Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological Supply Company introduced a new product line to help high schools provide high-quality, hands-on science instruction during COVID-19 disruptions. The solution includes all of the digital and physical components that individual students need to complete science investigations for the entire school year from anywhere, boxed and ready to take home. Carolina Kits | 3D® FLEX programs for remote learning are available now and are a full-year lab program for either high school biology or chemistry, intended to complement the classroom teacher’s curriculum and instruction. The FLEX product is a box of hands-on supplies that contains everything a student needs to complete take-home science labs and assignments from their teachers; from safety goggles to plastic ware to safe, home-friendly chemicals to perform 16 different science investigations. The program includes access to over 120 digital resources, including instructional videos and digital labs, and is also available in an all-digital FLEX Lite version.
Every student is provided with their own materials that can travel with them, so they can do the same hands-on labs, no matter the circumstances or location. If they are working individually in the school due to social distancing guidelines or at home in their kitchen, they can safely perform hands-on Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) investigations.
Teachers are vital to the student’s success and FLEX provides teachers with extensive resources to be successful with remote learning. From detailed lesson plans to background materials to student worksheets – everything is also included for the teacher. The teacher controls the digital resources and assigns them as suggested in the lesson plans or as students progress. The program is designed for both synchronous and asynchronous learning.
After a stressful spring semester for educators and students coping with school closures and remote learning, Carolina Biological set out to help school districts and science teachers be more prepared for whatever fall may bring. One of the primary concerns of high school science teachers was that students were missing the hands-on lab investigations and collaborative experiences that are a critical part of the NGSS. The disruption came so quickly that teachers could not prepare properly and frequently relied on whatever they could find online.
After interacting with science teachers and gathering feedback all spring, the development team at Carolina started with the Carolina Kits | 3D® labs that have been developed over the past three years with NGSS consultants and then piloted in classrooms. These lab kits all start with a real-world phenomenon and address all high school NGSS performance expectations in life, physical, and Earth and space science. They also come with robust digital resources for the teacher and students. Carolina had recent experience converting a hands-on lab that uses termites into a hands-on, distance-learning video lab for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools abroad.
“Carolina Biological experimented with a new type of remote learning hands-on lab to solve a need and the DoDEA teachers loved the lab because it still provided authentic data collection without having to ship termites around the world,” said Mark Meszaros, Ph.D., VP of Core Product Management and Innovation at Carolina. “This experience provided the genesis of our new remote learning products.” Combining the hands-on investigations of Carolina Kits | 3D® with engaging videos of actual hands-on labs and teacher demonstrations resulted in the development of Carolina Kits | 3D® FLEX.
The FLEX program uses a unique blend of hands-on investigations, teacher-led digital demonstrations and digital student investigations to ensure safety, authentic data collection, and valuable laboratory experiences. All hands-on investigations are safe to do at home and offer authentic lab experiences and skill-building opportunities. These include wet labs plus manipulative activities, offering students different learning modalities that appeal to visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile learners. Digital teacher demonstrations are high-quality videos that allow the teacher to provide commentary in their own words, just as if they were in the classroom with their students. Students directly observe phenomena and are guided through the process of using evidence and prior knowledge to make sense of it. Digital student investigations are additional opportunities for students to collect authentic data, make observations, and conduct sense-making for investigations after watching actual videos of labs that are difficult to conduct remotely. These videos offer multiple trials and experimental variables that require students to remotely collaborate in order to enhance and deepen understanding. All the science and engineering practices are woven into the investigations and social emotional learning activities included in lesson plans.
“When safety was an issue or expensive lab equipment was required, we switched from a traditional hands-on, wet lab to a teacher-led digital demonstration or digital student investigation,” explained Meszaros about the product development. “The digital demonstrations and investigations contain multiple high-quality, close-up videos of actual demonstrations or hands-on labs. Some labs contain both a hands-on portion and a digital portion for a true blended-learning experience. In all labs, students must make their own observations and begin the process of sense-making at their own pace.”
