Using Labster’s Customized Quiz Editor for more equitable, engaging, and individualized science education by Bonnie Nieves, M.Ed.

Bonnie Nieves, M.Ed.
In an era of technology-enriched education, Labster's virtual lab simulations have been a game-changer for increasing engagement and immersive simulated laboratory experiences with activities for all science disciplines. Now, the Customizable Quiz Editor allows educators to personalize the experience for students by editing and adding questions and even the feedback students see during the quiz. There are several ways that this new function will add authenticity and personalization and attend to equity in your science classroom.

Eliminating the Search for Answers

In a world where answers are a click away, the new Labster Custom Quiz Editor can help mitigate cheating and use of AI to find answers. By creating questions specific to the class's unique observations and discussions, educators can ensure that students can't easily Google their way through the quiz. This fosters a genuine understanding and makes the learning experience more rewarding.

Building on Previous Knowledge and Special Interests

The Editor facilitates culturally responsive instruction. Educators can build quizzes that leverage students' prior knowledge and special interests, increasing authenticity which will deepen engagement and motivation. Recognizing and integrating students' diverse backgrounds can make learning experiences more meaningful. Even tactics such as including students’ names in the questions and integrating conversations from class can build student engagement and investment in the activity.

Differentiating for Diverse Needs

Labster's Customized Quiz Editor can help you meet the diverse needs of your students. Teachers can adjust the complexity of language in quiz questions to make them more accessible, or even reduce the number of multiple-choice options to alleviate cognitive load. These customizations can be critical for students with learning differences, helping to level the playing field and ensure that virtual labs are both engaging and educationally effective for all learners.

Making Questions Specific to Phenomena

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) encourage us to develop phenomena-driven instructional units. This means that rather than conducting lab activities focused on confirming known answers, students should be constructing explanations of phenomena using scientific knowledge. With the Customized Quiz Editor, educators can design questions that direct students to construct explanations of the specific phenomena that have been introduced in class. 

For example, a teacher could use the “Cardiovascular Function During Exercise: Learn how your body reacts to exercise” simulation to follow up on a heart rate activity in class. 

The feedback for incorrect answers could refer students back to their data from the classroom activity in addition to the Theory tab.

We can now also add questions in addition to the default questions. This is another opportunity to ask students questions that encourage them to use evidence from class to make and support a claim based on what they observed in the Labster simulation. 

Cooperative Learning through Customization

Customizable questions can serve as a base for creating cooperative learning groups based on topics. Consider a class where students are divided into four groups, each with a specific type of cell to research. The teacher can create four quizzes for the Building Animal Cells simulation to specifically build knowledge and curiosity about bone cells, neurons, muscle cells, or epithelial cells.

After completing their specialized simulation, students can work jigsaw-style on collaborative and peer-teaching. 

Jigsaw Learning Activity 

Step 1: Students work with peers who had the same cell assignment to discuss their results and create a product that will teach the rest of the class about their topic. 
Step 2: Choose one student from each of the “expert groups” to form new groups for peer teaching. 

Final Thoughts

Labster's Customized Quiz Editor is more than a convenient feature; it is a transformative tool for equitable, engaging, and individualized science education. 

It offers the flexibility to create phenomena-driven questions that align with the Next Generation Science Standards, making science instruction more exploratory and less confirmatory. Its personalization deters cheating and supports culturally responsive instruction by allowing educators to tap into students' prior knowledge and cultural backgrounds.  

Customizable quizzes also help teachers meet the specific needs outlined in Individualized Education Plans, ensuring that all students can access and benefit from these state-of-the-art virtual labs. 

With the added ability to tailor feedback, the Customized Quiz Editor bridges the gap between classroom discussions and virtual simulations, fostering better retention and a deeper understanding of complex scientific concepts. It's not just a tool for educators; it's a gateway to a more dynamic, inclusive, and student-centered learning experience.

About the Author: Bonnie Nieves, M. Ed.

Bonnie Nieves, M.Ed., is a science educator at Nipmuc Regional High School in Massachusetts and the author of Be Awesome on Purpose, a book that invites readers along on her journey as she seeks to improve her biology students’ learning outcomes with some very unique tools: her own motivation, reflection, and empathy.

Bonnie is passionate about creating immersive and authentic experiences that fuel curiosity and creating student-centered, culturally responsive learning spaces that promote equity and inclusion. She is a Google Level 2 certified educator, serves on the MassCUE board of directors, and is a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, Institute for Evolutionary Science, and National Science Teaching Association. You can read Bonnie’s article on Using Laboratory Simulations in K-12 Education, check out her latest online courses for professional development at, and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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