Learn linear circuits by actually building them!
Hendricks and Meehan's book introduces Lab-in-a-Box, a new concept for learning the principles of linear AC and DC circuits that allows the students to build, test, and analyze them at home. All equipment requried to implement Lab-in-a-Box - a breadboard, a wide variety of components, a PC, and PSpice - is student-owned, thus eliminating the need for expensive University-owned and operated facilities.
The pedagogical benefits of Lab-in-a-Box are several.
- The behavior and properties of real devices and components such as wires, resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, and LEDs are emphasized. The differences in performace between real devices and the idealized components discussed in standard textbooks on electric circuits are made real to the student through measurement and observation.
- The relationship between design, analysis, and testing is emphasized. In almost every experiment the student first examines the circuit, either analytically or with PSpice, to determine how the circuit should perform. The student then builds and tests the circuit to determine its actual performace. The performace of the as-built circuit is then compared with the expected performance and discrepancies are explored in terms of the properties and performace of the components.
- Attention is paid to the accuracy and precision of experimental measurements, as well as to an analysis of the errors associated with many of the experiments.
- Students particularly enjoy the opportunity to perform the experiments in a location and at a time of their choosing.
- The hands-on experience offered by Lab-in-a-Box is enthusiastically endorsed by the great majority of students who have completed courses that used this approach. Students are more excietd about their Lab-in-a-Box learning experience than with their experience in the more classical university-operated labs.
- Many students take advantage of the opportunity to explore circuits encountered in other courses by building and testing them using their Lab-in-a-Box components. Many even purchase additional components for such experiments.(Real version)