Monthly Archives: August 2013

Dimensional Analysis

Here are some tools to help you through the Measurements in Science homework assignment.

The video linked here methodically takes you through the dimensional analysis process, and it includes a quiz so that you can check your understanding.

This page has a lot of practice problems worked out for you, and it explains the process in easy-to-understand language.

Here’s the presentation we’ll use in class. Watch it. Study it. Master it.

Oh, and here’s another link that may be helpful. From Texas A+M University.



Environmental Value Systems

Here are the video and both presentations from today’s lesson. The notes we viewed can be found on the Topic 7 page under the ESS tab of my home page.


New Element Discovered!

New Element Discovered!

Element 115, Ununpentium, has recently been confirmed through an extensive research process. Read all about it in this article from BBC Science and Environment.

Making Scientific Data Tables

ImageData tables are just that: tables of your results. Tables should be organized before you start your experiment, so that you can concentrate on your method instead of scrambling to organize your information while you work. Trust me on this: you will discover that your experiments go more smoothly if you come to class with your data tables set up, so that all you have to do is write the numbers in the right place.
Some rules for data tables included in your lab reports:

  1. Tables need a title! The title should identify what information is in the table.
  2. All columns should be labeled and include the units of measurement at the top.
  3. Use only numbers in the cells. (If you include the units as well, computers won’t read them as numbers, and they won’t be able to plot them on a graph for you.)
  4. Use the same number of decimal places in every measurement in a column.
  5. Center your numbers both vertically and horizontally to make the table easier to read.

Grade 9 Science Skills Test Coming Up!

Your first unit test is rapidly approaching! It will be a 5-part test on Friday 6 September (9A and 9C) and Monday 9 September (9B). Here are the 5 sections of the test:

  1. Common equipment – identify by name and use
  2. Lab safety rules – explain them
  3. Unit conversion and dimensional analysis – like the HW assignment
  4. Demonstrate use of graduated cylinder, electronic balance, and Bunsen burner
  5. Create a data table and a graph from given raw data

Please note that part 4 is a demonstration stage. Each student will be called to the central demo table, where I will observe your skills using a graduated cylinder, electronic balance, and Bunsen burner. You will have exactly 2 minutes to accomplish 3 tasks with these tools, so please make sure you are comfortable using them!

The test will be scored under Criterion C (Scientific Knowledge) and Criterion F (Attitudes in Science).


U.S. Energy Production and Consumption

U.S. Energy Production and Consumption

The U.S. uses 39% of the energy it produces and wastes an astounding 61%! Image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

How to use this site

Due to some unfortunate technological issues, I’ve had to reformat my entire science website. It my sincerest hope that I will shortly be updating this site so that it is as relevant and informative as past versions.

Looking for your class? Follow the menu headings at the top of the page for class-specific blogs. I’ve got a page for my IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) class, another for the new Science Writers’ Workshop (SWW) at the International School of Tanganyika, another for my IBMYP grade 9 integrated science class (Grade 9), and a page to let you know a little more about my teaching practice (About Mr K).

Each class has links to a course overview and syllabus, assessment calendars, assignment rubrics, and a plethora of online resources I’ve screened to make sure they’re relevant to the topics we study in class as well as age-appropriate for my students.

The syllabus outlines the rules and expectations, grading policies, units of study, and protocols for each class I teach.

Google calendars show what we’re doing in each class on a given day, as well as all the major assessments – projects, tests, and other ‘large’ assignments – in all subjects for the same grade. These calendars help students and teachers schedule work so that no one gets overwhelmed with everything due at the same time.

Assignment rubrics show the general MYP assessment criteria used throughout the grade 9 course on all assignments. Every graded assignment in MYP science is assessed under one or more of 6 different criteria, which measure students’ skills in certain areas of science. Instructions for each assignment always include the criteria used for assessment.

Other online resources may include worksheets from teachers at other schools, YouTube videos, Flash animations, news articles, data tables, infographics, or just about anything else available on the web today. The only criteria I use here are that 1) the resource must be directly relevant to what we’re studying in class, and 2) the resource must be scientifically accurate.