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University physics students’ ideas of thermal radiation expressed in open laboratory activities using infrared cameras
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Didactics)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Materials Physics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Didactics)
2017 (English)In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, Vol. 35, no 3, 349-367 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

University physics students were engaged in open-ended thermodynamics laboratory activities with a focus on understanding a chosen phenomenon or the principle of laboratory apparatus, such as thermal radiation or a heat pump. Students had access to handheld infrared (IR) cameras for their investigations.

Purpose

The purpose of the research was to explore students’ interactions with reformed thermodynamics laboratory activities. It was guided by the research question: How do university physics students make use of IR cameras in the investigation of the interaction of thermal radiation?

Sample

The study was conducted with a class of first-year university physics students in Sweden. The interaction with the activities of four of the students was selected for analysis. The four students are males.

Design and methods

We used a qualitative, interpretive approach to the study of students’ interaction.  The primary means of data collection was video recording of students’ work with the laboratory activities and their subsequent presentations. The analysis focused on how IR cameras helped students notice phenomena relating to thermal radiation, with comparison to previous research on students’ conceptions of thermal radiation.

Results

When using the IR camera students attended to the reflection of thermal radiation on shiny surfaces, such as polished metals, windows or a white-board, and emissive properties of surfaces of different types. In this way, they went beyond using the technology as a temperature probe. Students were able to discuss merits and shortcomings of IR cameras in comparison with digital thermometers.

Conclusions

With the help of IR cameras, university physics students attend to thermal phenomena that would otherwise easily go unnoticed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 35, no 3, 349-367 p.
Keyword [en]
Infrared cameras; Thermal radiation; Open laboratory exercises; Physics education
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-326285DOI: 10.1080/02635143.2017.1318362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-326285DiVA: diva2:1119839
Available from: 2017-07-05 Created: 2017-07-05 Last updated: 2017-07-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

The full text will be freely available from 2019-01-03 08:20
Available from 2019-01-03 08:20

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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