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.
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