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Lab report

Here is the Lab report grading rubric

Format: 1″ margins; Arial or Times New Roman, 12 point font; double-spaced. Spell-check and grammar-check your work.

1. Title (top of 1st page)

* A descriptive title

* Your full name.

* Teacher name, Block #

* Date

2. Introduction (middle 1st page)

Why are you doing this experiment, and/or what is the hypothesis?

When applicable: identify the experiment group and control group and the dependent and independent variable.

3. Materials (bottom 1st page)

* List in bullet form

* like this

* all the materials

4. Procedure

Write so clearly that another student could understand how to do it on their own.
When applicable, describe the experiment group and control group, and how you measured your dependent and independent variable.
Write in outline form:

I. first procedure




5. Diagrams

Show the apparatus; label each part.
Use a computer drawing program like MS paint, or the drawing tools inside Google Docs.

6. Data analysis (calculations)

Show any equations. Give one example of how we use each.
For example, to determine the density of an object:

Mass = 50.0 grams.   Volume = 150.0 cm 3

density = mass / volume

d = m / v       d = 50 g / 150 cm 3    = 0.33 g / cm 3

When putting numbers into formulas, use the proper units.

Consider significant figures when doing your calculations.
Use all decimals from your initial data.
At the last step, at that point round off to the correct number of sig figs. 

For your results, large numbers (over 1000)
or small numbers (under 0.01) should be written in scientific notation.

7. Data tables, graphs

Some data is best presented in a data table.
All tables should have descriptive titles, and proper units.
Sample data table

Some data is best presented in a graph. A graph may be drawn on graph paper or done on a computer. Hand drawn graphs must be drawn carefully, using colors, rulers, and protractors where appropriate.

Label your axes appropriately. Show which quantity each axis represents, and which unit the quantity is measured in.

If different sets of data appear on the same graph then distinguish between these data sets. For example:
one set as circles ( o )
other as crosses ( x ),
other as boxes ( □ )
other as diamonds (♢).

Graphs should have descriptive titles, and proper units.

Graphing data seeds plant

8. Systematic error

These are not mistakes. Mistakes occur when you do something wrong.
Systematic errors are limitations in how accurate our experiment is.
What are our systematic errors?

When you are asked, you may need to calculate the percent error

Experimental error

9. Conclusion: Analysis of results

Answer any questions in full sentences. If a Yes or No question, give a reason for your answer. What did you discover? How does it relate to the objective of the experiment?

Learning standards

Massachusetts 2016 Science and Engineering Practices
8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Compare, integrate, and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats, as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.

Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g., about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats.

Performing an experiment

Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

Construct a testable hypothesis: What is the basis for my experimentation?

Next Generation Science Standards: Science and Engineering Practices
“Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory to clarify relationships.” (HS-LS3-1)

How do I actually test the hypothesis?

Next Generation Science Standards: Science and Engineering Practices
Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (HS-PS1-3)

Use a spreadsheet to enter data, perform basic calculations, sort data, and create pictorial representations.

Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics
Functions: Connections to Expressions, Equations, Modeling, and Coordinates
Determining an output value for a particular input involves evaluating an expression; finding inputs that yield a given output involves solving an equation. Questions about when two functions have the same value for the same input lead to equations, whose solutions can be visualized from the intersection of their graphs. Because functions describe relationships between quantities, they are frequently used in modeling. Sometimes functions are defined by a recursive process, which can be displayed effectively using a spreadsheet or other technology

How is our data best presented?

Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Research The Issue

For some topics we will need to do research, perhaps on the history of the topic, the current state of scientific knowledge, or what the public believes.

CCRA.R.1 – Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCRA.R.9 – Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

CCRA.W.7 – Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCRA.W.8 – Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCRA.W.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

Pull it all together: Writing the report

What level of sophistication should we see in our final report?

Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence

Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework, through grade 8.

Determine percent error from experimental and accepted values.

Citing sources & avoiding plagiarism

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.


STE curricula should give students regular opportunities to develop distinct science and engineering practices and occasional opportunities to apply those together as a collective set of practices. A defined number of minutes, or an extra course period, can be used for—but is not the critical feature of—a lab definition. “Laboratory science” does not have to be in a laboratory; effective STE learning also occurs through field work, in a sufficiently supplied traditional classroom, through project-based experiences, in well-designed virtual courses, and in other learning environments (e.g., out of school time, see Appendix X). America’s Lab Report (NRC, 2006), which reviewed research and best practices across the country, supports these perspectives.

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