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Hands On Experiments During the Pandemic

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Mirela Fejzic Mirela Fejzic 1225 Points

Hello everyone. My name is Mirela and I will be teaching my very own classroom next year! From all the insights that I have received from my previous teachers, teaching online seems to come with many challenges. I am a hands on learner, so I am wondering what hands on experiments or activities could be accomplished through Zoom or any other video communication programs? Are students missing out on experiences that can further their interest and understanding of science concepts and topics without hands on experiments during the pandemic? If any teachers are doing hands on experiments, how are students acquiring materials? Are parents involved? Any response, comment, or resource would be greatly appreciated!

LeAnne Henry LeAnne Henry 835 Points

Mirela I understand your challenges ive seen it daily in the classrooms Ive worked with.  A idea that one teacher used and I am not sure of your grade level or resources but she made take home boxes of materials for the students to come and pick up.  There enough materials inside the box to do a few different experiments.  This was items she already had in her classroom they were also elementary level.  So the experiments were not too crazy or big.  But she was able to talk everyone through the experiment using ZOOM.  I do know she used shoe boxes or smaller.  We seperated out all the materials in ziplocs bags and labeled them.  There was also paperwork and worksheets in the box so they would know whay wasy with what.  I kinda felt like we were packing up a Hello Fresh shipment.  Like I said not sure of your student number or your situation but Ive seen this work.  I understand it is time consuming thats why she had a assiantant help her.  Good Luck and the fact that you care I know you will do well!!!

Melissa Portillo Melissa Portillo 1245 Points

Hi Mirela,

I am a hands on learner as well! Although with zoom there are limited things that can be done, I did find two websites that have some experiments/activities that the students can do on their own while on zoom with the class. (Link #1: and Link #2: I feel that with remote learning students are not receiving the same quality instruction or science experiences as they would with face-to-face classes. I know that some teachers are providing the students with science experiment materials to be able to participate on zoom with the rest of the classroom. My little brother is currently in middle school and is in a science class. He is on zoom wednesday-Friday, but Monday & Tuesdays he is online using zoom. His science class is in person, but knows a couple friends that have it online. Before doing an experiment on zoom the teacher communicates with the students and allows them to pick up the materials, in the front office, needed for the experiement. I hope that the links I provided you with are helpful. 

Justen Hug Justen Hug 505 Points

Melissa, great examples of utilizing zoom with free online interactive databases. I had to teach a predator vs. prey lesson for 5th grade, and I used this as for my activity. It provides the students to create their own scenario and the kids were engaged throughout. 

Gail Mayes Gail Mayes 10 Points

Hi Mirela, I also have been online teaching and came up with a series of my own videos on the following topics:  Carbon Footprint, Bottle Biosphere, and Homeostasis of the Human Body.  Each one of the videos has a hands on activity.  The Carbon Footprint guides the students to figure out how much carbon waste they produce.  it can be interactive with a pen or can be printed out.  The Bottle Biosphere will show you how to build a classroom Bottle Biosphere with questions to answer for two weeks with observations.  The Homeostasis of the Human Body has a handout that has fill-in-the-blank questions.  The Carbon Footprint is on Youtube and it is by MoonDust.  The other things are at  Let me know if you have any questions.  I have been teaching for 30 plus years.



Jessica Holmes Jessica Holmes 835 Points

Unfortunately, doing hands-on labs is really hard. I've done demos for the kids and had them write down data for lab reports. Another fun thing to do is simulations. ACS has some good options:

Elaine Lucas-Evans Elaine Lucas-Evans 295 Points

Additionally Phet should not be overlooked! They offer simulations for a variety of topics and these are engaging and allow students to gather data or notice changes as the simulation progresses. My middle schoolers love several of these including the Build an Atom and Skate Park. Not only that but they also have Google docs that provide guided investigation to students as they work, leaving you time to observe their actions, and ask probing questions to get at the heart of their thinking while they work.

Emily Jimenez Emily Jimenez 635 Points

Hey Mirela! I have found a fun way to teach with a 'hands-on approach'. I had my kids build a rollercoaster to show Potential and Kinetic Energy with items from around their house. I gave them a list of materials that would probably be most helpful (amazon boxes, scissors, tape, etc.) and then they had to either make the ball that would roll down the hills or use any round object around the house. Hope that helps and or inspires you! Keep up the great work! 

James Sorrell James Sorrell 655 Points

Hi! I agree that hands-on participation is critical, especially given the difficulties already presented by virtual learning. Our school has had a parent pick-up area during times of at-home learning, so that teachers can safely distribute materials to students. Of course, not all experiments can be done at home. Also, it isn't fesible to buy all the necessary materials needed for other experiments. I used a simple demonstration a few weeks ago in a lesson about matter. It basically proved that air takes up space, and therefore is matter. The materials were very common, and most students could probably access them at home. I'll attach the link to a website with the details. The site also has tons of other experiments to try! 

Rene Brazell Rene Brazell 450 Points

Hi! In addition to those great suggestions listed above (Phet simulations worked great! I used them multiple times, ACS also great for online tutorial style lessons with embedded videos, demos, and interactive components, you can use teacher led demos with student required feedback, boxed up supplies for at home) you can search up home experiments for ..'your specific lesson' and find many great suggestions that students can do at home with minimal supplies. I call it kitchen science. We have very few supplies, a non-existent lab room (no sinks, no gas, no hood)  but I still manage to do lots of hands on experiments. Search the web for each unit and use the NSTA site and other nationally recognised science organizations for already prepared lessons with suggested hands on components. You may have to modify lessons (I almost always need to modify it due to lack of equipment, but be creative and make it happen) but it is worth the extra work you put in. Every year I reflect on what worked and what didn't and go from there. I also invested in a science lab book (on my own, again not supplied by school). This helped to jump start my hands on labs. Good luck!


Joni Ramirez Joni Ramirez 330 Points

Hi I am currently a senior and I am majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. I also believe that students during the Pandemic are missing out on all the hands on experiments. I recently took Biology virtual and it was not the same and taking it in person. We did experiments with supplies we had at home and there is a lot of lessons with embeedded videos to demonstrate how to do a hands on experiment. 

Joni Ramirez Joni Ramirez 330 Points

In addition, how can we better accomadate hands on experiments virtually with students that have a disability?

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