Laboratory sessions offer students an opportunity to develop creative problem-solving skills and to better understand the nature of the scientific process through hands-on learning. Unfortunately, traditional procedures are often written in such detail, they require students to do little more than follow step-by-step directions. Under those circumstances, students do not have the opportunity for creative and critical thinking and often lose appreciation for the laboratory setting.1 To encourage student creativity in the lab, I assign a free-form exercise that requires students to measure their power output when performing an activity of their choosing. Students develop their own experimental procedure and analysis restricted only by equipment availability and safety. The short handout I provide for my students contains no formal procedure or guidelines; it simply lists the requirements for their reports.

Arthur J. Cropley, Creativity in Education and Learning (Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA, 2001), pp. 166–167.
James H.
, “
Student power
Phys. Teach.
Reprinted Phys. Teach.40, 443 (Oct. 2002).
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