APES Lab Supplies Part 1: Essential Labs

A question new AP® Environmental Science teachers ask is “What supplies do I need?” or “What kits should I buy?” This post will go over basic APES lab supplies.

Kits are a great way to start and can help many new AP® teachers. After a while many veteran APES teachers no longer buy kits as we have figured out how to source materials more cheaply and have altered labs to how we like them.

APES lab supplies can be cheap or expensive.  What you decide to do depends on your location (some outdoor labs are regional), the materials you have, the size of your classes and how much money you have.  Over time, apply for grants and other funding to build up your supply of plant lights, probesware etc.

  • You need basic lab supplies that your school should already have such as glass and plastic beakers, balances, graduated cylinders etc.

APES Lab Supplies for Must-do Labs

While there are no official required labs for APES, there are a few which have appeared on the AP® Exam or cover many concepts that have appeared on the exam. Here are some recommendations for APES lab supplies.

Measuring the sprout in mm
  • LD-50 Lab: You can do this lab many ways.
    • Use salinization lab results so you aren’t taking time for a new lab.
    • Purchase a kit.
    • Purchase individual supplies. You need macroinvertebrates such as brine shrimp or daphnia, some kind of toxin, and beakers/cups etc.  Some teachers use seeds instead of invertebrates.

  • Soil Quality Labs

  • Water Quality Lab
    • Depending on your budget, you can purchase an inexpensive kit, test strips or probes. Probes or sensors are more expensive initially, but end up saving money over multiple years. See this post for supply ideas for an in-class lab. If you have a pond or creek to walk to, you may want a portable kit.
    • If you have a creek or pond, you may want to purchase a couple of hip waders and macroinvertebrate collection devices or kits.

  • Experimental Design Lab:  Don’t do as a separate lab just to teach scientific method at the beginning of the year–you don’t have time in an AP® course. Instead, teach experimental design with another lab such as salinization,  ocean acidification, biodiversity with quadrats, or air particulates.

Read the next post for more recommended labs.

APES Lab Supplies Part 2: More Recommended Labs



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