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*From*: Derek Chirnside <derek.chirnside@gmail.com>*Date*: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 13:28:06 +1200

Jacob, a game that may be marketed under the name Mastermind

http://www.archimedes-lab.org/mastermind.html may help. Using Google with

"game guess hidden counters" found this.

It occurs to me you could give groups a puzzle based on this: "Here is a

game, determine (with reasons) the answer" The benefit of this is it can

(with teacher input) help focus on the ideas around inference. It's fun.

Well defined.

-Derek

*Derek Chirnside - lits.gen.nz*

"The mood state Americans are in, on average, when watching television is

mildly depressed" - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - from *Flow: The Psychology of

Optimal Experience*

Is this true, and does it apply to the rest of us?

On 14 August 2012 07:20, Turner, Jacob <turner@uidaho.edu> wrote:

I've been banging my head on how to design a lab which will impart a

sense of using inference. I intend this for our lower level

(non-calculus) freshman labs, so should be fitting for AP High School

physics range as well I imagine.

General thoughts I have had are to place something in a box and have

them tell me everything that they can about it without sight or direct

physical contact. But framing this so they can determine a worthwhile

quantity of information with minimal direction is a fine line.

Another thought was to allow them to make actual measurements of

something with proper tools (so they know the right value, as long as

they did things right) then require that they obtain the same

information by some quantity of other methods, choosing the precise

number to force them to get creative. This runs the risk of failing to

think of some easy approaches, so groups who think of those ones get off

easy, and groups who fail to think of something easy which you thought

to be obvious flounder helplessly trying to fill the arbitrary number.

Plus since it is a measure you already know... it just feels pointless.

The primary obstacle is that this is intended for the first week in a

first physics course for students who likely have many unfamiliar with

any form of scientific thought. If I could use electronics, I have many

more promising possibilities. But really I can only assume they know

how to use a few basic tools: Balance, ruler, scale, graduated

cylinders. And of course sight, sound, and tactile senses.

Right now, I am giving it up as a nice ideal, but not practical. Anyone

else have some ideas which can get students to think and start the

semester out with some thought?

Jacob Turner - (208)885-2730

Director of Physics Laboratory Education

University of Idaho

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Forum for Physics Educators

Phys-l@phys-l.org

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**Follow-Ups**:**Re: [Phys-L] Inference Lab Design***From:*Daniel L Macisaac <danmacisaac@me.com>

**References**:**[Phys-L] Inference Lab Design***From:*"Turner, Jacob" <turner@uidaho.edu>

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