Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Keeping Track of Lab Work

Posted on: November 24, 2009

Yes, more on lab reports.  I don’t grade them right away, they just take a long time and I sometimes put it off for a week.  As a result, I get a bit confused about who was there and who didn’t turn in work and why.

I finally figured this one out, it has been the bane of my teaching existence for far too long.  Here’s the scenario:  I do a lab, tell them it is due in two or three days.  When I collect it, I don’t recall who was there that day, who worked, who just stood around, etc.  Now I’m missing lab reports, but I can’t recall if it is because they simply didn’t hand it in, they were out when it was handed in, or they were out and missed the lab.  In case you haven’t figured this out by now, paperwork is my downfall.  The solution that works for me is to create forms.

Excel to the rescue.  I made a form for lab day.  On the form I make note of who is present and who is out.  I also casually make notes on who is writing in their lab notebook or working on separate paper.  Some labs I want made up, others are a pain for me, so I exempt them if they were absent.

We’ve already been through the problem that I can’t attach excel pages on this blog, so I printed a pdf of one of the pages from my spreadsheet with my students’ names removed.  I have a separate page for each class so I only need to fill in the title, dates, and hit print.  I used this for the first time this week and I knew immediately who didn’t hand in work and who owed me work today because they missed school the previous day.  When I collect the work, I attach the form to the stack from the class.  For once, I am in control of lab reports.

Lab Attendance Forms


3 Responses to "Keeping Track of Lab Work"

Great post! I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. By the way, i came across these excellentphysics flashcards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!

While this post is most clearly spam, it seems that the funnelbrain site may be of some value. If anyone is using this with their class, I’d like to hear about it.

On some inquiry labs I use a google docs form to keep track of who did the lab. Depending on the purpose of the lab the input on the form ( which goes directly to a spreadsheet) can be: Group members names, Period, Result, Conclusions, Ideas for further investigation.The students have to type the information into a form and submit it. I am new to blogging so please bear with me. (Think of me as an old dog learning new tricks)

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