Liked and disliked laboratories

Laboratories are at the core of the SC 130 Physical Science. While in-class tests and quizzes provide information on academic achievement, how the students react affectively to these laboratories is also important in the course design.

The course is not listed as a requirement by any major at the college, thus the course most frequently serves students taking the course to satisfy their general education science with laboratory requirement. The students are not planning a career in science and likely contain a larger percentage of students for whom science is not attractive as a subject of study. A goal of mine is to open up the thinking of the students. My best hope is that through the course the students will come to have an interest in science, see that even simple topics can be interesting, and gain an appreciation of how science is done.

As an affective learning domain study, students were asked to choose their favorite laboratory and provide comments on why that laboratory was their favorite. The students were also asked to choose their least favorite laboratory and explain why they disliked that laboratory.

Twenty-eight students of the twenty-nine students in the course were present on the day of the survey and completed the anonymous survey.

The laboratories this past term were:

Laboratory one: Density of soap
Laboratory two: Velocity of a rolling ball in the gym parking lot
Laboratory three: Acceleration of gravity by dropping a ball in lab
Laboratory four: Momentum of marbles on a ruler track
Laboratory five: Force, stretching an elastic band using a cup of marbles.
Laboratory six: Heat, the conduction of heat by materials connecting two Styrofoam cups.
Laboratory seven: Earth, latitude and longitude, meters per minute
Laboratory eight: Clouds, drawing a cloud
Laboratory nine: Sound:, clapping wood blocks to determine the speed of sound
Laboratory ten: The colors of light via RGB, HSL, X11, and HTML.
Laboratory eleven: Apparent depth, pennies underwater.
Laboratory twelve: Electrical conductivity, circuits and Ohms law
Laboratory thirteen: Chemistry, acid and base detection using flowers
Laboratory fourteen is a laboratory practical examination and is not included in this survey.
Laboratory fifteen is a term wrap up laboratory designed to go beyond the usual science/math box. Not included in this survey.

The terms are coded in the data table further below in the following manner.
93: Fall 2009
a1: Spring 2010
a2: Summer 2010
a3: Fall 2010
b1: Spring 2011
b3: Fall 2011. Survey not compiled.
c1: Spring 2012
c3: Fall 2012. Survey not compiled.
d1: Spring 2013

The survey results were compiled and are reported below. The laboratories are listed on the left side, the terms across the second row. All net is the sum of the like votes minus the sum of the dislike votes. The second to last column, d1 net, is the spring 2013 likes minus the dislikes, the last column, rng (range), is the sum of the likes and dislikes. The larger the range, the greater the dichotomous spit in the voting.

Like Dislike all d1
Lab 93 a1 a2 a3 b1 c1 c2 d1 93 a1 a2 a3 b1 c1 c2 d1 net net rng
1 1 2
1 2 2 1 4 1
2 1 2
5 4 4
2 1
1 2

1 1

1 0 0


1 1
1 -3 -1 1

1 1 1

3 3 4 1
-9 0 0

1 2 1

1 -5 -1 1
6 1

1 0 -1 1
7 11 6 3 7 1 4 7 7 9 8 2 6 2 2 2 1 14 6 8
8 6 4 7 8 8 3
5 6 7 4 1 7 3 9 9 -5 -4 14

2 5 2
4 2 7 5 6 2 1 2 -18 -2 2
10 7 3
5 7 2
3 1 2 2 2 4 2
1 13 2 4

1 1 1 4

1 -1 -1 1
12 2 3 2 2
1 2
5 1 4 5 3 3
3 -12 -3 3
13 1 10 10 6 12 7 3 7 4 3
1 2 3
4 39 3 11

Spring 2013 laboratory seven and thirteen tied for the most favored laboratories with seven likes a piece. On aggregate laboratory thirteen remains the most favored with a net of 39 more likes than dislikes. As laboratory 13 immediately precedes the survey, this may bias the results. The students, however, seem to truly enjoy working with test tubes and mixing chemicals.

