Special Education: Scaffolded Lab Report
Using the scientific method doesn't come intuitively to many students, let alone the process of writing up a lab report that mirrors the scientific method. In leading my students through their first real lab experiment, I used a scaffolded lab handout that guided students through thinking about each step of the scientific method as it applied to the experiment. I led students along as they proceeded through the handout, modeling and giving examples. This is an effective way to scaffold the scientific method for special ed students, who benefit from concrete structure, clear instructions, and explicit modeling.
My students first read an introduction and formulated a question based on it, after which they then listed any prior knowledge they possessed that was related to the question. They read through the procedure and listed all the materials that the procedure required. To ensure understanding of the procedure, I verbally summarized it and physically modeled with the equipment. Then we discussed the parts of a hypothesis and gave examples, after which students formulated their own hypotheses. After performing the experiment, students were questioned on what conclusions they could draw and how they knew. The scaffolded questions impressed on them the importance of justifying every conclusion they draw with observable evidence. I then guided them to synthesize their observations and conclusions into a concise conclusion statement.