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INTRODUCTORY

PHYSICS LAB COURSE INFORMATION


PHYSICS 118/198/212 - SPRING 2015
Overview
There are nine experiments during the spring semester. You must complete and turn in a report for at
least 7 out of 9 experiments in order to pass Introductory Physics. All lab information can be found on
the lab website:
http://physics.wustl.edu/introphys/
The lab sections for Introductory Physics meet in Crow 311, 314, and 316. You will not necessarily
perform every experiment in the same room. Consult your schedule, available on the lab website,
before each experiment so that you know the room in which it will be performed. You will remain with
the same teaching assistant (TA) throughout the semester, beginning with the first experiment,
Electrostatics.
The First Week of Lab
Lab sections begin on Tuesday, January 20 (No labs from January 12 to January 19). If you are in a
Monday lab section you should go to another lab section of your choice for this week only. Consult the
WU course listings at https://acadinfo.wustl.edu/CourseListings/Semester/Listing.aspx for information
on available lab times. During the first week of lab you will be introduced to a revised lab format and a
revised lab report format. You will also complete surveys and have the opportunity to ask the TA
questions regarding lab.
Physics 198 only - You will be assigned to a TA and a schedule (Red or Green) at the start of the
Electrostatics lab. During the first week of lab (Jan 20-23), you may go to either Crow 311 or Crow 316.
Make sure you complete the Lab Information Sheet Quiz on Blackboard by 8:30AM on Tuesday,
January 20.
Lab Notebooks and What to Bring to Lab
Lab reports will be 100% digital, so there are no special requirements regarding notebooks. You should
still bring a notebook to lab so that you can record notes, but it does not need to be a carbonless-copy
notebook and no pages of your notebook will be turned in to your TA. The only exception to this rule is
the first experiment Electrostatics. You will need a notebook for this lab, but it does not need to be a
carbonless copy notebook.
It would also be wise to bring a thumb drive to lab each week so that you can back up your lab report as
you complete the experiment. In addition, you will likely benefit from a writing implement and a
calculator. If you would like to use a physical copy of the lab manual, you should bring one, as you are
not allowed to print a lab manual in the labs. Do not bring food or drink into the labs.

Pre-Labs
Before coming to lab each week, you are expected to have downloaded that weeks experiment from
the lab website. You will also need to complete the Pre-Lab portion of the experiment prior to the start
of your lab. Pre-Labs are now in the form of Blackboard quizzes. Each Pre-Lab must be completed by the
start of the corresponding lab period whether or not you will attend that lab period. You cannot drop
any Pre-Lab grades even if you drop the associated Lab Report. See the Lab Grades section for more
information on Pre-Labs.
What You Do In Lab
You will be assigned to a random partner (or partners) at a random table for each experiment. As you
enter the lab room, check the roster on the door to see where you should go.
At the start of each lab section, your TA will give a short introduction to the lab. For the remainder of
the 3-hour lab session, you will work in groups to collect data, analyze the experimental measurements,
and complete a 100% digital lab report. Each lab group will produce and turn in one lab report at the
end of the lab period. All group members will receive the same grade for the group report.
You must finish your entire lab report during the 3-hour lab session. Before you leave lab, you must
clean up your lab station. You will not be allowed to turn in your report lab until your TA verifies that all
of your equipment has been returned to the state described in the Cleanup! slideshow on the lab
webpage. This includes returning the tablet pen to the fabric loop connected to the tablet. If your
station meets your TAs strict standards, then your TA will download your report onto a thumb drive and
you can leave the lab. You will be expected to have a back-up copy of your lab report in case something
unfortunate happens to your TAs thumb drive. If your station is not clean, you will not be allowed to
turn in your lab report.
Lab Reports
Lab reports will be 100% digital. They will be completed in Microsoft Word. Diagrams can be made using
the drawing software Paintbrush and/or SketchBook in tandem with the tablet. Equations can be drawn
in Paintbrush and/or SketchBook and pasted into Word, or they can be entered using Words equation
editor. Plots can be created using Logger Pro or Excel. Plots should not be printed. Rather, they should
be pasted into Word.
Your lab report will consist entirely of responses to Synthesis Questions. (See the next section for
details.) Each lab group will produce and turn in one lab report. All group members will receive the same
grade for the group report.
Format of the Lab Manual
Throughout the lab manual, you will encounter the following headings and symbols:

