Asee peer logo

Hands On Laboratory Projects For Non Science Majors: Learning Principles Of Physics In The Context Of Everyday Technology.

Download Paper |


2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.325.1 - 5.325.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Timothy Benson

author page

Paul Berke

author page

Nathaniel Bair

author page

Matthew Scholtens

author page

Kristen Lantz

author page

David Woessner

author page

Daniel Lappenga

author page

Dale Corlew

author page

John Krupczak

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1380

Hands-on Laboratory Projects for Non-Science Majors: Learning Principles of Physics in the Context of Everyday Technology

John Krupczak, Jr., Nathaniel Bair, Timothy Benson, Paul Berke, Dale Corlew, Kristen Lantz, Daniel Lappenga, Matthew Scholtens, and David Woessner Hope College, Holland, Michigan USA


A set of hands-on laboratory projects has been developed for undergraduates who are not majoring in science or engineering. The projects are intended to help explain the principles of physics to non-science majors. The projects explore both the technological and scientific aspects of familiar technological devices, and demonstrate how technology incorporates a scientific understanding of nature. All projects result in tangible evidence of accomplishment such as construction of a simple radio, a loudspeaker, a one-octave electronic keyboard, and a compact disc-to-cassette tape adapter. The projects are made from inexpensive and simple materials so that each student can take home the working device. It was expected that projects which the students take home serve to amplify the impact of the work to include peers and family members. None of the projects require specialized equipment or facilities, and all of the projects can be modified to suit different institutional circumstances. General characteristics of the types of projects that were found to be effective for the target audience of non-science students are also summarized.

I. Introduction

The quality of education in science and technology for all undergraduates is becoming an area of increasing concern1. In the United States, the National Science Foundation is requesting that Science, Math, Technology and Engineering (SME&T) programs concentrate more effort on the 80% of college students who are not SME&T majors. This latest initiative comes shortly after the completion of a major effort by the Sloan Foundation to improve the quality of education that undergraduates receive in the areas of technology and quantitative reasoning2.

In response, science and engineering faculty are developing courses intended to specifically address the needs of the non-SME&T students. A review of some historical background information and relevant new developments has been compiled by Byars3. A physics textbook for the general student addressing the basic principles of physics in the context of familiar technological devices has been written by Bloomfield4. The unique role that engineers can play in non-science education has been identified by Krupczak5.

In these initiatives for non-SME&T students, a need exists for laboratory exercises to accompany the lecture component of the course. The work reported here describes a set of

Benson, T., & Berke, P., & Bair, N., & Scholtens, M., & Lantz, K., & Woessner, D., & Lappenga, D., & Corlew, D., & Krupczak, J. (2000, June), Hands On Laboratory Projects For Non Science Majors: Learning Principles Of Physics In The Context Of Everyday Technology. Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8420

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015