My freshman students have limited lab experiences from earlier grades. I remember asking students to measure water temperature and they didn’t know which end to put the thermometer in! Now, I’m not blaming earlier teachers, their plate is full and they have limited access to equipment.
For this activity, I set up 6 stations in the lab for students to perform tasks. For bigger classes, you can double this number by repeating stations. Students can do the stations in any order as the complete a handout.
- Measuring volume with a graduated cylinder
- Measuring length and volume with a ruler
- Determining mass with a digital scale
- Measuring temperature with a digital and alcohol thermometer
- Transferring liquids with a pipet
- Reading safety labels on chemicals
Students take a couple of minutes at each station to perform the task and answer the questions. Materials are easy to obtain in most labs (beakers, pipets, thermometers.)
In an earlier activity that I use as an icebreaker, I have students do a station activity where they guess the names and functions of science tools. They look at items like Bunsen burners and test tube clamps. This is a fun way to introduce them to science and meet each other as they discuss what each tool is used for.
Later, students will learn basic laboratory skills and identifying controls and variables. These later experiments will use some of the tools they learned in this one. Further activities dealing with variables:
- Heat Loss and Insulation
- Fortune Telling Fish
- Water Striders and Surface Tension
- Exercise and Heart Rate
- Properties of Water with Stats (AP Bio)