Science Lab Report Help

Next we consider the role of technology in supporting student learning from laboratory experiences. Laboratories have been purported to promote a number of goals for students, most of which are also the goals of science education in general (Lunetta, 1998; Hofstein and Lunetta, 1982).

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Because this approach remains common today, we refer to these isolated interactions with natural phenomena as “typical” laboratory experiences.

Reflecting this separation, researchers often engaged students in one or two experiments or other science activities and then conducted assessments to determine whether their understanding of the science concept underlying the activity had increased.

Students come to the classroom with conceptions of natural phenomena that are based on their everyday experiences in the world.

Although these conceptions are often reasonable and can provide satisfactory everyday explanations to students, they do not always match scientific explanations and break down in ways that students often fail to notice.

We propose the phrase “integrated instructional units” to describe these research and design projects that integrate laboratory experiences within a sequence of science instruction.

In the following section of this chapter, we present design principles for laboratory experiences derived from our analysis of these multiple strands of research and suggest that laboratory experiences designed according to these principles are most likely to accomplish their learning goals.This principle is based on research showing that effective instruction begins with what learners bring to the setting, including cultural practices and beliefs, as well as knowledge of academic content.Taking students’ preconceptions into account is particularly critical in science instruction.Given the complexity of these teaching and learning sequences, the committee struggled with how best to describe them.Initially, the committee used the term “science curriculum units.” However, that term failed to convey the importance of integration in this approach to sequencing laboratory experiences with other forms of teaching and learning.The following sections briefly describe principles of learning derived from recent research in the cognitive sciences and their application in design of integrated instructional units.Recent research and development of integrated instructional units that incorporate laboratory experiences are based on a large and growing body of cognitive research.Some studies directly compared measures of student learning following laboratory experiences with measures of student learning following lectures, discussions, videotapes, or other methods of science instruction in an effort to determine which modes of instruction were most effective.Over the past 10 years, some researchers have shifted their focus.The research reviewed by the committee indicated that these curricula not only integrate laboratory experiences in the flow of science instruction, but also integrate student learning about both the concepts and processes of science.To reflect these aspects of the new approach, the committee settled on the term “integrated instructional units” in this report.


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