• Laboratory

    1.      In the lab, students should work in pairs or groups of three unless otherwise asked.

    2.      Based upon the nature of a given laboratory assignment, the amount of time needed to complete it will vary. Please pay close attention at the beginning of each lab, as its due date will be announced. Be careful with your time. Many of the labs are to be completed and written up in a single class period.

    3.      Most labs are worth 100 points. Labs handed in late will have twenty points (or 20%) deducted for each date late. Please do not be foolish; labs make up a substantial part of your grade. Please hand them in.

    4.      Labs are designed with safety in mind, but students will be working with hazardous materials and expensive equipment. I expect that all safety precautions be followed at all times. Incorrect lab procedures, unsafe behavior, or disruption of others in the lab is completely unacceptable and may result in removal from the lab and a reduction in grade.


    5.      Labs should be presented in the following form:


    b.      INTRODUCTION: This is where the purpose of the lab is explained; what do you intend to accomplish when the lab is completed?

    c.       MATERIALS: This is equipment used in the experiment.

    d.      DATA: Any information collected in a laboratory exercise is to be presented in an organized chart or table that is constructed using a straightedge.

    e.      ANALYSIS: Here data is analyzed in the form of questions, graphs, or calculations. Tables and charts are to always have the following: Title, and an appropriate axis including proper scale and labels. Graphs should be a minimum of a third of a page in size.

    f.        CONCLUSION: This is the most important part of the lab. Summarize all of the major points that you have learned or particular skills you were able to enhance. Also feel free to tell me if you liked the lab or if you think there might be a better way of doing it.

    6.      Cleanliness in the laboratory is important for several obvious reasons. Therefore, individuals or groups not taking responsibility for cleaning up their area and/or sink will have their lab score deducted. This deduction increases with each additional infraction.

    7.   If you are absent during a lab or know that you will be absent, you may still be required to write it up. Whenever you have missed a lab or know that you will miss a lab, always see me for details. Failure to do so will result in an automatic zero for the assignment or lab exercise.


                                           Lab Reports


    All lab reports should be typed and include the following sections:


    Title Page:

              Title of lab

    Your name

              Your partner’s name (if applicable)

              Date of lab


    Purpose:                (5 points)

    One or two sentences maximum in your own words about the purpose of the lab and the expected results. No personal pronouns (I, me, we) should be used.


    Data:                     (10 points)

    In a chart or easy to read list, all data measured in lab including units


    Calculations:                   (30 points)

    All math work required for lab conclusion. All numbers should have the correct number of significant figures and include units.


    Simple calculations need to be written in word form first, then solved with numbers. For more complex calculations, the work should be self-explanatory. For example a factor label does not need to be written out in words, but simple subtraction should be.


    % Error or % Yield:  (10 points)

    Calculate % error or % yield, whichever is asked for in the particular lab.

    % Error: I Theoretical -  Experimental I  * 100



              % Yield:  Experimental  * 100



    Conclusion:           (10 points)

    One or two sentences stating results of the lab and % error or % yield. No personal pronouns should be used.


    Error Analysis:       (35 points)

    The purpose of the error analysis is to take stock of yourself as a research scientist and determine ways you could fix your lab procedure. This will improve your results in the future and let others, who are reading your report, know where errors may have been made. Knowing about your errors will help them determine to what degree your results can be trusted.


    Give at least two sources of error from your lab and explain how and why they would affect your final result. Calculation errors are not considered errors “in the lab”. Make sure the errors you report actually relate to the data that you obtained in your lab. No personal pronouns should be used.


    Any questions from the lab should be answered in complete sentences after the Error Analysis section and sometimes will be used in place of the Error Analysis section.


    Staple the experimental procedure to the back of your lab report so that you will have a complete record of what was done in the experiment.
    General Lab and Report Guidelines


    Always come to lab prepared. You should read and understand the experiment, the theory behind each operation, and the practical descriptions of each operation. Your notebook should be prepared before lab starts.


    Safety precautions should always be followed vigilantly. Never bring food or drink in lab. Know the hazards of all chemicals. Wear eye protection at all times.


    Keep everything in good order. As you work, return things promptly to their place. At the end of the period always make sure that your lab table is clean. Turn off hotplates and other equipment. If anything breaks, report it immediately to your instructor.


    Make efficient use of all resources. Do not take more chemical than what you need. Don’t be a hoarder. Keep lids firmly on all chemicals to prevent evaporation or contamination and return the chemical bottles to their place promptly. If it looks like the class might run out of any material, warn the instructor before it happens. Do not wait until a container is empty to report that the class is low. Time is another valuable resource—make sure that you are done and out of the lab five minutes before the bell rings.


    Practice good science. Always write all of your information directly in your lab notebook as you perform the experiment. Never reconstruct or rewrite your lab notebook. Never falsify data, never copy data, and never write what you think should be the right answer.


    Lab Notebooks:

    Each Student should keep a ‘bound lab notebook’ for data collection during the lab. All data from the lab should be recorded in this notebook. Everything written in your lab notebook needs to be legible and blank data charts or tables need to be completed before entering the lab.


    Lab Report:

    The purpose of the lab report is to convey what you have done in a concise, organized, and easy to read fashion.  A lab report should be a document that tells the reader what was done in an experiment or activity, and what was discovered.  It should be written so that the reader can duplicate the activity and results if they so desire. 


    Each individual lab partner needs to turn in a separate report. The reports of lab partners may be similar but not identical and should reflect each individual’s own thoughts and conclusions about the lab.


    Lab reports are usually due one week after the lab is completed. Any exceptions will be announced.