S1

Synthesis Questions These are the only questions that require a response in your lab report.
Each section of the lab will conclude with a Synthesis Question which in most cases resembles a
2

mini report for that section. A good response to a Synthesis Question will be clear, complete,
and describe the relevant physics correctly. Good responses will often contain diagrams and
plots.
Checkpoints You will not record responses to Checkpoints in your lab report. However, these
steps are designed in such a way that if you complete these steps in your notebook or through
conversations with your partner(s), answering the Synthesis Question at the end of the relevant
section will be much easier to do well. In some cases you will be required to refer to specific
Checkpoints in your response to a Synthesis Question.
Read This indicates an important piece of information that you should read, but that does not
require any action to be taken. Nothing needs to be recorded in your notebook or report.
Do This indicates a procedural step that requires action, but that does not require a written
response in your notebook or report.
Stop Sign be sure you have thoroughly read this item and carefully followed all instructions
before proceeding. This symbol most often asks you to consult with your TA or to take particular
care in an upcoming experiment so that you do not damage equipment.
Plot indicates that you will need to create and include a plot in your lab report. (You will not
print the plot.) Remember that all plots should include labeled axes and an informative title.
Current Research Much of the material you are studying this semester is directly related to
current research in the Wash U physics department. If you see the Current Research symbol,
you can find links on the lab website connecting you to information on relevant research. If
youre interested in getting involved in research, this is a great way to get a feel for whats going
on in the department.

Why the Change in Format?
The primary reason for the revised lab format is to give you an experience that better resembles how
science is done. The notes you record in your notebook and the conversations you have as you complete
Checkpoints will be invisible to your TA just as a scientists notes and conversations rarely get published.
It is the synthesis of a scientists work that the scientific community is concerned about. In a Synthesis
Question you will often have to introduce an experiment, describe the procedure, relay the data, and
comment on the results. One of the big challenges is relaying all of this information in a clear and
complete way. This is now a challenge that you will get to face when you write your lab reports.
You actually have some experience writing such responses from the work you did last semester.
Specifically, the Pendulum Lab, Free Fall Lab, and Algodoo Project all required you to synthesize
motivation, procedure, data, and analysis into a coherent response.
The Importance of Checkpoints
Even though the completion of Checkpoints will not be graded, it is highly encouraged that you take the
time to complete all of them. Even if you dont write down any notes, having a conversation with your
lab partner would be very productive.
This is especially true of Checkpoints that are of the Predict/Test/Evaluate variety. These exercises are
modeled after Two-minute problems and are designed as a quick way for you and your partner(s) to
assess the accuracy and completeness of your understanding of the relevant physics.

You will often be asked to cite your experience completing specific Checkpoints as part of your response
to a Synthesis Question. If you are asked to cite specific Checkpoint, failure to do so would result in a
deduction of points from your report.
How the Report is Graded
Each response to a Synthesis Question will be graded on its Clarity (20%), Completeness (40%), and
Correctness (40%). Your score on Correctness cannot exceed your score for Completeness. Leaving out
important information will result in deductions from Completeness. Mistakes in calculations, missing
units, or statements that contradict the laws of physics will result in deductions from Correctness.
Confusing statements or illogical placement of information will result in a deduction from Clarity.
Make-Up Labs
Your two lowest grades (including grades of zero) on lab reports are automatically dropped in order to
cover absences due to sickness, travel, faulty alarm clocks, etc. Make-up labs may only be done for the
following conflicts with your lab section:

An exam for another Washington University course is scheduled during your lab section.
A religious holiday falls on your lab section. Note that this only includes days and nights of
official observance. Make-up labs may not be done for absences due to travel surrounding a
religious holiday.

