Remote Labs

Your students need to do labs. It’s not only the most fun part of science, it’s also the part that helps students to understand and remember concepts they’ve been taught. Remote labs include two types of activities – virtual labs and labs that students can do at home using household equipment.

Remote school presents unique challenges to every discipline. I’ve heard my art teacher friends lamenting their students’ inability to obtain supplies. PE teachers have a tough time motivating students to work out from home. And science teachers are no exception. The best part of science class is, for me and for my students, the labs. COVID has made hands on activities impossible – our school is hybrid so many of my students are learning from home, and sharing materials is discouraged because of the possibility of contamination. Like every other teacher, we’ve had to learn, through trial and error, the best ways to engage our students and simulate hands on activities without increasing the possibility of spreading a virus.

How do middle school science teachers incorporate labs in a virtual classroom?

PhET Interactive Simulations – PhET is a collection of free, open source, interactive science and math virtual labs that students can use remotely and independently. The simulations use Java and Flash and can be run online or downloaded to your computer.

Some PhET simulations you can use tomorrow:

Flinn At Home Labs – Free video based remote labs exploring scientific concepts using materials students have in their own homes.

My favorite Flinn at home labs:

Steve Spangler Science – A nearly bottomless collection of remote labs that can be done with materials your students have in their homes.

My favorite Steve Spangler labs:Food, Candy, Sugar, Rock Candy, Rock Sugar, Crystals

Science Bob – Dozens of remote labs and at home experiments that make science fun and accessible.

My favorite Science Bob labs:

  • Lava in a cup – Make a lava lamp without the electricity. I use this for solubility and density.
  • Plastic Milk – learn about casein and denaturing protein.
  • Blow up a balloon with yeast – Good for characteristics of life, watch as yeast ferment sugar and produce carbon dioxide which collects in the balloon, slowly. This isn’t a dramatic experiment but rather a wait and see experiment.


What have you been doing in your science classes to help students do labs at home?


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Published by JustAddH2OTeacher

Science teacherpreneur

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