Science Labs Give Students Real-World Perspective

Students have been learning in many different ways besides the standard lecture and notes that some are used to. Many students are beginning to see different labs and visuals from some teachers at Dimond, especially in the Science department.

Being able to see how a subject works in the real world rather than on paper is a whole new style of learning that can be very beneficial for some. Labs give students a break from the standard lectures and note taking.

Dimond Junior Anita Koelsch, an AP Chemistry student, said, “I think labs complement the lectures, I don’t necessarily think they’re better than them just because we couldn’t really do the labs if we didn’t understand what we were learning. But I think they’re a way to emphasize the lessons and make it more real world.”

Dimond Physics teacher Jennifer Childress said, “I do think that labs help students better understand the concepts we’re learning in class. My hope is that they can see the things we’re talking about actually in action and their able to measure stuff and touch stuff to see how it works.”

Science courses such as Physics and Chemistry utilize labs to show students, in a very interactive and engaging way, how those subjects are seen in the real world. While labs in Physics may focus around motion and measurement, labs in Chemistry may focus around different kinds of reactions.

Koelsch said, “We’ve done around seven labs at this point, I think the most interesting one was our synthesis of alum lab. It was kind of like two labs in one, the first lab we made alum from aluminum foil, and then the second lab we boiled the water out of our sample to find the anhydrous alum and it made crystals.”

Childress said, “There’s a lab we do in AP where students try to find the elasticity of a rubber band, and it’s called the Egg-celent Bungee Lab. They have to build a bungee system for an egg and the task is to try to get it as close to the ground as possible without smashing the egg.

“In our Hitting the Target lab, you figure out motion by calculations and then you have to actually put into practice by trying to make an object hit a target by doing the calculations first.”

Science can be a hard to understand subject for some, and labs provide students with a way to see how the process works off paper. They also help teachers find out what else they need to touch back on during class, by seeing where students are having trouble understanding how something works in the lab.

Childress said, “It allows students to interact and figure things out, and then often I can see where misconceptions are, or where they got something wrong by seeing, as they go through the lab, what’s not making sense to them.”

Dimond Junior Alexis Stanich, an AP Chemistry student, said, “With science labs, in my opinion, I remember more about the process and its results rather than listening to a teacher talk about the lab and its results. Mainly because I have a hands-on experience that sticks in my memory, and I have to write a lab report and notes.”

Science labs and teaching focused around integrating their respective subjects into the real world can motivate students so that they know what they’re learning actually matters, and is worth taking seriously.