The Book: Physics 1110 Lab Manual, 2nd Edition, by Mark Davenport
The Instructor: Jerry O’Connor ¤ CAC 238 ¤ 733-2835 ¤ firstname.lastname@example.org
office hours: 8 – 11 am and by appointment
MATERIALS: As specified in the lab manual, you will need the lab manual, pen, pencil, lined
paper, graph paper, and a calculator; a small ruler might also be useful.
PROGRAM: During each lab period, teams of two or three students will work together at each
lab station to carry out the specified experiment or investigation. An introduction
to the activity will be presented at the beginning of the period; some experiments will deviate
from the procedure given in the lab manual, so be alert for modifications! A written report or
presentation will be required after each lab activity is completed. The report format is given in
the lab manual. You must be present and participate in the activity in order to get full credit.
Each group member must write their own report; presentations will be made by the team. There
will also be a "practical" lab test at the end of the term. The grading scheme is as follows:
Lab Reports 75% +> lowest score dropped
Lab Test 15%
Pre or post-Lab Assignments 5%
Attendance and participation 5%
All assignments will be graded on a metric (10 point) scale. Late work will decrease exponentially
in value, with a one week half-life. There is a coupon in this handout that allows you one penalty-
free late report, or a 3 point bonus at the end of the term if you have turned in all assigned
reports on time. See the fine print at the bottom of the coupon for details. If you miss a lab, a
make-up is not likely. The lowest report score will be dropped when the final lab grade is
computed, so you can miss one without an adverse affect on your average.
>>> Arrive on time and be well prepared, (bring an ink pen!). Avoid trying to finish your report at
the beginning of class. It will still be counted late, and you are likely to get further behind on
the next one.
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GENERAL POLICIES (continued):
>>> All members of each group are expected to participate equally in the lab activity. Discuss
the principles, method, and procedures involved with the others in your lab group, and take turns
making measurements and confirming your partners' results.
>>> Data is Science's sacred cow. Record all measurements, on the lab manual data forms in ink.
You will lose points if you use pencil, white-out, change or otherwise obliterate any values, or
record values anywhere else than on your data page. If you don't like the way your recorded
values look, then make an effort to improve your data presentation on the next experiment. It
is neither productive nor necessary to re-write the data just to make it look nice. You will not
be penalized if your work is legible and any necessary corrections are done neatly and in
>>> Perform all lab work safely and recognize potential hazards. Stop working and notify the
instructor immediately if you become aware of any situation that appears hazardous.
>>> Always be kind to equipment. Do not try to force or fix anything. If something does not
work like you think it is supposed to, step back for a minute and think about what's happening,
(this might result in a spontaneous learning experience!). If the apparatus persists in its
aberrant behavior, report it immediately.
>>> Display a professional attitude toward your colleagues, your coursework, and the classroom.
Leave all lab areas neat, clean, and in good order. If you find that a previous class has left
something out of order, please report it.
>>>>>> NO SNACKS OR DRINKS ARE ALLOWED IN THE LAB <<<<<<
(remove at dotted line and attach to late lab report)
Late Lab Report Waiver
When this waiver is attached to a late lab report, it will be graded as if turned in on time.
Name: ________________________ Experiment # :____________
Due Date_______________ Turn-in Date_______________
This waiver may also be redeemed at the end of the term to augment your lab report score
by three percentage points IF all assigned reports have been turned in on time.
Write in “Bonus Points” for Exp. # and attach to your final lab report.
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Lab Report Checklist
1) Data: in ink, on the data pages only, not on scrap paper.
2) For all Physical Quantities: remember precision, units, and significant figures.
3) Graphing: use graph paper, include labels and units, label points used for slopes,
do not use data points for slopes, and show slope calculation (with units).
4) Summary: In your own words describe what the experiment was about. Be sure to
discuss, (not list), what quantities were measured, which ones were calculated, and
what physics was used to derive the results from the measurements. Please don't
dwell on trivial or unnecessary details of procedure, (such as the number of times a
quantity was measured or how measurements were averaged). Please do explain any
trends or irregularities in the data and/or results and what experimental errors
appeared to be most significant. The summary will make up 10% of the lab report
Recent Science Quote:
“Physics is often called an ‘exact’ science. But… in practice the strength
of physics always rests on the art of making approximations- of learning to
ignore details that don’t really matter, and to focus only on those that do.”
“The point isn’t that any oversimplified model will do, but that
oversimplified models can go a long way if they get right the few
details that really matter .”
From The Social Atom, by Mark Buchanan
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