Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Physical Science Topics for Eighth Grade

I'm working on my physical science course of study for next year.  My son and a friend of his are going to meet once a week to conduct experiments.  I've made up lab notebooks for them regarding the various topics, in addition to books and online reading. 

Resources for Physics


Teacher Resource

Bubble-ology, LHS GEMS program (my copy says grades 5-9; some postings online show 5-8) – use for experiments


Universal Foam, From Cappuccino to the Cosmos, Sidney Perkowitz – I LOVE this book!

Readers - Library:

The Ultimate Bubble Book, Soapy Science Fun, Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone

Soap Science, J. L. Bell

Tom Noddy’s Bubble Magic (good examples of squarish and other geometric bubbles)

Bubblemania!  Penny Raife Durant

Memory Work:

The formula for calculating the volume of a bubble dome is: v = 4/3 pi r^3 divided by 2

Surface Tension:  the cohesive quality of the surface of a liquid.  It is the property of liquids that
gives their surfaces a slightly elastic quality and enables them to form into separate drops.  It is caused by the interaction of molecules at or near the surface that tend to cohere and contract the surface into the smallest possible area.

Hygroscopic:  readily taking up and retaining moisture, such as the glycerin often used in bubble solutions to help create longer bubble life.

Bernoulli’s Principle:  as the speed of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the
fluid decreases.  If there is greater pressure pushing up from below, this creates dynamic lift (as evidenced by the wings of planes, pectoral fins of some fish, etc.).

Interference of Light:  In physics, interference is the addition of two or more light waves that result in a new wave pattern.  Interference usually refers to the interaction of waves that are correlated or
coherent with each other, either because they come from the same source or because they have the same or nearly the same frequency. 

Simple Machines:

Teacher Resource

Carson Dellosa Pub. Simple Machines (graded 3-4, but it does what I want by way of lab pages to get students thinking about the simple machines that make up all complex machines.  We’ll be visiting a clock repair shop and our central library’s Focault pendulum clock at the end of this study.)  Using this book for experiments.  Also have two K’nex Simple Machine kits to use.

Need to order spring balances and pulleys from Home Science Tools….

Readers - Library:

Do it Yourself, Simple Machines, Forces in Action, Buffy Silverman

Sensational Science Projects with Simple Machines,  Robert Gardner – very good explanations!

Science Experiments with Simple Machines, Sally Nankivell-Aston and Dorothy Jackson

Castle under Siege! Simple Machines, Andrew Solway

Starting with Science, Simple Machines, Deborah Hodge

Design and Create, Simple Machines, Fran Whittle and Sarah Lawrence

The Best of Rube Goldberg, Compiled by Charles Keller

Also available:

Inclined Planes; Levers; Pulleys; Screws; Wedges; Wheels and Axles;  All by Anne Welsbacher

Books from Home - Simple Machines:

The Lever and the Pulley, Hal Hellman

The Simple Facts of Simple Machines, Elizabeth James and Carol Barkin

Simple Machines and How They Work, Elizabeth N. Sharp

Science is Exploring, Scott, Foresman (an old third grade science book): chapter 6: How do we Use Machines?

Memory Work:

Name the Six Types of Simple Machines:  Inclined plane; Wedge; Lever; Screw: Wheel and Axle; Pulley.

Name the Parts of a Lever:  Load (point where work gets done), Force, Fulcrum (pivot point).

Name One Example Each of a First-Class, Second-Class, and Third-Class Lever and tell where the fulcrum is in relation to the force and the load:

First:  the fulcrum, or axis, is placed between the force and the resistance, or load, as in a
seesaw, car jack, simple catapult, a crowbar, or a pair of scissors (two levers working together), the claw of a hammer.

Second: the load, or resistance, comes between the fulcrum and the force, as in a wheelbarrow, nutcracker, hand-held prying type of can opener, or completion of a whole body push-up.

Third:  the force comes between the load and the fulcrum, as in a pair of tongs, batting a ball,
or (generally) rowing a boat or shoveling; tweezers, fishing rod, door, broom, stapler, the head of a hammer, etc. 

Pulleys and Gears:  a pulley is a wheel and axle with a rope or chain attached; while a gear may look like just another wheel and axle, it is also a special type of lever and may have other levers attached to it, as well.

Complex Machine:  a machine made up of at least two simple machines, working together.

Gear Ratio:  the ratio of the speed of rotation of the powered gear of a gear train to that of the final
or driven gear.

