Project Description:


Many students perceive science difficult and tedious. The objective of this project is to make learning science and math easier and more interesting by means of computer applications. There are three specific goals of this project: (1) introduce students to PC-driven instrumentation for data acquisition, (2) introduce students to computing tools that allow them to interpret difficult science concepts and processes visually as well as mathematically, and (3) prepare them with skills for the marketplace. We propose to develop curricula of two laboratory courses: PC-instrumentation for science experiments, and exploring scientific computing tools. These courses will introduce students to tools that are commonly used in the marketplace. Using PC-instrumentation, laborious manual measurements and data recording will be replaced by automated data acquisition. Students can easily vary the parameters of their investigation and observe the effect of their changes. Using computing tools like Math Cad, students can easily graph and visualize difficult concepts and better understand the underlying principles. More importantly, electronic books are available, and, when being used with the computing tool, make it an excellent learning tool. Students can manipulate ""live"" data/ formula and visualize the change ""on-the-fly. "" Learning these tools are indispensable laboratory activities of the courses. In this project, we will improve an existing lab to equip with state-of- art computing and PC-instrumentation tools. The main beneficiaries of this project are upper sophomore and lower junior science students, as well as pre-service science teachers. This project is significant because (1) the tools students will learn are useful in many science courses, and (2) the skills students learned on using tools are marketable because they are the same tools used in the market place.