While nothing beats students donning their safety goggles and conducting their own experiments in your classroom, we love that so many amazing virtual lab activities have popped up recently.
Virtual labs are cost effective and can offer your students experiences they might not otherwise have in your classroom. In the case of dissections, for example, virtual labs offer students who might object to traditional dissection the chance to participate and learn. Finally, when used with display technology, like an interactive projector, virtual labs offer the entire class the chance to work together—something that is hard to do when they are crowded around a workbench.
Here are some of our favorite virtual lab activities for the classroom.
Molecular Workbench offers hundreds of virtual science labs for physics, biology, chemistry, and more. All you have to do is download the free and open-source software and start using it. The software includes embedded assessments so that you can monitor student progress and understanding.
Learn.Genetics offers tons of multimedia activities and science labs centered on biology, genetics, and human health. We love the Mouse Cloning Lab, which allows students to actually go through the process of cloning a mouse.
HHMI’s BioInteractive site features virtual labs on lizard evolution, bacterial identification, cardiology, and more.
These virtual labs are designed to go with Glencoe’s line of textbooks, but even if you don’t have the books, you can use the interactive activities at no cost. The program includes virtual labs for life science, earth science, and physical science. The labs can be hard to find, but the site linked above collects them all in one place and offers teacher reviews of the individual activities.
Similar to the Glencoe labs, these Pearson biology labs are designed to accompany their textbooks but can be used independently. Try the Circulatory Physiology lab to learn about blood pressure. Great for AP bio students.
PhET offers virtual science labs in physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science for elementary through high school. The above screenshot shows their Balancing Act physics lab for elementary school students.
If you teach high school chemistry, then Chem Collective is your new favorite resource. In addition to offering virtual science labs on stoichiometry, thermochemistry, and more, they also feature visualizations, simulations, concept tests, tutorials, and online courses. Their Coffee Problem, which asks students to figure out how much milk to add to coffee to bring it to a desired temperature, is a lot of fun.
This is a great source for free virtual dissections, including an earthworm dissection and a frog dissection. There are also virtual labs for tracking grizzlies, gene splicing, and more.
9. NOVA Labs
This free resource from PBS offers six beautiful, high-quality virtual science labs on topics such as evolution, cybersecurity, RNA, and energy. Students solve problems and go on missions in order solve questions and complete the lab activities.
We’d love to hear—what are your favorite virtual labs? Please feel free to share in the comments. And be sure to check out EPSON’s line of interactive projectors, which can really help to bring these virtual lab activities to life.