Teaching representation translations with magnetic field experiments

Wilson Andrew Tillotson, Timothy McCaskey, Luis Nasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have developed a laboratory exercise designed to help students translate between different field representations. It starts with students qualitatively mapping field lines for various bar magnet configurations and continues with a Hall probe experiment in which students execute a series of scaffolded tasks, culminating in the prediction and measurement of the spatial variation of magnetic field components along a line near magnets. We describe the experimental tasks, various difficulties students have throughout, and ways this lab makes even their incorrect predictions better. We suggest that developing lab activities of this nature brings a new dimension to the ways students learn and interact with field concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-46
Number of pages3
JournalPhysics Teacher
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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