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Introducing Coding in Freshman Physics Laboratories using Arduinos

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

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Paper Authors


Carl K. Frederickson University of Central Arkansas

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Dr. Frederickson has taught physics at UCA for 22 years. He is the current department chair and is leading the development of a new Engineering Physics degree program.

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During the fall semester 2015 Arduino microprocessors were introduced into the second semester calculus based physics laboratory. The Arduino was used as the data acquisition platform. One reason for this change is to introduce coding into the lab activities as part of the data collection/analysis process. Lab activities are designed to be more open-ended and require students to determine what data needs to be taken and how it needs to be analyzed. The focus is to have students design and carry out measurements with a goal in mind. This change required time to be spent learning the Arduino hardware and software development environment. This measure has now been used in both the first and second semester sections of the calculus based course. During the first semester, which focuses on mechanics, the Arduinos were used in conjunction with Vernier Software data collection hardware. This allowed more of a focus on the coding of the microprocessor. The majority of students have no coding experience prior to this course. Students do not seem to have an issue with coding the Arduinos. There were a few instances where the Arduino proved to not be the best platform. Student example work and attitudes will be presented. The effect on student assessment performance will be discussed.

Frederickson, C. K. (2017, June), Introducing Coding in Freshman Physics Laboratories using Arduinos Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28577

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