Friday, May 2, 2014

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Lab Reports: Practice with Passives

I told my students: "Did you know that lab reports should be written in the passive? This is because the focus is on your experiment, not on you." So I told them to do a little experiment to find the answer to this question: How much liquid can be absorbed by a diaper?

Here is an example lab report one of the groups did:

Title: Liquid Amount Absorbed By a Diaper

Introduction: This report shows an experiment to demonstrate the amount of liquid that a diaper can hold. For this experiment, the diaper capacity was hypothesized to be 375 mL of liquid.

Materials: A plastic bag was used to avoid leaking of the diaper. The water was provided from a drinking fountain. A blue color was mixed with the water to see how the diaper’s material absorbed the liquid. The diaper was the principal material for the test.

Methods: In this experiment, the diaper was inserted inside the plastic bag to avoid any leaking. The water was mixed with the colorant to show the liquid in the diaper. Then, the water was poured on the diaper too see how much liquid it could stand. The diaper was cut with a pair of scissors to allow the water to pour into the absorbing material. The water was poured until the diaper was saturated.

Results: The diaper reached its limit of liquid capacity when the fourth glass of water was poured. The water started leaking because the diaper was saturated. At the beginning of the experiment, the amount of water was expected to be 375 mL, but at the end of the test, the diaper reached 875 mL.