Incorporating Halloween and CER into the Science Classroom

Engage students on Halloween with an experiment and CER writing strategy



Halloween is the first holiday of the school year. Teachers are left with the decision to acknowledge and celebrate the holiday even though they are nervous about maintaining classroom control or act as if it isn’t happening at all.

As a science teacher, I feel Halloween is the perfect day to perform a hands on demonstration or lab station activity. Keeping the students engaged in a fun activity will keep negative behaviors at bay. Of course, it is necessary to review your rules and procedures with your students prior to starting the activity, but students will be motivated to complete the assignment so this normally isn’t an issue.

This time of year, my students are studying chemical and physical changes. One of my favorite units because of all the hands-on experiences that can be had while working on this activity, I decided this was an easy unit to incorporate Halloween into.

Incorporating fun activities into Halloween will excite the students, but as a teacher, I still need to make sure the activity is applicable to the standard and fits into my curriculum. While I had the student engagement aspect of my activity, I needed to integrate it into my curriculum. Using the CER strategy, allowed me to do so seamlessly.

There are three parts to this activity. Before starting the activity, we review the signs of a chemical change. This will help them later determine which type of change in matter is occurring. The first part was a class demonstration given by me and the following two activities, students worked in small groups. During the demonstration, I modeled what the students needed to do for the following parts of the activity.


elephants toothpaste is the perfect halloween activity for chemical and physical changes


Students of any age are always amazed at the simple demonstration of creating “elephant’s toothpaste”. (If you are unsure how to make it, instructions are in the freebie below). Using the CER strategy, I had my students make a claim as to whether the reaction was a chemical or physical change. If you need more information on how to implement the CER method, this post will help you. We discussed the evidence from the demonstrations that could be used to support their claim and backed it with scientific reasoning.

From there, students complete two other activities on their own. One is using pumpkin candies in water and the other one is activating a glowstick.
Glow sticks add fun and engagement to motivate students in understanding chemical and physical changes.

Each of these activities works seamlessly into the Halloween theme. Students loved it and honestly, I was OBSERVED on Halloween using this lesson. Students were excited but they were on task and manageable and I think it was impressive to administration to see how students can still be engaged in learning while completing a Halloween inspired activity in the science classroom.

Scroll down to try this Halloween experiment in your classroom for F-R-E-E!

Practice NGSS skills by having your students create their own science experiments with this fun holiday activity!


Students will follow NGSS 3-5 ETS 1-3 using this fun Halloween experiment


holidays in the grade 4, 5, 6 science classrooms

Looking for Halloween activities you can feel good about using your instructional minutes for? Check out these other free ideas for your upper elementary students and let us do the planning for you!



Grade 4, 5, 6 Halloween activities | Looking for Halloween activities you can feel good about using your instructional minutes for? Check out these other free ideas for your upper elementary students and let us do the planning for you!

Want to try the CER Halloween activity in your classroom? Join my science tribe to access it!



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    2 comments

    1. Amazing post with lots of informative and useful and amazing content. Well written and done!! Thanks for sharing keep posting.

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      Replies
      1. Thank you so much. I am so glad that you enjoyed it! :)

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