Foundations: Shifting Lab Reports in AP® Physics
I have written about my overall approach to labs in both Physics and AP® Physics in a previous post. Everything in that post still applies in my courses today, including the two lab skills I use for lab report assessment. However, I am shifting how I support students in their writing of formal lab reports, which I only include in my AP Physics course. Over the years, despite any preparation we do as a class and any resources I provide to ensure universal understanding of the goals of a lab report and the expectations of the content and analysis, my students struggle with the first few reports of each academic year, learning what is expected seemingly through trial and error. This summer, I worked to add more scaffolding and support to my lab report templates to (hopefully!) help my students experience the value of documentation. I am going to share the details of this new approach here and then I will make sure to add an update when I see how the students take to this new system!
What was I doing before?
What do my NEW templates look like?
There is SO MUCH detail here! The students are linearizing on their own for the first time using software they have used very little. By comparison, below is the analysis section from my last lab report template of the year:
You can see some repetition, and I have included a lot less guidance. Ideally, students are now owning the report! If you would like to see the complete templates for my first lab report and last lab report, feel free to do so by clicking on the links! You will also see my introductory letter to my students on the first report file in which I introduce the process. Please forgive any typos! I am sure I will catch them as I use them this year!
I will update this post when I see these templates in action!!