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Originally Shared by Heather Koczur and Mike Yonek from the Berea-Midpark Science Department at Berea-Midpark High School.

Physics teachers at Berea-Midpark are making a focused effort to transform old “cookbook” style lab experiences into inquiry driven physics labs that assess student understanding. The identified goal to increase the number of inquiry labs has been established and both teachers are evaluating existing labs they’ve used in the past and transforming them into labs that students discover for themselves. They are still using the more guided labs, but more as an introductory experience for the students to learn the basics. The inquiry labs come at the end of their units of instruction and help serve as an assessment of student learning. They must apply what they’ve learned in a practical laboratory experience.

The change in approach comes as a result of teacher observation that students completing labs and not really having an understanding of what they just did. The students came away with less than anticipated. The students were able to complete the labs with good results, but didn’t know how or why those results were possible. Removing failure and the learning that takes place when you have to rethink something was taking away from the labs actually teaching what they wanted them to.

The teachers are the same style for each of their inquiry labs. Many have been revamped and morphed into inquiry labs from detailed “cookbook” style. They have proven that it is possible to change what you’ve always done into something greater.

Labs are organized around the following items:

Process begins with guiding questions,  what are the experimental variables, what type of data table will you need, sketch your plan, what is your process or methods, data analysis, experimental conclusions and error analysis.

Please click the links below to view the labs

Friction Lab- Google Doc                    Rocket Lab- Google Doc

 

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