Physical Science Unit 1: How and Why Do We Science?

Course Goals:

  • To develop your understanding of the nature of science as it pertains to the physical world.
  • To understand and describe, qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of matter and energy and apply your understanding to natural phenomena you observe
  • To experience the engineering design process and demonstrate the interrelationship with science.
  • To investigate and understand the interactions between humans and the Earth.

Course Essential Questions

  • How might I use scientific inquiry to investigation the natural world?
  • How can I use my experience in science to learn to think and communicate clearly, logically, and critically in preparation for college and a career?
  • How can I best assess my own learning and progress?
  • How can I use technology in my learning and become a better digital citizen?
  • How can I think more divergently, creatively, and innovatively as a scientist?
  • How are a system’s characteristics, form, and function attributed to the quantity, type, and nature of its components?

Unit Essential Questions

  1. How are the basic concepts, skills, and understandings in science related to one another? interrelated?
  2. In what ways is measurement used to describe the patterns in the natural world?
  3. In what ways can data be used to visualize, display, and share new information?


  1. Scientific measurement; SI system and why it is used - mass, length, volume, time
  2. Precision and accuracy in measurement
  3. Calculations are the justification for your results
  4. Measurements and observations are analyzed using mathematical processes to discover connections and trends.
Learning Targets: Skills and Measurement

Students will be able to....

  1. Measure and record length (meters and centimeters), volume (milliliters) and mass (grams.)
  2. Identify testable questions and explain how each would be falsifiable
  3. Explain how to choose the best type of graph (bar, line, sctter plot) for a given set of data.
  4. Choose a type of graph that best communicates results and correctly construct the graph.
  5. Define independent variable and dependent variable and explain their relationship.
  6. Construct a graph (bar, line, scatterplot) for a set of data on paper or using a computer app.
Learning Targets: Essential Question

Students will be able to.....

  1. State the essential question, and
  2. Explain how each topic of study is foundational to or otherwise related to our essential question.
Academic Vocabulary: Bricks Academic Vocabulary: Mortar
  • unit
  • SI system
  • meter
  • mass
  • volume
  • significant figures (measurement)
  • testable question
  • claim
  • evidence
  • reason
  • density
  • particle model
  • thermal energy
  • substance
  • pure substance
  • homogeneous
  • heterogeneous
  • mixture
  • solution
  • element
  • compound
  • thermal
  • describe
  • calculate
  • analyze
  • classify
  • interpret
  • list; state
  • explain
  • define
  • law (in science)




Daily Learning Activities
Day 1 September 7
  • Introduction to the semester essential question: How do we collect and interpret evidence of human's impact on the Earth?
  • Materials and Cornell notes
  • But first..... How and why do we science?
    • Phlogiston theory demo and writing
Day 2 September 9
  • Science Reasoning and Data Collection

Day 3 September 13

  • Lab Safety POGIL

Day 4 September 15

Day 5 September 19

  • Safety Quiz
  • Measurement practice - using the balance
  • Reflection and Summary of Practice

Day 6 September 21

  • Measurement completion and recap
Day 7 September 23
  • Measurement quiz
  • Demo - balloons and heat transfer
  • Card sort - testable questions
  • Experimental design: Claim, Evidence, Reasoning
Day 8 September 23
  • Design balloon experiment
Day 9 September 23  
Day 10 September 23  

Next Generation Science Standards:




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