Using visualisers to demonstrate science

Science is the number one subject where a practical demonstration of an experiment can easily bring the theory to life and enthuse a sense of excitement within pupils.

There are many reasons why an experiment needs to be demonstrated at a distance from the pupils. But some intricate experiments simply need to seen close-up too. And this is where a visualiser steps in.

What is a visualiser?

Visualisers offer a ringside seat to the most exciting science demonstrations, whether the pupils are watching on a smart board in the classroom, or remotely.

If you remember an overhead projector at school, a visualiser performs a similar function, but with much more advanced features. It contains a camera which connects to a PC or Mac either via USB or wireless, which can then be used to share demonstrations with pupils.

What’s more, a visualiser can capture, record and save images and videos, saving time in creating new resources for future lessons and home learning.

How can I use a visualiser to demonstrate science?

Visualisers have a vast number of applications in Science teaching. Some of our favourite uses of a visualiser to teach science are:

Teaching how to set up experiments and fine skills

With required practicals at GCSE and A level, knowing how to set up resources before even starting an experiment is essential. Teachers can demonstrate the steps required to assemble resources and show correctly set up equipment.

Visualisers are also a great way to show pupils how to use fine skills for microscopes, burettes, balances and other essential science equipment.

Demonstrating experiments which cannot be viewed directly

Some experiments are either too hazardous, can only be seen from certain angles, or simply do not lend themselves well to students crowding around the front bench.  A visualiser could be used to show chemistry reactions carried out in a fume cupboard, or to give a clear uninterrupted view of a dissection.

As a visualiser removes the need for pupils to view experiments at the front bench, it is perfect for when pupils need to be socially distanced in the classroom, or are studying remotely.

Observing and capturing ephemera

Ephemera – that is fortuitous activity which is difficult to preserve- can be captured perfectly using a visualiser to photograph or video the results which are a clear, excellent example of an experiment outcome. For example this skittles chromatography experiment. These examples can then be shared at a later date with other pupil groups.

Recording experiments which cannot be done in real time

Visualisers can be used to record video footage, which can then be played back at a different speed. Use a visualiser to capture long term changes such as watching a seed germinate and then speed up to replay to the pupils. Conversely, footage of chemical reactions and combustion, or dynamics investigations can be slowed down for the pupils to view the detail.

Recording demonstrations for assessment and future teaching

Here is where the visualiser can really save time. Record the demonstration or experiment and then save the footage for either revision, pupil assessment, extra tuition or for reuse with other pupil groups. You could even use the materials in e-mails and on websites or social media to share with pupils and even other teachers.


What other tools can I use to demonstrate science experiments remotely?

Digital microscopes allow pupils to see live images on screen by connecting to a USB standard port on the teacher’s laptop or computer. They are useful to demonstrate samples and microscope slides, without the need for the pupils to make direct contact with the microscope.

Like visualisers, digital microscopes can also record images and video footage, so they are ideal for replaying demonstrations at a later date.

Learn more about using visualisers in the science classroom

The Philip Harris specialist team are here to help with any technical questions you have about visualisers, or any other support you need. Call them on 0345 120 4521 or e-mail 

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