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 Auburn Students Pilot Physics Labs from the University of Illinois for Publishing Project

11/7/2018 8:00 AM

​My AP physics students at Auburn High School were presented with a unique opportunity this year. I agreed to consult on a project for Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishers. Several years ago, Mats Selen, professor at the University of Illinois​ Urbana-Champaign designed the iOLab "lab in a box" – a unique piece of equipment that's a car and every sensor imaginable – all for $100. This is incredible given that a motion sensor alone runs close to $90! Students in physics 101 at the University each purchase and use the iOLab exclusively for all of their labs, which have been redesigned to be highly inquiry-based and to develop student lab skills. Prelabs are done in the students’ dorms ahead of the lab session. I had the opportunity to participate in an iOLab workshop and later visit the University of Illinois to sit in on a lab and see it in action among junior pre-med students. Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishers are hoping to adopt the lab suite for the high school AP physics classroom. 

During the physics teachers association meeting in Washington, D.C. this summer, Professor Selen recommended me for the consult. While an experienced AP teacher can certainly predict possible student challenges, I decided to pull together a group of student volunteers to pilot each of the labs as they progress through their AP physics 1 course. Students are then expected to write up the lab reports as well as a reflection on the labs and their feasibility for the AP course. These students should be commended for not only volunteering their time, but for committing to work through an entire semester of college exercises directly from the University! I took all of the student feedback into consideration to create the final versions of the labs. The students working on the project include: Maysoon Harunani, Frankie Ingram, Luca Barba, Aryan Arora, Mohammad Salem, Emma Brinkmann, Gwen Andres, Zane Edleman, Maya Pandya, Khushi Patel, Viktoria Szymanowicz and Pranav Volety.

Seniors Maysoon Harunani and Frankie Ingram test a hypothesis regarding the acceleration up and down a ramp.
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