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10 Ideas For Teaching Shop with ILP

Posted by Emily Henkel on 1/8/20 3:38 PM

Volunteer in china

Need ideas on how to teach shop during your ILP semester abroad? We’ve got you covered!

Whether you decided to go the Dominican Republic to teach in our Humanitarian Program or have always wanted to live in Eastern Europe for a while, ILP volunteers have the chance to spend part of their time abroad in the classroom teaching English to some really cute kids.

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Whatever the case, you are probably going to need some ideas to get you started (teaching does get easier, I promise) or to keep your kids busy half way through the semester, so here you go!

With ILP teaching, you'll plan fun activities in different subjects throughout the semester. This will make more sense after you've been to ILP training, but if you've been assigned Shop for the week, these ideas will make your ILP lesson plans a breeze. 

These 10 shop ideas are ones your kids will love: 

  • DIY Tops 
  • Static Butterflies
  • Whirly Gigs
  • Balloon Powered Car
  • Parachutes
  • Lever and Launch 
  • Marble Races
  • Bubble Wands
  • Build a Volcano
  • Float Your Boat

DIY Tops  

Trace a small circle on sheets of card stock (or notecards…stiff paper works best, or you can use the plastic top off of a milk container) and let the kids decorate. Next, cut out the circles and stab a toothpick in the center and spin! You can also use a small coin.

It takes a minute, but once they get the hang of it, they’ll love it! Check out this video for more help — or get step-by-step directions from this blog. 

Static Butterflies 

Let the kids test out static electricity by themselves by making these butterflies. (P.S. You could make the butterflies during an Arts & Crafts lesson and reuse them in Shop.)

Cut out “wings” out of crepe or tissue paper and the body of the butterflies before class. Let the kids glue the middle section of the wings to a piece of stiff paper or cardboard. Make sure they wings can still “flap”. Now, it’s time to glue on the body of the butterfly. The kids can decorate this if they want - Blow up a balloon, rub it on your head and use the static to lift up the wings.

Whirly Gigs 

You can either print out templates or let your kids make your own, but basically you will cut out 2 circles of (decorated) paper and glue it onto the same sized circle of cardboard. Use a kitchen skewer to punch two holes in the center. Thread a long piece of yarn through the holes and tie a knot once you’ve finished; spend the rest of class whirling and twirling. 


Make your own parachutes in your shop class for some science and fun. You can choose to make one with the whole class or help each student make their own.

Use a paper cup (or fold a paper basket) for the base, and use a hole punch to make a hole on each side (4 holes total).  You can either use a coffee filter or a plastic trash bag (or anything else you think might work) for the parachute part. Tie yarn in the holes on the cup and attack to your parachute and drop! 

Balloon Powered Boat

This takes a little more prep but is so fun! Fill up a sink or go outside and fill up a large container with water — this is your “lake”. Use a piece of cardboard for the base of the boat and talk about how to make it waterproof (covering the cardboard with duct tape will do the trick).

Now blow up the balloon and talk with your class about how to attach it to the boat. You can use string or tape or create a little “cage” out of pipe cleaners. Once you’ve fixed the balloon to the boat, let it go and watch your boat speed away. 

Lever and Launch 

Teach a fun shop lesson all about the fulcrum (remember that from your simple machine days?) by launching ping pong balls. Glue a small container on one end of a yard stick. Then use a large can, rock, a brick (etc.) as the fulcrum.

Put objects in the container and have children step on the other end of the yardstick to launch the items high into the air. If this doesn’t make sense, this blog has some pictures to help get the point across. 

Marble Races 

Who doesn’t love to race? Make a track with your class out of different objects like empty toilet paper rolls and rolled paper on an inclined surface. You can make your track on a desk and tip the desk forward to start the race…get creative! Race marbles first, then other objects…like a pom-pom ball. Learn what races well and what doesn’t. 

Bubble Wands 

Mix up some dish soap and water to make you own bubble solution and use 2 straws to make a bubble wand! This instructable gives you more detail, but basically you make an lopsided “figure 8” out of the two straws and use the smaller end as your wand. Easy, right? 

Build a Volcano 

Learn all about chemical reactions by building your own series of volcanoes. Little cups filled with vinegar (and food coloring) fizz up when your students add baking soda.

Try adding glitter, sugar, salt and other powders to see how the fizzing changes. Pst- Put your volcanoes outside or do this in a sink for easy clean up!

Float Your Boat 

Fill a sink with water and use a bunch of different materials to build a boat that will float. Put out tape, paper, balloons, pom pom balls, pipe cleaners and other supplies and watch your kids get really creative. 

ILP adventure

Come teach cute kiddos for your semester abroad!

Need more lesson ideas? We've got you covered. Or need a little bit of help getting your questions answered about what teaching is really like? We can also help with that — come talk to an ILP representative who can help you out! 

 Text Me! I've Got Questions


Topics: All About ILP + Volunteering, Teaching With ILP

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We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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