Module – Physics Laboratory 1

FHEQ Level: Level 4 (First Year)
Credits: 20
Module Code: F300 10041
Course Reference Number (CRN): 59407
Delivery: September Start, Trimesters 1&2 (Long Thin)

Syllabus Outline

• Measurement Skills, including quantifying precision
• Propagation of Errors
• Data Manipulation in a Spreadsheet
• Plotting of Data
• Curve Fitting
• Electronics
• Keeping an Effective Experimental Logbook
• A series of experiments across a range of areas in physics
• Reporting of Experiments in Physics


Practical: Laboratory Skills Journal, 70%
Coursework: Electronics Journal, 30%
More detailed information may be found in the Assessments section.


Practical Physics (4th Edition), G. L. Squires (2008) Cambridge University Press ISBN-978-0521779401

Measurements and Their Uncertainties: A Practical Guide to Modern Error Analysis, I.G Hughes and T.P.A. Hase (2010) Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0199566334

Further updates and supplementary texts may be found in the University Reading Lists system.


You will learn core laboratory skills including measurement, data analysis and electronics. You will then use these skills to undertake a set of experiments in physics designed to complement the core ideas in physics presented in other modules. The module is taught in the laboratory facilitated by academic and technical staff.


1. To develop competence in taking experimental measurements including the quantification of their precision.
2. To use a spreadsheet for data manipulation and software for curve fitting and graph plotting.
3. To build and test electrical circuits.
4. To perform experiments based on guidelines provided, including using reasoned judgement to determine the range and scope of measurements required.
5. To record and report effectively the results of experimental measurements.

Knowledge & Understanding

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate the ability to report physical measurements including quantifying their units and precision.
2. Use a computer to manipulate data.
3. Be able to build and test basic electrical circuits.
4. Design and perform experiments.
5. Report the outcome of experiments.

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Teaching will be conducted in the laboratory.

The first trimester focuses on developing the key skills needed to perform experimental physics. The laboratory sessions involve a range of exercises covering the areas of quantifying precision in measurements, the use of computers for data manipulation and analysis and electronics. Pre-reading will be provided on blackboard. You will record the outcome of the exercises in a journal, contained on blackboard. Instruction and verbal formative feedback will be provided through the sessions. Formative feedback will be provided on entries to the journal.

In the second trimester, the skills learned in the first trimester will be applied in the completion of a number of experiments spanning a range of area in physics. Instruction and support will be given in the laboratory in the undertaking of individual experiments and data collection. You will record information obtained in a journal. Formative feedback will be given on activities throughout the trimester. Assessment will take the form of a journal recording the individual activities and including a detailed report and presentation of one of the experiments undertaken.