Reviving Creativity in Our Introductory Physics Labs
MetadataShow full item record
Approaching a question without fear, coming up with an idea, designing a test to see if the idea might be right, revising the idea (or the question), and trying again when your results take you someplace unexpected. These behaviors are shared and valued by most physicists, yet for a variety of reasons - some practical and some historical - these are often not the behaviors that we encourage in our introductory physics labs. We have developed a portable wireless lab system with the goal of putting simple yet powerful tools in the hands of every student, and we are piloting a new design-based approach to our introductory physics labs based on this tool. Our students invent experiments and acquire data, both in and out of the classroom, and share their data with each other and with instructors, using an integrated cloud-based repository. This new approach is allowing us to shift the focus of our introductory labs toward creativity, design, sense-making, and communication. I will describe this project and present some encouraging preliminary results.