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LAMP Fellows: Daniel Dale, Jessica Sutter, and Dylan Kloster
"Asking real-world questions with inquiry-based labs"
We have developed and employed a set of inquiry-based labs built around engaging “real-world” scenarios for our studio-style introductory Physics II course. In real-world situations, there is more than one path to success and step-by-step instructions are not provided. For this reason, the primary goal for these labs is to provide students with the freedom to develop collaborative solutions to open-ended challenges, where creativity and independent thought are encouraged. This approach is more akin to what they will encounter in the academic or industrial lab settings. The main challenges facing the students are developing the experimental plan and writing an in-depth lab report; in the end, the necessary measurements typically require only 5-10 minutes. The primary challenge to the instructor(s) is providing just enough guidance to keep students on the path to a feasible plan without giving away the solution. Student feedback has been very positive and we have made these labs freely available to our students and the larger physics community. View the entire publication.
LAMP Fellow: Ramesh Sivanpillai
"Relating leaf spectral reflectance to its color: an inquiry-based activity to enhance understanding of electromagnetic radiation"
Understanding the concept of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and its interaction with matter (absorption, reflection, and transmission) can be difficult for students in seventh and eighth grade physical science classes. This inquiry-based activity (IBA) is aimed at improving their understanding of these concepts by exploring the interaction of EMR with leaves of different plant species or health conditions. Incorporating at least two different types of leaves from the local environment and measuring their interaction with EMR peaks student interest in this activity. View the entire publication.
LAMP Fellows: Jessica Sutter, Daniel Dale, Janel Seeley, Ed Nufer, and Kali Nicholas Moon
"Expanding minds through explorations of our expanding universe"
Science is the observation of patterns inherent in the universe, composing the language by which the natural world communicates. To provide non-STEM students a meaningful experience of science, I developed a series of engaging, investigative activities through which students in an introductory astronomy course act as scientists to explore the world they inhabit. These activities focus on having students use real data they gather, or data gathered from academic journals and databases, to reach important conclusions about the nature of our universe. As an example, one activity focuses on using Type Ia supernova magnitudes to measure the accelerating expansion of the universe and is the focus of this paper. View the entire publication.