This week I’ve been working with a 9th grade student to refine a lab report he’s writing on the energy content of different alcohol fuels, and as part of my work with him, I kept returning to some resources I developed over the past few years.
In addition to the above presentation, I provide students with the following guide to developing data tables and graphs using Microsoft Excel (2011) for Mac. Since I originally created this document, I have moved almost entirely to the Google suite of applications, so some of the controls may be a bit out of date, but the end products are still valid for use in MYP science classes.
I hope you find these resources helpful.
Sorry I can’t be in class today, kids – I know you’re disappointed to have a cover teacher – so here’s the low-down on what you need to do while I’m out:
- Review the homework problems to make sure you have the correct answers and understand the process. The process is more important than the answers.
- Watch the dimensional analysis video linked here, then complete the quiz on that website to verify you understand how to do dimensional analysis.
- Go through my zombie presentation – yes, zombies do in fact know how to do dimensional analysis – and work all the practice problems in the presentation. You may do this with a partner if you want, and I’ll go over the answers with you next lesson.
- Review the document titled, “How to create graphs for science” and create a bullet-point list of all the required parts of a scientific graph. I’ll check this list as another homework check next lesson.
Here’s the zombie presentation:
Here’s the “How to create graphs for science” document in a viewing window:
Data tables are just that: tables of your results. Tables should be organized before you start your experiment, so that you can concentrate on your method instead of scrambling to organize your information while you work. Trust me on this: you will discover that your experiments go more smoothly if you come to class with your data tables set up, so that all you have to do is write the numbers in the right place.
Some rules for data tables included in your lab reports:
- Tables need a title! The title should identify what information is in the table.
- All columns should be labeled and include the units of measurement at the top.
- Use only numbers in the cells. (If you include the units as well, computers won’t read them as numbers, and they won’t be able to plot them on a graph for you.)
- Use the same number of decimal places in every measurement in a column.
- Center your numbers both vertically and horizontally to make the table easier to read.