A new kind of first year physics prac

Hughes, Stephen W. (2008) A new kind of first year physics prac. In Effective Teaching and Learning Conference, 30-31 October 2008, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)


In 2008 the first year units of the restructured SC01 applied science program were introduced. One of these new units is SCB110 Science Concepts and Global Systems, which covers a very broad range of subjects such as the history of philosophy, geology, physics, climate change etc. A practical exercise to compliment the physics component of the course was required. The purpose of this practical assignment was to introduce students to some fundamental aspects of experimental science that included topics such as hypothesis testing, statistics, experimental error, referencing, visual display of results etc. Due to logistical problems of providing a single hands-on physics experiment for approximately 250 students, an activity was devised which involved students viewing a 14-minute video of an experiment to measure the speed of light in two blocks of glass using a laser beam. The video was placed on Blackboard in Podcast and QuickTime formats and a DVD was placed in the Gardens Point and Carseldine libraries. Students were given a document (via Blackboard) which included data collected from the experiment shown in the video and instructions on how to analyse the data and write a short scientific report with a 200-word abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion and reference sections. The document also included a photograph and diagram of the experimental set-up for students to include in their reports. Students were required to work in teams of two or three although an allowance was made for students who couldn’t manage to find a partner or who were intent on writing the report on their own. A survey was included in the document on Blackboard. Of the 242 enrolled students, 191 (78.3%) performed the prac and 112 (58.6%) of these students responded to the survey. The survey results are presented in this poster.

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ID Code: 17056
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: First year physics, laboratory exercise, laser, speed of light, refraction
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 22 Dec 2008 22:27
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:15

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