Middle School Science Supplies You Didn’t Think About

Let’s talk middle school science supplies! Believe it or not, many school administrators are already beginning to ask teachers to provide a wish list for next school year’s supply order. (Can you believe it?!) If your principal hasn’t reached out yet, be assured, it’s probably coming soon. If you’re anything like me, there are middle school science supplies you didn’t think about needing. Hopefully, this article offers the clarity you need to start you supply list for next school year.

Let’s start with the basics!

When it comes to school supplies, there are handful of supplies that all teachers will need, regardless of grade level or subject matter. Most of these items won’t come as much of a surprise to you. I like to call these “teacher’s desk items.” These are the supplies you’ll want to have on hand throughout the year. Here are some examples:

  • Good pens for grading (you know the ones)
  • Basic office supplies (ex: paper clips, highlighters, stapler, 3-hole punch, binder clips, etc.)
  • Lesson planning book (either digital or classic pencil/paper format)
  • A good electric pencil sharpener
  • Extra binders and page protectors
  • Dry erase markers
  • Post-it notes
  • Sharpie flip chart markers
  • A good “teacher’s chair”

Things to purchase in a “class set”:

It’s no secret that science classrooms require a lot of supplies. In order to conduct even a simple science experiment, there will be tools and materials you’ll want to have on hand. Consider this the cost of a good science education. Luckily, many of these supplies and tools are reusable. These are the items that can be pulled out class period after class period, year after year and used by all students. For these items, you won’t need “one for every student” but rather a classroom set should suffice. I’d recommend ordering a high quality set of these materials, as the goal is for them to last as long as possible. This is one area where “investing in quality” truly is a good idea.

You’ll want to consider a class set of:

  • White boards
  • Meter sticks
  • Graduated cylinders
  • Digital scale
  • Microscopes
  • Petri dishes
  • Safety goggles (and other safety equipment)
  • Pipets
  • Graduated cylinder cleaning brushes

Supplies to have A LOT of:

How much of each item do you need? While items like white boards or microscopes should (hopefully) last a while and only require a classroom set, there are certain items in your science classroom that are worth maintaining a stock of extra supplies. These tend to be disposable items or things that will receive significant use.

Items to buy in bulk:

  • Art supplies (markers, crayons, glue sticks, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes (because middle schoolers can be gross)
  • Individually wrapped candies (for rewards)
  • Silly stickers
  • Pens and pencils

Additional science lab materials:

Alright, this can vary a bit based on the specific discipline you teach and the labs you intend to do. A life science teacher might need a slightly different list of lab materials than an earth science teacher. Not to mention, if you’re like most of us, you may not know exactly which labs and hands-on activities you’ll want to do a year from now.

So how are you supposed to submit a supply order?

Great question! While there can be some variability, there are some basic lab supplies that come up often on the list of science tools and supplies needed for middle school lab activities. Here are a few middle school science supplies you didn’t think about needing for science experiments:

  • Plastic baggies…lots of plastic baggies. (For some reason we go through SO MANY of these each year.)
  • Plastic cups
  • Paper towels
  • Corn starch
  • Test tubes (because they’re used a lot and break easily)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Supply buckets for lab and station materials (I recommend a few different sizes)
  • Food coloring
  • Cotton balls

Digital resources to purchase:

Did you know that many school districts will now allocate funds towards the purchase of digital resources? It’s true! Things like Teachers Pay Teachers resources (lesson plans, printable worksheets, interactive slides, classroom decor, etc.) online courses, e-books, and more can often be purchased with district dollars. I’d highly recommend making a list of digital resources that will enhance your instruction and/or make your life as a middle school teacher a little bit easier.

Consider digitally purchasing…

  • Unit plans
  • Slides presentations
  • Classroom decorations
  • Lab activities
  • Professional development resources (ex: membership groups, online courses, e-books)
  • Assessments

Here are a few examples:

Where to get your supplies:

If you’re looking at this list and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume (and cost) of simple materials needed in the standard science classroom, don’t worry! Let’s all take a deep breath together. While most teachers put some of their own money towards classroom supplies (just being honest…we all know it’s true) there is no reason that equipping your classroom should break the bank.

Here are a few cost-effective ways to get your middle school science supplies:

  • Put in a supply order through your school district.
  • Talk to your administrator about funds available for specialty items.
  • Create an Amazon Wishlist to send to friends, family, and parents of students.
  • Shop Facebook Marketplace
  • Check out your local dollar spot

Let’s Stay Connected!

Continue the discussion in my Facebook Group for Middle School Science Teachers or my Classroom Management Facebook Group.

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If this article was helpful to you, leave a comment with the number of years you’ve been teaching and what grade level/subject matter you teach! I love hearing from you!