Mar 31, 2023  

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PSC 101 - Physical Science I

Credits: 4

Physical Science is a general education science lab course in the Physics Discipline. It focuses on some general physics, meteorology, geology, and astronomy concepts. This course is a potpourri of physical science concepts that are taught in a lecture and experimental environment. Recommended for non-science majors, including education majors.

Prerequisite(s): READING LEVEL 2 and WRITING LEVEL 2 and MATH LEVEL 2
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 45 Lab Hours: 30
Meets MTA Requirement: Natural Science Lab
Pass/NoCredit: Yes

Outcomes and Objectives
  1. PROCESS OUTCOMES The students will participate in the process of science.
    1. Make observations
    2. Design experiments
    3. Conduct experiments
    4. Formulate and test hypotheses
    5. Collect data
    6. Analyze data
    7. Draw conclusions
    8. Report results
  2. The student will demonstrate the competent use of common instruments and technology used in scientific investigation.
    1. Use the metric system and common instruments of measure to determine mass, length, volume, and temperature.
    2. Correctly use various kinds of scientific equipment and metering devices.
  3. The student will be able to communicate in the language of the discipline.
    1. Read critically
    2. Write effectively
    3. Listen actively
    4. Speak effectively
    5. Develop and interpret graphs and flow charts
  4. The student will engage in the critical thinking of the discipline.
    1. Integrate concepts
    2. Solve problems
    3. Draw logical conclusions
    4. Make predictions based on evidence
    5. Identify trends and patterns
  5. The student will associate and cooperate with peers.
    1. Work in small groups
    2. Accept responsibility for his/her share of the work
  6. CONTENT OUTCOMES The student will be able to use the metric system of measurement.
    1. Recognize reasonable measurements and appropriate units
    2. Demonstrate correct measurement techniques using a meter stick, graduated cylinder and balance.
    3. Estimate common measurements using metric units.
    4. Use the measuring equipment to acquire data, carry out appropriate conversions between units and analyze the significance of the data.
  7. The student will be able to explain the scientific method.
    1. Define measurements, controls, variable, data, inferences, observations, hypothesis, theory, scientific law, and the scientific method.
    2. List the steps in the scientific method.
    3. Identify the components of a well-designed experiment.
    4. Distinguish between observations and measurements.
    5. Distinguish between a guess, hypothesis, and theory.
    6. Draw a valid conclusion from a set of observations.
    7. Construct and interpret graphs.
    8. Develop a hypothesis and propose an experiment for a testable question.
  8. The student will be able to explain basic thermodynamics concepts.
    1. Describe the different phases of matter.
      1. Describe the ways in which clouds develop in the atmosphere.
    2. Explain the relationship between temperature and average kinetic theory of molecules.
      1. Describe air masses and how they form.
    3. Describe how different kinds of thermometers work.
      1. Describe the types of violent weather.
    4. Describe the common temperature scales.
      1. Describe the symbols on a weather map and use that information to forecast weather.
    5. Be able to convert between different temperature scales.
    6. Define heat.
    7. Explain the relationship between temperature difference and heat transfer
    8. Define the units of heat energy.
    9. Explain the relationship between specific heat and heat transfer.
    10. Explain the importance of the high specific heat value of water in climate.
    11. Describe the three mechanisms of heat transfer.
    12. Differentiate between heat conductors and insulators.
    13. Describe convection currents.
    14. Describe the relationship between phase changes and heat energy.
    15. Explain how evaporation and condensation depends on average kinetic energy.
    16. Explain how relative humidity is related to air temperature.
    17. Describe the earth's early atmosphere and explain how it has evolved.
    18. Describe the components of the earth’s atmosphere.
    19. Describe the vertical structure of the earth’s atmosphere.
    20. Explain how latitude affects solar energy.
    21. Explain the reasons for the seasons.
    22. Explain the greenhouse Effect and its relationship to Global Warming.
    23. Explain the driving forces of air motion.
    24. Describe the difference between humidity and relative humidity.
    25. Describe the cause and affects of air pressure.
    26. Explain how temperature differences affect the stability of the atmosphere.
    27. Describe the ways in which clouds develop in the atmosphere.
    28. Describe air masses and how they form.
    29. Describe the types of violent weather.
    30. Describe the symbols on a weather map and use that information to forecast weather.
  9. The student will be able to explain basic electricity concepts.

