Thursday, August 7, 2014

Accumulated Materials or Hoarding?

For the coming year, I'll be teaching Middle School Science in addition to working in the Makers Lab. I decided that I would try to purge some of the materials from the science lab, in the hopes that I could make the materials and equipment more available to my students for hands-on activities.

I began by cleaning out the chemical cabinets. What a shock! Some of the chemicals that were in the cabinet were labeled from 1984. I decided to test the viability of some of these chemicals in simple experiments and have found that generally, the liquids are no longer viable. But, my powdered chemicals are still good. This will save me money in not having to purchase new chemicals on my budget.

I was amazed at the amount of junk that has accumulated in this room in the last 30 years. Glass jars, soda bottles, stacks of paper and files, boxes of test tubes and glassware in unopened packaging. In essence, I probably have enough glassware to supply three science labs!

I have found some gems. Two old 1978 textbooks with hands-on chemistry and physics experiments and the equipment for doing those physics experiments!

So many times teachers are known as hoarders {including myself}, there's a reluctance to throw something away because it might be valuable in the future. This has just happened to me in that I threw a box of small mirrors away that I'd been saving for about 10 years. I've just decided that I would challenge my students to build a parabolic solar collector using an old satellite dish and the mirrors. It's maddening because I can't find the mirrors!!!

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