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Science 9 General
Lab Reports How To Write Up Lab Reports Handout

How to write up a formal lab report

The purpose of experiments is to better understand a concept or for the discovery of a new one. Presenting the findings
of the experiment is done through a lab report that outlines how the experiment worked and what the results were.

Rules for Writing a Lab Report:

• Should be done in blue or black ink. The lab report can be typed up in black ink.
• All lines made in the report (for underlining, for charts or certain graphs) must be made with a ruler or
straightedge
• Each student will write up their own lab report and turned in individually
• The lab report should be done neatly and easy to read

1) COVER PAGE
• Use blank paper (not lined)
• Put the Lab or Investigation Number in the center of the page and underline it
• Put the Title of the Lab underneath it with CAPITALIZED LETTERS and underline it
• Put your Name, Teacher’s Name, Your Class, and Due Date on the bottom right corner of the cover page
• Put a list of your Group Members (not including yourself) on the bottom left corner of the cover page
• No pictures or drawings should be on the cover page (front or back)

2) LAB WRITE-UP
• If typed, use blank paper (not lined); if written, use lined paper
• Put the Lab or Investigation Number on the top left of the first page and underline it
• Put the Title of the Lab on the top middle of the first page, CAPITALIZED, and underline it
• The lab write-up should be printed, handwritten or typed neatly
• Must include ALL of the following headings (which are underlined)

Problem: (Purpose / Question)


• Write down the purpose of the lab; what you are trying to determine
• This should be done in one sentence
• Can be written as a question
• Sometimes this is given to you (from teacher or textbook)

Hypothesis:
• This is an Educated Guess as to what you think is the possible reason or relationship
• This is NOT a question, but a statement that includes what your prediction is based on what is happening
• This can be true or not. You do NOT have to be correct, but it should be your best guess as to what you
feel is correct
• Eg. If I mix blue paint with red paint, I will get white paint
• Eg. I think that my marks will increase if I study more than 10 minutes for a test

Variables:
• List your Manipulated, Responding and Controlled Variable for the experiment
• Underline the variable sub headings:
• Manipulated – the one factor that you are changing (to see if this is cause)
• Responding – the one factor that you are measuring or recording
• Controlled – a list of factors that you are keeping the same throughout the experiment

Materials:
• List ALL the materials that will be used in the experiment
• If it is in your textbook, you may refer to it as “See page ### in ScienceFocus 9”
Procedure:
• Write down step by step instructions in order to perform the experiment
• Number each step separately (like a recipe)
• If it is in your textbook, you may refer to it as “See page ### in ScienceFocus 9”

• All of the above sections should be done BEFORE the experiment is started
• This is important so that you understand what will happen in the experiment and possibly help you to
understand what the results will be

Observations:
• This is the recording of data or information gathered while doing the experiment
• It can be done as notes, charts, graphs, sketches or recordings of the experiment

Analysis: (Discussion / Questions)


• After gathering the data, this is the section for finding out what happened and making some correlations as
to what happened and possibly why
• This will include answering questions about the experiment or interpreting the results

• Up to this point, the information in the lab report can be similar with your group members, but NOT copied or
printed out for one another
• Each student is responsible for understanding the experiment and the results, so make sure you know what was
going on

Conclusion:
• This is written as a small paragraph that will answer the Purpose of the experiment
• First state whether or not your hypothesis was correct
• Secondly, prove or disprove your first sentence with the results or actual data
• Eg. Our hypothesis was incorrect. Red and blue paint did make white paint. Our results showed that red
and blue paint made purple paint.

Errors:
• List any possible inconsistencies that may have affected the experiment
• List at least two possible reasons
• There is no such thing as “No Errors”

COPY OF THE FORMAL LAB MARKSHEET


Self-Checks Points to Consider √ Rubric
Cover Page Blank, Title, Info, Group Members Lab Report is complete with 10
all parts AND Write Up is
General Lab/Title, Problem, Materials,
well done. 9
Sections Procedure
Related to Problem, Complete
Hypothesis Lab Report is missing a few 8
Sentence, “I Think…”
parts OR Write Up lacks some
Manipulated, Responding,
Variables understanding 7
Controlled (2)
Diagram, Correct Chart, Proper
Observations Lab Report is missing a few 6
Data, Complete
parts AND Write Up lacks
Write Out Questions and
Analysis some understanding 5
Answer All
Correct/Incorrect, Hypothesis,
Conclusion Lab Report is missing lots of 4
State Results/Data
parts OR Write Up lacks lots
List 2 Reasons for Inconsistencies,
Errors of understanding 3
Explain How/Why
Ink Blue/Black Ink Lab Report is missing lots of 2
parts AND Write Up lacks lots
Straight Lines for Underlining,
Underline of understanding 1
All Sections, Titles
Sub Total: Total: