Pre-AP Biology teachers are trying to be creative with their online labs in the effort to provide a virtual hands-on experience for students to better understand fungi and protists.
“Students aren’t able to physically see and interact with specimens. The interaction is virtual instead. In this case, In-school labs would be better but doing a virtual lab is better than having no labs at all,” biology teacher Chris Ham said. “The lab is about learning the basics of protists and fungi. Students learn about the general structure and function of both kingdoms. They also see examples to make connections in their learning.”
The absence of a teacher being there with them is a downside of the virtual labs to freshman Ishayu Gupta.
“I think it’s very interesting because we can do a lab from home and still have some ‘hands-on’ experience and not just worksheets like many other classes,” Gupta said. “The only downside is that it’s a bit confusing because we don’t have a teacher’s guidance but besides that, it’s a great way to learn about biology.”
The biology teachers have taken the struggles of eLearning into account, and have modified their grading requirements.
“The grading reflects the virtual lab in our eLearning setting,” Ham said. “As a teacher, I’m not able to check-in and give immediate feedback to students as they learn compared to in-person instruction. Especially considering our unprecedented setting, I am more lenient and empathetic on grading.”
Many students appreciate the effort and thought put into this lab to help students fully understand the subject that they are learning about.
“ I enjoy the virtual lab because it helps you fully understand protists and fungi. It expands on the notes and worksheets and gives you a view on it in a different way,” freshman Maria Oushalkas said. “Although it’s a virtual lab, I appreciate the biology teachers for doing this and changing things up.”