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Abstract Title: Comparing Inquiry Labs to Traditional Labs in Introductory College Physics
Abstract: This study investigates the impact of changing two aspects of a traditional physics I lab on student attitudes and retention.  First of all, the labs were changed from cook book  style labs where students were told exactly what to do in each step of the lab to inquiry labs where students were asked to determine the best way to approach solving a problem with the given equipment.  The second change involved using more basic equipment such as stop watches and meter sticks instead of the more complicated equipment normally used in physics I labs.  It was theorized that students would understand the physics behind the labs more clearly if they did not have to spend a large portion of the lab learning to use the equipment and getting it to work correctly.  This study involves three physics I labs taught by the same professor during the summer of 2013.  Two of the classes were taught using the standard lab book and equipment.  The third class was taught using different labs with different equipment to teach the same physics concepts.  We found that students enjoyed the inquiry labs more and looked forward to the next assignment.  Furthermore students spent less time getting the equipment to work and more time learning the physics concepts.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Erin C. Sutherland, EdD
Kennesaw State University
1100 South Marietta Pkwy
Marietta, GA 30060
Phone: 256-714-8495
Fax: 678-915-7223
and Co-Presenter(s)
David Rosengrant, EdD, Kennesaw State University