2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Student Designed Experiments in Advanced Lab: A Carleton Experiment
Abstract: Carleton College's advanced lab course is taught over a ten-week academic term. The course is divided into three lecture meetings and one four hour lab meeting per week. This compressed schedule creates a challenging environment to teach the multifaceted nuances of experimental physics. In an effort to expose students to the full range of experimental physics from experimental design through data analysis and to provide an authentic experience in experimental physics, student-designed experiments were implemented in the latter portion of the course this year. Seventeen students were divided into six lab groups. Each group was required to develop an idea for an experiment (usually from existing literature or discussions with the instructor), draft an experimental proposal, revise the proposal based on instructor and peer feedback, and then carry out the experiment. The experiments had not been done previously at Carleton College, but relied on available (or buildable) equipment and instrumentation. The experiments ranged from studying the physics of liquid drop pinch-off to measuring the mass of the muon. In this presentation I will briefly provide the scope of experiments undertaken by the students and present the benefits and shortcomings of using the pedagogical technique of student-designed experiments in an advanced lab course.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Dwight Luhman
Carleton College
One North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057
Phone: 507-222-7167