The Design, Development, and Assessment of an Interactive by kMd55I68

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									     The Design, Development, and Assessment of an
    Interactive Engagement Laboratory Experience in
                  Introductory Physics
                               Brian Klug1 and Michael Thiel2
                                  Advisor: David P. Wick3
                                   Department of Physics

The current laboratory experience in the introductory sequence of physics courses at Clarkson University
is based on the traditional passive learning pedagogical model. While this approach provides an efficient
way to teach a large number of students, it allows for minimal variation and creativity on the part of the
students. As an alternative, an inquiry-based interactive engagement laboratory experience has been
designed to better prepare students in the areas of experimental design, theoretical development, and data
analysis. Students will be given the task of modeling the motion of a plastic dart ejected from a toy dart
gun. The project covers many of the topics discussed in Physics I, including kinematics, dynamics,
projectile motion, air resistance, and harmonic motion. Students will be responsible for mathematically
modeling the inner workings of the gun, both analytically and numerically. The pedagogical approach is
modeled after the interactive approach used in the Physics Team Design Program, which is currently
designed for advanced students who participate on a voluntary basis. Although these students attend the
same traditionally taught lectures as other students, the enhanced experience they receive in the laboratory
component of the course permits them to develop a greater conceptual understanding of physics. These
conceptual gains have been quantified by administrating a research-based pre- and post-test to all physics
students, known as the Force Concepts Inventory (FCI). The successful results achieved with the team
design approach have been documented in the American Journal of Physics (Wick, D.P. and Ramsdell,
M. W., Modeling the Motion of a Toy Car Traveling on an Arbitrarily Shaped Track, American Journal
of Physics, Vol. 70, (No. 7), July 2002, pp. 670-679.) and we hope to achieve similar results with this new
project. A pilot program including three sections of the Physics I class is expected to begin Fall 2003.




1
  Class of 2005, Clarkson University Physics Department, Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Program
2
  Class of 2004, Clarkson University Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department, Honors Program
3
  Assistant Professor, Clarkson University Physics Department
Oral Presentation

								
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