Science Teachers Experimenting With Virtual Labs


Kyle Brennan

Lab supplies, like these in Toby Denman’s class, might not be used much these days, but Nonnewaug science teachers are still figuring out ways to integrate labs into remote learning.

Ally Southard, Reporter

WOODBURY — Since switching to all-remote learning Nov. 20, the labs that are a staple of Nonnewaug’s science classes have been put on hold — leaving veteran teachers scrambling for ways to engage their students.

All teachers have been working hard to find a way to better the students’ learning while they are home; especially the science department. Nonnewaug students are required to take at least three science credits (including biology, chemistry, and an elective) which include a lab-based curriculum in order to graduate.  

“Usually we will run at least one lab a week, sometimes two throughout the year — so about 32-38 labs,” stated Kathleen Yocis, a chemistry and NCAP teacher at Nonnewaug. 

Because students are home now, science teachers have had to change the way the students perform their labs. Teachers have recorded themselves completing a lab and have given the students questions to answer. They have also used online labs for the students to complete themselves. 

According to Shelly Stone, who teaches anatomy and physiology as well as biotechnology, she has been using “Edpuzzle, Gizmo, and other virtual lab sites” to fill in for her labs.

Teachers have also been worried about students struggling. In class it is easy to see if a student is having a hard time, but over the computer, it is not so easy.

“I cannot look at their work, see they need help and then help them, because I don’t see the work until it is done or not turned in,” stated William Pease, who teaches physics plus engineering and design. 

Teachers are highly encouraging and relying on students to ask for help. If a student does not want to ask their question during class time, the teachers are always checking their emails. Email addresses can be found on PowerSchool, Google Classroom, or on the NHS website. 

Science teachers are looking every day to find different ways to perform and give the students their labs. This is a new learning experience for everyone, not just the students.