Solar current output as a function of sun elevation: students as toolmakers

Igoe, D. P. and Parisi, A. V. (2015) Solar current output as a function of sun elevation: students as toolmakers. Physics Education, 50 (5). pp. 657-661. ISSN 0031-9120

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Solar current is an increasingly important aspect of modern life and will be even more so crucial in the students’ future. Encouraging students to be the ‘toolmakers’ allows students to take ownership of scientific investigations, as well as forcing them to refine their research questions and hypothesis the design and refinement of their tools. The modern day has seen an unprecedented opportunity for toolmaking, in the form of adapting and programming apps that use the micro-electro-mechanical sensors that are an intrinsic part of smartphone technology.

A sample in-class experiment and an experimental investigation are presented; these represent an increase in toolmaking and student ownership with a corresponding decrease in teacher guidance. Toolmaking progresses from the construction of a physical sunspotter, using a hand lens and cut-off tube, using apps, to future considerations such as programming, adapting pre-existing code samples to be able to manipulate the smartphone sensors.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to Submitted version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 03:24
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2016 05:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: solar; current; experiment; smartphone; toolmaking
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029999 Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1088/0031-9120/50/6/657

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