Introductory physics laboratory experiments have typically been employed to reinforce classroom instruction instead of teaching students experimental design. Recent research has shown that lab experiments that focus on experimental practices are more effective at teaching students physics concepts. The experiment described in this paper has been developed to teach students the basics of experimental design by exploring the physics of thin film interference and spectroscopy in order to answer the following question: “What is the thickness of the oxide layer of anodized niobium?”

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