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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Experimenter's toolbox for learning about light and color both in the classroom and out of class
Author(s): Gang Wang; Jacob Millspaw; Mark Masters

Paper Abstract

So often in classes that teach the non-science major students are “dog and pony” shows. The students watch demonstrations, they take notes, they supposedly “absorb” the information only to forget it after the next examination. These types of classes serve only as attempts to transfer information. But what if we give the students a toolbox that provides them with the ability to make their own observations about how light works. Then, the students are empowered to plan their experiments, manipulate the simple apparatus, make their own observations, and draw their own conclusions; more closely paralleling how scientists function. To succeed at this endeavor, we carefully designed a low cost toolbox for the students. Investigations include: Additive color mixing, digital colors and filters, shadows with colors, LED spectrum and spectra, light’s path, Polarization, Luminescence and Brightness, and simple optical instrumentation such as spectrometers. We created activities that give the students direction, but allow them freedom to explore and discover. Online forums/class discussion are also used to enhance their comprehension of their projects. Using this philosophy, we have had great success in both online and face to face classes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2015
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 9793, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015, 97931D (8 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2223108
Show Author Affiliations
Gang Wang, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne (United States)
Jacob Millspaw, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne (United States)
Mark Masters, Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Fort Wayne (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9793:
Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015

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