Lab 4: Choose your own adventure

This lab is quite different from the previous ones: your final product will be a series of posts on this web site instead of a formal article. So what exactly do you have to do?

Due dates

The first blog post is due Wednesday, November 6.
Subsequent blog posts should roll out over the next two weeks.
The final blog post is due Monday, November 18.

What you will produce

You will be expected to write essentially the same material as you have been doing in your lab reports, but spread out over multiple blog posts. I expect you to write somewhere between 4–8 blog posts (depending on their length). Because this lab is collaborative, I expect the total sum of all your blog posts to be of greater depth and quality than your individual lab reports.

You must share this writing among your group. I would like to see at least one or two posts written by each group member. I also encourage you to collaborate on posts! (It is true that each post can only have one official “author”, so if you share a post please manually write the list of principle authors at the bottom.)

Differences from lab reports

Due to the incremental nature of blog posts, your work should be organized slightly differently than before. It doesn’t make sense to have post #1 represent the first 20% of an article, post #2 represent the next 20%, and so on. Instead, each blog post should contain a mixture of the key elements of lab reports: motivation, definitions, questions, investigation, experimental data, observations, proofs, and conclusions. (Of course your earlier posts may still contain more introductory material and your later posts may contain more conclusion-type material.)

For example, it doesn’t make sense to write a blog post containing a laundry list of definitions. Nobody would remember that in the next post! Instead, a typical post might begin with short motivation and recall certain definitions, then carry out a part of the investigation, and end with further questions to be answered in the next post.

Another important difference is the features available on the web. You can easily link to external resources and include a wider variety of pictures. In fact, you are required to string your blog posts together by always including a linking to the next and previous posts. Lastly, you should give all of your posts a special category name, and give each post one or more relevant tags.


I strongly encourage you to read and comment on your colleagues’ blog posts during this unit. Instead of exchanging drafts, we will reserve a special period during class to read and leave comments. Instead of receiving feedback on drafts, you will receive comments from me and each other!