Learning Apps

Self-Paced Lab Documentation

Organizing labs that span over a number of classes requires a substantial amount of pre-planning. The benefits of proper Lab Documentation are potentially enormous for students. Lab Documentation ensures that I can follow students through every step of the lab process even when groups are completing different segments within varying timeframes. Students develop lab procedures on Google Docs, create charts/tables/graphs on Google Sheets, and compile lab portfolios on wikispaces. By hosting their work on Google Apps for Education, my students can easily collaborate with group mates and me on a lab activity over the course of a week or more. During this time, I can ask probing questions, offer insight on effective lab methods and tactics, work directly on their documents, and help students record their labs with media-capture tools. Being able to analyze video of the lab procedure next to the results it produced provides my students a great means to produce high-quality lab reports, which they can publish to the web and their group wikispace pages.

Strategy Resources (4)
Student Work Sample
 
 
Students work on each piece of their lab in Google Docs, and then insert the final product into their wikispaces portfolio. These portfolios hold the complete body of work that students produce, and are shared with anyone that the student feels comfortable showing. Having a publically visible product promotes individual and group accountability, while at the same time gives students a tangible entity to be proud of and celebrate. This year's Frying Nemo group compiled the entirety of their Flamin' Hot Cheetos project into a Google Doc and inserted different pieces into the corresponding wikispaces pages.
Student Handout
 
 
The end of the year science fair pulls everything together for one cohesive project that paints a clearer picture as to how far my students have come in their ability to design and implement lab experiments. I provide them with guidelines for each piece of their lab development to highlight what protocol must be followed and remind them what parts are crucial in the process.
Online Student Resource
 
 
My Do-It-Yourself Air Conditioner lab incorporates a variety of scaffolds and gets students thinking about collision theory and how hot particles transfer energy to cold particles. Students construct their own air conditioners out of kitchen materials and test their efficacy. Building and designing projects like this make labs more meaningful and meet NGSS engineering and design criteria for thermal energy transfer standards.
Student Handout
 
 
The end of the year science fair pulls everything together for one cohesive project that paints a clearer picture as to how far my students have come in their ability to design and implement lab experiments. I provide them with guidelines for each piece of their lab development to highlight what protocol must be followed and remind them what parts are crucial in the process.
Online Student Resource
 
 
My Do-It-Yourself Air Conditioner lab incorporates a variety of scaffolds and gets students thinking about collision theory and how hot particles transfer energy to cold particles. Students construct their own air conditioners out of kitchen materials and test their efficacy. Building and designing projects like this make labs more meaningful and meet NGSS engineering and design criteria for thermal energy transfer standards.
Student Work Sample
 
 
Students work on each piece of their lab in Google Docs, and then insert the final product into their wikispaces portfolio. These portfolios hold the complete body of work that students produce, and are shared with anyone that the student feels comfortable showing. Having a publically visible product promotes individual and group accountability, while at the same time gives students a tangible entity to be proud of and celebrate. This year's Frying Nemo group compiled the entirety of their Flamin' Hot Cheetos project into a Google Doc and inserted different pieces into the corresponding wikispaces pages.
Jeff Astor
Cindy and Bill Simon Technology Academy High School
Los Angeles, CA


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Long
Subject:
Science
Grade:
Tenth grade
Similar Strategies
Feedback Systems
Group Interventions

A huge benefit to operating in a blended learning setting is the ability to instantly generate data and make decisions based on the outcomes. As the class progresses, I can stay up to date with collaborative assignments on google docs/sheets/slides, while simultaneously checking how students respond to multiple choice questions I’ve assigned through socrative and CFUs embedded in video lessons through eduCanon. When formative assessment is ingrained as part of the learning process, students become more accustomed to feedback and get better at revising work to produce higher-quality finished products. Group interventions also establishes a collaborative environment between students and teacher where both parties are trying to accomplish the same goal - master difficult chemistry content. There’s nothing as powerful as targeted feedback, and in person check ups with each group serve to give students the support they need, exactly when they need it. Having a direct communication avenue between students and teacher enables students who feel unsure about their work to direct questions to me geared at clearing up misconceptions.

 
Routines and Procedures
Student Filing

I was spending an hour every day filing students' graded quizzes when we realized, "Why are we doing all this filing? Students could easily do this themselves." Since the number one thing we are trying to get students to do is take ownership over their learning, we decided to have students file their own papers, cutting down on a lot of menial work for us and giving students a chance to see a physical record of what they had and had not mastered.

 
Instructional Openings
Learning Targets

Learning Targets are specific skill goals that align the work we do each day with the long-term goals my students and I have set at the beginning of the year. This strategy is a part of the larger mastery system in place in my self-paced blended learning classroom. By dissecting large skills into smaller Learning Targets, my students are more effectively able to self-assess their progress towards mastery in each of these skills. By emphasizing assessment for learning and achievement at high levels on specific Learning Targets, we take the focus off of assessment for the sole purpose of grading and gradually replace it with student ownership of their learning.

 
 
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