2019 Mini-grant Project

Traditional pedagogical physics laboratory courses (labs) are notoriously known for inducing overall student dissatisfaction and for their inability to impart deep learning experiences upon students. In response to these shortcomings, the labatorial approach was developed by the Physics Education Group at the University of Calgary in 2009, inspired by the University of Washington’s renowned introductory tutorial system.

Labatorials combine elements of both lab experiments and tutorials in order to allow students to develop their conceptual understanding of fundamental physics concepts through group-based problem solving and self-driven experimentation. Having shown promise in high school and university applications, the …

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Traditional pedagogical physics laboratory courses (labs) are notoriously known for inducing overall student dissatisfaction and for their inability to impart deep learning experiences upon students. In response to these shortcomings, the labatorial approach was developed by the Physics Education Group at the University of Calgary in 2009, inspired by the University of Washington’s renowned introductory tutorial system.

Labatorials combine elements of both lab experiments and tutorials in order to allow students to develop their conceptual understanding of fundamental physics concepts through group-based problem solving and self-driven experimentation. Having shown promise in high school and university applications, the project being undertaken aims to further understand the differences between labatorials and traditional introductory physics labs through a comparative mixed-methods study in the context of Concordia University’s introductory mechanics lab course. This should be of help to any physics teachers who wish to improve their own lab sessions or explore novel approaches to hands-on physics teaching.

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Updates and Project Proposal

Resources Produced

Labatorial 1: Density of Granular Solids

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/1.-Density-of-Granular-Solids.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial 2: Composition of Concurrent Forces

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2.-Composition-of-Concurrent-Forces.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial 3. The Simple Harmonic Motion of a Spring

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/3.-The-Simple-Harmonic-Motion-of-a-Spring.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial 4. Centripetal Force

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/4.-Centripetal-Force.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial 5. The Coefficient of Restitution and g, the Acceleration Due to Gravity

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/5.-The-Coefficient-of-Restitution-and-g-the-Acceleration-Due-to-Gravity-1.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial 6: The Period of a Pendulum

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/6.-The-Period-of-a-Pendulum.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Labatorial Manual - Intro to Experimental Mechanics

Includes all 6 Labatorials

[easy_media_download url="/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Labatorial-Manual-Introduction-to-Experimental-Mechanics.pdf" text="Download" target="_blank" force_dl="1"]

Knowledge and Skills Brought to the Project

In this project, I am receiving regular guidance and support from my advisor Dr. Calvin Kalman, a renowned figure in the physics education research community, as well as from another advisory committee member Mandana Sobhanzadeh (who implemented labatorials at Mount Royal University) and educator Joseph El-Helou (who implemented labatorials at Collège Sainte-Marcelline).

Furthermore, I am currently enrolled in a course in qualitative research methods from the department of educational psychology at McGill University, and have extensive experience working with students from the high school to CEGEP level through private tutoring and tutorial session teaching, which gives me a good understanding of the conceptual difficulties students of the type in this course face.

Project Leader