Grant brings remote labs to Mountain View Prep

Students in Kelli Rhoda’s science class engage in a remote chemicals reaction lab with the Challenger Learning Center.VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez

Students in Kelli Rhoda’s science class engage in a remote chemicals reaction lab with the Challenger Learning Center.VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez

COTTONWOOD -- Mountain View Preparatory science teacher Kelli Rhoda is bringing e-labs to her seventh and eighth grade classrooms through a Yavapai County Education Foundation grant.

"I don't have a lab per se, I have a room," Rhoda said. "There are a lot of things that we can't do as far as actual science labs go."

She applied for $500 from YCEF to provide her students with a way to remotely connect to a company that would conduct the labs. Kids can see the work on a screen in their classroom, and be able to interact as well.

Rhoda discovered the Challenger Learning Center last summer during an annual technology consortium in Prescott, and she won a free lab to try with her students.

"I tried the chemicals reactions lab with my eighth graders,' she said. "That's why I went for the grant, because the kids really enjoyed it."

The students learned chemical equations, and then watched the scientists conduct chemical reactions. They wrote down their observations, like fizzing and bubbling, and proved which element on the periodic table caused each reaction.

"The had to write out the equation and figure out the reaction and what the end product would be," she said.

Rhoda's classroom is limited by a lack of running water, gas, bunsen burners and equipment.

As eighth graders, Rhoda said this prepares students for what they have to do in high school science. With a remote lab, Rhoda said students get to at least see what a real lab would look like, the safety precautions the scientists take, and experiment without a full lab on campus.

"There were some pretty large (reactions) that I would not be able to do in this setting," she said. "It was fun for them to get to see big reactions that I wouldn't be able to do here, the blowing-up stuff that eighth graders like."

The grant funds are providing students with volcano and DNA labs next. Students are going to see a mock crime scene take place in the remote lab, and get hands-on experience with blood typing and genetics.

Rhoda is in her 17th year teaching in the Cottonwood-Oak Creek school district, with the past three at MVP.

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