Lighthouse Initiative for Texas Classrooms

Importance of the Laboratory in the Science Classroom

In Texas, the state mandates a minimum of 40% laboratory experience. In grade 6–12 Pre-AP*/AP* science courses the laboratory experience must be an integral part of each course. Laboratory experience is vital for success on TAKS, AP, and other standardized exams that students will encounter throughout their academic career. The laboratory is the place where students learn by firsthand observation. After students have had opportunities to learn basic laboratory skills in a given area, inquiry-type labs using these skills should stimulate independent thinking, enhance problem-solving skills, and encourage further investigation. Students and teachers are expected to practice laboratory safety at all times. Students should be challenged to do the following:

  • design experiments;
  • choose and use appropriate equipment for measurements and data collection;
  • make in-depth observations;
  • collect, record, and organize data;
  • manipulate and/or analyze data appropriately;
  • communicate results including error analysis; and
  • identify areas for further investigation.
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