Cornelius Bennhold Lecture: “Why traditional labs fail (and what to do about it)”

Dr. Natasha G. Holmes, Asst. Professor of Physics at Cornell University

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.