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LabLearner Discussions

Samples Section

Hands-on Science in the COVID-19 Environment

There is simply nothing better for student learning, technical skill development, and group cooperative behavior than hands-on lab experience. Period. Therefore, as soon as public health officials remove COVID-19 restrictions, normal LabLearner techniques and procedures should be re-established.

In the short term, however, we recommend a graded approach for LabLearner implementation that is dependent on your specific geographic location and state guidelines. We have broken this down into stringency levels commensurate with the magnitude of the perceived COVID-19 hazard.

Stringency Levels

Stringency levels range from normal LabLearner 100% hands-on implementation, to a solution in which students attend lab or other classes in the school building – Stringency Level 4, a 100% remote solution. Stringency levels 1 through 3 all involve students attending the LabLearner lab with graded modifications of lab protocols and procedures. These levels of stringency are described in the sections below.

What Circumstances Could Necessitate Remote Teaching in the 2020/21 School Year?

While the hope that schools will reopen on schedule is on all of our minds, contingency planning makes sense for the upcoming school year. The neurocognitive research that forms the basis of the LabLearner approach is clear. Hands-on, authentic lab experiences involving fundamental scientific and mathematical concepts are critically important for the development of deep learning and critical thinking skill development. Nonetheless, even brief interruptions in the school are disruptive to pedagogical flow. 

Events that Could Trigger Temporary Interruption of the 2020/21 School Year

  • Uncertainty and fear during the beginning weeks of the school year.
  • Potential upturn in cases of COVID-19 infection of students or teachers after school is opened.
  • Potential increase in COVID-19 or closely related influenza virus infections during the winter 2021 “flu season”, typically between December through March. These were the winter months of the 2019/20 COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Students attend all labs in person
  • Only one lab session per class required
  • Students in collaborative groups of 4 to 6 per lab bench
  • Gloves, lab coats, and/or safety glasses are worn as required by experiments
  • Content Days, Prelabs, and Postlabs held in classrooms without masks

  • Students attend labs in person
  • Only one lab session per class required
  • Students in collaborative groups of 4 to 6 per lab bench
  • No lab coats are worn (unless each student has own coat)
  • Gloves, masks, and safety glasses worn at all times in the lab
  • 90% ethanol wipe benches before and after use
  • Content Days, Prelabs, and Postlabs in classrooms +/- masks as per other classrooms

  • Students attend labs in person
  • One or two lab sessions/class required
  • Student groups of 4 per lab bench
  • No lab coats are worn (unless each student has own coat)
  • Gloves, masks, and safety glasses worn at all times in the lab
  • 90% ethanol wipe benches before and after use
  • Content Days, Prelabs, and Postlabs in classrooms +/- masks as per other classrooms

  • Students attend labs in person
  • One or two lab sessions/class required
  • Only two students at far ends of benches
  • No lab coats are worn (unless each student has own coat)
  • Gloves, masks, and safety glasses worn at all times in the lab
  • 90% ethanol wipe benches before and after use
  • Content Days, Prelabs, and Postlabs in classrooms +/- masks as per other classrooms

  • Students observe lab remotely (Zoom, etc.)
  • Teacher performs experiments
  • Gloves, lab coats, and/or safety glasses are worn as required by experiments
  • Content Days, Prelabs, and Postlabs conducted remotely
  • Teacher may supplement student involvement remotely with Student Videos, Student Lab Methods and Metrics, LabLearner Math Lessons and Math Homework, LabLearner Cognitive Workouts, LabLearner Discussions, and LabLearner Links

Additional Resources for Remote Learning

New LabLearner online resources, although originally developed to significantly enhance the LabLearner experience under all circumstances, prove to be particularly useful in a remote learning environment.

These new curricular enhancements include Student Videos, Student Lab Methods and Metrics Review, Math Lessons and Homework, Lablearner Discussions, LabLearner Cognitive Workouts, and LabLearner Links.