First step - Read the instructions!

Before you go to your first lab in PHY 124, make sure you read all the web pages on this lab course wiki, your “home base”. Follow all the links! We strongly urge you to do this, particularly the first time, on a computer that has a normal-size monitor screen. Please do NOT that first time use a cell/smartphone. Reason: the small screen will likely prevent you from understanding how the wiki is organized. “You can't get a big picture through a small window!”

In order that you can get the most from your lab sessions we believe that you need to come to class prepared. So the first thing you should do a few days before your lab is read through the instructions for that lab and watch the video(s). When you've done this you should be ready to do the lab preparation exercise.

Lab Preparation Exercise

Each week before your lab you must complete a lab preparation exercise that you will find on Blackboard under assignments. Note that the assignment will only be available up until the beginning of the lab section, even though its says that the deadline is unlimited on Blackboard. If you don't do it before your lab then you won't get the 35% of the credit for the lab that these exercises are worth! These assignments use Maple TA. There is a little bit of syntax you'll need to enter formulas. This syntax is similar to what you would use on a scientific calculator or other programs like Microsoft Excel. Here are some examples:

Use the * operator between all multiplied factors! E.g: = 2*x*(y+z)

To put a to the power of b: =a^b

Square Root: =sqrt(x)

Exponential: =exp(x)

Absolute Value: =abs(x)

Scientific Notation: =1.2E6

Lower indices: =x_1

Greek symbols:
















() i.e., parentheses: Don't be afraid to put (nested) parentheses around factors in any algebraic expression you may be asked to enter. They may (or may not) help solve “problems” you're having!

Numbers and units:

The figure shows a screenshot of an answer box for a number and and an answer box for units from a MapleTA-served problem. You need to know how to enter quantities into both of them. Notice next to the number box is a a blue underlined Num. If you click on it from inside a MapleTA online session, a window will open that tells how to make numeric entries in several different styles. You don't enter the number in that window. Return to the window with the number box and enter the numeric value in the number box in MapleTA-approved syntax. Next to the units box is a a blue underlined Units. If you click on it from inside a MapleTA online session, a window will open that tells how to enter units. The second column gives the definition of each unit the MapleTA syntax can handle, and the third column gives its name. The first column gives what you must type on the keyboard to enter a given unit. Notice that the syntax for the units is case sensitive. For example, N (upper-case) is what you type for the force unit newton. If you type it in lower-case, it will not be accepted as correct. You don't enter the units in that window. Return to the window with the units box and enter the units in the units box in MapleTA-approved syntax.

In the lab

Each Lab has two TAs assigned to it, a primary and a secondary. Your primary TA will start the lab by giving an introduction about the lab. Following this you will begin taking your measurements and following the exercises you will find in the lab instructions. Halfway through the lab your secondary TA will arrive. Both TAs will discuss with you what you have been doing in the lab to see how well you have understood what the lab was about and help explain difficult points. When your TAs are happy with what you have done then, and only then, you can leave. If the TAs are satisfied that you did a good job in the lab you will get the full 65% of the credit for the lab that we award for your in class performance. We expect most students who work hard and do the lab properly will be awarded a Satisfactory grade. If, however, the TAs feel that you did a poor job you will be given a grade of Unsatisfactory. This means you will get only half credit for the lab. For an especially poor performance, you can also be given a grade of non-serious attempt. In terms of your score this is equivalent to not showing up to the lab, you get no credit for doing it. Note that you can not redo a lab to improve your score.

Things to bring to lab

  • Your own headphones if you want to listen to the videos while doing the lab. As just about everyone has an ipod/phone/other mp3 player we figure it's better you use your own then we try to provide you with these. Each computer has two headphone jacks.
  • Don't forget your calculator!

After the lab

You should try not to immediately forget what you have learned in the lab! There will be some clicker questions and some problems on the exams which are directly related to the labs.

phy124on/instructions.txt · Last modified: 2013/01/23 08:53 by jhobbs
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