8 Tips for Teachers Running Virtual Science Labs

Teaching virtually has created a boatload of issues for teachers, but science teachers may have the biggest obstacle of all. Science labs are meant to be hands-on interactive activities, so the virtual setting poses an extra challenge when it comes to labs. Adjusting your science labs to make them work remotely makes for activities that are fun, rewarding, and educational!

There are many apps, virtual labs, online dissections, virtual classrooms, and so much more that will make running a remote science lab a breeze. Here are helpful tips for teaching using remote science labs!

1. Try out a science app

These excellent science apps will help you run a remote science lab. They include topics like physics, biology, and chemistry. Let your students build their own molecules, investigate experiments, and more with these apps.

Here are 7 apps for virtual science labs:

  1. Experience Biology– Investigate scientific concepts through simulations and labs.  
  2. 3D Molecules– Build and manipulate 3D molecules.
  3. Science Lab!– Conduct experiments and discover new elements.
  4. Physics Lab AR– Dive deeper into physics.
  5. K-5 Science for Kids– Assign hundreds of interactive mini science lessons on various topics.
  6. Crazy Science Lab– Do amazing chemistry and physics labs.
  7. Science Journal by Google– Easily create a simple science journal for students.

2. Virtual dissections

Virtual Dissections

There are tons of websites available for virtual dissections that your students will love. No need for messy animal parts or the usual conversation about how you shouldn’t have killed those frogs for this year’s dissection project.

Check out these sites for virtual dissections:

3. Use Google Slides to create a lab and digital notebook

Google drawings comic example

Source: Ditch That Textbook

Make your very own Google Slides Science Lab! It is easy to make and becomes a central location for all of your labs, links, and documents for your students to have easy access to everything they need to participate in your virtual science lab! For an easy start on this process, check out this template.

Once you have your virtual class set up, students can create their very own digital science notebook on Google Slides. These templates can be used for more than just science labs. They are a fantastic way for students to remember all of the fun labs that they do throughout the school year. Have students take a picture of every lab and write up a brief summary on a slide. At the end of the school year, they will have an entire digital book of all the work they have done!

4. Interactive biology labs

These biology-focused websites are a great starting point for any teacher looking for some exciting new virtual labs. They have user-friendly labs on chemistry, genetics, ecology, body systems, and just about any other topic you can think of teaching to your students!

Check out these 6 biology websites that will make your virtual science labs come to life:

  1. BioMan– Learn biology with games, labs, and quizzes!
  2. Nova Labs– Check out these labs on evolution, clouds, and energy!
  3. BioInteractive– Try a lab to learn about bacteria, DNA, and human anatomy.
  4. Lab Bench– Use this site to do labs on cells, molecules, and genetics.
  5. Edinformatics– Play with these science simulations on body systems, cells, and photosynthesis.
  6. WISC Online– Learn how to use a microscope and read a triple beam balance.

5. Use common household materials for virtual science labs

Earthquake virtual science labs

Source: First Grade Roundup

Conduct experiments with simple household items that almost all of your students probably already own. Create a volcano with baking soda and vinegar or make your own slime to teach about states of matter with flour and water.

There are lots of virtual science labs that require minimal materials. Try this fun earthquake lab! All students will need is a cookie sheet, Legos, and wooden blocks. Follow the simple directions and have students take notes on their predictions and observations to develop a better understanding of earthquakes.

Check out this guide to learning science from home for more ideas.

6. Use videos to enhance what you’re teaching

Multimedia tools are an excellent tool for instruction. Students love to watch videos and they are easy to find online. Check out Mystery Science as a nice starting point for videos. Also, check out these other resources:

  • Generation Genius– Check out these K-8 videos on various science topics!
  • Science A-Z– These videos cover almost any topic, from magnetic science to earth science.
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy– These classic videos will catch the attention of all your learners!
  • And many more listed in the science section HERE.

7. Review safety rules with a game

Science Safety Tools Virtual Lab

Source: Two Teaching Taylors

Don’t forget to review the safety rules with your students. These digital games will remind students of everything they need to know to stay safe when conducting a science experiment! Here are a couple to get you started:

8. Create a virtual discussion board for science labs

You can get started with a discussion board on Google Classroom, Canvas, Blackboard, or almost any other learning platform you are already using. Create topics, questions, and open boards for your students to discuss labs and experiments. This will give them an opportunity to have some “normal” interactions with their peers that they have been missing out on while distance learning.

If you’ve been looking for ideas to spice up your virtual science lab, try out a few of these fun ideas. Your students will be experimenting, dissecting, and interacting in no time!

8 Tips for Teachers Running Virtual Science Labs