Student Engagement in Lab

This week was a hectic week it did not go as planned. My main target this week was student engagement. I missed two days of work due to the flu so that interrupted my whole week. On the hand I was able to make my lab very interactive for my students to foster their engagement. Students did a lab on identifying igneous rocks. Working with the lab technician at my school we ordered different types of igneous rocks. Hence the students gained hands on experience in identifying rocks and minerals. The students were required to identify the rocks based on properties we discussed in class as well as their Earth Science Reference Tables. They had to individually classify six different types of igneous rocks. They had to classify the rocks according to the environment of formation, texture, crystal size and mineral composition.

 I noticed a difference in engagement when their activities are hands on and when they are working in groups. Students that were usually disengaged in the classroom were actually excited about learning. They were inquisitive throughout the entire lab. The next few days I was also to foster their engagement by placing images of different rocks in a Ziploc bag and asking them to identify it with their group members. I also made it even more competitive by adding ten extra points to their classwork grade. I hope that I can continue to do hands on work with my students instead of just lecturing them. I also want to strive to utilize more motivational means such as offering candy or extra points to get them to learn and be more engaged.

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      You are making an important connection here. Different types of activities engage learners differently. Some students are engaged by lectures, but a larger number (if not all) are engaged by authentic work, such as (real) labs (as opposed to pencil and paper type labs).

      It will be interesting to see what you do with this insight.

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