Students 2 Science (S2S), in partnership with Connectivity, Inc., and in collaboration with the American Chemical Society, has developed a fully interactive, web-based, hybrid, distance-learning program to support elementary, middle and high school science students and teachers.
The Virtual Laboratory (V-Lab) program was created to eliminate the geographic and language constraints of our on-site ISAAC program, broadening our reach to serve a wider audience. State-of-the-art distance-learning technology and the capacity to provide real-time interpretation in more than 200 languages means S2S is no longer limited to those students, teachers, and volunteers who reside within commuting distance of our Technology Centers in East Hanover or Newark, NJ. V-Lab gives us the means to expand our services nationally and globally, and to significantly impact the lives of tens of thousands more students.
The V-Lab program uses Connectivity’s proprietary communications platform to enable students (grades 4-12) in their classrooms or non-traditional settings and the S2S Technology Center to simultaneously conduct a series of supplemental, age-appropriate, hands-on science experiments. S2S sends the experiment kits, trains the teachers, and conducts a joint session by use of video conferencing. S2S scientists demonstrate how to conduct each experiment and describe how the scientific techniques and learning principles are used in real world applications. Students may ask questions of the instructors in real time as the experiment is being conducted. Volunteer professionals, recruited by S2S through its network of supporting corporations, provide in-class mentoring and instruction.
Each V-Lab kit contains enough materials for the teacher to run the experiments again on their own for 2-3 more sessions (approximately 26 students per session). The price per session goes down with the number of refills and number of sessions; efficiencies such as these bring the cost down from $150 per kit to approximately $20 – $25 per session, or less than $1.00 per student. In addition, S2S provides training and technical assistance to teachers with lesson plans and how-to videos, thus allowing non-content specialists the opportunity to teach rigorous science content.
All labs are designed to fit into a standard class period of 45-60 minutes. In specific experiments marked with an asterisk (*), a longer version is available that requires a double period for completion. If this version is desired, please inform the staff at S2S at the time of scheduling, as this presents different time constraints. If the shorter experiment is chosen, students and teachers will be able to complete the experiment during a subsequent class period. All necessary information and equipment are supplied.
The experiments are organized by grade level: elementary school (Grade 5, ES), middle school (Grade 6-8, MS) and high school (Grade 9-12, HS). Most of the experiments can be run for slightly older or younger students. If you want to change the grade level focus, please discuss with the staff at S2S so we can advise appropriately. All high school experiments assume that students are currently taking or have taken an introductory course in chemistry. In general, the high school experiments are not appropriate for students not enrolled in chemistry nor are they designed for honors level or AP students.
For each grade level (elementary-, middle-, and high school) there is a preliminary “Scientific Measurements” experiment that is a grade-appropriate introduction to the tools, calculations, and equipment that students will be using throughout the virtual labs (V-Labs), as well as their scientific education. It is suggested that as many students as possible participate in these introductory experiments prior to participating in the remainder of the V-Labs.
The list of V-Lab experiments is arranged by grade level. The Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) topic(s) that are supported by the experiment are shown in parentheses at the end of each description. The brief experiment description is provided to assist in the selection of V-Labs. The staff at Students 2 Science is available to assist with any questions or selection of experiments. Each experiment will be taught for five days during the academic year. The available dates are shown in blue at the end of each description.