Every child. Thinking critically. Solving problems.


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Document the procedures or methods

In their lab notebook, students should document the goal of their investigation and their predictions. The student should write the experimental procedure like a step-by-step recipe. A good procedure is so detailed and complete that it lets someone else duplicate the experiment exactly. This preparation ensures that the student’s experiment will run smoothly and reduce the chances of encountering avoidable issues.

Students’ written procedures should specify experimental sample size. This is the number of individual samples measured or observed in an experiment. For example, how many plants they intend to grow under the same conditions (replicates) or how many times they plan to throw each paper airplane (trials). The minimum sample size recommended by SARSEF is five per test group, however, the larger the sample size, the more accurate the results will be.

Make a list of materials

The student should make a complete list of materials needed to complete their procedure. This includes items needed for the procedure as well as any safety items, like gloves, eye protection, fire extinguisher, etc.

Make the materials list as specific as possible, and be sure the students can get everything they need before they start their research project.