Reflection: Classroom Setup Mineral Identification Lab - Section 5: Mineral ID Lab


During labs, I think it's always important for me to think concretely about exactly how I'm going to let the students proceed. Are students going to get a large, uninterrupted "chunk" of time to complete the entirety of the laboratory activity? Do I want to have specific benchmarks for time (for example, something like: "I'm going to give you five minutes as a group to complete Steps 1-3 of the laboratory procedure)? Do I have a timekeeper in the lab group? 

In science, this question is difficult, as the space and resource constraints from day-to-day usually prevent students from just coming in and picking up where they left off most of the time. It's essential to think about what students can actually perform in a specific class period, and to have a very specific plan in place to have them reach that goal. When I think about how best to structure labs, pacing is always at the top of my mind. Some of it comes from experience (like knowing that they're going to need a lot of time or guidance at a specific step in the lab), but much of it comes from thoughtful planning. I think a key piece of advice I always use for labs is to allocate more time than you think you'll need. Especially at the beginning of the year (when procedures and routines aren't as sharp, or students may need practice time to master them), time can get sucked up super fast. Always allow for those extra minutes, and have a "hard stop" where everyone absolutely needs to stop to allow for enough clean up and room restoration time. 

  Laboratory Pacing
  Classroom Setup: Laboratory Pacing
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Mineral Identification Lab

Unit 1: Rocks & Minerals
Lesson 4 of 12

Objective: SWBAT use a flowchart and various mineral-testing procedures to identify physical properties of unknown mineral samples [Lab]

Big Idea: Students conduct an investigation matching the identity of a mineral to its physical properties.

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