Spring 2013 eight received the strongest negative rating with nine students listing eight as their most disliked laboratory. The disliked laboratory votes add only to 24 as four students said that they had no disliked laboratories.

In the affective domain, the proof is in the details and the individual comments by students provide this insight. The comments are gathered together with multiple responses collected under a single laboratory listing.

Laboratory one: Density of soap was the first laboratory in college and I understood it clearly. It was my first, a new experience. I enjoyed it because I learned something new that day. I was surprised by the soap when it floats.

Laboratory three: I disliked because I didn't know how to calculate the time between the falling object when it reaches the surface.

Laboratory five: I disliked because until we were doing the lab, I still don't understand it.

Laboratory six: I disliked this because I did not get it.

Laboratory seven: I liked because I learned how to use the GPS and that was my first time to use it. I learned something new - how to use a GPS. It was fun walking around the campus looking for Dana - using a GPS. That was seriously cool. I I ever get lost or someone needed to find someone/something, I can help. So, yeah, the lab was practical, helpful, and fun. It was an adventure. I really don't know how to use a GPS, therefore I got the chance to experiment the usefulness of a using a GPS. Lab seven is my favorite because I finally got the chance to learn how to use an atucal GPS and got the chance to see how it works. I like to use the GPS and find coordinates. It gave me a lot of exercise and it was the first time I used a GPS.
     I disliked because it's hard for me to read a GPS.

Laboratory eight: I liked because I do it myself on hard draft. I just sat somewhere outside the class and drew it down in which I could view the sky. Easiest and most enjoyable. When I was in high school they didn't teach me the name those clouds. In addition, I didn't know how to draw any kind of cloud but now I can draw clouds. I learned the cloud names. I liked this lab because it was just drawing and no full write-up. Too easy.
     I disliked because I am not good at drawing. I don't like drawing. It was very hard for me to draw my laboratory that I turned in. Drawing is my weakness. I don't draw.I think I am the worst drawer in the class. I failed it and it was supposed to be the easiest.

Laboratory nine: I disliked because I had difficulties synchronizing claps with its echo. I disliked it because I did not turn it in.

Laboratory ten: I like lab ten because I learned to make colors or how the colors are made. I also like it as I was learning the degrees of how colors were made. One thing that I also like about it is that we write why we like the color we like and why we dislike the color we dislike. I can able to find color using the notepad on computer and can identified the names of some of the colors. I like the laboratory report that we did because it was different from the rest.

Laboratory eleven: Lab eleven was my least favorite because it was confusing at first and got to complicated to understand.

Laboratory twelve: I disliked because I never learned anything from it. It is the most hardest report or lab among all of the rest. It have some stuffs that needed to be connected to conduct heat and produce light. Its hard. I don't know how to draw a electrical conductivity and the all the circuits. I wasn't able to make it and I didn't understand.

Laboratory thirteen: I liked because I was surprised when we did the experiment, it was fun when we were working together finding whether they are acid, neutral, or base. I really enjoyed the one we did yesterday which was the 13th, laboratory thirteen. I get to see how colors change. It is very awesome because first what I believe that were acidic turned out base. Also I get to experience the fun and mixing it together and looking at the colors it will turn into. I enjoyed how the color of the flower changes when you add either acid or bases. It make me think that I am a real scientist and getting to know whether the chemicals are bases, acids, and neutral is cool. I am very much interested in the elements and the numerous ways they can bond and many forms or chemicals they form. I wish we had a little bit longer time to study the elements. Very interesting and surprising. Laboratory thirteen is my favorite because it really catches my attention and I really concentrate and pay attention to all what we were doing. It is amazing and knowing that different acid and base can change color of a neutral color of a flower when you boil.
     I disliked because I hate chemistry. I didn't understand those things which one are base, which one are acid. I did not learn much of chemistry and it can be dangerous too. I never understand the periodic table of elements, I don't even know how and when to use it.

Comments that note a laboratory was interesting or fun directly support my own goals in the course. Once something is interesting and fun, the student becomes a self-driven learner. And learning only really occurs when a person wants to learn. If I can generate the desire, then the learning can follow. 

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