Suzanne E. Willis

Physics 253 Laboratory Information Fall 2011

Policies and Procedures

  • A laboratory score of at least 60% of the total possible points is required to obtain a passing final course grade. There will be 12 labs each worth 15 points; thus passing requires a minimum of 108 points. Students will fail the entire 4-credit course if their final total lab score is less than 108 points.
  • Students are expected to follow all safety procedures and safety instructions. Students who purposely defeat safety mechanisms or repeatedly ignore safety instructions will be asked to leave for the remainder of that experiment, and a grade of zero will be recorded for that experiment.
  • Students must ensure that their equipment and work space are neat and organized before they leave for the day. This will count as part of the grade.
  • Attendance is required and is part of the grade.
  • There is no accommodation for labs missed due to unexcused absences. If an absence is expected or due to unavoidable circumstances, please make arrangements with the instructor, prior to the absence if possible.
  • All laboratory reports are due one week from the date the experiment is performed. They will be collected at the beginning of the student's regularly scheduled laboratory period, unless extended by the instructor. Reports will be accepted up to two weeks late, at a penalty of 3.5% per day. No lab reports will be accepted after this grace period expires.
  • No reports will be accepted after the final week of classes.
  • Incidents of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, copying another student's work, and so forth) will result in a zero being recorded for that experiment for all involved parties, and the physics department administration will be notified. Although you may discuss your lab report with your lab partner, your written report should be your own work.


Individual Experiments:

Your instructor will evaluate your performance both in the classroom and on the laboratory report. You will be responsible for bringing a printed copy of the lab handout instructions with you to the lab. Reading it over before coming to the lab will ensure basic familiarity with the lab to be performed that day.

Lab Report Grading Scheme:

  • 5 points: Attendance and participation (for lab and recitation sections). One point is deducted for each experimental lab (not computer lab) for not bringing your bound, quadrilled lab notebook.
  • 10 points: Lab write-up; the instructor will provide information regarding what aspects of the lab write-up will be graded most closely. In general, half your score will assess your ability to collect data and communicate your information to others; the other half will assess your ability to make careful observations about the experiment and your ability to grasp the concepts of the experiment.
  • If you have questions reagrding your score on a lab write-up, talk to your lab TA. The lab TA does the grading.

Course Grade:

At the end of the semester, your lab TA will make your laboratory score available to your lecture instructor. Your lecture instructor will then combine the score you received in lecture with the score you received in lab to determine your final grade; remember that the lab counts for 25% of your grade while the lecture counts for the other 75%. A laboratory score of at least 108 points is required to obtain a passing final course grade. Only the final grade that your lecture instructor assigns will appear on your transcript. Please refer to the information provided by your lecture instructor if you have any questions on how to calculate your final grade.

You will be able to keep track of your laboratory score on Blackboard. There is a separate Blackboard site for the lecture portion of the course.

253 Lab Write-up Guidelines

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Topic Week of  Laboratory Handout
Estimation August 29 Sears Tower
Kinematics September 5 Air Slide
Motion in Two Dimensions September 12 Projectile Motion
Forces September 19 Weightlifting
Forces and Motion 1 September 26 Atwood Machine
Forces and Motion 2 October 3 Centripetal Force
Gravity October 10 Space Station
Conservation of Energy October 17 Ballistic Pendulum
Conservation of Momentum October 24 Collisions
Center of Mass October 31 The Waiter
November 7 Rolling
Simple Harmonic Motion November 13 Pendulum