Towards giving lab sessions - class review

Last updated on:2 years ago

Teaching a lab session not only need our professional knowledge, but also you need to know how to guide your students properly.


Why do we request undergraduate students to attend lab sessions?

  • The lecture is too dull, good to kill time
  • Follow the steps to prove a theory
  • Discover things through practical experiments
  • Get familiar with the equipment before Final Year Project

Why do we need a lab session?

  • Students investigate, analyse, and reflect.
  • Students can test and apply theories and make abstract concepts concrete.



Appreciate the theoretical part with an in-person experience

Solve the difficulties while doing a setup

Implement and collect data with their discovery


No interest in a particular topic

Repetitive tasks

The level of problems is too easy


First time to using the equipment

Limited time to accomplish the tasks

No idea what’s going on


  • In planning the design of the experiment or project, selecting the measurement technique, and determining the procedure to be used for validation of the data.

  • Hypotheses are formulated and then tested by comparing them with the results of the experiments or projects.

  • Compares and discusses the experimental or project results.

  • Prepares progress reports and final reports of the work.

Safety rules

Undergraduate students are not allowed to work in a laboratory without the supervision of qualified personnel (such as academic staff, research fellows, research assistants, graduate students and technical officers).

Smoking, eating and drinking are strictly prohibited in the laboratory.

Spillage of water on the floor etc. must be mopped up immediately.

Do not run or fool around in the laboratory.

Do not touch anything in the laboratory which is not part of your experiment.

Make sure that you know the proper way to use the equipment. Ask for instructions if you are not sure.

Report all accidents, spillages, breakages and injuries immediately to laboratory staff, immediate supervisor, safety officer, and department head when they occur.

Keep the laboratory clean and tidy.

Be prepared well

Pre-lab talk

  • Talk slowly and clearly
  • State the session topic and cover any important material
  • Encourage students to ask questions
  • Give them an unmistakable signal that it is time to start work

Main practical session

  • Answer question
  • Avoid spoiling students by doing their work
  • Guide them to answer
  • Don’t miss naybody
  • Don’t show favouritism
  • Be sensitive

Closing & cleaning up

  • Reinforce some of the critical points that you want the class to remember
  • A summary of the experiment/project
  • A link between the practical session and the theory covered in lectures
  • Any problems that may have been identified
  • Suggested further readings
  • A reminder of assignment format and due date
  • Clean up procedure

Providing assistance


  • Place yourself in a visible position in the room
  • Some students are uncomfortable about asking for help

Stay out

  • Provide opportunities for engaging each student
  • This will enable you to talk to everyone at least once

Use a system

  • Approach students systematically
  • A good way of monitoring the progress of group work


  • Watch to see which students need assistance
  • Offer your assistance in a sensitive way



Probing questions help to stimulate thinking skills. The teacher may probe for clarification or examples


Allow students time to think about a question before responding

Encourage student questions

Respond positively to any questions that emerge


React in a positive way despite the response


[1] CityU, SG8001S02 Teaching Students: First Steps.