Schools are often forced to leave out certain learning tools due to budget limitations. Junior high and high school age children are required to do a certain amount of work in a formal science lab. Elementary students, however, often have limited access to experiments. Each school is different in what they are able to offer. A love of science begins early and should be encouraged in the younger grades at a higher rate.
Most kids flourish when they are removed from a regular classroom and brought into an alternate learning environment. Science labs get ideas out of a book and bring them to life. Kids are naturally curious and enjoy a hands-on approach to most subjects. Active learning is easy to apply in science lab environment. Kids can experience smells, learn about equipment, and witness reactions. These experiences stay with their young minds longer than something read to them from a book.
Higher Test Scores
Kids simply learn better when something is shown to them in detail. Science without a lab is the equivalent of teaching a teenager to drive without a car. There are certain concepts that will not make sense unless they are seen in a lab. Grade point averages tend to rise when children are given better learning opportunities. A science lab ensures that the information is not only heard, but also understood. Standardized tests are a big part of public school. These tests may be taken several months into the school year. It is necessary for students to retain information long term in order to perform well on the exams. Lab time ensures that elementary children are given the best chance of remembering scientific vocabulary and concepts.
Kids look forward immensely to extracurricular activities. They seem to crave anything that takes them outside the realm of the classroom. Kids get excited about lab days, looking forward to the special day of the week. Children that are excited about learning grow to be better students in the higher grade levels. It should be mandatory that schools place an emphasis on getting kids excited to be at school. A science lab is a special activity that elicits excitement about learning.
Preparation for Secondary Education
Grades count more heavily when students move on to secondary school. It is unreasonable to send them off to a secondary science environment with no preparation. Skills like using lab equipment, analytical thinking, and writing up lab reports should all be taught in elementary school with the use of a science lab. The future of students should be taken into consideration when planning class routines for elementary science.
The inclusion of a science lab in elementary schools can help to better educate and motivate kids. This opportunity aims bring the kids out of a traditional classroom and into a live learning environment. Children need to be prepared for higher level learning at a young age. Grades and test scores are a big part of school life. Every effort to improve these in the sciences should be taken.
Did you have a science lab in your elementary school? Do you think it helped to motivate you in science?