I’ve only had two instances when a sample made its way into a pocket, but I’ve had more than a few disappear under cabinets, get returned to the wrong place, or lose labels. Some teams forget to return samples before selecting another, or have a tendency to hoard. An alternative to placing all samples on a table for teams to access at will, the following simple procedure helps you keep track of where your samples are, and keeps them moving efficiently from team to team.

Prepare a tag for each team using a unique designation, such as a number or letter, or use team members’ names. Prepare a grid with spaces the same size as the tags. Enter one sample in each space, identified by a unique letter, number, description, and/or picture. If teams are identified by numbers or letters don’t identify samples by those same numbers or letters. This confuses some students who think they can only take the sample with the same number or letter as their team.

Some example sample grids are shown below:

A volunteer adult or older student should monitor the sample distribution. Teams present their tags when they select a sample. Place the tags on the chosen samples’ spaces on the grid. Teams must return the first sample before obtaining another. Move the team tags so they’re always on the corresponding sample. I like to place the samples in mushroom boxes labeled with the same designation on the grid.

Do you have any other sample management approaches that work well for you? Drop us a comment or send an email; we’d love to hear it!

Categories: Logistics


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