Photo Flash Cards and Working in the Laboratory
Photo Flash Cards for Test Preparation
Science instructors often require that students be able to label and/or explain illustrations from the readings or notes. This is especially true for lab courses. Students who have trouble drawing illustrations may feel discouraged when trying to learn this information for tests and quizzes.
One way to memorize information in illustrations is photo flash cards (G. Zellers, CAL). This strategy targets visual recognition skills along with verbal identification of components of an illustration. It does not require artistic talent on the student's part. The photo flash card approach is described and illustrated here.
If students are required to reproduce as well as label or explain the illustrations, they should be encouraged to practice drawing the charts, diagrams or figures rather than xeroxing them. The photo flash card strategy is recommended only when labeling and explaining are required.
Steps in the Photo Flash Strategy
- Xerox the figure, chart, or diagram from the textbook or notes.
- Use "White Out" to cover all the terms, lines, or points that identify structures or indicate relationships.
- Rexerox the whited-out illustration to reduce the size so that it will fit on a note card.
- Number the parts to be identified on the reduced illustration.
- Mount the numbered copy on one side of a note card.
- Identify the numbered parts on the other side of the note card.
- Show Me An Example Of the a Photo Flash Card
- Show Me Another Example Of a Photo Flash Card
Working in the Laboratory
Here are some tips for working in the laboratory (C. Krause, CAL).
- Don't trust your memory. Write down everything you think might be pertinent. If you don't have time to take notes during lab, write down the most important information immediately after class.
- Make a permanent record of your observations. Use your own words and descriptions so you will remember exactly what you observed. Keep the lab record in a notebook separate from the lecture notebook. Start your record of each lab session on a new page, headed with the date.
- Organize the recorded data. Arrange the data so that it will be clear and fully labeled for later reference.
- Don't trust yourself or the apparatus too much. Do at least an approximate analysis (including rough graphs) of the data while they are being taken so you can detect anything that is going wrong in time to do something about it. Don't wait until after lab is over.
- Baby the apparatus. Make notes of its limitations and watch it for signs of strange behavior.
- Don't start the experiment or analysis until you clearly understand the objectives and procedures. Keep the purpose of the experiment in mind.
- Write up your reports clearly, legibly, and concisely in the proper format. Illustrations should be rendered clearly and labeled. Do the write-up as soon after the lab as possible, while the information is fresh in your mind. It is customary to use the passive voice in a lab report. Include such things as: purpose, background theory, apparatus, procedure, results, and conclusions. The latter usually includes an assessment of accuracy and possible sources of error.