Labs for the young learners

enhanced learning

Labs for the young learners

Students develop their technique of data handling, logical reasoning and putting things together before arriving at any answers during their formative years at primary school.

This is the crucial stage where curiosity knows no limits and students feel everything they think is possible. To orient them to natural happenings in our environment, laboratories go a long way. Laboratory is a room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research and for teaching learning transaction.

Hence, every school must have a laboratory. It is not just a place to keep equipment in a showcase but a place to work with them and learn. “Seeing is believing, doing is understanding”. Sometimes while seeing, observing things appear very simple. When a child can reason out why things happen as they happen, many things become clear. This helps him to extrapolate his knowledge to real life situations where the conceptualisation takes place. Hence, labs come a long way in helping students understand the concepts that were theoretically taught in classrooms.

These days, to get accreditation for a K-12 school, a Physics, chemistry, Biology, computer and mathematics laboratories are compulsory. Every lab has its own benchmarks and how the working and demonstration tables need to be placed. The demonstration table should be clearly visible from all the students standing around the U shapely arranged three, five or seven tables, depending on the size of the laboratory.

Making observations

A few activities or experiments are only for observation owing to the risk involved and availability of resource materials. On the other hand after the demonstration by the facilitator, the students are by and large permitted to carry out the same experiment under the strict vigilance and supervision of the teachers for safety and conservation of resources. Let’s take a look at what each lab offers for the students.

Science laboratories: Each science (biology, physics and chemistry) has its own lab. These are equipped with materials like elements (metals & non-metals), compounds, specimens and stains, instruments to know about optics, magnetism and electricity and the necessary apparatus to perform the activities.

Students get ample opportunities and materials to learn about properties of metals and non metals, acids and bases, conductors and insulators, transparent and opaque, magnetic and non magnetic materials, various components present in air, soil, water, properties of air and water so on and so forth.

After learning the principle involved their kitchens, gardens and bathrooms become their extended laboratories in which students put the principle to test and learn the commonness or variations in the activities.

Mathematics laboratory: It is equipped with different models showing the shapes, theorems and identities. Paper cutting activities to derive formulas of standard entities, making idea of congruence clear by stacking and piling the materials, Using concentric circles to create artistic arena are parts and parcels of this laboratory.

 Computer laboratory: Off late, everything fast moving to becoming e-based. Without the electronic media and its knowledge, life is becoming almost impossible. With a number of computer systems with LCD projectors, learning is become a pleasure and has become meaningful.

Bridging the gap
The chapters or lessons in middle school science, i.e. sixth standard to eighth standard, revolve around our environment, air, water, agriculture, light, magnetism and electricity. The mathematics revolves around area, perimeter, angles, geometry, profit-loss, data handling and statistics while in computer they learn the basics. To quench the thirst of understanding the principles in these topics,  a number of activities are listed in the textbooks as well as websites are available to go deep vertically on the theme. These, along with the creative endeavour of the subject teachers, create a bridge between the laboratory and the life in their surroundings.

Correlation leads to horizontal growth and widens the horizon of the students. Both vertical (in-depth knowledge) and horizontal (inter-relation between one and the others) instills confidence to deal with challenges of life in the forthcoming years. Though laboratory is a small room where students see and perform to start with, they eventually become capable of making the universe come into laboratory. This is the essence of quality improvement.

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