Physics

Enhance Your Student's Laboratory Experience Using These Highly Acclaimed CIPT Lab Activities

The activities in this section cover various topics in modern physics. They are the product of a collaborative effort sponsored by the Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT) that brings high school teachers of excellence together with staff and faculty from the physics departments at Cornell University to create these and other innovative labs.

The "molecular Imaging" activity was designed to explore aspects of topographic mapping using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The concept is readily extensible to other problems of topography. The activity can made suitable for Middle or High School students.

Ohm's law can be conceptually challenging for students. "Exploring Electric Circuits" uses a water analogy to model potential, current and resistance in a highly visible hands-on way that will allow students to design circuits, collect data, and compare results to predictions based on Ohm's law.

It is hard to find an activity to accompany study of the standard model. Cosmic rays can be easily detected using an inexpensive apparatus. Watching for these ubiquitous particles is riveting and provides a fun framework within which to discuss various types of radiation.

The properties of light are examined in several labs that relate color (wavelength) to energy in interesting and informative ways in the Phantastic Photon lab. The activities are suitable for students of any age. The properties of the "Light Emitting Diode" reveal relationships between wavelength and energy. High school students of physics will be able to use LEDs to measure Planck's constant.

In modern telecommunications, light is replacing electricity as the main pipeline of information and data. Students will discover various aspects of light and it's use to code and decode information in order to "Communicate with Light."