First, congratulations on having your child enrolled in a school that has taken the initiative to acquire and implement LabLearner! LabLearner is a major commitment of resources for your student’s school. It is also a major commitment on the part of your student’s teacher, who has and continues to receive LabLearner training.
The LabLearner program is designed to give your student the very best science education possible. LabLearner vastly exceeds all other science education systems in several fundamental ways:
- LabLearner is based on 100% hands-on science experiments that your student experiences in a strategically designed in-school science lab. Thus, not only does your student learn science concepts that are directly linked to state and national science education standards, but they also become adept in using authentic scientific equipment and procedures. You will very likely see evidence of such authenticity in the vocabulary your student uses when discussing science and math topics with you.
- LabLearner develops scientific thinking and approaches to real-life problem-solving strategies. In fact, Lablearner greatly develops your student’s critical thinking skills. Such skills will become more and more essential in society as your child grows into the future.
- LabLearner develops math and language arts skills as your student solves technical problems and engages in both written and verbal communication with their classmates and teacher.
- LabLearner is based on solid neurocognitive research that focuses on your student’s overall cognitive development. LabLearner’s roots grew from its work in developmental pediatrics and neuropsychology at a major American university college of medicine.
How To Help Your Student
Even if you have minimal science and math background, you can nonetheless make significant contributions to your student’s LabLearner experience. You may even enjoy learning along with them!
In addition to simply supporting your student’s LabLearner teacher and frequently expressing your belief in the importance of science and math to your child, LabLearner has provided you with several specific tools. You may do any or all of the following.
[Remote Learning Note: The activities listed below can be used by parents under normal circumstances. However, as a COVID-19 adaptation, your student’s teacher may actually assign some of the activities to them.]
LabLearner: How it Works
You may wish to begin by getting a birdseye overview of the LabLearner program by accessing the How LabLearner Works page. This will give you a picture of the structure of the entire LabLearner system. You will be able to understand both your student and their teacher better if you briefly review this information.
LabLearner Prelab Videos and CAPs
Your student has access to a tremendous amount of relevant classroom information through their LabLearner Student Portal account. For elementary school students, this includes Prelab videos that prepare them for their weekly lab visit. While the results of the lab are never actually shown in the Prelab video, you may watch and discuss the content of the video with your student and then discuss their results once they have completed the lab at school.
LabLearner CAPs are presentation-formatted content that your student will encounter in class. Each of the CAP lessons are available for you to review with your student.
LabLearner middle school students have access to both Concept Day presentations and Prelab videos. The material available in the Concept Day presentations can easily be reviewed with your student either before their teacher goes through the material in class, as preparation, or after the teacher-led presentation, as a review.
Middle school LabLearner students also have access to Prelab videos through the Student Portal. In addition, each LabLearner Investigation comes with a number of Focus Questions that you can discuss with your student.
Each CELL curriculum unit comes with several internet links that are related to the material covered in it. Obvious, this is not an exhaustive list of relevant sites and you and your student may well find even better sites by doing your own searches together.
The very act of searching the web and reviewing science websites for relevant information is a powerful method for reinforcing the CELL-related topics, but also excellent practice in quickly finding useful information online – an incredibly important skill that your student is likely well on their way to mastering.
LabLearner Discussions were specifically designed for you and your student to sit and discuss LabLearner curriculum-related science topics. Each slide contains rich content to stimulate intelligent discussion with your student. No more than about 30 minutes needs to or should be devoted to LabLearner Discussions at any one learning session.
As you will see, each LabLearner Discussion slide is accompanied by limited text as a discussion guide. LabLearner maintains that directed discussion is one of the most powerful ways we can interact with and learn from each other. Such exchanges build depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills in your student. Plus, it’s fun…give it a try!
LabLearner Cognitive Workouts are short, hands-on activities that an adult can do with young children, or older students can guide themselves through with minimal help.
The activities are designed to practice and develop several domains of cognitive function. The Cognitive Workouts are not targetted specifically or exclusively for science education, but are of value to all children, for a wide variety of learning activities.
Finally, you might find an occasional visit to our LabLearner Store interesting. While much of the store is for teachers and principals to order lab supplies and workbooks (SDRs) for the LabLearner program, many parents have found it instructive for their students to have some of the items at home. Also, there are a number of science gifts that may be of interest to you. In any case, such items are definitely not a requirement.
Technology Tips for Distance Learning and Telework
Many schools, universities, and businesses are temporarily opting for online communication with their students and colleagues. Here are some technology tips that can make the experience smoother.
- Optimize your home internet connection for distance learning and telework:
- Distance learning and telework rely on our home’s connection to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- A home network (e.g., Wi-Fi) or connection to the ISP can become saturated, especially when multiple members of the household are using the internet.
- If you experience connection problems during distance learning or telework, discontinue the use of video streaming services, video games, and other bandwidth-heavy household internet applications to see if this resolves your connectivity problem.
- You may also want to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi router by restarting the router or by following the troubleshooting instructions in your user manual (router user manuals can often be found online).
- Organize your communications:
- It is important to keep an updated calendar of when you have calls, classes, and assignments. You will have fewer reminders and prompts than you were used to having in a school setting.
- You may be communicating more with email and your inbox can become cluttered making it hard to find that email you needed. Make folders in your mailbox to group by classes and topics.
- Set reminders in your electronic devices. With new and changing schedules, having alarms set to remind you of events, classes, and due dates helps remove the stress of wondering if you are missing something.
- Online classes and meeting etiquette and tips:
- Be on time. Log in early enough to account for loading and communications problems that may occur.
- Minimize distractions while in online classes. Find a quiet location without other people walking through if possible. Do not have other media active like TVs, music, or devices surfing the internet. It is easy to be distracted and miss content from the class.
- Follow the class etiquette provided by your student’s teacher. This may mean muting your microphone or phone when not speaking, using a chat, or raise your hand option in the online communications software.
- Avoid talking over other people. It can become hard to hear and understand people when more than one person is talking at a time.