I gave a survey to my class recently about what is going well so far this year and what they would like to see change. In my science classes, the overwhelming response was, “We want more labs!”
Labs and hands-on activities are vital to an engaging and inspiring science classes, but they also require significantly more prep time than my other science lessons. Between researching the lab, trying it out myself to make sure it works, troubleshooting any problems that arise, buying all of the materials, setting them up, and cleaning up, labs are a challenge.
But they really are the best way for students to learn and practice scientific skills, and the kids love them!
So I decided to reach out to them for help.
I created a student focus group called the Science Ambassadors. I announced the club to my class, described the qualities I was looking for in an ambassador, and made an application using Google Forms.
We recently held our first meeting. Students brought lab ideas they had researched for our first unit, and we ended up choosing one to do in class. Then we talked about the next unit–human body systems–and each student chose one body system to research a hands-on activity or experiment for.
In the future, students will also help me test out the labs & set them up for classes.
If a once-a-week meeting is still too much of a time commitment for some busy teachers, you can take all the discussion online using Google Classroom or your preferred method of online communication.
I’m excited about this way to involve student voice in learning. I love being able to introduce a lab and mention the student’s name who helped find it.