My colleague, Kelvin Mischo, and I have been talking to a lot of faculty on ways to use Mathematica in intro-level physics courses. He recently created an application in Mathematica that acts as a pre-lab simulation which shows what will happen in the lab, but with ideal data. The idea is to help students get more out of the pre-lab and not come into the lab "cold" and then struggle to get the lab done.
Two pre-lab excercises are provided. The first explores the concept using the Mathematica language. The second explores the concept using an application is totally mouse-driven and does some statistical analysis.
Do you find that students pick up the language quickly enough to use Mathematica for lab reports and creating graphics to support the reports?
Would a set of these for different labs be useful, or some information on how to create your own application like this? The beauty of the example is that it's easy to change and create based on specific or unique labs.