The purpose of this case study of three laboratory exercises in biology, chemistry and physics is to show how three Swedish secondary school science teachers’ objectives for labwork are carried out in practice. What objectives do the teachers
put forward for specific laboratory exercises, what objectives appear in supporting laboratory manuals and how do objectives appear in teacher and student interactions during laboratory work? In three cases, pre-interviews with teachers
about their objectives took place, laboratory manuals were collected, video recordings of the actual laboratory exercises were made and post-interviews with teachers about these video-recordings took place. Comparisons between objectives
expressed by the teachers, identified in laboratory manuals and identified in teacher actions and teacher-student interactions were made to examine how objectives appeared during labwork. The results show that the introduction of the laboratory exercise and its laboratory manual is very important for the way
labwork is performed. In order for teachers’ objectives to be implemented, results in this study put forward that a correlation between objectives, laboratory manual and actual labwork is favourable. Objectives need to be explicit to the teacher and
that teachers’ awareness of the need to pursue objectives is crucial.