Once upon a time…
There was a mad, evil middle school science teacher who held the crazy belief that his science students could actually (successfully!) do some of the things that real scientists do. One night, asleep in his evil layer, he had an evil dream. It was in this dream that weeLABs™ were born.
What are “weeLABs™?”
In short, weeLABs™ are a special scientific writing practice invented by the Drs. Merritt. weeLAB™ is a neologism that brings together no less than four concepts.
- First, “wee-” stands for weekly. The Drs. Merritt typically invite their science students to begin a new weeLAB™ every Monday throughout the entire school year.
- Second, “wee-” is also an informal Scottish term for small in size or extent. weeLABs™ are short scientific investigations usually focused on a single, commonly encountered thing. The ‘thing’ could be an object, subject, idea or concept, or even a process.
- Third, “we-” is an English pronoun used to mean (loosely) a group of two or more persons acting together. weeLABs™ are short scientific investigations are communal acts that require collaboration. In fact, you will sometimes hear your teachers say in class, “Hey, let’s weelaborate.”
- Fourth, and finally, “-eLAB” stands for elaboration. To elaborate means to “add more detail concerning what has already been said.” Some synonyms for elaboration are expand on, add (detail) to, supplement, augment, extend, broaden, amplify, enhance, flesh out. weeLABs™ invite students to elaborate the written definition of a single, commonly encountered thing (object, subject, idea, concept, process, etc.)
In summary, weeLABs™ are weekly scientific exercises in which Grade 7 students engage in elaboration, but also collaboration, to produce a formal written artifact.
What is “elaboration”?
Elaboration is a special term the Drs. Merritt use to summarize a suite (a collection) of important scientific practices. When working on their weeLABS™, and often in collaboration with their teacher(s) and peers, Grade 7 students engage in key scientific practices such as translation, explication, classification, description, observation, analysis, synthesis, logical reasoning, and written expression…just to name a few.
How many weeLABs™ will I be asked to do?
weeLABs™ are designed for Grade 7 students (Grade 6 students go to Flavour School!). Grade 7 students are asked to complete approximately 10 weeLABs™ per semester. Over the course of the entire school year, this means that students will complete 20 of them or so. With only the occasional exception, weeLABs™ typically begin on Mondays. The final written products are typically due at the beginning of class 7 days later–also a Monday. During the 2019-20 school year, weeLABs are planned for the following weeks:
- SEMESTER 1 – Weeks 4-7, Week 10, Weeks 12-16
- SEMESTER 2 – Weeks 1-2, Week 6-11, Weeks 13-14
What will I get from completing the weeLABs™?
Grade 7 students who devote serious, sustained intellectual energies to their weeLABs™ typically develop highly significant, lifelong scientific superpowers!
What if I’ve already completed a weeLAB™ and I simply want to return to a certain page within the practice?
You can absolutely do that via the use of the links embedded in the outline below.
I. The Oath
II. The Gift
III. What is Elaboration?
To begin your weeLAB™ journey sequentially, proceed to THE OATH.
Last updated: September 2019