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A virtual lab supplements an exploration of simple circuits.
The authors bring forth the idea to use a virtual lab in conjunction with a “real” lab. When using the “real” materials, students the opportunity to test their ideas without the help from the virtual lab. Students need to have the experience of a hot battery or wires to truly appreciate what happens within the system of an electrical circuit. Conversely, when using the simulation, students have the opportunity to test their ideas without worrying about wasting or running out of materials.
I have used virtual labs both in conjunction with the real lab and following the real lab. When combining the two, students were more confident in their ability to explain the science concepts being explored.
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)
In an effort to find new ways for students to understand science concepts more thoroughly, the authors felt that an online virtual component to the simple circuit lab investigation using technology would be more motivational to many students. The authors felt that a combination of both hands-on and the virtual component would help the students develop a deeper, holistic concept of simple circuits. The authors provided question prompts to facilitate student’s ability to develop their ideas and explore concepts. They also provided a student “Guided Exploration Sheet” as an example. When using simulation software, they discussed how it’s use assisted in the lesson. However, the final summation of the use and benefits of virtual aids in assisting in concept development was enlightening and something I feel all teachers that use both hands-on and simulations to teach with should read.
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