ERIC Number: ED264130
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Tools for Scientific Thinking: Microcomputer-Based Laboratories for the Naive Science Learner.
Thornton, Ronald K.
A promising new development in science education is the use of microcomputer-based laboratory tools that allow for student-directed data acquisition, display, and analysis. Microcomputer-based laboratories (MBL) make use of inexpensive microcomputer-connected probes to measure such physical quantities as temperature, position, and various physiological indicators. This paper discusses the use of a MBL motion probe in a sixth-grade classroom and in two college physics courses at Tufts Univerity which are primarily designed for humanists. The probe (developed from a sonic transducer used in Polaroid cameras) was used in both settings to teach relationships among position, velocity, and acceleration of objects as a function of time by use of immediate (real-time) graphical representations shown on a computer screen. In both cases the motion of the students' own bodies was initially used to teach the concepts involved. Results of observations, written work, and examinations show substantial student understanding of motion and graphing. Preliminary observations indicate that the linking of concrete measurement of an actual physical system with the simultaneous production of the symbolic representation may be an effective way for students to learn to correctly interpret and produce graphs. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Technical Education Research Center, Cambridge, MA.