Computation in the Introductory Physics Lab: An example

Faculty Commons material developed by Jennifer Birriel - Published July 17, 2020

We present an example in which a traditional pen and paper lab can be done using MS Excel as a computational tool to perform data reduction and analysis. We have provided the traditional lab and the new "student template" in Excel along with a "instructor solution". This serves only as an example for other instructors to consider implementing in their first year physics labs (both algebra- and calculus-based courses). Learning Objectives: 1. Controling input and output number format to reflect appropriate significant figures and numerical output (e.g. scientific, number with specified decimals). 2. Performing repetitve calculations with Excel as a calculator. 3. Using built in trigonometric functions (here RAD() and SIN()) 3. Controlling the numerical output of a trendline fit to data.

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