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Virtual labs in chemistry classes


Hands-on laboratory science experiences are critical to the learning process across all areas of study, beginning with kindergarten and continuing through post-secondary education. Studies and research have shown that students who engage in well-designed laboratory experiments develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
The chemistry department at HHHS believes in the importance of laboratory work in promoting scientific inquiry and learning of sciences for the students, as well as enhancing their practical skills and problem-solving abilities. Therefore, laboratory work is considered a key element in the learning and evaluation process in chemistry at our school.
But this year is special and unique, with remote learning taking the lead!!
Bill Gates says, 'Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly re-think, re-invigorate, react and re-invent.'
With all the uncertainties and ambiguities around us, agility in decision making and actions is the key.
We have been using virtual labs and simulations at HHHS for so many years now, so it was a smooth transition for us to remote learning in chemistry. We substituted the laboratory experiments with virtual labs, and we used simulations and games to explain abstract concepts and as new assessment strategies that suit this learning experience. We even asked our learners to run easy, simple, and safe experiments using materials available at their home.
The virtual labs and simulations can substitute the learning experiences that are not possible to recreate in the classroom due to constraints in time and, or materials. They simulate real laboratories because they allow students to complete laboratory experiments online and to explore concepts and theories without stepping into a physical science lab. Consequently, a well-designed science class with virtual laboratories and simulations can help students develop various scientific competencies such as experimental design, argumentation, formulation of scientific questions, and others.

Adopting a growth mindset is crucial to embrace the challenges and transform them into opportunities to grow, and as Jim Highsmith once said, "Agility is principally about mindset, not practices."

Mrs. Sarwa Alakkad Hankir – Chemistry instructor and subject leader at HHHS