Saturday, July 26, 2014

Liked and disliked laboratories

Laboratories are at the core of the SC 130 Physical Science. While in-class tests and quizzes provide information on academic achievement, how the students react affectively to these laboratories is also important in the course design.


Pamela Edgar tests unknowns to determine if they are an acid or base.

The course is not listed as a requirement by any major at the college, thus the course most frequently serves students taking the course to satisfy their general education science with laboratory requirement. The students are not planning a career in science and likely contain a larger percentage of students for whom science is not attractive as a subject of study. A goal of mine is to open up the thinking of the students. My best hope is that through the course the students will come to have an interest in science, see that even simple topics can be interesting, and gain an appreciation of how science is done.

As an affective learning domain study, students were asked to choose their favorite laboratory and provide comments on why that laboratory was their favorite. The students were also asked to choose their least favorite laboratory and explain why they disliked that laboratory.

The laboratories this past term were:

1. Laboratory one: Density of soap
2. Laboratory two: Velocity of a rolling ball
3. Laboratory three: Acceleration of gravity by dropping a ball
4. Laboratory four: Momentum of marbles colliding on a table (on a poster sheet on the table, no track used. Issues of aim and off-center hits proved problematic)
5. Laboratory five: Force, pulleys, mechanical advantage
6. Laboratory six: Increase in length of a pipe due to heat (although considered a failure by me, two students would report liking this laboratory.
7. Laboratory seven: Using a GPS to calculate meters per minute of latitude
8. Laboratory eight: Cloud drawings
9. Laboratory nine: Sound:, clapping wood blocks to determine the speed of sound
10. Laboratory ten: Spectra, RGB colors, hue saturation luminosity, HTML (Computer lab was free this term at lab time)
11. Laboratory eleven: Reflection in a mirror and apparent depth of pennies underwater
12. Laboratory twelve: Batteries and bulbs, conductors, Ohm's law
13. Laboratory thirteen: Chemistry, acid and base detection using flowers
14. Laboratory fourteen: The search for the mathematical relationships between length and period for a pendulum (due to rain the flying disk variation was not deployed).
15. Laboratory fifteen: Site swap notation and juggling.

The terms are coded in the data table further below in the following manner.

93: Fall 2009
a1: Spring 2010
a2: Summer 2010
a3: Fall 2010
b1: Spring 2011
c1: Spring 2012
d1: Spring 2013
e1: Spring 2014
e2: Summer 2014

 The survey results were compiled and are reported below. The laboratories are listed on the left side, the terms across the second row. All net is the sum of the like votes minus the sum of the dislike votes. The second to last column, e2 net, is the spring 2014 likes minus the dislikes, the last column, rng (range), is the sum of the likes and dislikes. The larger the range, the greater the dichotomous spit in the voting.


Like Dislike all e2
Lab 93 a1 a2 a3 b1 c1 c2 d1 d3 e1 e2 93 a1 a2 a3 b1 c1 c2 d1 d3 e1 e2 net rng net rng
1 1 2
1 2 2 1 4 3
3 1
2 1 2
2
1

10 28 3 3
2 1
1
1 2


2


2
1 1


1
2 12 0 0
3
2

1





1 1
1
2
1

1 -4 10 -1 1
4


1 1 1





1
3 3 4 1



-9 15 0 0
5
1






1
1
1 2 1

1


-4 8 0 0
6 1
2






2




2
1 1 2
-1 11 2 2
7 11 6 3 7 1 4 7 7 4 3 2 9 8 2 6 2 2 2 1
4 2 17 93 0 4
8 6 4 7 8 8 3
5
7 3 6 7 4 1 7 3 9 9 5 4 3 -7 109 0 6
9

2
2 5 2
2 1 1 4 2 7 5 6 2 1 2 1 2 2 -19 49 -1 3
10 7 3
5 7 2
3 1 1
1 2 2 2 4 2
1 2

13 45 0 0
11
3
2
2


1
1 1 1 4


1

1 -1 17 -1 1
12 2 3 2 2
1 2
1 4
5 1 4 5 3 3
3 2 2
-11 45 0 0
13 1 10 10 6 12 7 3 7 6 3 1 4 3
1 2 3
4 2 3
44 88 1 1
14







2 1








2 2 1 -2 8 -1 1
15








2 1







1 1 3 -2 8 -2 4

One and eight were the most favored laboratory with three votes each. On aggregate laboratory thirteen remains the most favored with a net of 44 more likes than dislikes.

Eight and fifteen received the strongest negative ratings with fourstudents each listing these as their most disliked laboratories. Laboratory eight was both liked and disliked. Laboratory eight almost always evokes this dichotomous reaction in students.

Note that some students simply say that they liked all labs, or disliked none, thus totals do not add to the sample size.

In the affective domain, the proof is in the details and the individual comments by students provide this insight.

Liked laboratory comments:
1 I enjoyed it. It was fun.
1 Everything
1 I get to understand more about the density of soap. I never thought that the reason soap sinks is due to its density being more than one and when they float, their density is less than one.
6 Interesting because I did not think it was possible
6 No reason
7 This lab was fun. finding Binky was exciting.
7 Gave us knowledge on how to use GPS.
7 I learn how to actually use a GPS to find something
8  I feel free and draw what and which drawing to make.
8 I like to draw things that interested to people
8 I know some other clouds name
9 Only few participate in this laboratory
13 It does not involve math equation and graph. All the things we used in this lab are available here in Pohnpei and we can use this laboratory in our elementary classroom
15 It was fun. Taught me how to use three balls.

Dislike laboratory comments:
3 I did not do well in this laboratory
7 I did not know how to use the GPS.
7 I got none of it correct
8 I am not good at drawing.
8 I do not know how to draw anything, I hate this lab, even though it was the easiest lab out of all the labs.
8 I hate drawing
9 I did not get points for that lab because did not join the teacher do the lab because it was raining.
9 I didn't get any points from this lab
9 I missed what we have done and don't know we will go to other places to do the work
11 I don't really understand the field
14 I did not quite understand the mathematical relationships before taking this laboratory
15 I really got confused with all the numbers where the ball land.
15 I didn't get to understand more about it especially the site swap notation, not the juggling.
15 I was not very good at it

Comments that note a laboratory was interesting or fun directly support my own goals in the course. Once something is interesting and fun, the student becomes a self-driven learner. And learning only really occurs when a person wants to learn. If I can generate the desire, then the learning can follow.