Whether it’s an unexpected snow day, endless interruptions, or a class that just can’t quite keep pace with your lesson plans, teachers often find themselves short on time. Unfortunately, the most common way many science teachers cope with losing precious class time is to skip lab days and reinforcement activities. Although it’s impossible to avoid 100% of the time, hammering students with nonstop lectures and notes without any opportunity for reinforcement can often translate to mental overload and confusion for most kids – especially in a science class!
In a perfect world, every science concept would be taught alongside its own lab or activity. However, the reality of a typical classroom is far from perfect. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be! In my 25+ years of teaching high school science, one of the most frequent questions fellow teachers have asked me is how I make time to do so many labs with my students. It’s true, I do a lot of labs! In fact, I average over 40 labs a year in each class. How is this possible? Micro labs!
A micro lab is basically any lab that has been boiled down to the most compact, essential version of itself. Running them is simple because most of the prep work has been stripped out. They're easy setup, easy clean up and you don't even need to have students collect data or turn in a report - just treat them as a fun way to reinforce concepts or give a hands on, visual, demonstration to bring a point home.
Curious what a micro lab looks like?
Click the image below to download one of our free micro lab examples. This micro lab has been used successfully by our lead curriculum developer in her classes for decades. It will help your students get a good 'feel' for pH in everyday substances using inexpensive materials.
Here are some suggestions on transforming your full labs into micro labs.
In addition to saving you time and hassle, micro labs can be an effective way to help your students master intimidating concepts. Presenting information in smaller bursts and immediately reinforcing the concept with a micro lab or activity can build priceless confidence in your students. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a student discover what they are capable of. Everyone can be successful in a science classroom with the right mindset, and micro labs can be an easy way to make that happen.
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.