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Focus Questions: Physics

Physics

Example #1- Research Inquiry

Claim: Scientists will soon be able to cool substances to absolute zero.

Research question: Is the existence of an absolute zero temperature consistent with the laws of thermodynamics (namely, the zeroth, first, second and third law)?

Developing the research question:

Steps

Details

1. Break down the claim.

 

Identify the key terms of the claim.

 

Key terms: absolute zero, cool

2. Question the key elements of the claim.

 

Generate questions that help clarify the key terms as they relate to the unit of study.

a. How is ‘absolute zero’ defined?

b. What is the coldest known substance on Earth?

c. What is the physics behind refrigeration?

d. How can absolute zero be measured?

 

3. Pose possible research questions.

 

Extend the questions from step 2 to ask how the key terms could be linked.

a. What is the most effective refrigeration technique known to scientists?

b. Is there a place in the universe that has a temperature of absolute zero?

c. Is absolute zero real?

 

4. Critique the questions.

 

Examine the possible research questions for their suitability to the task

 

a. Do they only consider one independent variable?

b. Do they include an element that can be measured using data?

c. Is the scope suitable to allow for a detailed answer of 1500–2000 words?

 

a. Is there a place in the universe that has a temperature of absolute zero? - Not relevant to the claim.

b. What is the most effective refrigeration technique known to scientists? - Will not be directly relevant to addressing the claim that a substance can be cooled to absolute zero.

c. Is absolute zero real? - This is relevant; however, some more parameters around the scope of the inquiry need to be in place.

5. Finalise the research question.

 

Use the results of the critique to select and finalise the research question.

 

Is the existence of an absolute zero temperature consistent with the laws of thermodynamics (namely, the zeroth, first, second and third law)?

 

Source

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior-qce/sciences/snr_physics_19_unit1_smple_ass_inst.pdf

 

 

 

Physics

Example #1- Practical Investigation

 

Practical that will be modified: Calculate the speed of sound in air at a specific temperature.

Research question: What is the relationship between the speed of sound in air and the temperature of the air when measured in a 2 m long, 10 cm diameter PVC pipe using a 1500 Hz sound source?

Developing the research question:

Steps

Details

1. Identify the independent variable to be investigated.

 

Air temperature in the PVC pipe

2. Identify the dependent variable.

Speed of sound in the PVC pipe

 

3. Identify the methodology to be used.

a. Sound recording software that can also generate a sound will be set up. - The speaker will be sealed at one end of the PVC pipe and a microphone sealed at the other. - The software will be used to both generate a sound through the speaker and record the sound at the other end of the pipe.

b. The temperature of the air within the pipe will be adjusted by placing the pipe in environments with different temperatures.

c. The temperature will be measured through a sealable hole in the pipe.

 

4. Draft research questions.

What is the relationship between the speed of sound in air and the air temperature?

 

5. Refine and focus the research question.

What is the relationship between the speed of sound in air and the temperature of the air when measured in a 2 m long, 10 cm diameter PVC pipe using a 1500 Hz sound source?

 

Source

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior-qce/sciences/snr_physics_19_unit2_smple_ass_inst.pdf