Easy Sub Plans for Cold & Flu Season (Or Any Time!)

By AACT on February 1, 2023

Coming up with sub plans is always a nuisance -- especially if you're feeling sick or dealing with an emergency! But with a wide variety of self-guided student resources available in the AACT classroom resource library, you can have your chemistry sub plans ready to go in just a few minutes! Check out the resources below and be prepared for the next time you need to miss a class. (These are also great to have on hand as backup when students finish tests and assignments early!)

Literacy-based Lessons:

There are a number of resources available to AACT members that use scientific informational texts as a way for students to both learn scientific content and develop their reading and literacy skills. Take a look at these easy-to-use resources:

ACS National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program

These lesson plans were originally developed through the American Chemical Society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program. Under this program, ACS grants Landmark status to seminal achievements in the history of the chemical sciences and provides a record of their contributions to chemistry and society in the United States. Any of the lessons in this collection could be easily used as plans for a substitute teacher, as most of the activities are self-guided. Covering topics ranging from medical breakthroughs to environmental discoveries to the lives and work of barrier-breaking chemists, you are bound to find something of interest for your students to learn about how chemistry impacts society! Simply download and distribute (digitally or in print) whichever student documents from the Landmarks lesson of your choice you want your students to complete. 

ChemMatters Articles

Did you know that AACT members have access to all of the ChemMatters articles published since the magazine was launched in 1983? With over 1,000 articles to choose from on a wide variety of real-world chemistry topics, including sports, personal care products, the philosophy of chemistry, food chemistry, space chemistry, and much more. There is something in the archive for everyone! You can select articles for everyone to read or allow students to browse the archive and pick their own articles. AACT members can generate a Student Pass that will enable students to access any ChemMatters article in the archive (or any video or animation) for a 7-day period.

Provide the student handout from this short reading reflection activity, and they can use it with any ChemMatters article! Additionally, this resource has replay value -- the questions are general enough that they can be used over and over, with any informational text you might give your students (ChemMatters or otherwise).

For a more in-depth reading resource that can also be used numerous times with a wide variety of texts, check out the Chemistry Close Read activity as well.

Video-based Lessons:

AACT's multimedia page has a number of video collections with associated student worksheets that could easily be incorporated into a sub plan. A substitute teacher could show the videos, or if your students have their own devices, they could watch them with headphones at their own pace if you use the Student Pass feature. Just provide the student handouts and let them watch and learn!

Ingenious Video Series

Ingenious is a video series from the American Chemical Society about how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. Ingenious spotlights stories from the front lines of chemistry research and development, where passionate innovators are stepping up to confront problems like pollution, over-fishing, sustainability, and personal safety. Each of the 10 videos is between 5 to 7 minutes long and has an accompanying resource with a question sheet that can be given to students.

Spellbound: How Kids Become Scientists Video Series

Spellbound, a video series produced for the 2011 observance of the International Year of Chemistry, tells the story of scientists whose childhood curiosity about everyday things helped them launch careers in the lab, win Nobel Prizes, and make other achievements. Their curiosity, mentors, role models, and other early childhood experiences may point to approaches that can be used to encourage young people into careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Each of the 8 videos is between 4 and 7 minutes long and has an accompanying resource with a question sheet that can be given to students.

Founders of Chemistry Video Series

How did chemistry become the study of electrons and the periodic table? Many great minds were responsible for making discoveries that led to modern chemistry. This video series allows viewers to travel back in time to explore the lives of the most influential individuals in chemistry. Each of the 12 videos is between 4 and 8 minutes long and has an accompanying resource with a question sheet that can be given to students.

Sam Kean's Disappearing Spoon Video Series

Each video in this classroom resource series tells the story of an element from the periodic table. The name of the series may be familiar to you because the video content has been adapted, with author involvement, from the widely popular book The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, by Sam Kean. Each of the 12 videos is between 3 and 6 minutes long and there is one question sheet for all of the videos that can be given to students as-is, or you can edit it to include just the video questions for certain elements.

Take a look at all of our videos to see if anything else catches your eye!