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Cook-book labs

Chris Creagh's picture

The Work It Out video “Designing an Experiment” highlights the difference between student experiments and the work of scientists. In cook-book experiments in particular the outcome of the experiment is already known. Are these cook-book type labs still an authentic learning experience?

Designing an experiment

The ‘story’ behind this video is that my tutors were helping me to evaluate the lab work that we do with our first year students. It was created in answer to the students question “Why do we do labs?” Again the viewer is the fly-on-the-wall watching what is going on without the risk of being preached to.

By labs students mean cook-book type ‘experiments’ that are done in a dedicated room and have a formatted write-up. They do not consider the open-ended experimental design activities that we do in tutorials to be labs.

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