Lab and Apologia's Physical Science

This page is a draft.

I recently visited apologia's web site and came across these two questions in their FAQs.

    questionsTwo Questions
  1. Do I have to do the lab experiments?
  2. What should the lab write-ups look like?

The questions are answered in the FAQs at: Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the answers that Dr. Wile writes.
[ I'm sorry, the FAQs page seems to be forever gone. Please pardon me for complaining, but their webmaster breaks links too often. ]

Let's answer those questions:

  1. Yes, the labs are important; please do most of them.
  2. Refer to the sample lab pages at:
    1. Dr. Wile's Lab Examples
    2. Lab Report Sample by Cheryl Randall
    3. Michelle's Blog Article about Lab Reports

Lab Experiments: Speaking for us, we did the experiments in the physical science book and I required a write-up for most of the experiments.

Lab Write-up: Compare Dr. Wile's Sample Physical Science Lab Report to the first experiment. You can see that the following parts of the lab are labeled as such -

  1. The Experiment #
  2. Data - He makes observations
  3. Summary - This part seems to include the procedure in the first paragraph and the conclusion in the second paragraph.

Then read Dr. Wile's instructions for experiments under Student Notes > Experiments. You should find his instructions in the front of your book and they are also in the front part of the Solutions and Tests book.

From this you should gather that:

  1. Student reads through the entire experiment.
  2. Starts a new page in the lab notebook.
  3. Records the data on the new page in the notebook.
  4. After the experiment is finished, writes the summary on the next page in the notebook.

Another frequently asked question is: How do I grade the lab write-up? That one is not as puzzling as you might think. Basically, evaluate based on what is supposed to be in the lab write-up. The only way to do this fairly is to inform your student(s) (at the beginning of the year) what sorts of data and parts should or could be included in the lab reports. Then evaluate the different parts based upon the criteria which you have already decided. I'm making it sound difficult and I am sorry about that.

Of course the next question is usually this: What should go into a lab report? While there are basic parts (student's name, the date, experiment #, data, and summary) that should always be a part of every lab report, how "Data" is presented in the report can vary. For instance, some lab reports should have charts and/or diagrams along with the notes while other lab reports will not need this.

In Addition to Data and Summary (Analysis), Will you Require?

  1. The supply list
  2. An introductory statement to the lab
  3. The hypothesis

If you've not seen this yet, please see Lab Report Sample by Cheryl Randall. Cheryl has included many (all?) of the different lab report parts in her sample lab report and by reading through it you can get a better idea about the different parts that could be included in a lab report. By directing you to the sample lab report, I am not saying that your child must produce lab reports as detailed. To further alarm you, I will direct you to download or print the pdf file named "Lab Notebook Guide" from this web page. (This is a chemisty website.)

I was just kidding, I do not want to alarm you. I only want you to have more information about the different parts of a lab report so that you can better instruct your student about labs and possibly give them a lab critera sheet at the beginning of the school year.
Related: My XLS Lab Grader: Lab WU (XLS graders require YoungMinds subscription)

Some If's and Then's

  • If your students have not written a lab report before, then you will have to teach them how to do it. I could be wrong, but it is my opinion that a student should not have a permanent grade on their lab report until they understand how to do the lab report or, at least, not until the 3rd lab report.

  • If your students used Exploring Creation with General Science last year, then they should know how to write the lab report, and, this year, the lab reports should be graded on a higher level.

  • If you are still puzzled, then please read (or read again) Dr. Wile's suggestions for experiments in the front of his science books.

Lab Sheets

See my lab sheets at Exploring Creation with Physical Science
And my other lab sheets at Lab Sheets
Related: Using sewn composition books for lab

Related to the Lab Write-Up

ECw General Science: The Lab Book and Grading
ECw Physical Science - The Lab Write-up (you are here)
Lab WU: Lab Write-Up Grader - an XLS file

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Donna Young

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