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iLabs: Sounds of Science – Photosynthesis Science, That Is

October 21, 2012

This past month has been an amazing time, hence the “quiet” on our blog. We have done photosynthesis labs with over 10 class groups, almost as many microscopy/protozoa labs, gel electrophoresis labs, and yesterday, I started our Saturday morning Public lab classes. We have worked with homeschool, private party, and public school groups, as well as the general public. So it’s been quite the success in terms of launching our new lab classes.  And this is just the beginning.

The photosynthesis classes have been our top seller so far, and that delights us. We are particularly proud of this class, especially since we can not only address teaching the principles of this topic, but meet 3 other goals as well.

Using Vernier oxygen and CO2 sensors, Labquest data collection devices, and laptops with Logger Pro data analysis software, the students first gain an understanding of photysynthetic processes directly, by testing and observing them.

Second, they also get an introduction to the principles of laboratory instrumentation. This hands-on experience demystifies lab equipment and builds their confidence in the idea that they and anybody can learn to use these things. Overcoming that hurdle expands their willingness to try more science activities.

Third, they also get an introduction to criticial thinking and data analysis. By having to assess their results, they learn to evaluate what happened, and correct problems.

Lastly, they learn the scientific method. After a brief introduction to the principles of photosynthesis, as well as topics such as controls, independent variables, and dependent variables, they must form their own hypotheses, test them, and decide if their experimental results supported their hypothesis.

All of this in an hour and a half, and best of all, they don’t realize they’re getting all of this. They just know they’re DOING science, and that beats hearing about it.

In another post, I will write more about some of the other classes we’re doing, and what else is coming soon. But for now, here are some photos of our photosynthesis lab as well as video to give you a sample of “The Sounds of Science!”

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