I know that I’m not the one this happens to.
I forget to look ahead in my plans and as a result I don’t have all the experiment supplies I need on hand for the scientific test we are scheduled to do.
So do we ditch the experiment all together?
Is the only choice to push it back till another week that, let’s face it, will probably never come?
What to do when you don’t have the supplies you need
Here are some helpful hints for doing an scientific test with the experiment supplies you have on hand.
1. Substitute an ingredient
If the experiment calls for vinegar, try lemon juice. If you don’t have a potato for your starch test experiment, try using a piece of bread or cooked pasta. For baking soda, well there just is no substitute for baking soda that I know of.
The internet and your cookbook are great places to look for “recipe” substitutions.
2. Substitute a material
I use my meat thermometer for all our experiments. Don’t laugh, there’s no need to go out and buy thermometers for you to use in science when you have two of them sitting in your kitchen.
When we lived overseas, we didn’t get too many sunny days there. So, when our experiments have called for the Sun, I had to improvise by using my oven or a heat lamp instead.
If you don’t have a two liter bottle, make a mini-experiment using a one liter. The list can go on and on, but the basic idea is that you don’t have to have the exact item, just something close to it.
3. Substitute the experiment
Take a look at the experiment book you are using. They typically have several experiments for any given topic. If you don’t have the supplies for the one that was scheduled, consider changing the whole experiment. Your kids will still learn about the scientific topic!
I hope that these tips give you some ideas about how you can continue to share hands-on scientific demonstrations and experiments with you students even if you don’t have all the materials.
Trust me, it’s worth the time and effort!