Make-up labs will be offered from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. on designated Saturday afternoons (see your lab
schedule for the make-up lab schedule).
To request a makeup lab, follow the link on the lab webpage or on your labs Blackboard page, or direct
a browser to http://physics.wustl.edu/ClassInfo/117_118/labChangeRequest.php. You may only attend
a make-up lab if you receive an email confirmation from the Lab Manager, assigning you to a particular
make-up lab session. Since exams and religious holidays should come as no surprise, it is your
responsibility to request a make-up lab by 5PM on the Friday before your regularly scheduled lab. If you
do not receive a confirmation e-mail from the Lab Manager within two business days of sending your
request, please send another make-up lab request.
You must request a make-up lab by 5PM on the Friday before your regularly scheduled lab.
A schedule of make-up lab request deadlines can be found on the lab website. Any requests made after
the deadline will be denied. Be aware that each lab has only one date for a make-up lab and this date
may not occur the same week that you were originally scheduled to perform the lab. Consult the lab
schedule carefully.
For prolonged serious issues that may affect lab attendance, contact Dr. Hynes (kmhynes@wustl.edu).


Lab Grades
In order to pass Introductory Physics, you must attend, complete, and turn in a report for a minimum
of 7 out of the 9 total experiments. If you do not attend a lab or if you do not turn in your report for a
lab, you will receive a grade of zero for that experiment. Receiving a grade of zero on three or more
experiments will result in failing the entire course, regardless of your overall course percentage.
Final lab grades will be composed of grades from your Lab Information Sheet Quiz, Pre-Labs, and Lab
Reports.
Lab Information Sheet Quiz: The Lab Information Sheet Quiz is worth 15 points or 1.8% of your final
lab grade. This quiz can be found on Blackboard and must be completed by Tuesday, January 20 at
8:30AM. There are no make-ups for this quiz.
Pre-Labs: Pre-Labs are each graded out of 15 points and will be worth 15.9% of your final lab grade
for the semester. Pre-Labs are in the form of Blackboard quizzes. Each Pre-Lab must be completed
by the start of the corresponding lab period whether or not you will attend that lab period. You
cannot drop any Pre-Lab grades even if you drop the associated Lab Report. Late pre-labs are not
accepted.
Lab Reports: Lab Reports are each graded out of 100 points and will be worth 82.3% of your final lab
grade for the semester. You are allowed to drop two Lab Report grades. The Lab Report must be
turned in to your TA before you leave your lab. Late reports are not accepted.
1 Lab Information Sheet Quiz
9 Pre-Lab Blackboard Quizzes
Best 7 of 9 Lab Reports
Total:

15 points
135 points (15 points each)
700 points (100 points each)
850 points

1.8%
15.9%
82.3%
100%


Your final lab grade will be factored into your overall Introductory Physics course grade.
Labs are designed to complement and clarify the material you learn in class, so attending lab will help
you understand the physics covered in lecture. Additionally, one or two of the problems on each exam
may be based on concepts learned in the lab (regardless of whether they were covered in lecture).
Keeping Track of Your Grades
Your teaching assistant is responsible for recording your lab grades. Your grades will be recorded on
Blackboard. You should periodically check to be sure the grades listed there are correct. If you spot a
problem, simply show your graded lab report to your TA. You should always have a back-up copy of your
lab reports in case something unfortunate happens to your TAs thumb drive.

Lost and Found


If you lose an item in lab, contact your TA as soon as you realize you left something behind. If your TA
does not have your lost item, contact the Lab Manager, Dan Flanagan, at dflanagan@physics.wustl.edu
or go to his office (Crow 307).
Questions
If you have any questions about Introductory Physics Lab policies and procedures, consult the FAQ page
on the lab website or ask your TA for clarification.