First Advisor

Ralf Widenhorn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics: Biomedical Physics and University Honors




Geometrical optics -- Study and teaching (Higher) Geometrical optics -- Equipment and supplies -- Design and construction, Physics -- Study and teaching (Higher)




Current trends in research towards the teaching of geometric suggest a constructivist approach. Student experimentation dealing directly with student misconceptions through repetition of examples in many contexts to confront conflicting reasoning allow students to construct definitions with their experiences and observations. Developing the scientific method of observation, prediction/experimental design, conducting experiments and repeating is reinforced with these techniques. Cataloguing student misconceptions and redesigning course material and laboratory experiments in their context has only recently begun. Use of technology has also been shown to increase student interest in course material and 3D printers have recently become common tools in schools. Additionally, experiments that lend themselves towards computer modeling are sought after as an interface to reconcile conflicting reasoning in student misconceptions.

An apparatus and set of experiments is described that deal with student misconceptions in iterative experiments. Overall cost of the system is decreased by 3D printing expensive optical components. The system highlights complex interactions of propagating light waves and seeks to explain the effects of media on image formation.


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