Using introductory labs to engage students in experimental design

Eugenia Etkina, Sahana Murthy, Xueli Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) engages students in processes mirroring the practice of science. Laboratories play a central role in this learning environment. Students in ISLE laboratories design their own experiments to investigate new phenomena, test hypotheses, and solve realistic problems. We discuss various issues associated with implementing these labs in large enrollment introductory physics courses. We present examples of experiments that students design, include a sample of student work, and discuss issues related to the choice of experiments for design and practical implementation. We also review assessment techniques and show results of students' acquisition and transfer of some laboratory-related abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-986
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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