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From authentic experiments and everyday observations to introductory physics problems

Gorazd Planinsic (University of Ljubljana)
Monday, January 11, 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

It is a common belief that, in introductory physics, real experiments serve as either demonstration experiments or lab experiments. Real experiments appear in end-of-chapter (EOC) problems very rarely. In most textbooks, EOC problems are based on hypothetical experiments that are performed in ideal conditions, often with explicitly given all numerical values and pre-determined assumptions. Solving EOC problems often becomes a mathematical exercise for the students without connections to real world phenomena. In my talk, I will show examples of simple experiments that were successfully transformed to different types of EOC problems and other activities for students. I will also describe the benefits of such problems and I will reflect on changes in my own perception of the role of experiments that were crucial in creating these types of problems. The examples were created for in-person teaching but we found out that during the pandemic they serve as a rich resource for students’ out-of-class experiential learning. 

Panopto video

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