How a Pendulum Works:  The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called
the period.  A pendulum swings with a specific period which depends (mainly) on its length.

Teacher Resource for Gears - Home:

Science in a Nutshell: Gears at Work (use for experiments)


Inventions That Shaped the World: The Clock, Wil Mara

Turning Point Inventions: The Clock, Trent Duffy

Sea Clocks, The Story of Longitude, Louise Borden

It’s About Time! Science Projects: How Long Does it Take?  Robert Gardner (use experiments on
pendulums – pgs. 22-25; also talk about metronomes)

Teacher Resource for Energy and Motion - Home:

Science in a Nutshell:  Energy and Motion (use for experiments)

Prentice Hall Science Explorer:  Motion, Forces, and Energy

Print-outs on Newton’s Third Law

Books to read:

Experiment with Movement, Bryan Murphy


Start Science: Forces and Motion, Sally Hewitt (very simple but does talk about centrifugal force – this is an illusion and the movement is really due to inertia: )

Science Answers: Forces and Motion, From Push to Shove, Christopher Cooper (looks more at elasticity, displacement, and pressure than other books)

Science Fact Files: Forces and Motion, Peter Lafferty (most complex and comprehensive of the three books)

Memory Work:

There are Five Basic, or Fundamental, Forces:  Gravity,
Electrical Force, Magnetic Force, Strong Nuclear Force, Weak Nuclear Force. 
All other forces are variations of these.  Strong Nuclear Force holds atoms together; the Weak Force causes decay of some atoms.

Vectors:  a quantity that has both size and direction is called a vector.  Examples
of vector quantities: force, velocity, and acceleration.

Scalars:  a quantity that has only size is called a scalar.  Examples of scalar quantities:
mass, speed, time, energy, and density.

Newton’s First Law:  An object will remain at rest or continue to move at a constant speed in a constant direction unless it is acted upon by an outside force.  (An object at rest tends to remain at rest; an object in motion tends to remain in motion.)

Newton’s Second Law:  If force acts on an object, it will accelerate in the direction of that force. The greater the force, the greater the acceleration it produces.  The greater the mass of the object, the less the acceleration produced by the force.

Newton’s Third Law:  Forces act in pairs.  For every action, there is an equal and
opposite reaction.  When you push or pull an object, your force (called the action force) meets an equal and opposite force (called the reaction force) produced by the object.

Inertia:  The tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, and of an object at rest to remain at rest.

Mass:  A measure of inertia, indicating the resistance of an object to a change in its motion, including a change in velocity.

Centrifugal Force:  A term describing the tendency of objects in uniform circular motion to move away from the center of the circular path.  Though the term "centrifugal force" is often used, it is inertia, rather than force, that causes the object to move outward.

Centripetal Force:  The force that causes an object in uniform circular motion to move toward the center of the circular path.  Gravity provides centripetal force to the earth, preventing objects from flying off into space.

Velocity:  speed in a certain direction. (Velocity = Distance divided by Time)

Acceleration:  the rate at which velocity changes with time.  (Decelerate)
(Acceleration = Velocity divided by Time)

Force:  a push or pull that starts, stops, or changes the motion of an object.
(Force = Mass x Acceleration – Measured in Newtons)

Gravity:  the force that draws any two bodies together.

Weight:  the force exerted on an object by gravity.

Work:  the amount of energy used when a force is used to move an object.  Measured in Joules.
(Work = Force x Distance)

I have pulled some online word problem worksheets covering velocity, acceleration, force, etc. and am looking for a workbook that would cover some of these types of problems (or may use problems from the Science Explorer book or others)….

Teacher Resource for Sound and Light Waves - Home:

Prentice Hall Science Explorer: Sound and Light (using experiments on sound from this and library books)

Prints-outs on Waves

Eyewitness Light

Shiny Science Book and Kit (Sterling Publishing) (using this for light related experiments)

Spectroscope with instructions (Home Science Tools)

Lens set with activity guide (Home Science Tools)

I can Do: Light and Color (kit with 10 experiments related to light)

Crystal Radio

Crystal Radio Kit

Library Books for Sound:

Exploring Sound, Ed Catherall (pgs. 12-31 and 42-43)

The Science of Sound, Steve Parker

Let’s Investigate Science: Light and Sound, Peter Lafferty (chapter 4)

Smart Science: Sound and Light, Robert Snedden (pgs. 5-15)

