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Paper: Smartphone Lab: Inverse Square Law of Light
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 261
Authors: Cobb, B. E.
Abstract: During the 2021–2022 academic year, almost all classes at the George Washington University were taught fully online, primarily via synchronous instruction using Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom. Over the year, I redeveloped many of my standard hands-on physics and astronomy activities and labs into fully digital assignments using online digital simulations, videos, Google Docs (etc.) and introduced many new digital activities, as well. While these digital experiences were, on the whole, successful in reinforcing class content and giving students a taste of the scientific process, I still wanted to find a way for my students to conduct a true, physical experiment that would engage them in the full scientific process from developing their own experimental procedure, to collecting and analyzing data, and finally to drawing an evidence-based conclusion while considering, in detail, sources of experimental error. To that end, I developed a lab that required students to use just three pieces of equipment that I could expect they all had access to regardless of the location from which they were attending class: a smartphone, a light source, and a distance measuring device (such as a ruler or tape measure). In this presentation, I will describe this smartphone-based lab, its learning objectives, and the resultant student outcomes. I used this lab in an introductory-level undergraduate class, but it could also be adapted for use with high school students or more advanced undergraduates.
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