As a part of the school management, you always wish to offer the best of practical learning to your students and therefore you invest a lot of time and budget in setting up world class labs at your schools. But the outcome and impact is always dependent upon easy and effective usage of those labs on a regular basis.
So if you are planning to setup a new math lab or revive your existing one, here’s a checklist that may help you to ensure that the math lab at your school is used regularly and also works better!
- Design it well and set up even better!
As per our experience, the design and setup plays a major role in deciding the success or failure of the Math lab at your school. Therefore it becomes very important to research and design the lab in sync with your vision and the school’s future usage plan.
Certain aspects that go into the math lab planning include:
- Available budget
- Available Space and its layout
- Computer hardware planning and inclusion options
- Component Planning – Hands-on Math Lab, Virtual Math Lab or both
- Number and level of Grades who shall be using the Math Lab
- Maximum & Average Number of students in a grade using the lab
- Vision and thoughts around Lab Furniture and Seating
- Quality and Efficacy of Math Lab Kits and Lab Software
The design, seating, furniture and components have to align with the above-mentioned aspects. With all of these in sync, your math lab can make a world of difference to the level of practical learning being delivered at your school!
- Pre-plan regular Math Lab sessions in each grade’s timetable
It’s the key to ensure regular and structured usage!
Planned lab sessions for every grade should be included in their annual timetable. This helps teachers to structure activities according to the topics running in the classrooms and ensures that they conduct lab practical sessions regularly. Also, this helps you avoid any timetable conflicts and keeps parents and students informed about the lab sessions.
- Get the best support and training collateral for your lab teachers
While keenly observing how math teachers daily conduct lab activities, we have realized that it is very tough for them to facilitate usage, if the activity instructions and process is not clearly communicated to each one of the students. You can buy the best of Math Lab Kits and Software, but it is imperative to have effective usage support, instructional delivery multimedia and training collateral for your teachers. The best things to do this are:
- Live Experiment videos for instructions and anytime, anywhere training
- Activity wise usage manuals for all grades with step by step details
- Lab worksheets for assessment and recording student observations
They shall greatly simplify your math teacher’s life and help her conduct quick and easy lab sessions for all your students. Remember, the easier we make it for the teachers to use, the more it reaches your students.
- Maintain Student’s Lab Files and Reward your best using teachers!
A lot of teachers try using math lab activities but find it difficult to deduce what difference it made to your student’s understanding and abilities. That is where the lab records help. It is advisable to maintain lab files where the teachers can record student’s observation sheets and activities that they conduct. Lab worksheets are of great use in ease of conducting and storing student’s records. If you are using any Math Lab Software, then student’s usage records are automatically stored in the server and reports can be pulled out anytime for review.
We also suggest that schools should reward the teachers who proactively conduct math lab activities. It’s a great idea to have an annual teacher awards program dedicated to your labs. Student’s lab records and performance can be analyzed to reward the most passionate and activity driven educators in your school.
And by the way, this applies beyond math labs to all the subject labs that you have at your school.
- Educate and excite the parents about the practical learning you deliver!
Every parent today wants their child to gain practical skills and not just theory, so they shall love to know the great work you are doing at the math labs. We suggest that you educate parents about the great stuff in your math labs, celebrate math lab days, conduct events around math activities and do whatever more can be done to highlight the activity based learning you offer.
This shall help you on many fronts like:
- It will encourage parent-student discussions around labs and thereby keep the activities momentum going
- It will help your school stand out in terms of focus on skill development and practical learning!
- The teachers once know that the parents are aware, shall step up the usage
That’s about it. Five basic steps that you as the school principal or director may consider, giving a super usage booster to your school’s math lab.
Before we sign off, a humble submission. You will surely be doing some of this already since we have gathered these great pointers from you all. Our role is just to collate and share. Therefore, we request you to keep sharing your experiments with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall continue collating and presenting them.