Experiments are important components of the science curriculum. School officials in some states, such as Georgia, require science teachers at all levels of teaching to spend a minimum of 25 percent of the weekly class time in the laboratory completing experiments. Experiments performed in life sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, earth sciences and general science is important for students in junior and senior high schools. Some schools, especially junior high schools, also require students to perform experiments for science fairs.
Biological Sciences Experiments
Perhaps the widest variety of experimental types and methods are encountered in the life sciences. Students all grade levels normally use the microscope to view details of organisms and structures found as parts of organisms. Another frequent laboratory activity is dissections of grasshoppers, worms, frogs and other animals, which might be completed physically or by using a computer. Some life science students are assigned experiments involving plant growth and others collect specimens of plants or insects. Some experiments involve analyzing physical traits of organisms. Some junior high students participate in science fair projects that might involve any of these techniques.
Chemistry involves the testing of various chemicals and chemical properties. Junior high school students might build lemon batteries as an experiment. They can also experiment by finding differences between elements, compounds and mixtures. High school students test the physical and chemical properties of various elements and compounds. Differences between acids and bases are tested. Particles of two solid substances are tested by adding heat, water, acids or bases, and then analyzing the results. Almost all of the chemistry experiments at both the junior high school or high school require weighing and measuring, and then analyzing the weight and properties of the resulting substances.
Physical Sciences Experiments
Physics and physical science students at high schools and junior high schools complete experiments testing and observing a variety of phenomena found in the physical world. Junior high school students test laws of motion using rocket balloons, grow crystals and building mock volcanoes. High school students frequently test Faraday's Law involving transverse waves with a musical instrument. An experiment involving how transformers work is frequently undertaken. Other experiments involve the measurement of different forces and different masses, comparing the speed of different objects and measuring properties of light. Examples of different scientific laws are tested and seen in action, such as Newton's third law of motion, kinetic friction and results of collisions.
Other Science Experiments
Junior high schools offer general science and earth science. General science students will often build potato clocks. Earth science students will study differences between the three types of rocks. and keep track of weather features. High schools offer environmental science and geology, among others. Environmental science experiments can involve analyzing the effects of various substances on plots of grass and simulate the greenhouse effect on a small scale. Geology experiments include using physical properties to determine types of minerals or types of rocks. Students are also able to simulate various properties of different volcanoes and volcano types.
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