As science and math scores are often in the forefront of the media as areas American students need to make headway on, starting earlier with science experiments is essential. To do this, basic science labs will be widely beneficial in elementary schools. Though these will not be as high-tech and in-depth as the laboratories in high schools or colleges, students can begin to get acquainted with the basics of laboratory science with a few essential materials and supplies.
For students to gain an appreciation as well as a respect for a laboratory, the space will need to look and work like a science lab. The room should consist of flat-top tables that sit two to four students. The tables can have drawers, but the table top should be flat and wide so the students have enough space to work. Stools are typical for seating in a science lab as they are tall enough to give the students a good view overlooking their experiments.
Although an elementary level science lab will not typically deal with the potentially hazardous materials and chemicals that a high school or college lab would, the students will need to become accustomed to wearing all the necessary protective gear for a science lab. This could include safety goggles, aprons, ear plugs and even protective gloves. Post signs and posters around the room regarding proper lab procedures, such as no eating or running in the lab and that safety gear must be worn at all times. By establishing the good lab habits early, the students are more likely to uphold them in the future.
Provide the students with the tools and equipment necessary for performing simple lab experiments. An important basic tool that also will be used in future years for more complex labs is the microscope. Learning how to properly use a science lab microscope will prove to be a crucial skill for the students. To properly and effectively use the microscope, the student will need slides as well. The students can look at a variety of items on the slides under the microscope for practice, such as grains of salt, seeds or parts of a flower.
Fill the labs with beakers and liquids for performing basic experiments. For example, a basic experiment performed in elementary school is the combining of baking soda with vinegar. The reaction is often featured as an eruption coming out of a craft volcano. These two substances, as well as the beakers and containers to hold the reactions, will be crucial for an elementary school lab. Another common experiment, the observation of plant growth by elementary students, entails the use of containers to hold the specimens, ideally clear glass jars. These enable the students to observe all phases of the growth process.
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