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1. The Simple Pendulum
Description: use the period of the simple pendulum to calculate the gravitational acceleration g and compare your results to the known value
– Stop watch
2. Measurements of Specific Heat
Description: determine the specific heat for different materials and compare with the known values.
– Kitchen scale
– Styrofoam cups
– Thermometer (something like this)
– Specific heat set (click here to see an example)
– a double Styrofoam cup fitted with plastic lid is a very effective calorimeter
Format for Writing the Lab Report
About two paragraphs describing background information pertinent to the lab – one that gives a clear picture of your independent variable and another explaining relevant information on the dependent variable. This section includes a specific statement of the question or problem under investigation, and statements about other goals of the laboratory exercise. Why is this question important? How does this question relate to the real world. Clearly state the purpose of the experiment at the end of the section.
The hypothesis section consists of a statement predicting the outcome of the experiment based on that hypothesis. Use the “if…then….because” format.
Purpose: The problem is to study the effect of raising the temperature on the volume of a balloon.
Hypothesis: If the temperature of a balloon is increased, then the volume of the balloon will be increased and if the temperature of the balloon is decreased then the volume of the balloon will be decreased, because molecules move faster with increased temperature.
This section consists of a list of materials, including the quantity of each one, required to carry out the experiment. List the items in bullets.
The procedure section describes each step in the experiment in enough detail so that a stranger can read it and perform the experiment. In a predesigned laboratory experiment the procedure is already written and the student only needs to rewrite the procedure in their own words. Make the rewritten procedure short and concise, but make sure it demonstrates an understanding of the experiment. In a lab designed by the student, the procedure should be a complete step-by-step description of how to carry out the experiment.
Clearly and neatly labeled. Include original sketches (if any) and data.
DATA: Data is usually presented in a Data Table and include the following:
TITLE – The data table should have a descriptive title i.e.) Table 1: the efficiency of plants at converting solar energy into chemical energy
COLUMN -The data should be aligned correctly in columns with lines separating.
HEADINGS – Each column must have a heading, which describes the type of data found in the column.
UNITS – Each column heading must include the units of the data in that column.
Brief and concise formal presentation of data.
CALCULATIONS: All calculations must be neatly presented with a subheading that describes the purpose of the calculation. Show the algebraic form of the equations (with VARIABLES), show the data substituted into the equation (include units) and show one sample calculation for each equation.
GRAPHS (if any): All graphs should include a TITLE that describes the data being plotted and AXIS LABELS that include the units of the data being plotted. Some graphs will have a curve (or line) fit to the data.
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION:
The critical analysis section; the place to interpret and evaluate your data and to speculate on other possibilities.
The discussion should answer the questions posed in the purpose section of the laboratory and should also indicate whether the hypothesis is supported by the results. If the results do not support the hypothesis the possible reasons for the discrepancy should be noted and discussed (aka: sources of error). Discussion of the results should include new questions that the results have brought up. If applicable, the discussion should also consider any possible changes needed in the design of the experiment. Refer directly to your results! Literally use data from your table and graphs to support your conclusion. For example, “As seen in Graph 1, the trend in using roller-skates to commute to school has decreased by 87% in the past four years.”
WORKS CITED: Use standard MLA or APA format.
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