The labs on this post tend to be popular, because they cover a lot of topics within the lab, build skills, and/or are engaging. You don’t need to do all of them! I do about half of the ones listed below. Some labs have links for the write-ups.
APES Lab Supplies for Popular Labs
- This is a favorite lab for kids and gives them long-term data collection and analysis. Click for the supplies for this lab. I have recommendations for cheap and more expensive supplies depending on your budget.
- Tragedy of the Commons: This lab has many great versions.
- Colored marshmallows, goldfish crackers, or candy are favorites. Some teachers use beads to be reusable. If you have large classes, marshmallows are the cheapest.
- Straws or chopsticks
- Paper plates or paper towels
- Owl Pellets
- Biodiversity: There are many varieties of this lab that are used including:
- Island Biogeography
- Many versions. Some use beans and funnels and meter sticks
- Others use birdseed, paper clips, cotton balls, beads etc to throw at paper islands.
- Toxins (Serial Dilultion and LD-50)
- Trees, Forests and Deforestation
- Cardboard box
- Straws-can be paper straws or other eco-friendly straw
- 2 sewing measuring tapes per group
- Tree-Rings and Climate Change Lab
- Ocean Acidification
- Cemetery Lab for human population studies
- No supplies needed if you can walk to an old cemetery
- Or, pictures of tombstones taken from a local cemetery
- Or, simulate using paper tombstones in lab, you may want to decorate the lab with Halloween decorations. The dollar store is a good source.
- Or, use a cemetery database
- Oil Spill Cleanup
- Plastic containers or metal pans to hold water and simulate the ocean. One per group.
- Cotton Balls
- Plastic pipets
- Cups or Beakers
- Vegetable or mineral oil
- Air Pollution Labs. There are a few good ones to choose from.
- Air Pollution Kit
- Ozone Lab using Test Strips
- Design a scrubber kit
- Air Particulates Experimental Design Lab
- Petri dishes-2 per student, if possible
- Tape-blue painter’s tape is best as it can be removed easily to allow reuse of the dishes.
- Stereoscopes are best. Microscopes can also work using a low objective. Hand lens with a good light source work, but are more difficult for kids to use. A good light source is LED touch lights.
- Poster paper with markers (optional) for lab assessment
- Biomagnification Activity: Many great versions of the lap exist
- One version of the lab uses colored paperclips
- Another version uses pieces of laminated paper (shown below)
- Another version uses candy
- Kill-A-Watt Lab
- Need several kill-a-watt meters. I use 10 of them for kids to rotate stations
- You also need various electronic devices.
- Productivity–there are many versions of this lab also.
- Soil Profiles made out of food items
- Plastic parfait cups: one per student
- Vanilla and chocolate pudding: quantity depends on number of students.
- Oreo cookies
- Gummy worms: 2 per student
- Climate Change and Cities Experimental Design Lab
- IR Temperature guns OR regular thermometers/sensors
- Cookie Mining
- Generic chocolate chip cookies (1 per pair of students)
- Name-brand chocolate chip cookies
- Extra cookies to eat when finished
- Paper clips
- Scales-pocket or regular (optional)
- Solar Cookers (usually done after the AP® exam due to time requirements)
- Aluminum foil–a big restaurant-sized roll from Costco or Amazon will make a lot of solar cookers (40-50 of them)
- Packing tape or duct tape
- Masking tape
- Lots of boxes: I ask the food service on campus for empty boxes
- Empty cans to test water temperature
- Plastic wrap
- IR Temperature guns (optional)
- Biological Oxygen Demand (sometimes done with a water quality lab)
- Tree Ring Studies for climate change
- Trees and Forests 5E
- Chalk Drawing: The best chalk is from IKEA–seriously. A few boxes will last the entire year or more. Since I teach 170 students in APES, this is the best option for me. Neon Expo Markers are another good option.
Other Basic Supplies
I use these items frequently for many labs
Sharpies (need 10 black for the year)
Spoons (need 1 box for labs)
De-chlorine drops for fish tanks
Filters for fish tank
Aquarium light bulbs
Colored markers (Crayola or similar) for lab conclusion posters
Painter’s tape for marking beakers, lab apparatus
Hand Sanitizer-large container for classroom
Batteries for various sensors and probes