SYLLABUS

General Physical Science
GPS 1055


 
The General Physical Science course is a text-referenced discussion class designed with the purpose of producing students that are broadly literate in science.  Traditionally, physical science courses are categorized into four areas: physics, chemistry, earth sciences, and space sciences.  It is important to understand that the arbitrary divisions of specialized knowledge are integrated into a basic overview of the physical laws that govern our universe.  Critical knowledge in the sciences is needed for individuals to make informed decisions regarding land development, environmental concerns, resource management, safety, urban development, medical treatment, legal matters and law enforcement, waste disposal, space exploration, and other issues.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

A course in general physical science will provide every student
1. An ability to place important public issues in a scientific context.
2. An opportunity to understand the scientific process in problem-solving.
3. A recognition of the importance of experimentation to probe nature and in problem-solving.
4. An experience in using mathematics to describe nature.
5. An exposure to basic universal laws which describe our physical environment.
6. An opportunity to develop application of scientific concepts.
7. An appreciation for accounts of discovery and advances in scientific and technological disciplines that exemplify problem-solving.



A study of physical science introduces important principles such as
1. Science is a human endeavor, is a way of asking the right questions, is a way of answering questions about the physical universe, is a way of communicating the regularities in the physical universe, that are often discovered by observation, in the universal language of mathematics, and is a methodology in problem-solving.
2. The nature of scientific understanding which includes ways of knowing; collection, organization, and classification of data or information; discovering laws, models, and theories; the limits of scientific knowledge; and the vocabulary and terminology of science.
3. Integrative concepts which includes form and function; causality and consequence; and dynamic equilibrium.
4. The context of science using historical, cultural, and intellectual aspects using the discipline of physical science; along with the political, social, ethical, and economic dimensions of science illustrated using physical science concepts.
5. Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravity predict the behavior of objects on Earth and in space and that all observers, regardless of their frame of reference, see the same fundamental laws.
6. The many types of energy are interchangeable and that the total amount of energy in the physical universe is constant although energy is going from a more useful form to a less useful form.

7. Electromagnetic radiation involves waves of energy traveling at the speed of light and that electricity and magnetism are two different aspects of a electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces in nature.
8. Atoms are the building blocks of all matter and are characterized by an arrangement of their subatomic particles.
9. Atoms bind together by an interaction of their electrons in a manner that produces materials whose properties are different from their component atoms; yet the properties result from the component atoms and the chemical bonds that hold the atoms together.
10. Nuclear energy involves the conversion of mass into energy and is the source of energy for the Sun and other stars.
11. The Earth, one of nine planets in one solar system, is constantly changing due to convection of hot mantle rock, continental plate motion, and the hydrologic cycle as revealed by its rocks.



LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

The following National Science Education Standards will be addressed:
1. Students should develop through inquiry the ability to do scientific inquiry.
2. Students should develop through inquiry understanding about scientific inquiry.
3. Students should develop an understanding of structure of atoms
4. Students should develop an understanding of structure and properties of matter.
5. Students should develop an understanding of chemical reactions.
6. Students should develop an understanding of motion and forces.
7. Students should develop an understanding of conservation of energy and entropy.
8. Students should develop an understanding of interactions of energy and matter.
9. Students should develop an understanding of energy in the earth system.
10. Students should develop an understanding of geochemical cycles.
11. Students should develop an understanding of origin and change of the earth system.
12. Students should develop an understanding of origin and change of the universe.
13. Students should develop abilities regarding technological design.
14. Students should develop an understanding about science and technology.
15. Students should develop an understanding of natural resources.
16. Students should develop an understanding of environmental quality.
17. Students should develop an understanding of natural and human-induced hazards.
18. Students should develop an understanding of science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.
19. Students should develop an understanding of science as a human endeavor.
20. Students should develop an understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge.
21. Students should develop an understanding of historical perspectives related to science.



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