Beginning A Lab Section

1. Before class begins

It is often helpful to write important procedures on the board (even if it is in the student's lab manual which is right in front of their face). Not only will this help the students to focus on what is crucial to the lab protocol, but it will also help you remember what to cover before the lab gets started. If you are feeling particularly creative, you can draw little cartoons to help get their attention. Below is an example of what could be written on the board compared to what is actually in the lab manual.
(insert an image of an example lab, and how it might be condensed when prodecures are written on the board)

prepare photos or ppt if there are visuals that will help
(maybe insert an example ppt from a lab that doesn't have many visual resources)

2. “10 minute talk”

Here's one of the more challenging parts of the day. You'll need to summarize the whole lab so that the students thoroughly understand it…and you'll need to do this in under 10 minutes. Think of it as an opportunity to practice condensing the research you have worked on for a few years into a 10 minute presentation that you'll give at an upcoming meeting.

don’t lecture to much but also don't expect students to actually know what they're supposed to do just because they turned in a prelab; be relevant and concise

Methods of Instruction

  • powerpoint
  • chalk talk
  • lecture only

lecture on material only if you seriouly think it will aid in the students' understanding of the laboratory concepts

3. Safety

Stick to the safety rules, especially the first few weeks. You don't have to be mean at all. Asking someone to throw out their gum, or not letting someone in the lab because they don't have a coat, can be done with the softest, calmest voice possible. But be firm and make sure the policies are followed. As much as it might pain you to ask a student to spit out their gum, do it quickly and as soon as you see it. Don't think that you can just pretend that you didn't see it. If you do that, they will quickly learn that you simply overlook safety rules and don't want to be bothered with enforcing them.

Even if you are the type of researcher that never wears gloves unless someone else is looking, you'll need to pretend that safety is a a priority for you beacause (1) it really is your job and you can get in trouble for not providing the students with the safest learning environment possible and (2) students will feel more comfortable trusting your judgement and instruction if they feel that you are concerned about their well-being.

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