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Abstract Title: Exploring design in the introductory physics laboratory
Abstract: Inquiry-based laboratory activities that emphasize scientific reasoning skills are better than more traditional alternatives, but how much "design" is too much? In this study, students in one semester of introductory physics are split into two different "design-focused" sequences of laboratory activities: heuristically scaffolded, ISLE-like (Rutgers) labs and largely exploratory, SCL-like (Maryland) labs. Both sequences are implemented over five bi-weekly meetings. Written reports were evaluated using the same rubrics as those used to assess scientific reasoning abilities in ISLE labs, so our findings are directly comparable with results reported from Rutgers. We observe slight differences between the two groups along some dimensions that seem to favor the more exploratory sequence, though our clearest observation is that five bi-weekly meetings is not sufficient for several important abilities. We elaborate on these findings and make suggestions for future implementation of these approaches to introductory laboratories.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jason E. Dowd
Harvard University
9 Oxford Street
Mazur Group
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (773) 383-0088
and Co-Presenter(s)
Eric Mazur, Harvard University