The Carolina Kits | 3D® FLEX program for high school biology contains 16 investigations in four broad concept areas, including molecules to organisms, ecosystems, heredity, and biological evolution. The high school chemistry program contains 17 investigations in four broad concept areas, such as structure and property of matter, chemical and nuclear reactions, reaction rates and equilibrium, and energy in chemical processes. Both programs have correlations to major textbooks. FLEX is also available in an all-digital format, FLEX Lite, on a per student basis.
According to Aden Dauchess, Campaign Manager at Carolina, “Initial response from district supervisors has been enthusiastic. They have been searching for remote and distance education programs and have found no hands-on products for high school science, while preparing their federal CARES and Title I, II, IV and state funding requests.”
The Carolina Kits | 3D® FLEX Biology program contains 120 different digital resources for teachers and students. These digital resources contain more than 200 instructional videos and 20 different simulations. The biology kit for students contains 51 different hands-on components. Everything is included other than tap water and a digital device. Many of the 16 total investigations are blended and use more than one technique as they explore: Homeostasis in Animals; Modeling Kidney Function; Algae Bead Photosynthesis; Food and Nutrient Analysis; Biofuels; Carrying Capacity and Algal Blooms; Building Ecological Pyramids; Group Behavior and Social Insects; Oil Spill Remediation; Succession on Mt. Saint Helens; Wisconsin Fast Plants 72-hr Monohybrid; Chromosome Simulation; Modeling DNA to Protein; Genetic Kinship; Natural Selection; and Modeling Population Genetics and Evolution. The program requires more than 36 hours of student time to complete the lab program.
The Carolina Kits | 3D® FLEX Chemistry program contains 150 different digital resources for teachers and students. These digital resources contain more than 450 instructional videos and 15 different simulations. The chemistry kit for students contains 50 different hands-on components with everything included. Many of the program’s 17 total investigations are blended and cover these subjects: Periodic Table Inquiry; Chemical Bonding; Super Water-Absorbent Polymers; Like a Salt to a Flame; Making Sense of Solubility; Patterns in Electrons and Chemical Bonds; Balancing Chemical Equations; Balloon Stoichiometry; Mystery Chemical Reactions; Petri Dish Electrolysis; Chemical Reaction Rockets; Radioactive Decay and Half-Life Simulations; Iodine Clock Reaction; Chemical Equilibrium and Le Chatelier’s Principle; Reaction Rates of an Antacid; It’s Not the Heat, It’s Thermochemistry; and Gas Laws. More than 32 hours of student time is required to complete the lab program.
In addition to the new FLEX remote learning products, Carolina developed resources to help K-12 school districts prepare for the highest quality remote science instruction this fall with a new series of white papers. Three of the best national K-12 science education leaders offer their expertise and ideas to help guide districts during these uncertain times. The papers are offered free to download now on Carolina’s Website.
Carolina Kits 3D® FLEX programs for remote are available for fall 2020 for high school biology or chemistry. Each kit includes all the supplies (more than 50 different lab products) for a student to perform 16 hands-on investigations. The program also includes over 120 digital resources, including instructional videos and simulations. Prices start at $125 per student. An all-digital format, FLEX Lite, is available for teachers under a licensing agreement per student and teacher. For information, visit www.Carolina.com/Flex, call 336-586-4363, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. A program specialist is available to speak with education professionals about the program and how their district’s teachers can provide vigorous, hands-on, standards-based biology and chemistry labs no matter the scheduling model.
Carolina Biological Supply Company
From its beginnings in 1927, Carolina (www.carolina.com) has grown to become the leading supplier of biological and other science teaching materials in the world. Headquartered in Burlington, NC, Carolina serves customers worldwide, including teachers, students, and professionals in science and health-related fields. The company is still privately owned by descendants of the founder, geology and biology professor Dr. Thomas E. Powell Jr.