This lab manual provides structure for
teachers who wish to engage students in hands-on interactive
learning but also provides support for teachers who are more
comfortable with inquiry based learning. If you are a teacher
who is taking their first “dive” into hands-on Science, the
background material is designed to provide enough structure to
help support the organisation of the lab and its materials.
Most of the materials are commonly found in local supermarkets
and department stores at a nominal cost. A few materials, like
scales and hand microscopes can be found on-line. The lab
sheets can be given to students so they follow step by step,
or they can be told a general structure to follow.
The critical portion of any lab is to
have a thorough discussion of the results and their thinking
after the experiment is completed. It is suggested that you
take as much time as the experiment to have this discussion
with students. The real learning occurs not from the hands-on
experiment, but from a deep discussion of the experiment,
while making connections to the concept they are learning. For
this reason, it is suggested that the students do the
experiment FIRST, and then have the students learn the
concepts. They will have a better understanding of the concept
if they first conduct an experiment, gain the experience, and
then discuss a new concept.
Even without a strong Science background,
get into the habit of asking questions. The process of asking
questions and being inquisitive will generate more excitement
for students and will engage them in a deeper way of learning
Science. “I don’t know” is as important to learning as having
all the answers. Together you can learn Science and discover
the major ideas that Scientists’ research.
If you are an experienced teacher, the
Teacher Guided Questions to Inquiry are designed to provide
prompts for students. These questions are not intended to be
assessment questions, but ones that will engage students in
the general direction of the benchmark. The teacher may select
one or two, but not all of them, to have students start on an
open inquiry approach to learning. The students will engage in
their own experiment, create their own procedures, and make
conclusions from their data. For this reason, there are no
answers to those questions. They are open ended and can be
used to formulate interesting experiments for advanced
students. The slight variation in some of the questions in
each of the labs is designed to provide a sufficient number of
prompts at various levels of Blooms Taxonomy to engage
Throughout the year, encourage
questioning, student dialogue, and the scientific process.
There is no one exact scientific method as is often suggested.
The process of learning about the world and universe, drawing
conclusions from facts, and building these facts into strong
scientific theories is the work of Science. Science is always
growing, stretching, and expanding its knowledge base. It is
about challenging well supported ideas to discover weakness.
This is exactly what students should be encouraged to do! And
in the end, Science is not something to study, it is something