Laboratory Procedures Poster and Rubric

Author: Rachel Hughes and Kirstin Bittel

Time: 2.5 days
Preparation Time: Time required to type up class developed rubric.
Materials: Sentence strips, colored markers, poster paper.

How often have you spent hours developing a rubric, a set of procedures and then reviewed it with your students just to find that they remember none of it the next class period? The use of rubrics to inform students of what they achieved and what they need to still work on is ineffective if students don’t reflect upon the assessment within the rubric and jump immediately to a letter or number grade. Involving students in the design of an informational poster for the laboratory and the creation of an assessment rubric that will be used throughout the class promotes student use of both the poster and rubric. In this apply lesson students use their understanding from the previous lessons about laboratory procedures and aseptic techniques to develop a poster and rubric that can then be used again and again as they apply their understanding of these principles.

Students will be able:
1. Articulate what aseptic techniques and laboratory procedures should be followed in the classroom in the form of a laboratory poster.
2. Identify what the best and worst practices a student might utilize in a classroom in the form of a rubric.
3. Use a student-developed rubric to assess their own practices in the classroom and to explain the rubric assessment by their teacher of their practices.

National Science Education Standard:
Content Standard A – Science as Inquiry
Designing and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment, safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry, and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations; and a public presentation of the results with a critical response from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed, students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for their proposed explanations.

Content Area C – Life Science
Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between organisms.

Content Area F – Science in Social and Personal Perspectives
Hazards and the potential for accidents exist. Regardless of the environment, the possibility of injury, illness, disability, or death may be present. Humans have a variety of mechanisms--sensory, motor, emotional, social, and technological--that can reduce and modify hazards.

Teacher Background
Aseptic technique

- hand washing with antibacterial soap before and after the lab
- disinfection of tables before and after the lab
- using the proper procedures for handling microbes should be followed at all times when handling microbes (see previous lessons for more specific details on swabbing, streaking, sealing, storing and disposal)
- Drinking (anything-even water) and eating during the lab is prohibited.

Related and Resource Websites
Safety lab Book



Day 1

1. As students enter class ask them to identify in their notebooks what the best and worst practices as far aseptic techniques and laboratory protocols are that they have been introduced to over the past 2 lessons. What is the behavior of a student who is using these techniques and a student who isn’t using the best practices?

2. Once students have had a few moments to write down their thoughts, ask them to share what these protocols and techniques are. Dependent upon your students, you may wish to have them share this in the form of charades and see if the rest of the class can guess what the behavior, technique or protocol is. This works well with more lively groups. List them on sentence strips in one color and hang them on the board.

3. When students have addressed all or most of the behaviors ask them to identify any behaviors, techniques or protocols that might be grouped. Just let them to do this with a few of the behaviors before asking them what the names of the groups might be.

4. Once the class has identified a few groups (keep it to 5 or less to keep the rubric manageable) write these in different colors and hang them on the board or around the room.

5. As a class, have students sort the behaviors, protocols and techniques around the room. There may be some debate as to the most appropriate place, but most should be straightforward.

6. Explain to students that these groupings will form the basis of the rubric that they and you will be using to assess their laboratory practices and also to help guide them to be safer in the classroom. Have students develop an order to the sentence strips that reflect the positioning on a rubric. If gaps appear ask students what wording might fill those gaps on a rubric.

7. Knowing now what the intention of the strips is, ask students if there are wording changes that should be made.

8. Collect the sentence strips being careful to keep them in order and grouped and then use these to write up the rubric. Each class will have its own rubric, but inevitably they will resemble each other closely. As you type up the rubric try to keep it as true to the student wording as possible.

Day 2

9. Today students will begin their posters based upon the behaviors and protocols that they described yesterday. This gives you an additional day to type up the rubrics.

10. Most classrooms have safety procedures listed or described in a graphic format, but how much do they remember? When students are seated ask them to close their eyes. With their eyes closed can they tell you what the posters are in the classroom? Are there safety posters in the room? What do they say? Have students open their eyes. Which ones did they remember? What are the most effective ways to display a poster?

11. Explain to students that their goal is to take one of the behaviors or protocols and create a clear, informative and appealing poster that will remind them through the school year about how to behave safely in the classroom.

12. Make sure that students create different protocols and posters.

13. Allow the rest of the class period to work on these posters.

Day 3

14. On an overhead display the typed version of the student-developed rubric.

15. Review the rubric with the students. Are there any last-minute changes that they want to make? Remind students that these rubrics will be used throughout the unit.

16. Allow students time to finish their posters.

17. You can use these posters throughout the class.


If needed, the poster may be developed further at home.

Embedded Assessment

The written responses to the prompt “What is the behavior of a student who is using these techniques and a student who isn’t using the best practices?” allows for assessment of individual knowledge of safe practices.

The class discussion, charades, posters and development of the rubric allow for another opportunity to assess what they grasped from the previous lessons, and if they can articulate it in a variety of forms.



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo