program_wb_i - page 61

July 26–30, 2014
1:40-1:50 p.m. The Development and Implementation of
a Senior Research Course
Contributed – Timothy A. Duman, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
This presentation will follow the development and implementation of our
senior research (Phys 490) course at the University of Indianapolis. Phys
490 was designed so that a student would get experience with the following
methods: theoretical, experimental and computational techniques used by
physicists to solve problems. The idea behind this course is that a student
would work on the same project but use these techniques to approach
the problem. The student chooses their own project with the advice of an
instructor. Students in this course were also required to present their work
in three different ways: a written paper, a poster and an oral presentation.
1:50-2 p.m. Authentic Research in the Undergraduate
Curriculum at Austin College
Contributed – Andra Troncalli, Austin College, Sherman, TX 75090; atron-
David Baker, Don Salisbury, Peter Hyland, Austin College
At Austin College, we believe that students learn physics best by do-
ing physics. What better opportunity for our students to do physics and
be active participants in their learning than by conducting authentic
scientific research? Our physics majors (minors) are required to take two
(one) of our “Research Experience in Physics” courses. Students work in
small groups on independent research projects under the supervision of
a faculty member. Research areas match the faculty members’ expertise
and interests, which include Superconductivity, Cosmology, Weather, and
Observational Astronomy. We will present recent research investigations
and discuss the benefits of these courses both to our current students and
to our graduates.
2-2:10 p.m. Implementing Instructional Research Labs
to Give Students Authentic Scientific Experiences in a
Classroom Environment
Contributed – Benjamin L. Stottrup, Augsburg College, Department of Phys-
ics, Minneapolis, MN 55454;
Sarah B. McKagan, American Association of Physics Teachers
We describe an approach to giving students authentic scientific experi-
ences in a classroom environment, which we refer to as an instructional
research lab. Instructional research labs are designed to replicate many
of the benefits of undergraduate research, along with addressing many of
its shortcomings, in a classroom environment. The goals of this approach
are for students to engage in and understand authentic scientific prac-
tices and to develop identities as scientists. Students achieve these goals
through developing research questions, planning experiments to carry
them out, troubleshooting the inevitable problems that arise in these
experiments, building on the work of others, collaborating in groups,
writing proposals, keeping lab notebooks, and presenting their work. Our
instructional research labs are implemented in the laboratory portion of
a sophomore-level modern physics class at Augsburg College, and focus
on the research topic of creating and characterizing hydrophobic surfaces,
a topic that takes advantage of local resources and expertise. We describe
our implementation of instructional research labs, as well as the underly-
ing principles of our approach, which we believe could be applied in many
other instructional environments using different research topics, resources,
and expertise.
2:10-2:20 p.m. Assessing the Impact of Instructional
Research Labs on Students’ Scientific Practices and
Science Identities
Contributed – Sarah McKagan, American Association of Physics Teachers
1810 E Republican St #7 Seattle, WA 98112;
Benjamin L. Stottrup, Augsburg College
We report on a study of the impact of sophomore-level modern physics
labs designed to give students authentic research experiences and support
them in developing identities as scientists. In these labs, students propose
their own research questions, develop plans to answer them, and carry out
those plans, modifying them as necessary to address unexpected issues
that inevitably arise. We demonstrate the effectiveness of these labs using
evidence from analysis of questions during students’ final presentations
and from student interviews. We show that these labs support students in
(1) engaging in authentic scientific practices, (2) giving accurate descrip-
tions of the practices of scientists that are rooted in their own experiences,
and (3) shifting from identifying as scientists in the future to identifying as
scientists in the present. We argue that the third shift is caused by a meta-
cognitive awareness of the first two shifts. That is, not only are students
engaging in scientific practices and understanding what scientists do, but
they are aware that they are doing so, and are excited and empowered by
this awareness.
2:20-2:30 p.m. From Prepared Instructions to Self
Reorganized Experiments
Contributed – Fuli Zhao, Sun Yat-sen University, School of Physics and Engi-
neering, 510275 China;
Han Shen, Min Chen. Xintu Cui, Sun Yat-sen University
From the traditional instructions we have established a new set of experi-
mental instructions called three periods training program in the course
of General Physics Experiment at Sun Yat-sen University. The first period
is focused on the regular measurements of basic physical quantity. The
purpose is to make students be familiar and skillful with scientific mea-
surement including the scientific notation and the analysis of experimental
uncertainty. The second period is focused on the recognition of physics
laws and relationships. In this period, the students can think in physics and
with clear intention to find the relationships between certain parameters as
well as the propagation of error. The third period is focused on the experi-
ment with open questions and contents. The goal is to spark the students to
start making research-like works including reorganizing research materials
and writing experimental reports with the journal style and most impor-
tantly find their own views in the open part of the experiment. This work is
supported by NSFC J1103211 and J1210034
2:30-2:40 p.m. Frictionless Racquetball?
Contributed – Mikhail Kagan, Penn State Abington, 1600 Woodland Rd.
Abington, PA 19001-3918;
When a ball hits a surface, does the angle of reflection always equal the
angle of incidence? Not at all! Depending on the interplay of the ball’s spin
and speed and the force of friction, the ball’s behavior after the bounce
may differ dramatically. Surely some experienced racquetball, Ping-Pong,
pool, tennis, and players alike take advantage of this fact. A physics teacher,
in turn, can take advantage of the fact that by observing the bounce of a
ball her students can determine the coefficient of friction between the ball
and the floor. All it takes is a typical video (smartphone) camera and some
standard software. To challenge the students beyond this standard exercise
and to create a research-like opportunity for them, the teacher can then
arrange for a “frictionless bounce.”
2:40-2:50 p.m. A Versatile Lab for Research by
Students at All Levels
Contributed – Randall Tagg, University of Colorado, Physics Dept CB 157,
Denver, CO 80217-3364;
The Innovation Hyperlab serves students from middle school to graduate
level. It is a university-grade research environment located in a former
auto-shop building next to Gateway High School in Aurora, CO. The
lab houses resources for 52 different technologies, such as mechanical
components, analogy electronics, optical systems, micro-controllers,
and nanoparticles. A website under development supports learning “on
demand” about each technology. Components of the web-based learning
can be assembled like LEGO(TM)-bricks into regular curricula at different
levels (8th grade to graduate). A Saturday program engages K-12 students,
undergraduates, teachers, and university faculty in collaborative research
and innovation. Going well beyond the notion of a “maker space,” the In-
Monday afternoon
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