Author: Vesela Todorova
We live and work under unusual circumstances because of the pandemic. Not only the classroom but also the school laboratory had to move from school to our homes because experimental science is a major part of STEM education. Closed at home students missed out opportunities for authentic science due to a lack of accessible lab resources. I believe that classical lab exercises are the best way to put students in the centre of the educational process and to make them feel like scientists. It is proven that the most satisfying and interesting science lessons for students are those held in the laboratory. That’s why I decided to make my students feel the thrill of being researchers at home.
Inspired by STEM Discovery Campaign 2020, during the period between 16 – 22 April 2020, I organised the following activities targeting the students and their parents:
- Online meeting with parents. The aim of the meeting was to ask them for support when doing home science experiments. I asked them to help their children in their activities. There is a research which proved that one of the motivating factors in science learning is family that values science and their support. Also, the activities were held during the week before the Orthodox Easter which is the best period for family activities.
- Online lesson with students. The aim was to motivate students to learn chemistry through understanding how important science is and to realize that chemistry is everywhere around us and is relevant to our future daily life. The topic “Acids and Bases” was discussed. During the online lesson, we talked about acids, bases, pH of the solution, pH scales, measuring the concentration of hydrogen ions and types of indicators. This knowledge was the base for their future home work.
For online meetings, I used Google Classroom.
Combining scientific method, inquire- based learning and project-based learning students were given to do home project supported by their parents on the following topics:
- Red cabbage juice – home chemical indicator. Measuring the pH of solutions of substances at the kitchen in our homes.
Students had to explore the acidity of the solutions of various substances that we had at home, such as vinegar, laundry detergent, bread soda, ammonia soda, soap and etc. using the homemade indicator – red cabbage.
The idea for the topic was inspired by Scientix Resource: Chemistry in the Kitchen
- Naturally dyed Easter Eggs.
Students had to find ways to dye naturally Eater eggs using only natural products and to repare their Easter eggs using these methods.
For the project work, students were given a week. During it, students had to choose on which topic to work on (possible to work on both if they wanted). They looked for articles on the Internet and found out materials for the chosen topic. Made an investigation and explained them scientifically. Made home experiment to prove the fact and made a final product of their findings – picture collage, presentation or other product in which the text should be as minimum as possible. Each product had an explanation of their work.
As a science and chemistry teacher, I know that to keep the interest of the students is very important. One of the most favourite activities in chemistry are experiments. During the project activities, I saw the enthusiasm and motivation to learn in the students. They realized that Chemistry is around us and is relevant to our future daily life.
See the video about our activities!