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Physical Sciences


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      Strategies: Additional Instruction and Practice

      The following activities are suggestions for working with students who need additional instruction and practice. We hope that the activities spark ideas and conversations among teachers about useful classroom strategies that can supplement existing curriculum.

      Activity 1

      Isotopes of Pennies

      Click here* for "Isotopes of Pennies", in which students will use pennies of different compositions as models to illustrate how isotopes have nearly identical chemical behavior despite different masses and nuclear stabilities.

      Students should recognize that elements with the same number of protons may or may not have the same mass, and that those with different masses are called isotopes (Physical Sciences, Benchmark A). Students may also apply their understanding of isotopes to explain the use of radiometric dating to estimate the age of fossils and rocks (Earth and Space Sciences, Benchmark C). Students interpret and apply physical models that represent isotopes (Scientific Inquiry, Benchmark A).

      Activity 2

      Foucault's Pendulum

      Click here* for "Foucault's Pendulum", in which students will describe a large pendulum's motion and demonstrate that Earth is rotating.

      Students should apply Newton's laws of motion to explain the motion of Earth (Physical Sciences, Benchmark D). Students will also observe the relationship between gravitational forces and the mass of objects and that an unbalanced force is responsible for the change in speed or direction of an object. They will also demonstrate that motion is a measurable quantity that depends on the observer's frame of reference. Based on their observations, students make inferences and draw logical conclusions (Scientific Inquiry, Benchmark A).

      Activity 3

      Star Power!

      Click here* for "Star Power!", in which students measure the amount of solar radiation the earth receives from the sun.

      Students will explain aspects of how energy may change form or be redistributed, including how these transformations involve the release of some thermal energy, and that thermal energy can be transferred by conduction, convection or radiation (Physical Sciences, Benchmark F). This lesson also allows students to participate in, and apply the processes of scientific investigation (Scientific Inquiry, Benchmark A).

      Activity 4

      Wave Behavior

      Students should be able to demonstrate that waves transfer energy when they interact with matter. This includes describing how waves can superimpose on one another when propagated in the same medium.

      At this level, students should be able to analyze conditions in which waves can bend around corners, reflect off surfaces, be absorbed by other materials they enter, and change direction and speed when entering a different material (Physical Sciences, Benchmark G). Students may investigate these phenomena using interactive simulations available on the web:

      • Click here* for a simulation of wave interference from Colorado University. Based on their observations, students should be able to describe wave interference phenomena, including the nature of constructive and destructive interference.
      • Click here* for a simulation of wave reflection and refraction in different media like air and glass. Based on their observations, students should analyze conditions, like various media and angles of incidence, that cause phenomena like total internal reflection.

      *This link contains resources or information that may be useful. These resources were not written to align specifically to Ohio's Academic Content Standards. The inclusion of a specific resource is not an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students.

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