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Porat, Gilit; Kapon, Shulamit – Physics Teacher, 2018
Although the teaching of mechanics at advanced K12 levels often starts with a brief introduction to physical quantities and units, the nature and function of measurements in physics and their inherent uncertainty are hardly ever discussed. The laboratory is mainly used to illustrate the theoretical principles taught in class. This paper presents a…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Mechanics (Physics), High School Students
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Bu, Frank; Marlowe, Robert Lloyd; Whitson, Kristin – Physics Teacher, 2017
This is the story of how an enterprising high school student came to my lab one afternoon, asking if there were any way that he could gain "hands-on" lab experience by working with me. While I had some doubts about allowing him to work in an area with an expensive 150-mW focused laser beam, I eventually said yes. I was well aware that a…
Descriptors: Physics, Student Attitudes, Science Experiments, High School Students
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Brown, Todd – Physics Teacher, 2014
Although nuclear half-life is vital to physics and physical science, and to sensitive societal issues from nuclear waste to the age of the Earth, a true lab on half-life is almost never done at the college or high school level. Seldom are students able to use radioactivity to actually date when an object came into being, as is done in this…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Experiments, Spectroscopy, Primary Sources
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Forrest, Doug; Whalen, Mary Battershell – Physics Teacher, 2012
Students entering physics courses in high school have seen graphs for years in math and science classes, but often do not have a deep understanding of the physical meaning of the graphs. This introductory activity is designed to allow students to collect data for a real world or physical situation (the height versus volume of water held in…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Graphs, Introductory Courses
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Orzel, Chad; Reich, Gary; Marr, Jonathan – Physics Teacher, 2012
The proper choice of a measurement technique that minimizes systematic and random uncertainty is an essential part of experimental physics. These issues are difficult to teach in the introductory laboratory, though. Because most experiments involve only a single measurement technique, students are often unable to make a clear distinction between…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Science Experiments, Laboratory Experiments
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Milanick, Mark – Physics Teacher, 2012
Two of the most frustrating things for me as a teacher are the way units and jargon can get in the way of understanding concepts. When I teach pre-nursing and medical students about blood pressure, they end up memorizing a lot of information that would be obvious if they had remembered some of their basic physics--particularly the ability to…
Descriptors: Physics, Medicine, Science Instruction, Jargon
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Doherty, Michael; Fish, Vincent L.; Needles, Madeleine – Physics Teacher, 2011
Scientists and teachers have worked together to produce teaching materials for the Very Small Radio Telescope (VSRT), an easy-to-use, low-cost apparatus that can be used in multiple laboratory experiments in high school and university physics and astronomy classes. In this article, we describe the motivation for the VSRT and several of the…
Descriptors: Investigations, Physics, Laboratory Experiments, Astronomy
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Beeken, Paul – Physics Teacher, 2011
While perusing various websites in search of a more challenging lab for my students, I came across a number of ideas where replacing the string in an Atwood's machine with a simple ball chain like the kind found in lamp pulls created an interesting system to investigate. The replacement of the string produced a nice nonuniform acceleration, but…
Descriptors: Physics, Laboratory Experiments, Science Experiments, Science Instruction
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Laubach, Timothy A.; Elizondo, Lee A.; McCann, Patrick J.; Gilani, Shahryar – Physics Teacher, 2010
When illuminating four "mystery" vials of nanoparticle solution with a 405-nm light emitting diode (LED), four distinct colors related to the peak wavelength of fluorescent emission can be observed. This phenomenon perplexes high school physics students and leads to the subsequent exploratory question, "Why are the four vials emitting a different…
Descriptors: Inquiry, Science Instruction, Physics, Science Activities
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Jones, David – Physics Teacher, 2009
I have come to the conclusion that for high school physics classroom and laboratory experiences, simpler is better! In this paper I describe a very simple and effective lab experience that my AP students have thoroughly enjoyed year after year. I call this lab exercise "Time Trials." The experiment is simple in design and it is a lot of fun for…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Science Laboratories, High Schools