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California Standards Physics

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Investigation and Experimentation


Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

  1. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as computer-linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.
  2. Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error.
  3. Identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources of error or uncontrolled conditions.
  4. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
  5. Solve scientific problems by using quadratic equations and simple trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
  6. Distinguish between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
  7. Recognize the usefulness and limitations of models and theories as scientific representations of reality.
  8. Recognize the issues of statistical variability and the need for controlled tests.
  9. Recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence.
  10. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.
  11. Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. Examples of issues include irradiation of food, cloning of animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer, choice of energy sources, and land and water use decisions in California.
  12. Know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted scientific theory, the observation is sometimes mistaken or fraudulent (e.g., the Piltdown Man fossil or unidentified flying objects) and that the theory is sometimes wrong (e.g., the Ptolemaic model of the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets).