Introductory Materials

This unit is meant to get you thinking as a student of science after the summer.  Some of this unit will be a review for you, some of it will be brand new, some of it will be simple, some of it will be complex, and all of it will be worthwhile.  It is really important that you feel comfortable with the material in this unit moving forward.  Every unit will be set up similar to this first unit, so please familiarize yourself with the structure of the website and where to find materials as well as where to go when you need help.

Experimental Design

It is critical that you have a strong understaning of the scientific method in order to do well in any science class and more importantly to have a strong grasp of logical methods of problem solving.  Please review the material at the link below.  You will find a video there as well as two articles that give a good introductory overview of the scientific method.  You will note that this material talks about biological experiments, but it is just as relevant in physics.  The only reason biology examples are used, is because biology is generally the first class in high school where students are first introduced to the scientific method.

The following document has some material that should be a review such as the differences between independent and dependent variables, and some material that may be new such as differences between accuracy and precision.  Please review this document to ensure that you know more intermediate scientific method concepts.

Main Goal:

  • Be able to solve problems using Fermi questioning techniques.

Class Agenda:

  1. Fermi questioning.... What is it and why use it? (Document)
  2. Getting to know you
  3. Administrative stuff

Homework:

  • Browse this website to familiarize yourself with physics class resources

Main Goal:

  • Be able to solve a problem using experimental design and estimation techniques.

Class Agenda:

  1. Fermi questioning and estimation review
  2. Determine the length of time it takes a sky diver to fall from 13,000 ft using only everyday items from the kitchen.
  3. Experimental Design Review
  4. Discuss the importance of a science education

Homework:

  1. Complete the thought questions from the article that we read in class.

Main Goal:

  • Design a time-keeping device that can reliably measure 1-second intervals.

Class Agenda:

  1. Discuss the importance of a science education
  2. Review experimental design concepts
  3. The Big Ben time-keeping marvel (video)
  4. Experiment to design a device that meets the main class goal (see Main Goal above)

Homework:

  1. None

Main Goal:

  • Design a time-keeping device that can reliably measure 1-second intervals.

Class Agenda:

  1. Continue experimental procedure and data collection for the pendulum lab
  2. Discuss your experimental results and design considerations
  3. Review graph interpretation
  4. Additional graphical data interpretation

Homework:

  1. Complete pendulum lab writeup

Main Goal:

  • Design an experiment to determine the relationship between two or more variables.

Class Agenda:

  1. Conduct a lab practical to meet the daily objective.
  2. Interpret and communicate your experimental results
  3. Optional - complete design challenge

Homework:

  1. Catch up on any late work, otherwise none!

Contact: Jeff.Batey@D214.org