Reflection: Learning Communities Critiquing the Lab Report - Section 1: Introduction


At the beginning of the school year my Science Department, which I chair, held our organizational meeting. One of the goals we set was to create a lab report rubric that we would use across all grades. I reached out to a colleague at another school to see what they used for a rubric. At a subsequent meeting we took a look at this work to see how well it fit our needs. We decided to revise the school’s work, and to create two distinct rubrics—one for middle school and one for high school.

As a department, we are excited by our first iteration of a 6-12 lab report rubric. Our expectation is that our students will become quite skilled over several years at writing lab reports. Why? Because they will be exposed to the same format for all seven years at our school. Through repetition, they will come to expect the parts of the lab report and the information that goes in each.  

Of course, lab reports are not the goal. The goal is that students become more fluent in being able to plan and carry out investigations and communicate that information in a concise and logical way. The lab report rubric will be a key tool for our department because it will help teachers to create assignments that correspond to the rubric. This common format and set of expectations will also allow us to efficiently analyze student work in subsequent department meetings—we will be able to focus on how we are meeting departmental objectives in a format in which we are already familiar.

By corresponding to the rubric it is our hope that our assignments correspond to the NGSS Practices of the Scientist. We would appreciate your critical feedback about how well our department meets this goal—this is only our first iteration; however, we feel that it is a good first step.

  Working Across Grade Levels
  Learning Communities: Working Across Grade Levels
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Critiquing the Lab Report

Unit 5: Stoichiometry
Lesson 8 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to evaluate the quality of a lab report they wrote using a rubric.

Big Idea: Writers seldom use a first draft as their final product. Revision is a key part of the writing process, and scientific writing is no exception.

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