Science classes and labs


Karen Hutchinson

Teachers have started to rearrange their rooms to fit district guidelines.

For science classes, online schooling had ruined labs and interactive activities. Now that class will soon be in-person, it may not look too different from an online class after all.

The school year kicked off with the start of online schooling. Many classes were forced to adapt to the new way of teaching while also figuring out how to do certain assignments. 

Many science teachers had to find a way to teach lab criteria without having the student complete the labs themselves. For some teachers, they had to either conduct live experiments for their students or have them complete simulations online.

For chemistry teacher Karen Hutchinson, she had a variety of ways to teach lab material. Hutchinson had stated, “I’ve done some live demos, we’ve watched recorded videos of labs, and students have used online interactive apps to simulate some labs.”

Hutchinson is not the only one who has been doing virtual labs, however. Physics teacher, David Flores, has been teaching students by using videos of physics demonstrations.

Flores states, “We have been using a video analysis tool called Vernier Video Analysis.  This software has allowed students to; make measurements, gather data, and come to evidence-based conclusions…”

With all of the new online classes coming to a close, and in-person classes starting, the question now is whether or not labs will be any different in person. Biology teacher, Stephanie Hawkins, states that labs will not be the same as they used to be.

Hawkins goes on to say, “One amazing extra feature my class will have access to upon their return is the ASU BioBeyond Program that will allow students to explore different topics on a virtual platform.”

Other teachers such as Flores and Hutchinson stated that they will have to perform the labs themselves and have students record the data from their work. Science classes are normally “hands-on” and have many group activities to aid in their learning, however, the science department had to make changes.

Hutchinson says, “…my seating arrangement used to allow for students to see each other with space for conducting labs at the perimeter lab benches.  Now, students will all face forward and they won’t be seated in lab groups.”  The teachers have to separate students for their own safety and to follow district guidelines.

Hawkins has also changed her room to allow safer conditions for the students by changing the seating arrangement. Hawkins says that she will be encouraging students to wash their hands in her classroom when they enter, when they leave, and whenever they would like to. This, however, is not required by the district and is not being enforced.

Besides wearing a mask and social distancing, the district has not issued anything mandatory for science classes.

As students ready themselves for in-person classes, science teachers are taking the extra steps to ensure their students’ safety and education.