University of Virginia
Physics Department

Virginia 2003 SOL Aligned
Physical Science Activities


Note: This site is currently being modified to include the changes from the revised 2003 SOLs.

PS.1 PS.2 PS.3 PS.4 PS.5 PS.6 PS.7 PS.8 PS.9 PS.10 PS.11

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PS.1 The student will plan and conduct investigations in which

  1. chemicals and equipment are used safely;
  2. length, mass, volume, density, temperature, weight, and force are accurately measured and reported using the International System of Units (SI - metric);
  3. conversions are made among metric units applying appropriate prefixes;
  4. triple beam and electronic balances, thermometers, metric rulers, graduated cylinders, and spring scales are used to gather data;
  5. numbers are expressed in scientific notation where appropriate;
  6. research skills are utilized using a variety of resources;
  7. independent and dependent variables, constants, controls, and repeated trials are identified;
  8. data tables showing the independent and dependent variables, derived quantities, and the number of trials are constructed and interpreted;
  9. data tables for descriptive statistics showing specific measures of central tendency, the range of the data set, and the number of repeated trials are constructed and interpreted;
  10. frequency distributions, scattergrams, line plots, and histograms are constructed and interpreted;
  11. valid conclusions are made after analyzing data;
  12. research methods are used to investigate practical problems and questions;
  13. experimental results are presented in appropriate written form; and
  14. an understanding of the nature of science is developed and reinforced.

    Related Activities...
    Experimental Design
    Metric Measurement

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The student will investigate and understand the basic nature of matter. Key concepts include

  1.  the particle theory of matter;
  2. elements, compounds, mixtures, acids, bases, and salts;
  3. solids, liquids, and gases;
  4. characteristics of types of matter based on physical and chemical properties;
  5. physical properties (shape, density, solubility, odor, melting point, boiling point, color); and
  6. chemical properties (acidity, basicity, combustibility, reactivity).

Related Activities...
Investigating Density
Density of Liquids
Properties of Mixtures and Solutions
Particle Theory of Matter with Popcorn
Acid-Base Tea Party
Acid-Base Reactions in Photography
Flower Indicators
Gases Are Real
Growing Balloons
Properties of Gases
Chemical Switch
Trapped Inside

The Effect of Temperature on a Bouncing Ball
Tasty Phase Change - The Ice Cream Lab
Soda Science
Air Density
Layering Density
Where Does My pH Rank?
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The student will investigate and understand the modern and historical models of atomic structure. Key concepts include
  1. the contributions of Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford, and Bohr in understanding the atom; and
  2. the modern model of atomic structure.

    Related Activities...
    Atomic Model Construction
    Demonstrating Quanta
    Making Atoms Come to Life
    Not So Bohring Atoms
    Indirect Measurement
    Indirect Measurement II
    Cloud Model of the Atom I
    Cloud Model of the Atom II

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The student will investigate and understand the organization and use of the periodic table of elements to obtain information. Key concepts include
  1. symbols, atomic number, atomic mass, chemical families (groups), and periods;
  2. classification of elements as metals, metalloids, and nonmetals; and
  3. simple compounds (formulas and nature of bonding).

     Related Activities...
    Atomic Mass
    Metals, Non-Metals, Metalloids I
    Names and Symbols of Elements
    Candy Half-Life
    Atomic Number and Mass
    Atomic Model Construction
    Making Atoms Come to Life
    Not So Bohring Atoms
    Mapping Out the Periodic Table
    Cloud Model of the Atom I
    Cloud Model of the Atom II
    Chemical Switch
    The Universal Periodic Table

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PS.5 The student will investigate and understand changes in matter and the relationship of these changes to the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. Key concepts include
  1. physical changes;
  2. nuclear reactions (products of fusion and fission and their effects on human beings and the environment); and
  3. chemical changes (types of reactions, reactants and products, and balanced equations).

