Crowdsourcing a middle-school science lab

Reddit poster mdrabz is a middle school science teacher who just got a $5500 state grant to set up a lab for his 7th and 8th grade students in the Mississippi Delta. How do you choose what to buy with that money? Mdrabz turned to the Internet for suggestions.

Answers range from the inevitable Breaking Bad jokes (which begin, amusingly, with advice to "Cook meth, obtain more currency") to some really great suggestions for basic necessities of a science lab, ideas for actual experiments, and other posters waxing eloquent about the lab experiments they loved when they were in school. It's inspirational, and some great advice for anyone looking to get young minds hooked on science.

I can't wait to find out what mdrabz actually puts together. My memories of science in school are inevitably tied up with my memories of hands-on projects: From the basic electric circuits my 4th/5th grade teacher had us build, to rocket cars in middle school, to fetal pig dissections in high school. Even the hands-on work I HATED (*cough*CAD module*cough*) has a bigger place in my memory than half the stuff we only read about.

With that in mind, I'd throw out a suggestion to spend some of that money on art materials that the kids could use for building models and dioramas. I understood chemistry better when I had to connect marshmallows and toothpicks to build molecules, I remember the parts of a cell better because of the dioramas we made. For my money, you get a hell of a lot of bang for the buck out of giving kids access to a way to learn the material that's a bit more visceral than books and video.

Thanks for the tip-off, Dean!