Lab Initiative for Lenape Regional HS District
Authentic laboratory experience is a critical component in preparing our students for post-secondary success in the sciences. The goal is for our students to have extensive opportunity to “do” science – follow experimental protocol and/or design experiments, collect real data, and thoughtfully write an analysis of the data and a summary of what it all means.
- Is in response to students requesting a challenging and rigorous science curriculum to meet the high expectations of competitive colleges and careers.
- Utilizes the extra lab period that was created for HON and ACC sciences (excludes ACC Environmental, Astronomy, and Genetics) to assure hands-on, authentic experiences.
- Addresses the new state Student Learning Standards which stress “big ideas” and the development of concepts through authentic experience.
- Prepares students for the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment in Science that emphasize problem-solving and written communication. This assessment is given in the student's junior year.
- Gives students experience with written communication of results in a variety of formats.
All students, regardless of course or level, are expected to perform authentic laboratory experiments as part of their science instruction. Additionally, all students will be preparing lab reports as follows:
Level HON & ACC: Data analysis skills 1st semester/2 formal labs
Level CP & MOD: Data analysis skills 1st semester/1 formal lab
Level HON & ACC: Review of skills/3 formal labs/1 narrative lab
Level CP & MOD: Review of skills/2 formal labs/1 narrative lab
Level CP: Review of skills/2 formal labs/1 narrative lab
Science Skills/Integrated Science:
Level MOD: Data analysis skills 1st semester/1 formal lab
All Upper-Level Courses (Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Genetics/Astronomy):
Level HON: One formal lab per marking period and two narrative labs
Level ACC: One formal lab per marking period and one narrative lab
All Upper-Level Courses (Chemistry/Physics):
Level CP: Two formal labs and one narrative lab
Lenape Regional HS District
Template for Formal Lab Write-Up
Lab partner(s) name(s)
Date of lab
Descriptive Title (should include the variable when appropriate)
Introduction or Abstract (where required):
May include background information pertinent to the understanding of the experiment, the hypothesis when appropriate, and/or a quick summary of the report.
Purpose of the lab or experiment
Description of how the experiment was performed, including materials and equipment used. Pre-lab questions may also be included.
All observations and measurements. When appropriate, data should be organized in tables, as drawings, etc. May be combined with Results if no calculations are needed.
Should include a sample of each of the calculations, including the analysis of the calculations, performed on the data when necessary. Results of calculations or any other manipulation of the data should be organized in tables and graphs where appropriate. These may be separated into individual sections as necessary.
Discussion of how the data and results apply to the purpose of the laboratory exercise and/or the hypothesis – in other words, what do the data/results show, is the hypothesis supported, what if any experimental error was there and how could it be corrected, etc. Additional questions generated by the teacher may be included. Specific data analysis would be omitted from this section if included with “Calculations”.
Formal lab reports should be typed, 12-point font, double-spaced unless instructed otherwise by the teacher.
Lenape Regional HS District
Template for keeping a Lab Notebook
Format of the lab notebook:
- All writing should be in blue or black pen.
- Mistakes should be crossed out with a single line (no white-out, no scribbling-out, no removing pages).
- Writing should be only on the right-hand side pages. Left side pages may be used for scratch-work.
- First two pages should contain a Table of Contents. This should include the date, title, and page numbers for all labs.
- All remaining pages should be numbered.
- Any computer-generated graph print-outs from a lab should be securely affixed to the notebook in the appropriate section with either tape, staples, or glue.
Content of the lab notebook:
- Heading information for each lab:
o Purpose/ Objective of the lab
- Preliminary information(may include any of the following):
o Written introduction of concepts to be addressed in the lab
o Answers to pre-lab questions
o Notes from pre-lab class discussion
o Safety information (i.e. MSDS – material safety data sheets)
o Student’s own description/summary of procedures
o Sketches of new or complicated lab set-ups
- Data/ Observations(This is a “real-time” recording of your work. It is NOT to be copied into your notebook at a later time. All observations and notes taken while carrying out the procedure should be included in this section.)
o All necessary data should be easy to find and neatly organized (i.e. utilize tables/ charts when possible).
o Headings should be included when there are multiple data sets.
o All measurements should reflect the precision of the measuring tool (proper significant figures).
o All measurements should be written with proper units.
o All calculations should be labeled.
o For each type of calculation, an equation or model calculation should be shown with the values from the lab plugged into it. Answers should be clearly labeled with correct units.
o Graphs should have a title and a label on each axis with units.
- Conclusions/Discussion(may include any of the following):
o A statement of what was learned from the data/ results.
o An explanation of how the purpose of the lab was met (or an answer to the question posed in the purpose)
o An explanation of how the data/ results supports or explains the concepts addressed in the preliminary information
o Answers to post-lab questions
- Error Analysis
o Relevant calculations of error (percent error, percent yield, relative deviation, etc.)
o Specific experimental sources of error
o Should NOT include “human error”, mistakes in reading a measurement, or things you might have done wrong. Laboratory errors made by the experimenter should only be noted when they have a significant effect on the data.
- Honor Pledge: At the end of each lab, a statement should be written by you indicating that this lab is a product of your own work. The statement can be written as follows, “I pledge that this report is my own work”. Your signature should be written after the pledge.
Lenape Regional HS District
Template for Narrative Lab Report
This type of laboratory format is more analytical than the traditional lab, and will require that you understand the methodology and concepts to a greater degree. The narrative format for laboratory reporting lets you tell the story of the lab by writing an essay. The narrative should incorporate all of the important elements of a traditional lab report but utilize a style that is continuous and flowing. This storytelling style answers the following questions:
What was I looking for / What did I do?
Describe the research question you were trying to answer or the prediction or hypothesis you were testing.
How did I look for it / Why were the particular parts done?
Tell what you did to answer the research question or test a prediction or hypothesis. Include a description of the method and materials you used. Mention safety issues and precautions.
What did I find?
Describe any observations you made, tabulate and discuss any data you collected, and show any calculations you made.
What does this mean?
Formulate a conclusion based on your data and calculations. Discuss the accuracy of your predictions or the support for your hypothesis. Also, discussion of results, conclusions, applications, sources of error, and further questions are addressed here.
Your report should answer these questions in narrative form, interrupted by data tables and calculations as necessary. Think of the report as the body of a letter you might write to a fellow student or teacher who was not there but must recreate the experiment. Let the questions shape the narrative but do not restate the questions within the report.