Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lab Skills

I have a separate grading section reserved just for my lab skills. In my perfect world, I would assess each one of these skills every time we went into the lab. I am not, however much I would like to be, Superwoman, and trying to keep 24 kids on track is a job in itself. So as it stands right now, I have graded the skills when they turn in lab notebooks and a couple have been assessed on a quiz. I am fully aware that there are some kids who are just copying a good portion of their notebook from whomever they deem smartest in their group. This bothers me a LOT, but at this point, I am not sure how to handle the sheer volume of assessment I want to do.

Target #9 is an exception. Any safety rule that is disregarded (goggles, anyone?) is an automatic zero for that day's grade. I also make sure they are using equipment properly during their lab. For example, are they using a beaker instead of a graduated cylinder to measure volume?

Target #10 is the other exception. This was put in strictly to make my life easier. I don't know about your students, but mine seem to think I am the maid. I know which group is using which lab station and if it or any equipment used is left in a mess, I record the appropriate grade.

Now that I have recorded a few grades, I am starting to realize that #6 and #7 are turning out to be pretty much the same thing since we tie our equations in to our graphs. For example, we graph mass and volume and when we find the slope, we discover the equation for density. So I'm not so sure I need to keep both of them.

Lab Skills

1. Identify the hypothesis to be tested, phenomenon to be investigated or the problem to be solved. (ΔHS.1.2.2a)*

2. Identify the tested variables and conditions to be kept constant during an investigation. (ΔHS.1.2.2b)

3. Communicate the details of an experimental procedure clearly and completely. (ΔHS.1.2.2c)

4. Record and represent data in a meaningful way. (ΔHS.1.2.2d)

5. Analyze laboratory data in order to clarify the questions, hypotheses or methods of an experiment.

6. Use common mathematical functions to analyze and describe data. (ΔHS.1.3.3b)

7. Use statistical and graphing data analysis techniques. (ΔHS.1.3.3c)

8. Recognize accuracy and precision of data depends on instruments used. (ΔHS.1.3.3d)

9. Use equipment properly and safely. (ΔHS.1.3.3f)

10. Follow all lab clean-up procedures.

So what do you think? Am I missing anything?

*The unbelievably unreadable jumble in parentheses is a reference to our state standards.


Mrs. Tenkely said...

That is a lot for each lab and each and every student, I can see why the task is overwhelming. Is there any way for students to assess their own progress for some of these and report to you?

Anonymous said...

Tracie, are these still the skills you use? I also have a long list of lab skills and scientific method skills that I would like to condense. I have had some luck scaffolding these skills by grading just a few at a time and having students revise their work and turn in another draft.

Tracie Schroeder said...

These are still the ones I use. Not every target is assessed on each lab. For example, we just did a lab where only 5,6 and 8 were actually addressed. I am for the most part happy with these, but I really would like to rewrite them. My kids seem to have a hard time remembering that #5 is the analysis. I'm not sure why :)

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