Unit 2: Scientific Measurement, Methods, and Models

The first lab activity associated with this textbook guides you through the process of performing an experiment to determine human reaction time. The lab required that you apply a kinematic equation to model the motion of the falling ruler. As with the application of any scientific model, certain assumptions were made. For example,  a lack of noticeable effects due to air resistance on the falling ruler.   Any rigorous scientific investigation requires an understanding of  the uncertainty in making measurements and the assumptions made in modeling the data that result from those measurements. The following chapters in this unit will introduce those concepts. The learner outcomes for this unit are listed below, and below that are some related key terms to watch out for as you complete the chapter.

Learner Objectives

  1. Explain the scientific cycle and the role of empirical models, physical models, hypotheses, observations, experiments, theories, laws, and principles. [5]
  2. Explain how systematic and random errors affect precision, accuracy and uncertainty.[4]
  3. Estimate and report uncertainties in specific measurements and calculated results. [4]
  4. Take actions to reduce the uncertainty in specific measurements or results. [4]


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