Curricular Activities — 2014-2015 Course Planning Grants

Class Title: Chance & Scientific Reasoning

Faculty: Brian Keeley (Pitzer) and Laura Perini (Pomona)

Brian Keeley and Laura Perini incorporated the (in)famous “Box Project” into their respective courses as a way to challenge students to wrestle with the ambiguity of scientific inquiry in a hands-on, collaborative way.  In addition to addressing one of the major pedagogical problems that can arise when students study the philosophy of science but have little experience with the practice of science, the Box Project also helped us learn about the different problem-solving perspectives of a wide range of teams.

Class Title: Contemporary Experimental Physics, Electronics

Faculty: Dwight Whitaker (Pomona) and David Tanenbaum (Pomona)

For these two courses, we brought in alumni experts, Dot Silverman (PO ‘14) and Jenna deBoisblanc (PO ‘11) to lead workshops on the basics of 3D printing and Arduino microcontrollers.  These three-day workshops were required for these courses but also open to students outside of the Physics department.  To make the workshop productive for students outside of class, physics students were assigned a guest to mentor and work with through each three-day workshop. These prototyped workshops promoted near-peer learning, enabled more class time for course projects, made new skills available and accessible to an audience outside the discipline, connected with recent alumni, and embraced new ways to keep up with the latest technology.  By the end of both workshops, students from in and outside the class all built original objects or devices using the technology they learned.