Student Preparation

Initial Publication Date: June 24, 2010
All classroom experiments begin with an instruction stage that acquaints students with the tasks that they will perform during the experiment. In some very simple experiments it may be possible to give students informal verbal instructions during class. For more complex experiments it is best to have written instructions so that students can refer to them during the experiment. In this case instructors should consider whether it is best to have students prepare in advance of class or in class.

1. Pre-Class Instructions
  • Either on paper or distributed using a class website or learning portal
  • Saves time in class
  • Gives students a chance to come up with questions and formulate strategies
  • Helpful for students with disabilities who need help reading instructions
  • Questions to test student understanding can be included and used as a graded assignment
2. In Class Instructions
  • Best for instructor to read instructions aloud so students don't skim instructions too quickly and so instructor can emphasize important points
  • Discussing answers to quiz questions over instructions can help clear up misunderstandings