For students from kindergarten to high school graduation, hands-on laboratory experience is fundamental to the learning process. The critical thinking and problem-solving skills gained in these experiential learning activities will follow the students long after they've left the classroom, regardless of their career paths. In this month’s blog, we dive into the multiple benefits of laboratory learning in schools.
Science requires a thorough understanding of matter, life, physical, chemical and biological processes that are not necessarily tangible, or visible to the naked eye. Observing and participating in lab experiments offers a well-rounded comprehension of concepts that can be difficult to grasp, giving access to an otherwise inaccessible knowledge. A well equipped lab with clearly defined learning outcomes increases ease and interest in the learning process for both the teacher and student.
While online learning is becoming more and more prevalent, it is important to note that computer simulated activities cannot replicate the experience of being in a lab. Hands-on science activities done in a properly set up laboratory allow students to safely and directly:
While virtual learning can reduce costs for schools, and shed accurate information on science subject matter, students are less likely to leave school with an in-depth understanding or appreciation of the sciences without working in a lab first hand.
Hands-on laboratory experiences for children during their early education are proven to advance the rate at which they absorb information, specifically the rate at which they understand more complex concepts. Taking learning beyond the pages of a textbook creates more focus and engagement between a teacher and student, and will actually improve their science literacy. Students are also far more likely to be engaged when the process is being shown to them live in the laboratory versus explained in the classroom. Seeing an explosion happen will make a bigger impression on students than just hearing about a theoretical one.
On top of that, the excitement created from experiments will lead children to anticipate future fun in the classroom, improving overall engagement and willingness to learn. By focusing equally on classroom and laboratory teaching, (the show and tell method) students learn faster and retain the information over a longer period of time.
For students interested in pursuing higher education or a career in the science/technology industry, the time spent in the lab is priceless. It not only inspires children to pursue such fields, but prepares them by developing skills which will be sought after by future employers. Even students who do not anticipate a career in sciences, gain important skills that will serve them well through life. Such as:
The foundation of a good education involves innovative and practical learning approaches that prepare students for what is ahead. A school that offers a well equipped lab, with hands-on learning and passionate teachers is a school that will take curious children and lead them to be passionate, intelligent and self-sufficient adults.