and dry erase markers to each cabinet door. Follow this up by training students on how to use these checklists to find equipment in the lab.

          Classroom Inventory Lists

          Organized classroom inventory list school

          Do you use consumable supplies in your classrooms like pH testing strips or graph paper? Keep track of consumable classroom supplies with an inventory list. Assign classroom inventory as a student task to save your own time. You can briefly look at the completed lists to see what supplies may need to be restocked.

          Equipment Sign Out Forms

          equipment sign out form school

          Keeping track of where the equipment goes is another big part of the battle in keeping a science classroom organized. Manage the movement by using equipment sign out forms. Try using color-coded clipboards to organize sign out forms for each class. 

          Equipment Bins

          Organized Science Classroom with Bins

          Use clear bins for students to gather and transport lab supplies to their lab stations. This will help students keep all of the pieces and parts together as they travel around the classroom.

          Lecture Station

          Organized Teaching Podium

          Whether it is a podium, standing desk or just a basket strategically placed at the front of the classroom, a bit of simple lecture station organization will keep essential supplies handy during class. Have you ever needed a calculator, different colored dry erase markers or extra batteries for the projector remote in the middle of a lecture? Minimize disruptions to your class by keeping essentials handy at your lecture station. 

          Color-Coded Lesson Bins

          color-coded folders in clear bins with labels

          In keeping up with your color-coded system, purchase a set of bins in the color system that you have chosen. As you prep for lectures, sort out demonstration materials, lesson plans, and copies of worksheets in a color-coded bin for each class. At the beginning of class, simply grab the appropriate bin and get right to it.

          Absent Work Files

          Spend less time gathering missed work for absent students and create a system where students can be responsible for retrieving copies of their missed work on their own. A wall file with color-coded folders for every class can be a good way to store copies of worksheets missed each week.

          Student Supplies

          No matter how many times you drill it into their heads, students will forget to bring pencils, erasers, calculators, and other supplies to class. Most teachers keep a small stash of these supplies that they lend to students. The problem is that these supplies have a tendency to walk off and the cost of replacing them adds up over the course of the school year.

          student supplies school

          Solve this problem by creating a system where students exchange something they will not leave the classroom without for the extra supplies. Try a clear pocket over-the-door shoe organizer. Number the pouches organizer so that they will correspond with the supplies that belong in that pocket. Use plastic pencil cases or toiletry cases to hold the supplies and number these with the corresponding numbers for each pocket. When a student needs to check out supplies, have them leave something important to them like their cell phone or earbuds in the pocket until the supplies are returned.

          Color-Coded Lab Books

          Maintain your color-coding scheme by using strips of colored tape to label student's composition notebooks. If you require lab books to be turned in for grading, this visual cue will help you keep your grading materials organized. Use similarly colored labels on your teacher copy lab book.

          notebooks with colored tapes on the side school

          Good organization in the classroom is based on two main factors: good storage and color-coding. Appropriate types and uses of storage make the best use of the available space and help group like items together. Color-coding adds a visual element to the organizational structure that helps staff and students easily recognize the materials and supplies that they are looking for.

          Recommended for further reading:
          Best Tips for Organizing Kindergarten Classrooms
          15 Essential Classroom Organization Supplies for Every Grade

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