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 the Technology Center in East Hanover, 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.
We have a variety of age-appropriate experiments for elementary, middle, and high school students. These experiments can be used in a traditional school setting as well as non-traditional settings, such as after-school programs, summer camps, hospitals, and others.
All experiments are designed to fit into a standard class period of 45 minutes – 1 hour. In certain, specific experiments, indicated with a *, a longer version is available that requires a double period for completion. If this version is desired, please inform us at the time of scheduling as this obviously presents different time constraints. If the shorter experiment is chosen, students and teachers will be able to complete the experiment on their own during a subsequent class period. All necessary information and equipment is supplied.
Our experiments are broken down by grade level. Most of our experiments can be run for slightly older or younger students. If you desire this change, please discuss this with S2S so we can advise appropriately. In all cases, the High School experiments assume that students are currently taking, or have taken an introductory course in chemistry. They are generally not appropriate for students not yet enrolled in chemistry. They are not designed for honors level or AP students.
For each grade grouping (5th grade, middle school, and high school) we are offering a preliminary “Scientific Measurements” experiment. At each level, this lab is a grade-appropriate introduction to the tools, calculations, and equipment that students will be using throughout the virtual labs, and throughout their scientific schooling. It is suggested that as many students as possible participate in these introductory experiments prior to participating in the remainder of the V-Labs.
According to our Virtual Laboratory (V-Lab) teacher surveys:
- 93% stated that the students were engaged in the experiment.
- 98% said that it was age appropriate.
- 98% said the in-class mentors related the material to real world experiences.
- 95% stated that it is a valuable teaching experience and would consider using this tool again in the future.
- 98% would recommend the program to a colleague.
- 91% would run the experiment on their own in the future.