PHYSICS EDUCATION, VOL. 47, 64-68, 2012

Training school pupils in the scientific method: student participation in an international VLF radio experiment

J. J. Denton1, M. H. Denton2, A. J. Kavanagh2, H. Harron1, Th.Ulich3, J. S. Denton4

1Headlands School and Community Science College, Bridlington, U.K.,
2Dept of Physics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, U.K.,
3Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory, Sodankylä, Finland,
3Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, U.K.


We report on a school-university collaboration to involve students in the deployment, testing, and operation of a very low frequency (VLF) radio receiver as part of an international network of such experiments. A background to the collaboration is presented, along with a summary of planning and development, and the ultimate deployment of the hardware. The integration and involvement of students in data analysis and testing is discussed and we summarize how students further develop their application of the scientific method via their role as custodians of the experiment. Such enrichment activities allow the students access to carry out non-curricular activities they would not normally have access to. We consider that the project as a whole may be used as a template for other school-university experimental collaborations.

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