Usually the basics or the techniques of dry experiments are taught at elementary level. Middle school is the time when they are exposed to wet lab experiments. If we look at the scenario from a teacher's point of view, then we find various responsibilities looming large.
Laboratory methods of teaching are entirely different from that of theory. So how do teachers guide their students? How do they take care of their safety? How do they ensure that the correct way of performing experiments is being followed?
Correct Method of Teaching in a Lab
You should know everything about what you are going to teach your students. You must know every detail of the intended experiment, including unintended but possible complications. You should be well-prepared to answer questions and clarify doubts.
Knowing everything is not enough. You should be capable of sharing your knowledge with your students. You must be able to make them understand each and every scientific cause behind the observations.
So how do you start the experiment? There are different ways to start with. The best is to explain the process orally once, explaining the methods as written in the protocol.
You should ask your students to follow the protocol while handling the instruments. This way, they will learn the correct procedure for performing the experiment. You can also schematically explain the process.
This is one of the most important aspects to be considered while performing an experiment. Mishandling instruments can easily lead to accidents. Show the students the correct way to handle any instrument. Your students should not be caught unawares in a situation where they have to use an equipment, but don't know the correct way.
Explaining the Observations
Once the experiment is over, you should explain to your students the reasons behind the observations. Explain the conclusion in detail, so that no doubt remains in their mind.
Relate the observation with the text they have learned in their theory classes. Knowing why the result of an experiment came that way, is the most important lesson to be taught in a laboratory.
You should teach your students the correct way of writing a report of an experiment. The students may be proficient in labs, but without proper representation, their results may be unintelligible to all but themselves.
You and your students should know the safety guidelines and symbols. You should explain the precautions needed for the experiment. Your students should know how to operate safety devices like oxygen cylinders, masks, gloves, headbands, etc. You must always keep a first aid kit in the laboratory to treat minor burns and blisters.
With these guideline, laboratory work can be the most enjoyable part of a student's as well as a teacher's academic life.