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Newton won a stunning victory for the intellect and the democratization of science, because it became possible for students to have as much authority as teachers. By knowing proper methods, a youth could conduct an experiment whose results might confound his elders.” Newton’s program of “experimental philosophy” firmly and successfully established the central methods of physics, whereby inference from experience guides formulation of hypotheses, whose predictions are validated by experiment.

Laboratory activities in high school physics provide experience with phenomena, a starting place for the systematic development of students’ ideas, and a testing ground for the predictive power of their reasoning.

    Laboratory activities are designed to engage students so that they may acquire skills to:

  • measure physical quantities with appropriate accuracy
  • recognize factors that could affect the reliability of their measurements
  • manipulate materials, apparatus, tools, and measuring instruments
  • clearly portray their descriptions of their observations and measurements
  • represent information in appropriate verbal, pictorial, graphical, and mathematical terms
    inference and reason their observations
  • rationally defend their conclusions and predictions
  • effective and valued participation with their peers and their teacher in a cooperative intellectual enterprise
  • articulate reporting of observations, conclusions, and predictions in formats ranging from
    informal discussion to a formal laboratory report
  • recognize those questions that can be investigated through experiment and to plan, carry out, evaluate, and report on such experiments
  • The Physics lab opens the door for entirely new exploration-based forms of education. With this potential in mind, the lab provides an aid to teachers and students wishing to try out virtual, “hands-on” experiences in physics.