Saturday, March 5, 2011

Well, that was quick

I said it would be easier to report every day if I was talking about that day, I didn't say I could be perfect. Especially when the desktop computer in our apartment has been reduced to the status of furniture until I do some tinkering with the guts of the system (not my favorite activity), so Furious J is limited to smartphone for computer-type activities until I come home and share the laptop. Makes it difficult to come home and do the work for planning the next lessons, plus do reflections, plus actually relax a little from the day.

Thursday and Friday kind of go as a pair for me, so I'll be on with those two later today. I suddenly thought of something this morning that I wanted to break down a little bit before I got into that though. Yesterday we collected the write-ups for the lab we did Tuesday, the one that was Mr. CT's pet project and gave results contrary to the point that it was trying to show. The lab was cookbook-style, with some blanks to answer questions in at the end. The problem was, if the lab groups followed the directions as given, most of them would have seen the colloid filtered out on the first filtration and the steps afterward would have no meaning at all (another danger of cookbook-style labs, they don't degrade gracefully - if something messes up then the whole thing falls apart). During the lab we spent all our time managing their results so that they could get the payoff of the shiny gold disk, which many of them did find legitimately cool, but that kind of patch is guaranteed to miss at least one group. They were handing in the labs and I noticed some confusion in the ranks about how to answer some of the questions. It was a group that had filtered all the stuff out of the first solution, something that shouldn't have been possible, then had nothing to modify in the second sections so they had no actual answers for questions addressing the second part. So the group was looking around to find the "right answer" and I just realized how sad that is. The one thing that labs at the college level get really right is that your data is your data. You don't drop any results because they 'seem off' or 'that wasn't supposed to happen' unless the lab is about the statistical analysis of data. Most of the value in the grade in the lab isn't in whether you made the 'right' stuff at the end, but how well you observe and explain whatever results you did obtain. The procedure may be in the cookbook style, but the work you do is still your own work based on whatever weird observations you might have had in the course of performing the lab.

No comments:

Post a Comment