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Name the Experiment: Introduction

Keywords: Name Experiment, Energy and Entropy, First Law, Partial Derivative, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity is designed to help students connect thermodynamic derivatives with experiments that measure those quantities.
  2. Students design an experiment to measure a given partial derivative.
  3. The compare-and-contrast wrap-up discussion highlights the significance of which variable is held constant in a partial derivative.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students will learn to think in more concrete terms, rather than just viewing derivatives as abstract concepts. As well, they will learn the difference between holding temperature and entropy constant. This is a concept that is often hard for students to comprehend, and this activity often is helpful in cementing that idea. Students will be put in a situation where they must determine the correct apparatus to measure a derivative, which will allow them to think about what is feasible in terms of measurement


Instructor's Guide

Authors: David Roundy
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