This is the second year I'm teaching the same chemistry lab. It is an intro course for non-majors, and it is fucking boring. They spend an entire lab period measuring the density of water.*
I don't pretend the labs are riveting; instead, I tell them why we bother (to learn, for example, about how much confidence we have in our measurements, and what accuracy is, and why it is not the same as precision.) I have a brief lecture for every week, which summarizes what they're learning and doing.
However, they must also READ THE DIRECTIONS. I cannot prevent them from making every dumb mistake. There are detailed procedures for every lab! And some of them do, in fact, read the directions and do the lab correctly. Also, despite the fact that I offer to look over their lab reports before they turn them in,** only the very clever ones ever take me up on this, which ensures the clever ones get high As instead of low As, and the ones who really needed the help... don't ask for it.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm teaching them anything, or just applying punitive consequences for being, as my spouse says, 'bad at life'.
* Which is only 1 g/mL to a first approximation.
** Due at the end of each class period, before they leave. So they don't even have to come to office hours!!! AND YET.