Being able to contextualise and solve complex problems is a highly valued skill in STEM graduates, which we strive to nurture in our students. In undergraduate degrees, laboratory teaching has been used to consolidate conceptual understanding, develop practical skills and inculcate an evidence based problem solving approach. Here we present an alternative to the traditional introductory level physics laboratory experiments which enhances students' learning by focusing on problem solving rather than simply following detailed instructions. Conceptual understanding is enhanced further by connecting students' prior learning and experience with the predominant use of everyday objects. Working in small groups, students were able achieve the aims of the experiments through self and peer-instruct. The entire laboratory component of a first year Physics course was successfully reorganised based on this approach. Introductory undergraduate teaching laboratory can truly fulﬁl the function with which it was originally conceived cost effectively by following this approach.