Student Designed Lab: Communicating the Results

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Students will be able to create and present a visual representation of their student designed lab experience.

Big Idea

Students share what they learned during their design-a-lab journey.

Warm Up

5 minutes

Students come in and respond to the prompt:

"Think about the last awesome presentation you attended.  List all of the things that made this presentation awesome."  

Once students have finished recording their answers in their science journals, and be prepared to discuss the answers as a class.

The goal of this is exercise is get students to identify what are the criteria of engaging presentations, such as good eye contact, confidence, clear speaking voice, and good body language.  Equally important are the visual aids the speakers use to enhance what they are saying.  

These two goals taken together represent Common Core ELA standards SL8.4 (present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation) and SL8.5 (integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence and add interest).  

These standards sync perfectly with Science Practice 8: Obtain, evaluate and communicate information.  Communication of scientific findings must be done in a clear and persuasive manner that is specifically tailored to the audience.  The stronger the ELA skills, the better students will be able to inform others of their findings.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

At this point I show students Presentation: Good/Bad Examples video (I like it because it is short, to the point, created by a students, and has examples of good and bad presentations).

After watching the video, I ask the students to raise their hand if they have ever been guilty of any of the "bad presentation" mistakes (almost all hands go up).  I point out that creating giving good presentations takes practice and now that we know the type of things to avoid we are one step closer.  The key to a good presentation is all in the prep work; effort up front pays off in the end.

Next I show A Pep Talk from Kid President.  (I like this because he is an excellent speaker with the right amount of engagement and humor to sell his message without detracting from that message.  Plus, it is inspirational and it shows how integrating multimedia can lead to a better presentation.) 

Group Work

90 minutes

Students are instructed that they are to create a presentation that tells the story of their experience in an interesting and engaging manner, from picking their random object to drawing their final conclusions.  I have students copy down the following so they have a checklist to reference:

  • Selection of object
  • Development of testable question
  • Identification of variables
  • Planning experiment/collection of data
  • Data analysis and graphing
  • Final Conclusions


Students can format their presentation in any way they choose, however students captured video and images as they conducted their experiment (Student Designed Lab: Planning an Experiment)  and at a minimum these must be incorporated into their final presentation, again reinforcing the ideas from common core standards SL8.4 and 8.5.  I provide students with the Student Designed Lab Presentation Rubric so they are aware of how they will be assessed.

This may take students a few days to put together depending on their level of creativity and technical savvy.  I allow 2-3 days in class for students to work on this as I would rather invest the time to get high quality work.

Student Presentations

45 minutes

Each group presents their work for the class.  Following each presentation, the student audience provides verbal feedback on what they liked about the presentation/what the group did well and quality boosters/suggestions on how the group can improve their presentation.  I keep track of this feedback, along with my own remarks, on a Google doc that can be shared with the group or the class after class.  This video contains a short description of some student work and the value of immediate student feedback.


With this as the first presentation of the year, I am looking to introduce students into my expectations of great presentations within a context rather than formally assess them on their presentation.  When students begin to fall into the bad presentation habits (reading from the screen or a visual aid that reads like a script) I stop them and have them correct the problem, therefore students are given plenty of opportunities to be successful.