What is a “hands-on” lab?

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A hands-on laboratory experience is one in which students manipulate, observe, explore, and think about science using concrete materials. Hands-on labs must be guided by a science educator. For the purpose of the AP Course Audit, the College Board considers a virtual lab to be an interactive experience during which students observe and manipulate computer-generated objects, data, or phenomena in order to fulfill the learning objectives of a laboratory experience. These objectives include, but are not limited to, generating and exploring answers to experimental questions, drawing and evaluating conclusions, and thinking and communicating effectively about science. For the purpose of the AP Course Audit, the College Board considers computer-based or teacher-led demonstrations neither a virtual nor hands-on laboratory experience in and of themselves, though these elements may enhance the course’s primary laboratory component.