Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Physics and Astronomy


physics instruction, lab notebooks, analysis techniques, graphing techniques, experimental design


The laboratory portion of an introductory course sequence can be used to meet a wide variety of goals ranging from illustrating phenomena studied in class, to building intuition about how the physical world works, to confronting the unexpected. Helping students develop experimental skills is a crucial goal that needs to be addressed in lab, especially in light of the fact that most introductory textbooks do not specifically address this topic. Important skills that students should learn in lab include how to analyze data, how to communicate results and the art of designing an experiment. This presentation will discuss how we weave an experimental skills thread through our introductory lab sequence in order to help students develop these key skills. See for implementation details.


Presentation from the "Developing Experimental Skills in the Introductory Lab" track at the Summer 2014 National Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers held on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 27- 30, 2014.