4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kyle McElhoney, Aurora University
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 03/23/2017 - 9:37pm

Gen Chem Lab Report Alternatives

I was just wondering what others are doing for General Chemistry (I or II) lab reports. I have tried shorter memo-like reports for experiments as well as traditional full reports. 

Does anyone have other ideas that they find help students improve writing and comprehension of the material/techniques?

Kyle Grice, DePaul University
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 15 hours ago
Joined: 07/22/2010 - 5:29pm

Hi Kyle,

We are thinking about this for next year in terms of having students in Gen Chem I build up to a full report by writing sections for each lab instead of a full lab report. Haven't hashed out the details or made any concrete decisions yet.

Kyle 

Kari Young, Centre College
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 07/19/2012 - 1:14pm

We have our gen chem students write abstracts in Gen Chem I and II.  In Gen Chem I, students write two or three abstracts over the course of the term.  When we don't write abstracts, we do exit quizzes.  In Gen Chem II, students write six or seven abstracts and critique a (really bad) abstract that I wrote.  Generally, students also submit a spreadsheet that includes data and graphs.  

At the beginning of the term, the abstracts are often way too long and focus almost entirely on irrelevant experimental details rather than the interpretation of the data.  Because the abstracts run about 100 words, I find I can actually edit line by line and give really specific feedback about awkward sentences or missing information or formatting while keeping the grading load manageable.  It is satisfying to see improvement over time.

Our students then do the building up of a scientific paper in Organic II as part of a 5-week, 3-step synthesis project.  The students start with experimental, add in results and discussion, then introduction, then abstract in sucessive drafts on which we provide feedback but no grade.  The opportunity for revision really helps our students get better!

Kyle McElhoney, Aurora University
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 03/23/2017 - 9:37pm

Thanks!