Sample handling and laboratory notebook maintenance are necessary skills but can seem abstract if not presented to students in context. An introductory exercise focusing on proper sample handling, data collection and laboratory notebook keeping for the general chemistry laboratory was developed to emphasize the importance of keeping an accurate notebook. The exercise requires minimal technique or prior knowledge, and as such provides students a comfortable introduction to the college laboratory setting. Details of the activity, including preparation, background, procedure, and postactivity instruction, are provided. Alternative uses and application of the activity are also proposed.