Are Student Lab Reports Important?
This post is sponsored by Novare Science And Math mastery-based curriculum designed to promote true learning and understanding of science, not just memorization. Learn more about the benefits of mastery learning HERE.
Experiments are an important part of science education. Learning facts out of a book isn’t science. That is learning about things and phenomena that other people have observed or tested. While reading science books is important and gives students a good base of science knowledge, doing experiments lets students experience science first hand and discover for themselves.
Adding experiments to your study of science is easy. Most good curricula includes experiments and hands-on activities. You can, also, do extra experiments or ones that relate to what your student is interested in. Experiments are great for promoting independent learning, too.
One of the most important parts of any experiment is the lab report. No matter if the experiment is performed by a 1st grader or a PhD level scientist, the lap report is essential. Skipping the lab report undermines the reason for experiment.
I like the quote from one of my favorite shows, MythBusters. “Remember kids, the only difference between Science and screwing around is writing it down.”
Why is writing it down so important? Let’s break it down.
Why Are Lab Reports Important?
Lab Reports Help Students Understand
First of all, lab reports record what happened. Every step of the experiment from the reason the experiment is being done to the supplies used to the procedure to what happened should be accurately written down in a lab report.
The process of writing down all the steps of the experiment helps students understand the experiment, not just see a result. If an experiment is being done right out of a book, the student might just follow it like a cookbook recipe without any thought to what they are doing. Lab reports help a student slow down and think about the why and the how.
This understanding is where real learning is. This is where real science is. Science isn’t just doing something to get a result. It is understanding that result and how it relates to the subject area being studied.
Lab Reports Collect And Organize Data
When an experiment is performed, data is generated. Sometimes that data is in the form of a simple color change or spark. Other times, there is more measurable data to be collected. Whether is it time or amounts or some other form of data, it needs to be recorded. This data is recorded in a lab journal where it can be used to create the final lab report.
In a lab report, you can organize the data into tables or graphs so it can be more easily studied. This collection and organization of data helps to determine an explanation for the results of the experiment.
Lab Reports Allow Information To Be Shared
As mentioned before, lab reports tell what happened and why. Recording this information accurately is important. Anyone should be able to read the lab report, repeat the experiment, and get the same results.
This is important for scientists. Lab reports can be shared by scientists with others in a similar field of study. They help the scientists know what has been done before and how it was performed. This can help them design experiments for their own research.
How To Write A Good Lab Report
I have always taught my homeschooled children and students I have taught in a class setting how to keep a proper lab notebook using the same method that I used when working in a research lab. Over the years I tried to find a resource that would help me teach that skill and couldn’t find what I was looking for – until now.
In this post, you can learn more about a fantastic resource that will teach your students how to write a proper lab report – The Student Lab Report Handbook from Novare Science And Math.
This handbook will prepare students for college level science courses and help them with their understanding of science. For a limited time only, take advantage of this great deal available only to The Homeschool Scientist’s readers!
Order your copy of The Student Lab Report Handbook today! Offer ends 1/27/2018!
Related post: Why Use The Student Lab Report Handbook