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educators program

Inquiry-Based Honors Physics Labs

Wednesday, 3 August, 8:30 - 10 am
Room 502B

This paper describes a new set of laboratories for the Honors Freshman Physics class at the University of Minnesota. The new labs are much more free-form than conventional ones; students are given a topic (such as "do an experiment about air resistance") and allowed to design, analyze, and simulate their own experiments. After analyzing their experiments, they present their results to the rest of the class. The new labs are much more like working in a real research environment, and they lead to a much deeper and more flexible understanding of the topic. The labs are running smoothly after one semester, and our students seem quite happy with them, though we do not have any hard assessment results so far.

Peter Border
University of Minnesota