LAB REPORT RUBRIC - Needed for 8th Grade Required Parts and What They Should Contain (Someone else who doesn't know about the experiment should be able to follow the directions and perform it without being confused, and learn what you did, not necessarily to get the same results, but to see whether the result can be duplicated and predicted.) 1. Purpose - (Always needed.) Tell me in one descriptive sentence or as a question why you are doing this experiment - what are you trying to investigate or learn? (2 points) 2. Hypothesis - (Most, but not all, lab reports should state a hypothesis.) Make a "testable" prediction - what results do you think you will get from your experiment? Describe it ideally as a cause and effect: "If I do this, then this will happen." The pothesis should be related to the purpose of the experiment, not something different, and not something obvious (don't say, "If I add energy to the water, it will boil."). (1 point) 3. Variables - What are you testing? What are YOU changing to see what differences you might observe? THIS IS THE INDEPENDENT VARIABLE. What are you measuring, or kind of thing are you making observations of, and recording as your data? THIS IS THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE. Which important things are you trying to keep the same between different tests in your experiment, or between different groups, so you only see the effects of what you have intentionally changed? THESE ARE THE CONTROLLED VARIABLES AND THERE SHOULD BE SEVERAL FOR ANY EXPERIMENT. (3 points) 4. Materials - Make a complete list of what you used, and is needed, for the experiment. Show amounts in proper units of measurement, and describe clearly so someone knows they have the same materials. (2 points) 5. Procedure - Step-by-step instructions of what you did so someone else could follow it. What you ACTUALLY DID, NOT what you may have been instructed to do or wanted to do. Include a picture or a diagram to show how you set it up. (A procedure is never "wrong," it just is whatever you did.) (2 points) 6. Data - ONE OF THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT PARTS. A complete recording of your relevant numerical measurements and descriptive observations of the Dependent Variable (the data), with correct units of measurements, clearly and correctly labeled, and a table, graph, chart or paragraph of descriptions, depending on the kind of data. (3 points) 7. Analysis - THE OTHER MOST IMPORTANT PART. Summarize your results with your scientific explanation of what you think happened and why (what caused what actually happened?). Say whether the data supported (not "proved" - you can't do that from just one experiment!) your hypothesis and why, or why not. Describe any possible errors that may have affected your results and could be corrected or eliminated (like things that may have interfered with what you intended to test, or problems measuring something, or accidents). (4 points) 8. Conclusion - What did you learn? How would you change or improve the experiment to get a better or "fairer" test? What other things could you, or would you want to, investigate after this to understand the subject better? (2 points) TYPES OF VARIABLES in science experiments INDEPENDENT (also sometimes called "experimental") - the factor which I change and I am in control of, what I am testing and want to see the effect of changing. DEPENDENT (also sometimes called "responding") - the factor that changes "depending on" what I change. It "responds" to the change I make. What I measure for my data. Example: Suppose I say, "If I change the amount of water I give my plants, they will grow more." I change the amount of water to see if they will actually grow differently. The amount of water I give them is the INDEPENDENT variable (it's what I'm changing and testing to see the effeect of), and measuring the size and way the plants actually grow (my data - the DEPENDENT variable - could be the size, the shape, color, healthy or unhealthy looking - all of those things). My data in an experiment is what I get "in response" to what I'm testing (changing). CONTROLLED variables - Things that could change the results if I don't keep them the same for my experiment, and could interfere with my test. Examples: for my plant and water test, I use 1] the same seeds, 2] same soil, 3] same amount of soil, 4] same size of pot, 5] same amount of sunlight, 6] keep them at the same temperature, and 7] water them at the same time and 8] same number of times each day. All of these are things I could also change and test separately because they might affect how plants grow, but I'M NOT IN THIS EXPERIMENT, so I try to keep them the same to make it a "fair" test of what happens by changing just one thing at a time, the amount of water.