Hands-on chemistry comes home
Science is one of those topics that just has to be experienced to be understood. When I was a public elementary school teacher, I truly saw the importance of hands-on activities where science was concerned. For kids to be able to connect to what is truly magical about the world around us, they have to feel it, touch it, and experiment with it.
Finding ways to come up with experiments to perform, and the money to do it, is harder to do than it sounds. Even if you have both the money and supplies, giving kids the one-on-one time in class to really understand and perform the experiments is challenging. That leaves a lot of the responsibility to parents to help instill a love and comprehension for science to their kids. Finding that time, energy, money and expertise (not every parent completely understands scientific concepts, like chemistry, themselves) can feel futile. Kids needs extra help with science, though, more than ever. Consider these statistics:
- A 2012 analysis of global student performance placed the U.S. 20th out of 34 countries in science performance.
- Of 2013 U.S. graduates, only 36 percent were ready for college-level science.
- For the first time in 2009, more than half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies because of STEM shortcomings.
All of these factors add up to a need for convenient, expert science tools that parents can implement at home and kids can have fun doing.
Convenient Chemistry at Home
I recently got a behind-the-scenes look at MEL Science, a company that offers an interactive chemistry experiment subscription service that pairs the best of hands-on learning with mobile technology. These standalone education packages include:
- 38 (!!) interactive chemistry sets
- Free mobile app for tablets or smartphones
- Website access to other science facts and stories to complement the experiments
The MEL Science subscription is designed to last for the course of a year, with 3 monthly packages with 1 to 3 experiments each (so each customer gets a total of 4 to 7 experiments per month). The experiments are strengthened by a complementary mobile app that essentially works as a virtual 3D microscope and a website with in-depth information on the projects and science behind them.
The company was founded by a small group of self-proclaimed “science geeks” who saw the need for better at-home science options when they had children of their own. The combined expertise and personal passion are what makes MEL Science so unique in the Ed-Tech field, I think.
I got a chance to look at the app, site and some of the experiments being performed and I actually walked away with a greater understanding of chemistry than I had before. It certainly made me want to get my hands on more of the experiments that MEL Science offers. It was fun, and fascinating, all at once.
According to MEL Science, this subscription service “actually teaches you chemistry instead of showing tricks with a scientific slant.” In other words, young learners aren’t just supposed to be impressed with the flash of science, but they should walk away with a real understanding of the underlying concepts of the experiments. What’s more – parents don’t need to worry that the experiments are unsafe for their kids. There are no explosions. No harmful chemicals. Just safe, but fun, experiments that can be done at home.
A Better Approach to Science Learning
The service that MEL Science offers in its subscription chemistry sets fills a gap that this generation of students desperately needs: hands-on science experiments connected to internet and mobile technology. There is a lot of political rhetoric out there pushing STEM education but our actions have not yet caught up to those lofty words. Science learning starts in our P-12 classrooms and should be supported at home whenever possible. Giving parents easy-to-use tools helps the push for higher science achievement and also serves as a family bonding experience. The student-teacher-parent combination is truly what is needed for the strongest science outcomes, we just have to make it a priority.
To learn more about MEL Science and its chemistry experiment subscription series, visit MelScience.com.