The labs provided here are designed to create a lab-based or “work-shop” type of experience even when scheduling limitations force a standard lecture + lab course format, as is the case for many community colleges. As such, the labs follow a heavily guided inquiry format, which allows for inquiry based learning by inexperienced students while ensuring leaner outcomes are practiced and assessed. Students will make predictions, work hands on with equipment to acquire and analyze data, and compare predictions to results. Students are not asked to design large portions of experiments themselves, though they may be asked to suggest possible ways to test predictions or explain how they would make improvements to methods. Most students will require significant assistance in completing the labs, especially the analysis portions. As such, these labs may be best suited for courses in which the primary instructor is also the lab instructor.
The labs are designed to be completed in a 2 hr and 50 min lab session, but in some cases additional analysis work might carry over into classroom sessions. This helps to connect the lecture and lab components of the course and brings hands-on activities into the lecture environment.
Mix and Match
Of course instructors edit the labs to match content and cognitive level with their own course outcomes and/or should mix their favorite parts of the labs with other activities they find useful.