Coweta County School System Piloting Boxlight Labdisc Portable STEM Labs
As part of its efforts to prepare for Georgia’s new science standards and usher in a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to its classrooms, the Coweta County School System (GA) is piloting the Labdisc portable STEM lab from Boxlight. A group of science teachers, selected by the district to serve as “science ambassadors,” are evaluating the Labdiscs to see how the data loggers can be incorporated into the new-standards-related district lesson plans that the ambassadors are developing.
“The new standards focus on student performance in science so there’ll be a lot of emphasis on students’ generating data to use as evidence to support the hypotheses that they are making,” said Dr. Donald White, the district’s science content specialist. “So we’re moving away from a worksheet-driven classroom to one where we’re expecting the students to really do science.”
The district has procured seven Labdiscs, purchasing two and five from its vendor, PowerUp EDU, a Georgia-based company offering professional development and edtech solutions. Three Coweta County high schools, two middle schools and two elementary schools are each piloting a Labdisc.
White also tapped Regina Ahmann, a zoology and AP environmental science teacher at East Coweta High School, to receive a free Labdisc as part of Boxlight STEM Day on December 9. Ahmann’s students used the portable STEM lab to study the relationship between temperature and humidity in several locations around their school, in both urban and green spaces. The students will soon share their data with other schools that participated in the event from New Mexico, Arizona, as well as schools in Mexico and Guatamala.
“What I loved about this product is that it’s collecting data every second. There’s no possible way my kids could have done that with a thermometer,” Ahmann said after the event. “It’s all recorded and it makes gorgeous graphs. And you can get your big core concept across to students in a real-world framework.”
Dr. White echoed Ahmann’s enthusiasm about the real-world framework. “What we’re trying to do with the Labdisc is replicate what our students are more than likely going to see when they go out into the job market,” he said. “They’re going to be working with technology that obviously we can’t always afford to bring into the classroom, but this takes us many steps closer to actually replicating the real world in the classroom.”
Dr. White also extolled the Labdisc’s 15 built-in sensors as a cost-effective benefit for the district. “From the administrative side, I think about the number of kits that I would have to buy in order to provide Regina all the probes that one Labdisc will cover,” he said. “Regina doesn’t have to have stacks of plastic shoeboxes to put all of her thermometers because she’s got that in one device. She doesn’t have to have a box to keep all the pH meters and buffers in; it’s all right there in one place.”
“The Labdisc portable lab opens the door to inquiry-based learning in a variety of science fields, including biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and geography,” said Mark Elliott, CEO of Boxlight. “We’re excited to see how our technology helps Coweta County Schools develop a new version of STEM curriculum for students at different grade levels.”