How to Write a Great Lab Report

Every lab report has a set of tasks to perform, all the while recording your data. Your data will be used later to to math problems, to “prove” that the chemistry is perfect, and that you are are moving towards that perfection.

To score points, it’s best once you do a good job with the data and the experimenting, to READ THE RUBRIC.  That word is sort of an ugly word, but it means (more or less) how to get the most points possible.  It lists each point to earn.  Follow it to a perfect 25 out of 25.

A cover page is needed.  It has a science title, usually the title of the lab.  Under it you might add, for fun, a silly title.  That should be smaller and polite, but can be as cute as you can make it.  Sometimes it feels good to let me know about what you were really feeling.

The handout itself usually has some boxes to fill in; formulas, math problems, vocabulary, sometimes even some matching.  Do all the blanks to get all of the points.  No blanks ever. If you have a blank, ask me a question before it goes into the inbox.

The lab questions is your chance to shine.  You will most often answer math questions about what you did in your lab exercise.  Percent error is always in there.  That always gets a sign, positive or negative, and has a percent sign unit.  Units matter a lot in chem.  If you write, say 10.5 for the density of lead, I will undoubtedly write 10.5 bananas?

Lots of time I will add that dreaded -1, which means you just dropped from a perfect 100% on the lab down to a 96%.

Then usually there are more problems, more along the regents style questions, about this same topic you experimented on in the lab.

Finally comes the conclusion.  Here you will write in plain English, neatly (or typed but that is not necessary) a short essay to show me that you really know what happened in lab.  An overview, and then some about what you actually measured, what your percent error was, where this error came from, and then a scientific summary.

For instance, in the measurement lab, you might end with something like: Although measuring volumes of doors and books in not important, learning and practicing percent error and density, and significant figures should help me with the rest of this year’s coursework.

Always end every lab with “I love chem, the end.”  That puts you in a better mood, and it will put me in one too.  As soon as I finish your lab report I put a grade on it.  That sentence puts me in a smiley face mood, it can’t hurt.

Do your own work always.  Do not write the same sentences as your friends do, that’s not ok.

I love chem, the end.