The pandemic has taught us how to perform much of what we do differently. One new tool the Windsor Central High School science department is using, Gizmo, is trying to make working in a laboratory the same, whether in-class or remote.
“It’s very easy to use. I got feedback from a fully-remote student who said it was fun and like doing a lab without being in a lab,” said AP Biology teacher Laurie Hulbert.
Gizmos are over 400 math and science exercises on line that allow students to simulate lessons, discover concepts, and analyze data. Mrs. Hulbert uses Gizmo lab simulations to coincide with what she is teaching in class in person. One recent example was students learning how plants create oxygen from water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide.
“In class, students picked an element to manipulate, such as light intensity or CO2 level. Remotely, they can change the variables with (on-screen) sliders and get the results,” said Hulbert.
Gizmos feature case studies that have real-world applications, for example a forensic specialist trying to discover what poison killed a victim.
“It’s not that they simply sit there and do the lab. There are Google documents that guide them through it, have the students develop hypothesis, test hypothesis, gather data, analyze data, and make conclusions,” said Hulbert.
Gizmos have proven useful in the midst of a pandemic. How about when all students are back in person full-time?
“I would still use them. You can use them during class and have them work in groups on Gizmo. There’s multiple ways you can use them: in class, as assignments,” said Hulbert.
Classes in grades 6-12 will integrate Gizmos into their lessons.
“By integrating in these simulations, we have the potential to engage the scientific process instead of just consuming content. We can provide a better learning experience for our students,” said Rick Bray, Instructional Technology Specialist at Broome-Tioga BOCES.