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IAA Science Skills

These are the skills that you need when


doing an IAA in Science
Writing the correct units for any measurement

Example : What are these measured in?

Time s
Distance m
Speed m/s
Energy J
Power W
Wavelength m
Frequency Hz
Using scientific words properly

Example : What are the scientific words for these?

Hotness Temperature
Movement energy Kinetic energy
Height energy Gravitational potential energy
Hot air rising Convection
Pull of gravity Weight
Amperage Current
Writing answers to 3 significant figures

What are these numbers to 3 significant figures?

A : 4.50241 4.50

B : 156.845 157

C : 0.00024654 0.000247

D : 1.9999 2.00
Judging which of two versions of an experiment is
better and why
Example : Which is better?
Take each measurement several times and calculate
an average
or
We don’t always ask you to do it as this takes quite a
lot of timeone measurement taken each time

If you try repeating a measurement when you start


you may find you don’t need to take an average
time / s 12.2, 12.2, 12.2, 12.2
Know which is the independent variable and which
is the dependant variable in an experiment
These are the headings for a table in an experiment
where the time for a ball to drop is timed
h/cm t/s t/s t/s Avg t/s

Which is the independent variable? How do you know


Height, h, as it is put in first in equal steps
Which is the dependant variable? How do you know
Time ,t, as this depends upon the height
All other variables must be controlled e.g. ball mass
Check for anamolous results and do not use them

Which is the anamolous result in this table?


h/cm t/s t/s t/s Avg t/s
10.0 0.56 0.61 0.55 0.57
20.0 0.80 0.81 0.83 0.81
30.0 1.21 1.25 1.23 1.23
40.0 1.44 2.89
1.45 1.48 1.94
1.47
1.46
50.0 1.78 1.83 1.80 1.80

IfEven
this better,
result istake
not the measurement
used, again
the answer is more reliable
Calculating an average

How do you work out the average of 3, 4 and 5?


Add them up and divide by the number of numbers
Average = (3 + 4 + 5) / 3 = 12 / 3 = 4

What is the average of these 5 temperatures?


T / oC : 12.5 12.8 13.6 11.5 13.4
Remember
Total = 63.8 Average = 63.8 / 5 3 significant
figures and
units
Average temperature = 12.8 oC
Drawing an accurate graph and take readings from it

YES

NO!!

NO!!

YES
Taking a graph reading showing what you are doing

What is P when
Q = 20.0s ? P/cm

When Q = 20.0s 12.4


P = 12.4 cm?

3 significant
figures and
units

20 Q/s
Describing the pattern shown by a graph
Describe the pattern shown by this line
Imagine that you are walking up the line as a hillside

A
C

As D gets bigger C
As
getsA smaller
gets bigger
with the
Bslope
increases with
becoming the
slope
steepergetting less

B
D
Understanding how to make a conclusion more valid

Get rid of anomolous


results by repeating
them
Could it be straight?
Could it be a curve?
Getting more results
would help
Getting a wider range
of results would help
Almost certainly a
straight line
Understanding how to make a result more reliable

You take a measurement t = 12.2 s

You take the same measurement again t = 14.5 s

These are quite widely different so they are not very


reliable
You can improve reliability by take several readings
and working out an average

t / s = 12.2, 14.5, 11.8 Average = 12.8 s

3 significant
More reliable figures and units
There are also some general skills that you need to
do in situations that you may not have come across
before:

Judging whether measurements are accurate

Working out what errors there are in an experiment

Suggesting better equipment to use and explaining


why it is better

Suggesting how an experiment can be improved


Suggesting how an experiment can be improved

One way to do this is to look at the things being


measured – usually 1 independent and 1 dependent

What is the smallest accurate measurement that you


could take for the independent variable?

What is the smallest measurement that you could


take for the dependent variable?

Which of these should you concentrate on


improving?
Suggesting how an experiment can be improved
Example : An experiment is done to find out how hot
water gets after heating it for 40.0 s. It reaches 5 oC.
The stop clock measures to the nearest 0.1 s
100 x 0.1 / 40 = 0.25 % A very accurate reading
The thermometer measures to the nearest 1 oC
100 x 1 / 5 = 20% A large amount
It would help if the temperature measurement was
taken 3 times and an average was calculated
Even better, use a more accurate thermometer – one
measuring to 0.1 oC (now 2 %)
Calculate using standard form

What is the answer to these?


ANSWERS
A : 2.34 x 102 x 3.56 x 103 8.37 x 105

B : 4.56 x 104 / 8.12 x 105 0.0562 = 5.62 x 10-2

C : 2.34 x 10-12 x 9.56 x 10-13 2.24 x 10-24

Remember to write out to 3 significant figures