Labs are usually an application of learned knowledge, often performed in science classes. Traditionally, chemistry, biology, earth science, physics and other fields of science utilize labs to help students apply what they learn to real-life phenomena. For example, a chemistry student may test the acidity(pH) level of a chemical before and after adding another chemical. Students can explore their results to verify the knowledge they learned is indeed true. These types of labs help students remember important facts by kinesthetic learning(learning by doing).
Paired with homework, labs can be a very effective activity for a flipped environment.Students learn initial knowledge at home via lectures, and then they can come to class and test what was learned.
Labs are very effective in STEM fields, meaning that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses will benefit most from labs. In fact, most of these types of courses NEED labs to help students gain an understanding. When it comes to humanities-based courses such as English, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Music and Art, cumulative projects often will take the place of labs, since there is often no guarantee results will be identical if executed properly. Please see Creating Cumulative Projects for non-STEM Classes for information regarding these courses.
Please note: It is entirely possible to run labs in non-STEM classes. However, as a class that is flipped for the first year, you may want to stick to traditional applications for your class.
What Flipped Labs Look Like
Flipped labs, no matter what grade, are designed to help students explore and test what they learn. In a flipped classroom, labs can occur more frequently in the classroom since the basic knowledge is learned at home. In fact, homework that effectively prepares students for labs in class will deliver the best results. Students may even want to come in and test their own theories and applications, in which the lab activity would have even more meaning to the student. This is the essence of flipped classtime, where students come in and test out phenomena every once in a while. This engages the student, gives him or her ownership of their own learning, and opens the door for some very unique and differentiated activities available for students to try.