The Young Oxford Library of Science, Volume 6:  Light and Sound, Jonathan Allday
(pgs. 34 – 45)

Library Books for Light:

May use the Light portions of the above three books, or:

Science Projects: Light, Trevor Day

Experiments with Light and Mirrors, Robert Gardner

Experiment with Light, Bryan Murphy

Bouncing and Bending Light, Barbara Taylor

Exploring Light, Ed Catherall

Easy Genius Science Projects with Light, Robert Gardner

Science Answers: Light, from Sun to Bulbs, Christopher Cooper

The Way it Works: Light, Neil Ardley

Dazzling Science Projects with Light and Color, Robert Gardner

Science at Work: Light, Prisms, Rainbows, and Colors, Gina Hamilton

Memory Work:

Acoustics:  the study of sound and how it travels within a space.

Amplifier:  an electronic device that magnifies the strength of a signal, such as an electrical signal.

Amplitude:  the strength of a wave, or the distance from the top of a wave crest to the low
point (trough) of the wave.

Cochlea: a coiled tube in the inner ear where vibrations from sound waves are changed into
electrical impulses and sent to the brain, which interprets them as sound.

Decibel:  a unit used for measuring the loudness of sounds.  A soft whisper is close to 0
decibels and a jet taking off is about 120 decibels.

Doppler Effect:  the way the pitch or frequency of waves seems to change if the source of the waves is moving (sirens are louder coming toward you then after they’ve passed, etc.).

Frequency:  the number of times something is repeated in a set time (usually a second).  In radio
waves, the frequency of vibrations or peaks in the wave is measured in hertz (number of cycles per sound – usually 1).

Wavelength:  the distance between successive crests of a wave. 

Fundamental:  the simplest vibration or note that a musical instrument can produce.

Pitch:  the highness or loudness of a sound; depends upon the frequency:  the greater the
frequency, the higher the pitch.

Overtone: a note that has a frequency or pitch higher than the fundamental frequency.

Speed of Sound:  sound travels through the air at 1080 feet per second, or 330 meters per second (3280 ft. or 1000 km per hour).  Sound can travel through many materials.  The denser the material, the more quickly sound can travel through it.

Concave Lens – curved outward; thicker in the middle than at the edges.

Convex Lens – curved inward; thinner in the middle than at the edges.

Binocular Vision – ability to see depth and judge distance based on the images received by two

Field of Vision – the space within which objects are visible without moving one’s head or eyes.

Transparent – allows light to pass through.

Translucent – some light may pass through, but the material is not transparent; tissue paper
is translucent.

Focus or Focal Point – the point at which light rays meet to form a sharp image after passing
through a lens or being reflected from a curved mirror.

Incandescent – an object that gives out light because it is very hot.  The filament of a light bulb is incandescent.

Speed of Light:  299,792,458 meters per second
Metre per second(approximately 186,282 miles per second).  That’s 700 million miles per hour! 

The speed of light has several properties which may seem counter-intuitive to us, but are true:

-Nothing travels faster than the speed of light.

-No matter how fast you are moving the speed of light seems to be the same speed as if you were not moving at all.

-As an object or person is accelerated toward the speed of light time slows down for it/him.

This last property leads to the "twins" effect: Twin brothers live on Earth. One brother takes a trip to a distant star traveling at a high percentage of the speed of light. When the twin returns he will be younger than his brother because for him time slowed down during the trip.

This effect, called "time dilation," helps explain why the speed of light is the same no matter how fast you are going. As a traveler accelerates time slows down for him. This, in turn, affects his measurements.

(This is part of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity….)

Online Reading for First Two Units of Physics Study

Read about Bubbles:

Simple Machines:

Website to explore simple and then compound machines:

Archimedes’s Screw:'_screw
(Watch the videos of how to make one.  I will try to get the materials so we can make one of these….)

Compound Machine (Rube Goldberg):

About Rube Goldberg:

Read about / look at examples of Rube Goldberg Machines:

Easy steps for making a Rube Goldberg device:

Resources for Magnets (and Electromagnets):

Prentice Hall Science Explorer:  Electricity and Magnetism – chapter on magnets only

Very First Magnet Kit and remnants of another, smaller Skitt Kit on Magnets

Usborne Science with Magnets kit

Books from Home:

Experiments with Magnets and Electricity, Margaret Whalley – portions on magnets

Library Books:

Hands on Science: Magnets to Generators, Margaret Fagan, Ed.

