Doing science often involves measurement with electronic devices,
and physics research is particularly dependent on the power of electronics.
This unit will give you some experience with electronics.
In the messing around section you will become familiar with simple electronic
circuits. In the Core Project you will learn the function of some
common electronic components by using them in the construction of a low-voltage
power supply. This power supply will be used in other HOP units.
By the end of this unit, you should be able to:
recognize circuit elements (resistors & capacitors)
read circuit diagrams
use a proto-board for circuit building
debug a circuit
Learn by Doing.
Most people learn concepts by making things and then thinking about them.
Too often students try to jump ahead and memorize the equations and definitions
without giving themselves time to think. This is why Hands On Physics units
emphasize "hands on" building.
Understand the HOP Structure. There are three major sections
in each unit:
"Messing Around," a "Core Project," and "Extensions."
The messing around part is a chance to learn the big physics
concepts without worrying about a lot of details and computations. The core
project is a construction project that everyone does. After the Core Project
you choose an extension to work on. The extension is a special investigation
which helps you strengthen the ideas presented earlier in the unit.
Think in Lab. It is important that you use your mind while you
are in the lab doing these various projects. You cannot just follow the
directions and fill in the blanks. We don't tell you every little step because
you should be learning how to do things yourself. Eventually, we want you
to be able to undertake an entire project without qui dance.
To get to this level, you have to make larger and larger steps without help.
Fill in the Gaps. You may find some projects frustrating, you may get
mad at instructions that seem vague, and you may wish your teacher could
help you all the time. But before asking for help, talk it out in your group;
try to invent a way out of your problem. If you are not sure whether you
are doing the "right thing", write down what your problem was
and what you decided.
Make Mistakes Rapidly. Remember, it is okay to make mistakes;
we learn from our mistakes. Always think about safety and try to avoid breaking
things. But if you make a mistake, don't be discouraged; just try again.
The more mistakes you make, the more you must be learning.