    Related Activities...
    Observing a Chemical Change with Mixed Solutions
    Finding Radiation
    More on Chemical Changes
    Growing Balloons
    Temperature Effects on Solubility
    More on Temperature and Solubility
    Physical and Chemical Changes
    Mass of Dissolved Salt
    Properties of Mixtures and Solutions
    Conservation of Matter and Balancing Chemical Equations
    Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion
    Nuclear Reactions
    Personal Exposure to Radiation
    Protection from Radiation
    Crystallizing Borax
    Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide

    Tasty Phase Change - The Ice Cream Lab
    Chemical Switch

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PS.6 The student will investigate and understand states and forms of energy and how energy is transferred and transformed. Key concepts include
  1. potential and kinetic energy;
  2. mechanical, chemical, and electrical energy; and
  3. heat, light, and sound.

    Related Activities...
    Growing Balloons

    The Energy of A Bouncing Ball
    Observing the Transfer of Energy
    Energy of a Pendulum
    Energy of Sound
    Energy of a Cart on a Ramp (Version A)
    Energy of a Cart on a Ramp (Version B)
    Transfer of Heat by Radiation
    Energy Content of Fuels
    The Effect of Temperature on a Bouncing Ball

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The student will investigate and understand temperature scales, heat, and heat transfer. Key concepts include
  1. Celsius and Kelvin temperature scales and absolute zero;
  2. phase change, freezing point, melting point, boiling point, vaporization, and condensation;
  3. conduction, convection, radiation, and
  4. applications of heat transfer (heat engines, thermostats, refrigeration, and heat pumps).

    Related Activities...

    Heat Transfer

    Determining Absolute Zero
    Heat Conduction
    Change of State
    Heat of Fusion
    Evaporation and Heat Engines
    How Does a Thermostat Work?
    Transfer of Heat by Radiation
    Mixing Cold and Warm Water
    Energy Content of Fuels
    Tasty Phase Change - The Ice Cream Lab
    Convection Currents and Density

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PS.8 The student will investigate and understand characteristics of sound and technological applications of sound waves. Key concepts include
  1. wavelength, frequency, speed, and amplitude;
  2. resonance;
  3. the nature of mechanical waves; and
  4. technological applications of sound.

    Related Activities...
    Energy of Sound
    Terminology of Waves
    Wavelength and Frequency of Vibration
    Wavelength and Pitch
    Fetal Ultrasound
    Mathematics of Music
    The Frequency of Sound
    Sound Stations
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The student will investigate and understand the nature and technological applications of light. Key concepts include
  1. the wave behavior of light (reflection, refraction, diffraction, and interference);
  2. images formed by lenses and mirrors; and
  3. the electromagnetic spectrum.

     Related Activities...
    Convex Lenses
    Curved Mirrors
    Electromagnetic Spectrum
    Polarized Light
    Neon Bulbs and Motion of Charge
    Total Internal Reflection
    Waves and Particles
    Visible Spectrum
    Polarized Filters
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The student will investigate and understand scientific principles and technological applications of work, force, and motion. Key concepts include
  1. speed, velocity, and acceleration;
  2. Newton's laws of motion;
  3. work, force, mechanical advantage, efficiency, and power; and
  4. applications (simple machines, compound machines, powered vehicles, rockets, and restraining devices).

    Related Activities...
    Galileo's Gravitational Experiment
    Newton's First Law
    Newton's Second Law
    Newton's Second Law of Motion
    Newton's Third Law
    Compound Machines
    Human Motion
    Styrofoam Helicopters
    The Effect of Temperature on a Bouncing Ball
    Flying High

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The student will investigate and understand basic principles of electricity and magnetism. Key concepts include
  1. static, current, circuits;
  2. magnetic fields and electromagnets; and
  3. motors and generators.

    Related Activities...
    Conductor or Insulator?
    Parallel and Series
    Balloon Electroscope
    Static Electricity
    Static Electricity Salt and Pepper
    Neon Bulbs and Motion of Charge
    Magnetic Field
    Introduction to Static Electricity
    Chemical Switch
    Investigating Magnetic Fields

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