Lousy labs

Most high school lab assignments are poorly designed and ignore “basic principles of effective science teaching,” said a report released Monday by the National Research Council, reports USA Today.

The typical lab is an isolated add-on that lacks clear goals, does not engage students in discussion and fails to illustrate how science methods lead to knowledge, the report said.

Also contributing to the problem: teachers who aren’t prepared to run labs, state exams that don’t measure lab skills, wide disparities in the quality of equipment and a simple lack of consensus over what “laboratory” means in the school environment.

Labs are popular because they’re “hands on.” But it helps to have the brain on too.

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