Love the Lab, Hate the Write Up!

Today’s Contributor: Tania Tasneem is an 8th grade Science and Marine Biology teacher, Science department chair, track coach and Campus Innovation Connector at Kealing MS.

Creating deliverable content for our students has taken on yet another level of thought as we transitioned from a year of experimenting with various technology platforms to engage our students to finding the right balance of screen and off screen time. I’ve experimented with a variety of ways for students to show their understanding of labs by slowly moving away from the dull lab write ups of the past.  This year as I was scrolling through socials one day, I found myself drawn to a simple idea, an old school trifold. This math teacher had taken all of her standards and each flap of the brochure focused on a different standard where students were asked to graph, discuss their thoughts in response to scaffolded questions, collect and analyze data, and interpret graphs for small group instruction. 

I decided to take this idea and apply it to our ice cream making lab which focuses on phase changes, energy exchange,  and the phase change diagram. Framing the student sheet into a new look not only streamlined the delivery of instructions, but also helped in giving the illusion of writing less to the students.    It was a little tricky to create as my brain struggles with spatial reasoning, so this template was helpful as I worked through the order in which I wanted my students to follow along.

Here is a link to the original lab, the brochure version, and the slide deck that I used with my students as we worked through the lab.

One thing I would improve and include for all students is to number each of the flaps from the beginning. I found this was particularly useful as I was unable to translate this brochure as it was on a google slide, so I translated the original lab and numbered the sections to match the different parts of the brochure for our ELL students.

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