Goal -Instructionally, these strands should be woven through the content goals and objectives of the course. Supplemental materials providing a more detailed explanation of the goals, objectives, and strands, with specific recommendations for classroom and/or laboratory implementation are available through the Department of Public Instruction’s Publications Section.
Nature of Science - This strand is designed to help students understand the human dimensions of science, the nature of scientific thought, and the role of science in society. Physics is particularly rich in examples of science as a human endeavor, its historical perspectives, and the development of scientific understanding.
Science as aHuman Endeavor - Intellectual honesty and an ethical tradition are hallmarks of the practice of science. The practice is rooted in accurate data reporting, peer review, and making findings public. This aspect of the nature of science can be implemented by designing instruction that encourages students to work collaboratively in groups to design investigations, formulate hypotheses, collect data, reach conclusions, and present their findings to their classmates.
The content studied in physics provides an opportunity to present science as the basis for engineering, electronics, computer science, astronomy and the technical trades. The diversity of physics content allows for looking at science as a vocation. Scientist, artist, and technician are just a few of the many careers in which a physics background is necessary.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this strand is that science is an integral part of society and is therefore relevant to students’ lives.
Historical Perspectives - Most scientific knowledge and technological advances develop incrementally from the labors of scientists and inventors. Although science history includes accounts of serendipitous scientific discoveries, most development of scientific concepts and technological innovation occurs in response to a specific problem or conflict. Both great advances and gradual knowledge-building in science and technology have profound effects on society. Students should appreciate the scientific thought and effort of the individuals who contributed to these advances. Galileo’s struggle to correct the misconceptions arising from Aristotle’s explanation of the behavior of falling bodies led to Newton’s deductive approach to motion in The Principia. Today, Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation and his laws of motion are used to predict the landing sites for NASA’s space flights.
Nature of Scientific - Much of what is understood about the nature of Knowledge science must be explicitly addressed:
All scientific knowledge is tentative, although many ideas have stood the test of time and are reliable for our use.
Theories "explain" phenomena that we observe. They are never proved; rather, they represent the most logical explanation based on the currently available evidence. Theories just become stronger as more supporting evidence is gathered. They provide a context for further research and give us a basis for prediction. For example, the Theory of Relativity explains the behavior of objects accelerating at velocities approaching the speed of light.
Laws are fundamentally different from theories. They are universal generalizations based on observations of the natural world, such as the nature of gravity, the relationship of forces and motion, and the nature of planetary movement. Scientists, in their quest for the best explanations of natural phenomena, employ rigorous methods. Scientific explanations must adhere to the rules of evidence, make predictions, be logical, and be consistent with observations and conclusions. "Explanations of how the natural world changes based on myths, personal beliefs, religious values, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful and socially relevant, but they are not scientific." (1995, National Science Education Standards)
Science as Inquiry - Inquiry should be the central theme in physics. It is an integral part of the learning experience and may be used in both traditional class problems and laboratory work. The essence of the inquiry process is to ask questions that stimulate students to think critically and to formulate their own questions. Observing, classifying, using numbers, plotting graphs, measuring, inferring, predicting, formulating models, interpreting data, hypothesizing, and experimenting help students to build knowledge and communicate what they have learned. Inquiry is the application of creative thinking to new and unfamiliar situations. Students should learn to design solutions to problems that interest them. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, but situations that present a discrepant event or ones that challenge students’ intuitions have been successful.
Classical experiments such measuring inertia and the speed of falling bodies need not be excluded. Rather, they should be a prelude to open-ended investigations in which students have the chance to pose questions, design experiments, record and analyze data, and communicate their findings. For example, after measuring the relationships among force, mass, and acceleration of falling bodies, students might investigate the phenomenon of "weightlessness."
Although original student research is often relegated to a yearly science fair project, continuing student involvement in research contributes immensely to their understanding of the process of science and to their problem-solving abilities. Physics provides much potential for inquiries. "Does the aluminum baseball bat have an advantage over a wooden baseball bat?" "Why?" "Is one brand of golf ball better than another brand?" "Why?" The processes of inquiry, experimental design, investigation, and analysis are as important as finding the correct answer. Students will master much more than facts and acquisition of manipulative skills; they will learn to be critical thinkers.
Science andTechnology - It is impossible to learn science without developing some appreciation of technology. Therefore, this strand has a dual purpose: (a) developing students’ knowledge and skills in technological design, and (b) enhancing their understanding of science and technology.
The methods of scientific inquiry and technological design share many common elements - objectivity, clear definition of the problem, identification of goals, careful collection of observations and data, data analysis, replication of results, and peer review. Technological design differs from inquiry in that it must operate within the limitations of materials, scientific laws, economics, and the demands of society. Together, science and technology present many solutions to problems of survival and enhance the quality of life.
