MCB 101
Introductory Microbiology Lab
School of Molecular & Cellular Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Laboratory Assignments

Pre-labs:
Pre-labs will be administered via LON-CAPA and are worth 10 points each.  They should be completed before lab work begins, but do NOT need to be taken in the Learning Center.  The purpose of the pre-lab is to ensure that you have prepared properly for the lab and have a good grasp of its purpose and, perhaps, its expected results.  Therefore, no late pre-labs will be accepted.  All students will be permitted to drop their lowest pre-lab score at the end of the semester.

Lab Worksheets:
Lab worksheets are short fill in the blank data presentation and analysis for labs that do not require a formal report.  These worksheets have been provided for you at the back of the lab manual.  The pages are perforated and can be torn out.  Typically a lab worksheet is due each day that you have a lab experiment.  At the TA’s or instructor’s discretion, however, they may be turned in during the next lab period.

Lab Reports:
There are no formal lab reports this semester but the instructions on how to prepare a lab report can still be found in the lab manual.

General Instructions for Lab Reports:
All MCB 101 students are required to keep a laboratory notebook of their data.  You may use a spiral bound notebook or a carbonless duplicate page lab notebook for this purpose.  You should record all data and observations in your laboratory notebook.  Your notebook is a personal record of your work and keeping it thorough and neat is essential.  It is important that your notes are legible enough for someone else to read.  Errors should be crossed out with a single line so they remain legible.  Do not erase or scratch out errors.

Final lab reports should be typed using a common 12-point font, like Times.  The report should be double spaced with 1-inch margins on all sides.   Explicit instructions on what to include in each report are generally given on the last page of the lab exercise in the lab manual.

Typical Organizational Format for Lab Reports:
Typically the organizational format that should be used for lab reports is as follows:

  • Title Page:  Student Name, Section, Title of the Exercise and the Date the exercise began.  The date is important because reagents and cultures may differ from day to day.
  • Formal Data Presentation.  Present the actual data and observations collected in your lab notebook in a neat table or graph.  Include any photographs that were taken.
  1. All graphs should include a title and labeled axis, including units and what they represent.


  2. Numerical data should be arranged in neat tables, which should include titles, units and explanatory notes.

  • Data Analysis (Results).  Make calculations from your data.  Include at least one sample of all necessary calculations, including dilutions (show how you did the entire calculation).  You should report the biologically significant information, showing what occurred in the exercise using the data you obtained.
  • Discussion.  Summarize your results and state any general conclusions that you are able to make from the lab.  Are the results what you expected?  If you do not believe your results are convincing, you should discuss possible sources of problems and ways that the experiment could be changed in future attempts.  This section should always include a discussion of whether or not you were able to achieve the objectives for this lab and the reasons for any failure to do so.  It should always be written in paragraph form using complete sentences.
  • Raw Data.  A copy of your raw data from your lab notebook should be stapled to the back of your lab report.