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Physics colloquium-“Why Traditional Labs Fail (and What to do About It)”

January 14 @ 4:00 pm

Natasha Holmes

Cornell University, The Department of Physics

Abstract: When you ask physicists to reflect on their intro labs, responses include “boring”, “forgettable”, or “cookbook.” What is so wrong with the traditional lab? In this talk, we’ll discuss research that helps illuminate the problems with traditional labs and the impacts on students. We’ll then move on to solutions: how do we restructure labs to provide better learning opportunities for our students? We’ll discuss how we measure the impact of different techniques, some tactics for using labs to teach experimentation and critical thinking skills, and some examples of restructured lab courses.

Bio: Natasha G. Holmes is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Cornell University, with the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics. Dr. Holmes received her BSc.(Hons) in physics from the University of Guelph and her MSc and PhD in physics at the University of British Columbia, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University working with Dr. Carl Wieman. Her research group studies many aspects of student learning, attitudes, and skill development from hands-on laboratory experiences, with a focus on critical thinking and experimentation. They also study how we know what outcomes are being achieved (how do you measure critical thinking?) and what mechanisms are responsible those outcomes.

CoorsTek 140


January 14
4:00 pm
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CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering
1523 Illinois St.
Golden, CO 80401 United States
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