Technological design is important to building understanding in physics. Telescopes, lasers, transistors, graphing calculators, personal computers, and photogates, for example, have changed our lives, increased our knowledge of physics, and improved our understanding of the universe.
Science in Personaland Social Perspectives - This strand is designed to aid students in making rational decisions in the use of scientific and technological understanding. "Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science and technology-related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges. Students should understand the appropriateness and value of basic questions What can happen? - What are the odds? and How do scientists and engineers know what will happen?" (1995,National Science Education Standards)
Students should understand the causes and extent of science-related challenges. They should become familiar with the advances that proper application of scientific principles and products have brought to environmental enhancement, better energy use, reduced vehicle emissions, and improved human health.
Physics, the most fundamental of the natural sciences, is quantitative in nature and uses the language of mathematics to describe natural phenomena. Inquiry is applied to the study of matter and energy and their interaction. The following topics are "uncovered" in this curriculum:
Strands: The strands are: Nature of Science, Science as Inquiry,
Science and Technology, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives. They
provide the context for teaching of the content Goals and Objectives.
COMPETENCY GOAL 1: The learner will build an understanding of linear motion.
1.01 Analyze velocity as a rate of change of position:
1.04 Analyze acceleration as rate of change in velocity.
1.05 Analyze graphically and mathematically the relationships among
position, velocity, acceleration, and time.
COMPETENCY GOAL 2: The learner will build an understanding of two-dimensional motion.
2.01 Evaluate the measurement of two-dimensional motion (projectile and circular) in a defined frame of reference.
2.02 Assess the two dimensional motion of objects by using their component vectors.
2.03 Assess the independence of the horizontal and vertical vector components of projectile motion.
2.04 Analyze and evaluate uniform circular motion.
COMPETENCY GOAL 3: The learner will develop an understanding of forces.
3.01 Assess, measure and calculate the conditions required to maintain a body in a state of static equilibrium.
3.02 Assess, measure and calculate the nature and magnitude of gravitational forces (Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation).
3.03 Assess, measure and calculate the nature and magnitude of frictional forces.
3.04 Analyze and evaluate the nature of centripetal forces.
COMPETENCY GOAL 4: The learner will develop an understanding of Newton's Laws of Motion.
4.01 Determine that an object will continue in its state of motion unless acted upon by a net outside force (Newton's 1st Law of Motion, The Law of Inertia).
4.02 Assess, measure, and calculate the relationship among the force acting on a body, the mass of the body, and the nature of the acceleration produced (Newton's 2nd Law of Motion).
4.03 Analyze and mathematically describe forces as interactions
between bodies (Newton's 3rd Law of Motion) .
COMPETENCY GOAL 5: The learner will develop an understanding of the nature of mechanical energy.
5.01 Analyze energy of position:
5.03 Analyze, evaluate ,and apply the principle of conservation of mechanical energy
5.04 Analyze and measure the transfer of mechanical energy through work.
COMPETENCY GOAL 6: The learner will build an understanding of impulse and momentum.
6.01 Assess the vector nature of momentum and its relation to the mass and velocity of an object.
6.02 Compare and contrast impulse and momentum.
6.03 Analyze the factors required to produce a change in momentum.
6.04 Analyze interactions between objects and recognize the total momentum is conserved in both collision and recoil situations.
6.05 Assess real world applications of the impulse and momentum including
but not limited to sports and transportation.
COMPETENCY GOAL 7: The learner will develop an understanding of wave motion and the wave nature of sound and light.
7.01 Analyze the relationship among the characteristics of waves:
7.05 Analyze the relationship between the phenomena of interference and the principle of superposition.
7.06 Analyze the frequency and wavelength of sound produced by a moving
source (the Doppler Effect).
COMPETENCY GOAL 8: The learner will build an understanding of basic elementary principles of thermodynamics.
8.01 Analyze the relationship among temperature, internal energy, and the random motion of atoms, molecules, and ions.
8.02 Assess the conservation of energy using the First Law of Thermodynamics.
8.03 Analyze the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
9.01 Assess the inverse square relationship among force, charge, and distance in Coulomb's Law.
9.02 Analyze the nature of electrical charges and the conservation of electric charge.
9.03 Analyze the relationship between moving electric charges
and magnetic fields.
COMPETENCY GOAL 10: The learner will build an understanding of direct current electrical circuits.
10.01 Analyze and measure the relationship among potential difference, current, and resistance in a direct current circuit.
10.2 Analyze and measure the relationship among current, voltage, and resistance in series and parallel circuits.
10.03 Analyze and measure the nature of power in an electrical circuit.
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