Microcomputer-based Laboratories
middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

 Intro College Calculus-based
calc based
 Intro College Algebra-based
alg based

Mechanics  Electricity / Magnetism  Waves / Optics  Thermal / Statistical
Lecture - Large (30+ students)  Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Recitation/Discussion Session  Lab  Studio

What? Laboratory activities to collect and present data graphically in real time, giving students a direct intuitive sense of fundamental physics concepts that can't be observed directly. When coupled with research-based curricula, MBL tools can lead to improved student learning.

Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Lab skills
  • Using multiple representations
Can be adapted for:
  • Designing experiments

Instructor effort required

  • Medium

Resources required

  • Computers for students
  • Advanced lab equipment

Developer's website: Microcomputer-based Laboratories
Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
  • at least 1 of the "based on" categories
  • at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
  • at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
(Categories shown below)

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • theories of how students learn
  • student ideas about specific topics

Demonstrated to Improve:

  • conceptual understanding
  • problem-solving skills
  • lab skills
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • attendance
  • retention of students
  • success of underrepresented groups
  • performance in subsequent classes

Studied using:

  • cycle of research and redevelopment
  • student interviews
  • classroom observations
  • analysis of written work
  • research at multiple institutions
  • research by multiple groups
  • peer-reviewed publication