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Abstract Title: A Pedagogical Method of Advanced Laboratory Writing: Letters Home Project
Abstract: Communicating about experimental physics is one of the major learning outcomes identified in the AAPT Recommendations for the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory Curriculum.  Traditional laboratory courses often use formal lab reports to educate students about the process of scientific writing, yet this process deprives the writer of an authentic audience for their work and limits opportunities to write in their authentic style.  Our research focuses on a different approach to scientific writing called Letters Home, which requires students to write a letter about their lab activities to a recipient outside of the laboratory course, first to a non-physicist and later to a professional physicist.  Through this process, students practice skills such as gathering, analyzing, and reporting data while expanding their conceptual understanding and experimental skills.  We report on a qualitative analysis of Letters Home written by students enrolled in a Modern Physics laboratory course at Texas Tech University during Fall 2015 and Spring 2016.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Charles L. Ramey, II
Department of Physics, Texas Tech University
MS 41051
Lubbock, TX 79409
Phone: 806-742-3767
and Co-Presenter(s)
Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer
Department of Physics, University of Colorado Boulder

H.J. Lewandowski;
Department of Physics, University of Colorado Boulder

Beth Thacker
Department of Physics, Texas Tech University