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Physics Colloquium - "Engaging Students in Authentic Scientific Practices in Physics Lab Courses"

Event Type
UIUC Department Of Physics
Via ZOOM - see description for link
Nov 4, 2020   4:00 pm  
Heather Lewandowski, University of Colorado
Suzanne Hallihan
Originating Calendar
Physics - Colloquium

Modeling, which includes developing, testing, and refining models, is a central activity in physics. Modeling is most fully represented in the laboratory where measurements of real phenomena intersect with theoretical models, leading to refinement of models and experimental apparatus. However, experimental physicists use models in complex ways and the process is often not made explicit in physics laboratory courses. We have developed a framework to describe the modeling process in physics laboratory activities. The framework has guided our course transformations, research into student leaning, and our assessment of student outcomes.  I will present the framework, how we use it to transform our lab courses, and a new scalable assessment used to measure students’ modeling ability.


Heather Lewandowski leads two research programs, one in experimental molecular physics, and the other in physics education research. Her molecular physics research efforts focus on studying interactions and reactions of cold, chemically important molecules and ions. Her physics education research program studies ways to increase students’ proficiency in scientific practices such as using models and quantitative reasoning in experimental physics.  


The ZOOM link will be sent on Wednesday morning to the Physics Faculty, Graduate student, PDRA, and AP mailing lists. If you are not on one of those lists and are interested in attending, please email Suzanne Hallihan at for the link.


link for robots only