Laboratory twelve centered on the simplest of electrical circuits, electrical conductivity, and Ohm's law.
On the order of half of the students have no prior contact with the experiment known in science education simply as batteries and bulbs. Given one cell, a single length of wire, and a flashlight bulb, make the bulb light. Myleen watched her partner light the bulb. When I asked if she could light the bulb, she said that she could light the bulb. Her own first attempt, however, resulted in a short circuit and a hot wire. I was reminded once again that seeing is never learning, learning only happens when one is doing.
Serleen checks the conductivity of copper using a basic two cell circuit with a flash light bulb. Other materials include zinc, steel, wood, glass, lead, and aluminum. The bulk of the materials are from the local hardware store.
Nadine and Anchyleen look on as materials are tested. A lead fishing weight lays on the paper.
While Antely closes the circuit with a telegraph type switch, Alisi reads the voltmeter. Mason looks on, he was recording data.
For the single bulb the voltage is about 2.3 volts, the current is 0.48 volts. The relationship is not linear. Using two cells for one, two, and three bulbs, there are temperature differences for the bulbs that affect the resistivity.
And then everything changed. For the first time since the loss of Gnumeric a spreadsheet was displaying a box and whisker plot. To back up to the beginning, MS 150 Statistics was built around spreadsheets. Students in the course were not statistics majors and the overwhelming majority were not in a scientific field. Most would wind up working on office desktops for which they would not be an administrator. Downloading R would not be an option and R would be steep learning curve for some for whom computers are an unfamiliar technology.
Spreadsheet based statistics, for all the faults and potential for error, would be at the center of the course. The use of Ubuntu in the classroom meant using LibreOffice.org or Gnumeric. Gnumeric provided the capability of including box and whisker plots. A change in computer laboratory technology to Microsoft Windows five years later saw the use of Gnumeric on Windows - until Gnumeric stopped supporting Windows. A further change of my work top to OSX f…
My approach to creating histograms for the past sixteen years has been to have the students determine the minimum, the maximum, calculate the range, divide the range by the number of intended classes to find the width, and calculate the class upper limits. The class upper limits then permit the use of the FREQUENCY function in spreadsheets such as Excel, LibreOffice.org, OpenOffice.org, Google Sheets and Gnumeric. While in Excel and LibreOffice.org the existence of a gap width or spacing setting allows the columns to touch, Google Docs did not provide this option, hence the chart seen below.