I don’t know about you, but finding the time to incorporate fun Halloween science activities in my high school sciences neverrrr really seemed to happen. It was always something that I WANTED to do but in the midst of planning lessons, grading lab reports, and navigating pep rallies and homecoming events, it just wasn’t realistic for me to find time to make Halloween science activities for my students.
ESPECIALLY with having five preps – if I did something for ONE group I felt like I needed to do it for everyone. And I’ll tell you what – I truly didn’t have time to come up with one fun Halloween science activity for one class, let alone FIVE.
But now I am in a season of life where I DO have the capacity to think creatively and come up with fun seasonal resources, and I want to share these with YOU for FREE! You can snag all four Halloween science activities to use in your high school science classes by clicking here!
I wanted to include ideas for each core science content area, so keep reading to hear about Halloween science activities you can use in your biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physics classes this October!
A Halloween Science Activity to engage your Biology Students
I don’t know about you, but in my state, Biology 1 is a course with a state-mandated EOC (end-of-course) exam. This standardized exam plays a HUGE role in whether or not students can pass our classes – and our pass rates greatly impact our job standing. So to say there is pressure on biology teachers is a littleeee bit of an understatement. I honestly had to put all of my energy into making sure my students really got the standards, and this left little time and flexibility for doing fun non-standards-aligned-but-still-relevant activities with my students.
This is a MAJOR bummer because my 9th graders always had so many off-the-wall questions, and it felt like we rarely had time to get to them all. They were especially into learning anything weird or out of their norm – like when we talk about the company cloning dogs in South Korea when learning about genetic engineering.
So I KNOW my students would love this activity that gets them researching the creepiest creatures on Earth and creating a one-page ad and a 30-second commercial style pitch to defend their creature as the creepiest. This is such a fun way to get your students practicing their research skills and really doing a very informal CER as they have to (1) Make a claim about which creature is the creepiest, (2) Back that claim up with evidence, and 3) Defend it with reasoning. They do this visually with their ad and orally with their commercial.
Why I especially love it: Your students can totally do this in one class period, so even if you, too, have an EOC exam for your biology class, you only have to sacrifice one class period to engage your students in this fun Halloween science activity!
A Halloween Science Activity to engage your Chemistry Students
Physical science and chemistry teachers – this next Halloween science activity is for YOU! If you’ve been around my corner of the internet long, then you probably know that I’ve spent the majority of my years teaching science in a non-lab classroom space. Because of this, I love to get creative and do labs with items I find around my house.
My four-year-old and three-year-old are currently obsessed with “Club Tub”, which is essentially where they get to take their nightly bath with the lights off and a bunch of glow sticks thrown in the tub. I’m not kidding, this will entertain them for an hour until the water is ice cold. We throw on our “dance party” playlist on Spotify and they have a BLAST. I save this for rainy days or nights when I’m doing bedtime solo while my husband is coaching lacrosse and I need an activity. But I DIGRESS.
Why am I telling you this? Because I always have glow sticks in my house, and thus, that’s where I got the inspiration for this Halloween chemistry activity. In this resource, students will work in small groups to design an inquiry investigation to provide an explanation for the effect of changing temperature on the rate at which a reaction occurs (which ties into the NGSS of HS-PS1-5).
You WILL need to block off 2-3 50-minute class periods for this one but I think it is ALWAYS worth it to give my students the time they need to strengthen their experimental design skills when coming up with their own investigations. On data collection day, turn the lights off to make it feel extra fun and festive!
Why I especially love it: Most students have played with glow sticks before, but they most likely have no clue how they actually work. I love that they get a chance to explore that in this investigation that also aligns with a standard from NGSS. Win-win!
You can find this activity on p.8-11 of the free PDF download here!
A Halloween Science Activity to engage your Anatomy Students
Fun fact: I was pre-med for the majority of my time in college, and my sister is a surgeon, so I will forever and always LOVE all things anatomy. When I wrote my anatomy curriculum I regularly consulted her in the process, and I did the same when I came up with this research activity to bring Halloween into your anatomy classes.
I asked her for a list of “messed-up medical practices”, and boy, did she deliver! I wanted to know about some of the creepiest and most disturbing medical practices – many of which are hundreds of years old, but some that are STILL consistently used. I knew my students would FREAK OUT over these – in the best way possible – and I hope your students will, too!
Why I especially love it: I love that this activity can be used ANY time of year to “interrupt” your regular lesson plans and do something relevant to Halloween AND anatomy. I love also getting my students to do research and then share their research in a unique way. This freebie does exactly that by having students make 60-second video reels or TikToks of their findings.
Itching to do this with your anatomy students? Find it for FREE here!
A Halloween Science Activity for your Physics Students
Last but not least, I couldn’t forget all of you physics teachers out there. This activity is actually perfect to do even if you missed doing something on Halloween because your students can bring in their pumpkins from home to do this!
This is my favorite because I have DISTINCT memories of doing something like this when I took physics in high school nearly two decades ago. Students will work in groups to apply scientific and engineering principles to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the damage on a pumpkin when it is dropped out of a classroom window (which covers HS-PS2-3 from NGSS!!) I promise you it will be a lab activity they remember for YEARS to come!
Why I especially love it: I literally still think about this activity from when I was personally in high school. I love that it requires VERY minimal materials and that you don’t need to purchase anything out of pocket if you can get your students to bring in their pumpkins after the holidays. Best of all, you can engage your ENTIRE school in this fun and festive Halloween science activity by having other classes outside watching the big drop! It is worth the three class periods you will need to block out to do this epic activity!
You can find this physics lab activity and the other three mentioned at this link here.
Share this blog post with another high school science teacher friend who could benefit from Halloween science activities to engage their students! Make sure they join through the link as well because come December, I have some free winter activities to share with my email list and I don’t want you all to miss out!