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AP Physics 1 and 2 Inquiry-Based Lab Investigations

AP Physics 1 and 2 Lab Manual

AP Physics 1 and 2 Inquiry-Based Lab Investigations: A Teacher's Manual (.pdf/7.82MB) was developed by the College Board to support AP® Physics teachers in implementing an inquiry-based approach in the classroom. Inquiry-based laboratory investigations are integral to the AP Physics 1 and 2 courses because they provide opportunities for students to apply the seven science practices (defined in the curriculum framework) as they identify questions, design experiments, conduct investigations, collect and analyze data, and communicate their results.

The manual:

  • Includes 16 student-directed, guided-inquiry labs (nine for AP Physics 1, and seven for AP Physics 2)
  • Aligns with the learning objectives in the AP Physics 1 and 2 Course and Exam Description (.pdf/5.54MB), which contains the curriculum framework and sample exam questions
  • Demonstrates how inquiry-based labs allow students to plan, direct, and integrate a range of science practices, such as designing experiments, collecting data, and applying quantitative skills
  • Aligns with best practices promoted by the National Science Foundation and America's Lab Report
  • Emphasizes scientific inquiry, reasoning, and critical thinking
  • Includes lists of supplemental resources

The AP Physics labs provided by the College Board do not represent required activities; in fact, teachers are encouraged to develop their own inquiry-based labs that address the learning objectives in the curriculum framework.

Ancillary Guides for the AP Physics Laboratory

The College Board has also developed two guides, one for students and one for teachers, in support of skills needed for inquiry-based lab investigations. AP Physics 1 and 2 Lab Investigations: A Student Guide to Data Analysis (.pdf/410KB) provides AP Physics students with important information on accuracy, precision, experimental error, and graphs.

Quantitative Skills and Analysis in AP Physics 1 and 2 Investigations: A Guide for Teachers (.pdf/387KB) provides AP Physics teachers with background information covering experimental error and estimation of uncertainties, error analysis, and the creation and analysis of graphic representations of data. This information is necessary to support students in the development and successful application of the quantitative skills needed in the AP Physics laboratory.

Access the Lab Manual

Standalone sections from AP Physics 1 & 2 Inquiry-Based Lab Investigations: A Teacher's Manual (.pdf/7.82MB) are available below.

A print edition of the teacher's lab manual is available for purchase at the College Board Store.

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