1. Graphical Analysis to Calculate pi - This is an open-ended lab where students measure circumference and diameter of coins to determine pi. It is also available with a listed procedure at Determining pi. The file references “equipment at your desk” which makes the file flexible for a variety of settings. Posted by L Nelson of Charleston, SC

Note by Bill Taylor bt4_1284@yahoo.com : I do this same lab, but a great idea I got from Dan Burns is to let them blow bubbles. When the bubbles fall onto a black table they make a (usually) round disk impression. Fun for the first lab!

2. Introducing various Measurement Systems
This file reflects teaching notes for an AP Physics course introducing measurement considerations for experimental design. The motivating question is “Are people taller when they stand up or lie down?” Comparison systems (ie meter stick) and Time-of-flight systems (ie sonic ranger) are demonstrated. Access the file for a discussion of the various techniques. Includes student questions. Posted by L Nelson of Charleston, SC

3. Standard Deviation of Measurement This file is a lab created by Professor Bob LaMontagne of Pacific College. Students measure wooden matchsticks. This lab analyzes uncertainty in measurement and the distribution of measured values. Thanks to Bob LaMontagne.

4. To Get the Uncertainty of the Slope of a Line:
  • Method 1: Use R^2 value from the linear regression produced by Excel (I think LoggerPro does it also)
  • Method 2: This is easier if the line goes through 0,0. If not one can "normalize" the data by shifting the data so it does go through 0,0. For example if line intesects "Y" first just subtract Y-intercept from all Y values. If the line intersects X first then subtract X-intercept from all the X's. Once it goes through real 0,0 or a shifted 0,0 life gets easy. Compute the POINT SLOPE for each data point. Compute the absolute value of the difference from the regression slope. Add them up and divide by the number of points - voila, you have an average deviation from the regression slope.
  • Method 3: Same as method 2 except compute the standard deviation of each point slope from the regression slope.
  • OH YOU DON'T USE linear regression.
  • Method 4: Replace "Regression Slope" with whatever slope you compute from "draw a good line" to average slope. then do Method 2 or 3.
  • Method 5: If you know the uncertainty in Y for each data point just draw what looks like a good upper and lower limit for the "best line". Compute these slopes and compare to whatever your central value is.
  • Method 6: Guess
    • Written by David Green. Posted by Bill Taylor.

5. Introductory to Measurements, Graphing, Analysis
I rarely assume that my students know much about graphing so I find that this reminds them a little bit. It is also an easy lab to learn how to write a proper lab report and basic enough that it can be done on day #1. Submitted by: Mark W. Hossler, mhossler@landmark-cs.org

6. Worksheet on Plotting and Interpreting Graphs.
Written by Santosh Madhavan. Posted by Bill Taylor

7. Lab on Density. - very simple density lab, includes graphing. I've only used it for Physical Science, but maybe it can be modified to AP. Submitted by: Mark W. Hossler, mhossler@landmark-cs.org

8. Analysis of an Experiment -- Graphing Lab --
This lab was given to me by a nice person at the AAPT Meeting--Syracuse. I don't know the origin of the lab, so I can't give proper credit where it is due (the original lab had "Mr. Wolter" written on it, so maybe that's a clue?)
This dry lab activity is interesting for several reasons:
Students have to make graphs, then re-graph variables to show linear relationships; they get to experience making a log graph, and relating it to an equation; in the end, the final formula relates 3 variables, not just 2 as we often do. Also, in this lab, "time" is on the Y-axis, which is something to have them think about!
Comments on the format: I left the lab "as-is". Usually I rewrite labs into organized, numbered steps. But I figured that this would be a good exercise to force the students to read and glean the information for themselves. Not everything in life is presented in an organized fashion; I tell them that it's a life lesson! Also, even though this lab provides the graph paper, I don't give it to my students unless there's a time constraint. They have to figure out what to graph by (gasp!) reading the instructions, and I have them make the graphs on the computer whenever possible.
Posted by: Nancy Michaelsen

9. What Does a Physicist Do?
This is a poster that I made to hang in my classroom to demonstrate to students the variety of jobs open to physics majors after graduation. A list of sources (internet) are included on the second page, you're more than welcome to make corrections if needed (I simply did web searches for biographical information).
Posted by Matt Harding harding.matt@iccsd.k12.ia.us

10. Nuts and Bolts - Fundamental Concepts
This is an introduction to fundamentals like sig figs, graphing and conversions that students should should know before starting off AP Physics Labs. This could be a useful handout to give the students at the beginning of the year, especially if you do not have time to discuss these at length in class.
Submitted by: Rama Balachandran

11. Math Review Sheet This file is the math review sheet that I use for both AP Physics B and regular Physics. Test associated tests are on the PGP-Secure site. I would like to see other review sheets & tests posted! Posted by Bill Taylor.

12. Uncertainty in measurements.
The following is a great site regarding uncertainty in experimental measurements. http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/uncertainty/index.html
Posted by Gardner Friedlander


13. Items for First Day of Class:
This file has some nice ideas from a physics prof at Kentucky.
Posted by Paul Lulai, found from others.


14. Excel Graphing Template and Instructions for Building Graphs for Science Reports in Excel:
The PDF file is a "brochure" on how to modify excel's (either Windows or Mac version) charting abilities to produce acceptable graphs for a lab report. Since I have the students keep this throughout the year I go through the trouble of printing it in color. I have tested the image and it looks just as nice when copied in grayscale. I suspect that with little difficulty this will translate nicely to an OpenOffice document.

This is an excel worksheet (the newer .xlsx version which will downgrade without trouble using MS converter) which follows the principals outlined in the brochure above. The workbook contains 3 sheets with instructions that allow the user to 1) Plot data without a fit to see the form of the relationship, 2) Plot data and fit to a straight line (useful once the students understand how to 'linearize' the data according to a model function) and 3) the same as 2 but allows students to enter error bars (intended for my AP students after we have covered error analysis). Both graphs in 2) & 3) have residual plots so the students can see the scatter from the model fit. With a little abstraction I suspect that this could be used to describe how to set up a chart in Open Office as well.
Posted by Paul Beeken

15. How to grade lab reports more quickly.
This technique is an overall suggestion on how to add extended comments to a lab report without having to write the same thing again and again. Instructions are included on how to customize the technique for your own standards and comments.

By Joe Morin