While laboratory experiments in biology routinely capture students’ imaginations, traditional workbook experiments in physics can be very frustrating. Equipment tends to work poorly, equipment costs can be high, students have a hard time understanding the artificial equipment, and students often are not enthusiastic about the dreary experiments. In this workshop we will review a number of novel experiments that do not use traditional physics lab apparatus. These activities are fun and memorable, generally inexpensive and are technically rigorous. Experiments appropriate for students in both ninth and twelfth grade will be presented.
After receiving his BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, John spent 14 years in industry in engineering and engineering management. Being vocationally drawn toward the field of education, he completed an MEd in Secondary Education form the University of Houston in 1989, and subsequently completed 36 hours of graduate study in Physics at Texas A&M. Shortly after joining the faculty at Regents School of Austin in 1999, Mr. Mays began work on a MLA at St. Edward's University, which he completed in 2003. Mr Mays served as the Math-Science Department Chair at Regents School from 2001 until 2009 and is the author of Teaching Science so that Students Learn Science, and The Student Lab Report Handbook. He continues to teach physics and mathematics at Regents School of Austin and to develop the Laser Optics Lab there.