Physical Sciences in our everyday lives

For this portfolio item, please select ONE of the options below, and follow the instructions associated with that option.

Option 1: Physical Sciences in our everyday lives

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Option 2: Physical Sciences and society

Option 3: Underrepresented scientists in Physical Sciences

INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPTION 1

This option is very similar to portfolio 1—you need to pick a topic from life outside of class and apply the concepts of the physical sciences to it. It’s sort of like a mini paper on the way something works. Choose a topic to which you can apply concepts from any unit of the course.

General organization of this portfolio item

The portfolio item should have the following sections:

-Topic (one paragraph maximum)

-Background concepts (150-300 words)

– (include some diagrams if appropriate; 300-400 words)

-Works cited in APA format (and cited in-text throughout the portfolio)

Topic

Choose a topic as described in the above paragraph. Be sure it’s related to the physical sciences, and to the concepts we’re learning about during this unit. In a brief paragraph, tell me what your topic is, and maybe why you chose it.

Background Concepts

In several paragraphs, discuss the physical science concepts that you’ll be applying to your topic. For example, if you’re discussing cloud formation, you need to talk about condensation and evaporation, the energy required to do those things, hydrogen bonding and how it’s related to the phase change of water, how temperature is related to all of this, the cooling of air as it expands, etc.  Think about all of the concepts we’ve covered that apply to your topic, and write several paragraphs about them in general—without yet applying those concepts to your topic. Use your notes, lectures, and the textbook. If an online source helps you explain the concept, feel free to use that too—but be sure to cite it appropriately.

Application

Now take those physical science concepts and write 300-400 words about how they apply to your topic. Try to think through these yourself before looking up specifics, but feel free to use additional sources, being sure to cite them appropriately. This is the largest and most important section of the portfolio item, and should be thoughtful and well-written. This is where you tell me how the physical sciences relate to your topic. For the example above, this is where you relate evaporation and condensation to cloud formation in particular. Explain the role evaporation and condensation play in the formation of clouds, and then do that with each of your other background concepts. Make sure to relate every concept that you discussed in the background section to your topic.

Works cited

This is a brief section where you include all of the sources you cited, in proper APA format.  Make sure you have at least two outside sources; you can also use class notes and your textbook if you’d like. If you don’t know APA format, there are a bazillion online tutorials, and even programs that will do it for you.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPTION 2

For this option, pick a topic related to the physical sciences that affects society in some way. Then explain the science behind it.  There are lots of options here—some popular ones include alternative energy (e.g. solar or wind power), climate change, or electric cars.

General organization of this portfolio item

The portfolio item should have the following sections:

-Topic (one paragraph)

-Background concepts (150-300 words)

– (include some diagrams if appropriate; 300-400 words)

-Works cited in APA format (and cited in-text throughout the portfolio)

Topic

In about a paragraph, summarize the topic you’ve selected. Be sure to indicate which general topics in the physical sciences apply to your topic, and why you chose it.

Background Concepts

In several paragraphs, discuss the physical science concepts that are pertinent to your topic. For example, if you select solar panels, discuss the concepts of photons, energy, energy transformations, electricity, and electron transfer.  Think about all of the concepts we’ve covered that apply to your topic, and write several paragraphs about them in general—without yet applying those concepts to your topic. Use your notes, lectures, and the textbook. If an online source helps you explain the concept, feel free to use that too—but be sure to cite it appropriately.

Application

Now take those physical science concepts and write 300-400 words about how they apply to your topic. Try to think through these yourself before looking up specifics, but feel free to use additional sources, being sure to cite them appropriately. This is the largest and most important section of the portfolio item, and should be thoughtful and well-written. This is where you tell me how the physical sciences relate to your topic, and show me why this was a good topic to choose for the assignment. Make sure to relate every concept that you discussed in the background section to your topic.

Works cited

This is a brief section where you include all of the sources you cited, in proper APA format. Make sure you have at least two outside sources; you can also use class notes and your textbook if you’d like. If you don’t know APA format, there are a bazillion online tutorials, and even programs that will do it for you.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPTION 3

For this option, you will write a short biography of a scientist (living or dead) from a group that is historically underrepresented in the physical sciences. This basically means that your scientist can’t be a straight, white, able-bodied man. If you have questions about whether or not your choice fits the bill, feel free to message me.

After you’ve selected your scientist, do some research about their lives and their work, and write a paper on them. The paper needs to be at least two pages (double-spaced), and have at least two outside sources that you cite in the paper (not your notes or textbook, although if they’re helpful somehow, feel free to cite those as well). Include a references list at the end.

In your paper, you should be sure to highlight why they’re a scientist who deserves to be recognized. What were their accomplishments? How did they contribute to the field? Basically, what makes them notable, and why did you choose them?

Please cite in proper APA format.

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