How to Write a Lab Report WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO. STEP 1 – State the Question The first step to writing a lab report is to tell your audience the question you are trying to answer. For our lab, the question was “How does temperature affect how long it takes a Skittle to dissolve?” STEP 2 – State the Hypothesis The next step is to state your hypothesis. If you are in 5th or 6th grade, you wrote an “if…then…” statement on your page. If you are in 7th or 8th grade, you wrote an “if…then…because…” statement. STEP 2 – State the Hypothesis Poor example: I think the Skittle will dissolve more quickly in warm water. Good example: If I put one Skittle in cold water and one Skittle in warm water, then the Skittle in the warm water will dissolve more quickly (because…) STEP 3 – Summarize the Procedures This step should be written so that a new person could repeat the experiment. This should be several sentences long. Include the materials you used and all of the steps you followed. Refer to your lab sheet from yesterday for this information. STEP 3 – Summarize the Procedures Poor example: In this experiment we used candy, cups, and water. First we put cold water and warm water in the cups. Then we put in a Skittle and waited for it to dissolve. Then we did this two more time. STEP 3 – Summarize the Procedures Good example: In this experiment we used Styrofoam cups, Skittles, hot and cold water, popsicle sticks, a measuring cup, and an optional timer. To begin the experiment, we put 150 mL of cold water in one cup and 150 mL of warm water in the other cup. At the same time, we dropped a Skittle into each cup and began stirring with our popsicle stick. While we stirred, we kept track of time until we saw that all of the color had dissolved from the Skittle. We stopped stirring and recorded the time in our chart. We emptied our cups and began the process again with fresh water and new Skittles. We did this a third time to have the most accurate results. STEP 4 – Data (tables, charts, etc.) For this step, you will state your observations. Depending on the experiment, this step could be short or long. If you have a graph or picture, you can copy it onto your lab report or staple it to your lab report and say “See attached sheet”. STEP 4 – Data (tables, charts, etc.) Poor example: I watched the water change colors. We made a graph. Good example: During this experiment, I saw that the water began to turn into the color of the Skittle. The Skittle lost its color and turned white. See attached sheet for an additional chart and graph. STEP 5 - Conclusion This will usually be the longest part of your lab report. It should be written in paragraph form. It should restate your hypothesis and whether it was correct or not. It should also tell why you think it was correct or not. Next, you should discuss your data. If you took measurements, like time, share those results. 7/8 – state independent, dependent, and control variables. If there are any important vocabulary terms, you should discuss those as well. To end, state what you could do to improve or change this experiment next time. STEP 5 - Conclusion Poor example: I learned a lot in this experiment. My hypothesis was right because the hot water dissolved better. It always went faster in the hot water. I don’t have any idea why that happened, but it was cool. I wouldn’t change anything about this experiment. STEP 5 - Conclusion Good example: In this experiment, I wanted to figure out how temperature affects the rate at which a Skittle will dissolve. My hypothesis was if… then… (because…). I was surprised to find out that I was wrong, because when I did the experiment I found out that hot water actually makes a Skittle coating dissolve more quickly. I think this might happen because hot water makes particles move more quickly. When I did this experiment, it took 24 seconds, 28 seconds, and 27 seconds for the Skittles in the cold water to dissolve. It took 38, 36, and 33 seconds for the Skittles in the hot water to dissolve. STEP 5 - Conclusion There are always variables in an experiment. Some of my control variables were that I used the same color Skittles, the same type of cup, and the same amount of water. My independent variable, or the variable that I changed in the experiment, was the water temperature. The dependent variable, or the variable that I measured, was the amount of time it took to dissolve. If I did this experiment again, I would use even hotter water to see if this made a difference. I could also see if it took longer for different colors to dissolve, or I could use different types of candy, like M & M’s, to see their results.