Reflection: Shared Expectations Writing a Lab Report: (The Scientific Method in Action part 3) - Section 4: Wrap Up


As I was grading the lab reports that students turned in for this experiment, I found myself writing the same comments over and over.  For example, I had several students recording quantitative data in the qualitative data space of the data collection sheet and vice versa.  I also had students make a lot of statements or conclusions with no reference to any kind of data to try and support their assertion.

Since this lesson is so early in the year, I'm not too worried that students are making these errors, but I do feel it is extremely important to give feedback to each and every student to make sure they understand the expectations I have for the rest of the year.  Many of my colleagues that teach English or Social Studies, even Math, have opportunities to check students' ability levels early in the year but these early experiments and activities can wind up being just "fun" without a real, critical evaluation on my part.  My point is that if I don't give these first lab reports their due attention then I'm missing a great opportunity for early assessment.  

That said, I don't feel the need to write the same thing over and over again, so after grading four or five of these, I created the following key to make the feedback process much easier without sacrificing the quality of the feedback.  I just wrote a number in red ink on student lab reports and rewrote the key on the board the day I handed the lab reports back.  It helped to have a discussion about writing the report after the fact by looking at some of the common things that students did right and wrong.  

  Shared Expectations: Egads! We've got a lot of work to do...
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Writing a Lab Report: (The Scientific Method in Action part 3)

Unit 1: The Nature of Science
Lesson 8 of 9

Objective: Students analyze data collected during an experiment and determine whether their hypothesis was true or false.

Big Idea: Scientific isn't a "Correct Hypothesis Contest". Scientific conclusions are determined by careful review of evidence, not by "cherry picking" the evidence that supports a predetermined conclusion.

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