What is a Lab Notebook?
Your lab notebook is a place for you to recording and organize “the stuff” you a DOING during the lab. While lab activities are importanthands-on experiences, your lab notebook should be an extension of your thinking and help make sure that your lab is also a mind-onexperience!
Format for Lab Notebook
- Background information that help you understand the materials or techniques that will be used during the lab. Notes may be taken during pre-lab discussion or may be assigned as a homework assignment before the lab.
- The purpose of the lab may be expressed as a question or statement
- A prediction of what you think will happen during the experiement. Hypothesis should include independent variable (what you will do/change during the test), dependent variable (the data you will collect during the test), and your reasoning.
- written in an If…then…because format.
Method (or Procedure):
- A section to help you understand the experimental design of the lab---this is not the same as the past tense account of the lab that you will give in a formal lab report. In your lab notebook you may use bullets, flow charts, diagrams, etc. Be sure to include any changes or deviations to the procedure in your lab handout.
Experimental design components should include: independent, dependent, and control variables.
Observations and Data Collection:
- Tables to record data points
- Written observations or sketches of organisms
- Sample Calculations and/or graph
- Written descriptions of trends that you see in your graphs
- Notes from class followup discussion
- Answer any questions on the lab handout.
- Accept or reject hypothesis
- Discuss experimental error
- Make connections to scientific principles
**Any sections from lab handout out or typed work should be neatly trimmed and taped or glued into your notebook
***The lab notebook will be collected and formally graded at least once each term. Questions for individual labs will also be assessed throughout the term.