Instructional Laboratories and Experimental Skills



  1. E. Etkina, A. Karelina, M. Ruibal-Villasenor, R. Jordan, D. Rosengrant, and C. Hmelo-Silver, “Design and reflection help students develop scientific abilities: Learning in introductory physics laboratories,” Journal of the Learning Sciences 19(1) 54–98 (2010).
  2. D. R. Dounas-Frazer and H. J. Lewandowski, “The Modelling Framework for Experimental Physics: description, development, and applications,” European Journal of Physics 39(6) (2018).
  3. N. G. Holmes and C. E. Wieman, “Introductory physics labs: We can do better,” Physics Today 71(1), 38–45 (2018).


Research-based curricular materials for laboratories

  • Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE): A research-based curriculum that helps students learn physics by engaging them in processes that mirror scientific practice. Includes ISLE-based labs.
  • Scientific Community Laboratories: Design labs for introductory physics courses in which students work in groups to design an experiment, carry it out, analyze it, and present their results to other groups.
  • Thinking Critically in Physics Labs: Research-based labs that aim to teach students about the nature of scientific experimentation and to develop their experimentation and critical thinking skills.
  • University of Colorado lab resources for instructors: Research-based course materials, frameworks, and assessments for engaging students in authentic scientific practices such as modeling, writing, and drawing conclusions and making decisions based on measurements that have uncertainty. For use in all levels of undergraduate lab courses.
  • See the Resources in the sections on Courses for Non-STEM Majors and for curricular materials for laboratories targeted to these audiences.
  • PhysPort: Resources based on physics education research that support teaching. Includes overviews of research-based teaching methods and materials, open-source curricula, expert recommendations, and assessments for instructional laboratories in physics. PhysPort features an expert recommendation on how to develop with examples from introductory and advanced physics laboratories.

Rubrics for assessing scientific practices and laboratory notebooks

Other resources