Teaching Optics in the Introductory Mechanics Laboratory
American Association of Physics Teachers Winter meeting 2012
Laboratory often is simply an adjunct to the class as a hands-on demonstration.
Previously, we had significantly modified our first semester and
second semester laboratories in recognition of the fact that if you change
physical concepts and equipment in every laboratory class, the labs must
devolve into instruction following activities. In the second semester, we
have the students learn about circuits through investigation in the laboratory
and removed the topic from the lecture. The first semester laboratories
(mechanics) were modified so that the focus, while still mechanics was
much more narrow and concerned with application of kinematics and
Newton’s laws. Being radical, we decided to put all of the laboratories into
the lecture as interactive lecture investigations and used the laboratory
time to have the students learn about geometric optics through investigation.
This presentation will describe our approach and the measures of
student learning in optics and mechanics.
Mark Masters and Timothy Grove (2012).
Teaching Optics in the Introductory Mechanics Laboratory. Presented at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter meeting 2012, Ontario CA.