It Is All In The Plan
IB science students are designing their own laboratory investigations to explore ideas and concepts they encounter in the curriculum and outside of school. This approach supports our goal of helping the students become complex thinkers and independent learners.
A lab that is well designed will yield reproducible and valid data, but this is no easy task. A first year chemistry student, Ryan, says, “It is not easy (to design a lab) if you are not familiar with the underlying concepts in the lab.” As such, design labs are effective tools for authentic assessment. Students very quickly recognize if they have not internalized the concepts and skills necessary to complete the task.
Once the labs are completed, students are able to reflect that planning their own labs enhances their understanding.
“It gets me thinking more about what I am actually doing. If I were just given a lab and I’d followed the method there would be a disconnect between me and the end result,” Thomas reflected.
Additionally, this approach helps students better understand the process of science and how we use data to help build our understanding of the natural world.
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