I had mentioned in another thread that I had just started teaching Physics. I had spoken about the qualities of a Physics teacher and the challenges he/she may face but something I left out was "The Lab". This was something that was a thorn in my side right from the start going back to when I was in high school ( the 80s!). And I was hoping that I could start a thread where other teachers would be interested in contributing their ideas as well. My experience of Labs, including the ones proposed to me by other Physics teachers have been of a the standard format. 1. A set of instructions 2. The student follows these instructions to get the expected result 3. The student writes a lab report [usually cutting/pasting the procedure into it] In my opinion, this does not allow a student to make use of scientific inquiry but instead learn how to be a good worker. So I took it upon myself to recreate the labs (which i'm sure many of you have done as well) so that they became centered upon a more student centered approach. When we were to do the lab regarding gravity and basic motion laws, my lab was the simplest. The conversation was as follows: T: "what is the value acceleration due to gravity?" S: "9.8 m/s^2" T: "Great. prove it." And that was the lab. I offered little more than guidance following this. What this does is provide several opportunities: Students must develop their own experiment Students will learn that failure is a part of the process Students will be forced to realize the importance of both Accuracy and Precision [such as the need for Trials) within their experiments. Procedures will have a value within the lab [i should note that I also insisted that they submit the Procedure to their experiment BEFORE they did it - this I found to be very important] The experiment was incredibly successful. They were, at first, completely freaked out being left in the ocean without a paddle. But it took no time at all for them to start to critically think about what they knew in order to come up with a very wide variety of experimental procedures. Another experiment. Two blocks of wood [the ability to add extra weight is there] are provided and students are asked to produce a race between them [on an inclined plane] where one beats the other by 2 seconds exactly. An experiment focusing on friction. I am sorry for the length of this post but here I stop and simply ask if anyone else has managed to put together similar open ended experiments. I thought this would be a great place to share.