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PHYSICS LAB: AN EXPOSITION OF UPDATING CONTENTS

J. del Val Garcia1, R. Comesaña Piñeiro1, A. Riveiro Rodriguez2, F. Lusquiños Rodriguez1

1University of Vigo (SPAIN)
2Centro Universitario de la Defensa, ENM Marin (SPAIN)
Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines, which is included in all the scientific and technological degrees of the universities around the world. Physicists use the scientific method, a methodical approach to compare the implications of the theory in question with the associated conclusions drawn from experiments and observations conducted to test it. This methodology is commonly used during the teaching of this discipline at university level. Therefore, the lab work plays a fundamental role in the process of learning of new physics concepts by the students. However, the lab practices commonly applied at university level remain sometimes at a second level due to the higher costs of the lab classes compared with the theoretical classes. In this sense, attending classes are sometimes replaced by virtual laboratories, but the student does not have the opportunity to take a real contact with the lab instruments. On the other hand, the practices developed in the lab are sometimes obsolete and low satisfactory from the point of view of the student and for the teacher.
In this paper, we expose the necessity of updating the lab contents. Also we propose some alternative lab practices for the teaching of physics, in particular, for the thermodynamics lessons. This topic is not commonly covered in standard physics courses at university level due to the higher costs required to implement them in the lab.