A. Define electric charge and electric current.

B. Distinguish between electrical conductors and insulators.

C. Explain the law of charges, Coulombs Law, and the effects of electrostatic charging.

D. Analyze Ohm’s Law and the expressions for electric power in terms of voltage

E. Distinguish between electric potential energy and voltage.

F. Distinguish between series and parallel circuits.

G. Distinguish between direct current and alternating current.

H. Describe major aspects and practices of electrical safety.

10. The student will be able to explain basic magnetism concepts.

A. Explain the law of poles, and the magnetic field.

B. Identify the cause of magnetism, and explain why some materials can be magnetized and some cannot.

C. Identify some electromagnetic interactions and applications.

D. Distinguish between motors and generators.

E. Explain the principle of transformers, and how and why they are used in electrical power transmission.

11. The student will be able to explain basic plate tectonics concepts.

A. Compare and contrast the three types of seismic waves.

B. Describe the interior of the earth.

C. Explain the process of locating an earthquake epicenter.

D. Describe the differences between continental and oceanic crust.

E. Describe the evidence that supports continental drift.

F.  Describe the evidence that supports sea-floor spreading hypothesis.

G. Describe and give examples the three kinds of plate boundaries.

H. Describe a subduction zone.

I.   Describe the characteristics of ocean-ocean convergent boundaries.

J.  Describe the characteristics of ocean-continent convergent boundaries.

K. Describe the characteristics of continent-continent convergence boundaries.

L. Explain the cause of plate tectonics.

12.The student will be able to explain basic sound & light wave concepts.

A.  Distinguish between transverse and longitudinal waves and give an example of each.

B. Explain the properties used to describe waves.

C. Describe electromagnetic waves.

D. Differentiate the various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

E. Define sound.

F.  Explain sound waves, their propagation, and the components of the sound spectrum.

G. Describe how amplitude affects the quality of sound or light.

H. Explain the Doppler effect.

I.   Identify some Doppler applications.

J.  Analyze standing waves and what produces them.

K. Explain what is meant by natural frequencies and resonance.

L. Describe constructive and destructive interference.

M. Explain the relationship between velocity, frequency, and wavelength.

13. The student will be able to explain basic properties of light.

A.  Explain the law of reflection.

B.  Distinguish between regular and diffuse reflections.

C.  Explain the phenomenon of refraction and how this leads to the dispersion of light.

D.  Explain the concept of total internal reflection.

E.  Explain the phenomena of diffraction, interference and polarization.

F.   Distinguish between converging and diverging spherical mirrors.

G.  Explain image formation and distinguish between real and virtual images utilizing ray diagrams for mirrors and lenses.

H.  Distinguish between converging and diverging lenses.

I.   Describe some of the effects of dispersion.

J.  Identify some applications of diffraction, interference, and polarization.

K. Explain the relationship between the frequency of light and its color.

L. Describe the effects of selective reflection and selective transmission on color.

M. Explain what happens in color mixing.

N. Explain why the sky is blue, sunsets are red, clouds are white, and bodies of water are greenish blue.

O. Describe how light behaves as a wave and a particle.

14. The student will be able to explain the solar system.

A.  Describe human exploration of the moon.

B.  Describe the phases of the moon and explain why we see moon phases.

C.  Explain how eclipses occur.

D.  Describe the three types of eclipses.

E.  Describe the characteristics of the planets.

F.   Describe the characteristics of asteroids, comets, and meteoroids.

G.  Explain the relationship between the size of the planets, the sun, and other stars.

H.  Describe the structure of comets.

I.   Explain the difference between meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites.

J.  Explain the formation of the solar system.

K. Describe the shape of the orbit of the planets.

L. Describe the structure of the sun and explain how it creates energy.

M. Describe sunspots.

15. The student will be able to explain stellar evolution.

A.  Explain the difference between absolute and apparent magnitude.

B.  Explain main sequence equilibrium.

C.  Describe how stars are categorized according to their magnitude and surface temperature (Hertzprung-Russell diagram).

D.  Describe the birth of a star (clouds of dust and gas).

E.  Explain stellar evolution (formation, life, and death of a star) for both low mass and high mass stars.

F.  Explain the formation of heavy elements.

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