Take this approach to practical work to ensure students are learning, not just doing

A table of different questioning words with lab equipment cartoons behind

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Use this question matrix to build challenging questions to help students explore their knowledge from practical work

The ‘broken’ practical approach focuses on deepening students’ learning and understanding about experiments, rather than simply following a recipe to do them. This approach asks students to consider how to fix, or improve, experiments, by asking more challenging questions. Instead of asking recall questions based on recipe-style instructions for practical work, you ask students questions that require them to apply their scientific knowledge, analyse information and ideas, make interpretations and judgements, draw conclusions and improve experimental procedures.

You can use the ‘broken’ practical matrix to construct the questions. The resource includes the matrix, as well as example questions for the chromatography of ink experiment.

Read more about this approach in the Education in Chemistry article, Practise purposeful practical work.