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The ideal lab experience for a homeschooled student

August 23, 2011

A longtime reader of this blog posted this comment:

I’ve finally gotten around to buying a copy of Matter and Interactions. I’m home-schooling my son this year and we’re going to try to work our way through it.

Any suggestions on labs that we can and should do at home? (We have an Arduino and an accelerometer chip (3-axis ±3g), but not much else in the way of sensors. Because we’re home-schooling we may have time to build some simple apparatus.)

Now this student happens to have some pretty incredible intellectual resources at his disposal—his father is a professor of bioinformatics, and he wrote a science far project on a bouncing ball as a 5th grader that would have earned an ‘A’ in many college physics courses, so I’m thinking he can go quite beyond run of the mill physics experiments.

So what suggestions do you have? What advice would you give a budding young physicist setting out on this journey?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 6:54 pm

    Thanks for passing on my request as a blog post. I’ll be watching for answers.

    For those who want more info about why we are home schooling and our tentative curriculum, I have 3 blog posts about it:

    http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/school-decisions/
    http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/school-decisions-part-2/
    http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/school-decisions-part-3/

  2. August 24, 2011 7:01 pm

    Incidentally, I liked your suggestion of getting an ultrasonic range finder for the Arduino, since its interface is very simple (one wire: send a pulse to start, measure the time until it sends a pulse back). Programming is pretty simple and calibration will be a good exercise in measuring the speed of sound in air. It will also be useful for the robotics club as a sensor (for land robots, not underwater ones).

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