This past year, I have been teaching a physics class in my house. We just finished the last session this week. So, I thought it was time to share about how you can use the Quality Science Labs Physics kit to bring experiments into your home.
I hope to share a more detailed post about teaching high school physics with you later this summer. For now, though, I wanted to give a thorough review of the QSL Physics Kit. I am very grateful to Quality Science Labs for sending me a kit to use with my students to then write this review.
Conducting Physics Experiments In Your Home
When it comes to teaching a high school level science class like physics, there are some homeschool parents who start to panic. Not only are they worried about being able to guide a child through the class, they also are concerned about the ability to have hands-on learning opportunities.
Thankfully, there are options for doing just this!
Quality Science Labs
QSL is a company that has taken the time to do all the prep work needed to have a rigorous lab component for your science classes. They have a passion for science and strive to provide “innovative solutions for quality education.”
The materials are developed by scientists for use with minimal adult supervision. This means a homeschool parent just needs to be available for their child (or children) as the instructions are written for the student. The labs have been tested multiple times for the ability to reproduce a consistent result when following the instructions.
The Quality Science Labs Physics Kit
The kit provides most of what you need to conduct the different labs. Within the container, you have 58 different types of equipment. There are some common items that are not included. Each of those is noted as such in the materials list for the experiment.
A Lab Notebook is included which provides both background and instructions for conducting the experiments. These do provide space for recording observations, data, and conclusions. Additional lab notebooks can be purchased for each student to use.
One kit can be used with 1 to 4 students. Any more than that and you’ll want a second kit for smaller groups. The majority of the materials in this kit can be used more than once. This means a larger family with younger kids doing the class at a later date will have pretty much everything they need at the ready. This particular kit can be used up to 10 times with minimal refills of some components.
Finally, the kit contains a short booklet matching the experiments to different chapters for 7 different curriculum options, including the popular Apologia Physics. The program I was using for the base is not on this list, so I did my best to match experiments with the chapter being studied each week.
Video Unboxing of the Quality Science Labs Physics Kit
As I know some people prefer to see a video, I did an unboxing of the kit for you.
Lab Experiments in the QSL Physics Kit:
Below is the list of experiment titles found in the kit.
Introduction A: Scientific Investigation
Introduction B: Scientific Analysis
1. A Recording Timer, The acceleration of gravity
2. Newton’s Second Law
3. The Sum of vectors
4. Acceleration on an Inclined Plane
5. Potential and Kinetic Energy
6. Coefficient of Friction
7. Work and Power
8. Projective Motion
9. Impulse And Momentum
10. Conservation of Momentum
11. Conservation of Energy and Momentum
12. Mechanical Advantage of a Simple Machine
13. Hooke’s Law, a Spring Constant
14. Centripetal Force
15. A Pendulum
16. The Speed of Sound in Air
17. Specific Heat of Aluminum
18. Latent Heat of Fusion
19. Curved Mirrors
22. Wavelength of a Laser Beam
23. Wavelengths of the Visible Spectrum
24. Laser Measurements
25. Static Electricity
26. An Electronic Breadboard
27. Ohm’s Law
31. Magnetic Fields
32. Electric Magnets, Electric Motor
Using the QSL Physics Kit to Teach Physics
As I shared, I was using this kit as part of my year-long class (31 sessions in total) for a group of high school homeschool students. We did the majority of the experiments, but not quite all of them.
Like any good instructor and scientist, I took the time to review what the students would be doing before they started. Also, I gather all of the materials needed for the experiment before they arrived.
For a several of the experiments, I had other kits with pieces of equipment that allowed me to have enough supplies for two groups. If you try to do more than 4 students in a group, the experiment becomes less hands-on and more demonstrative. Most students learn better by doing, so make sure to have adequate supplies.
One of the big hangups people have when it comes to physics is the math. I allotted time for the group to work through all math required when analyzing data to remove the fear associated with it.
The Solutions to Experiments booklet was invaluable for using this kit. Even with well-written instructions, there are times when you get unexpected results. Or, no results at all (thank you operator error found when the time was almost up!)
The booklet gives you data collected from a test run of each experiment as well as suggested answers to the questions. This allows the parent to make a comparison with their student’s data and analysis when it comes to grading their work. For those times when an experiment was a ‘dud’ in our class, we used the sample data for calculations and analysis purposes.
Look at The Quality Science Labs Physics Kit in Action
This video is a compilation of stills and video taken during the class I taught for the 2016 – 2017 school year.
Is the Quality Science Labs Physics Kit Worth the Price?
I recognize that homeschooling can be expensive. Most families are pinching pennies to pay for the materials out of pocket. This leads to the temptation to skip on the ‘extras’ like a science kit.
Having taken both the approach of gathering parts and pieces needed for experiments and now using a complete kit, I can say that it is well worth the expense. Beyond the ease of having almost all needed items in a separate container on your shelf, the well laid out lab manual and accompanying solutions booklet are well worth it. Many of the online resources I have used in the past do not often provide a glimpse of how an experiment should play out or give sample data to help you gauge how it is going.
My recommendation for physics or any high school level science class is to work with at least one other student (a group of 2.) While these labs can be completed by one student, I have found the lab partner experience to be exceptionally rewarding for my own children. As each kit can handle up to 4 students at a time, the total cost (even when including additional manuals for each student) becomes quite manageable.
Have you included hands-on learning opportunities in your high school science classes?
Are products such as this Quality Science Labs Physics Kit a regular part of your high school science experience?