The Magnet Book, Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone

Exploring Magnets, Ed Catherall

Science Magic with Magnets, Chris Oxlade

Science Answers: Magnetism, from Pole to Pole, Christopher Cooper

Janice VanCleave’s Magnets

Magnet Science, Glen Vecchione

Science for Fun:  Playing with Magnets, Gary Gibson

A New True Book: Experiments with Magnets, Helen Challand

And pertinent portions of:

Smart Science: Electricity and Magnetism, Robert Snedden

Science Projects About Electricity and Magnets, Robert Gardner

Fun with Science: Electricity and Magnets, Terry Cash

Memory Work:

Lodestone – a natural magnet made of iron ore, called magnetite.

Keeper – a piece of iron placed across the poles of a permanent magnet when it is stored or not in use in order to keep the magnet’s energy from being lost.

Poles – the two regions at the ends of a magnet (north and south) where magnetic force is strongest.

Lines of Force – lines that show the magnetic effect around a magnet.

Induced magnetism – magnetism caused in magnetic materials, such as iron or steel, when a permanent magnet is brought very close.

Magnetic Field – the space around a magnet where the magnetic force is active.

Magnetic Material – any material that may be made into or attracted to a magnet.

Magnetize – to turn a magnetic material into a magnet.

Permanent Magnet – a magnet that keeps its magnetism unless it is dropped, knocked or gets too hot.

Electromagnet – a device that develops a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it.

Solenoid – an electrical conductor consisting of coils through which an electric current is passed to produce a magnetic field.

Resources for studying Electricity:

Prentice Hall Science Explorer:  Electricity and Magnetism

McWizKid Static Electricity Experiment

Wild Goose Sparks and Zaps!  Totally Shocking Science

Science in a Nutshell:  Electrical Connections

MiniLabs: Tech Series:  Electric Motor (with Motorboat)

MiniLabs: Tech Series: Electric Bell
(these are both model building kits)

Scholastic Electronics Lab Workbench (another model building kit)

Books from Home:

World Book: Invisible Journeys:  Energy, Follow the Journey of Energy Transformation

Usborne Young Scientist: Electricity

Eyewitness:  Electricity

Library Books:

Smart Science: Electricity and Magnetism, Robert Snedden

Science Projects About Electricity and Magnets, Robert Gardner

Fun with Science: Electricity and Magnets, Terry Cash

Memory Work:

Alternating Current – a current that switches direction back and forth as it passes through a circuit.  (AC)

Alternator – a type of generator that produces alternating current.

Ampere – the amount of electric current flowing through a conductor.

Battery – a series of electric cells connected together.

Circuit – an arrangement of conducting wires and devices through which an electric current can flow.

Circuit Breaker – a safety device in a circuit that will cut the supply of electricity if it detects excess current.

Conductor – a material through which an electric current can easily pass.

Current – the flow of electrically charged particles through a circuit.

Direct Current – current that flows in one direction through a circuit.  (DC)

Electric Charge – the property of certain particles that causes them to exert a force on each other.  It can be either positive or negative.  Opposite charges attract and like charge repel.

Insulator – material which blocks the passage of electricity.

Integrated Circuit – a miniature electronic circuit produced on a single chip of a material such as silicon; also called a silicon chip.

Semiconductor – a material that has properties somewhere between those of a conductor and an insulator.

Static Electricity – the build-up of an electric charge on something.

Transistor – a device for controlling the flow of electrons through a circuit.

Volt/Voltage – a measure of the potential energy of an electric current; the push given to the electrons to make them flow.

Resources for Gravity and Flight Studies:

Science in a Nutshell:  Breaking Earth’s Hold

Science in a Nutshell:  Flight! Gliders to Jets

NASA posters and resource info. :  Celebrating a Century of Powered Flight

Rocket kit (refills and other kits at Hobby Lobby)

Flight Test Lab:  Helicoptors, Paul Beck – 4 different models, w/ handbook

4 different model planes to build

Gyroscopes, etc.

Books at Home:

How Things Work: Astonishing Aircraft, Linda Sonntag, Ed.

How Science Works: Discover the Science Behind Planes, Boats, Rockets, Cars, Trucks, Jim Pipe and Mark Jackson, Eds.

How Things Work:  Planes, Gliders, Helicopters and other Flying Machines, Terry Jennings

DK What’s Inside?  Planes, Hilary Hockman, Ed.

The Fantastic Cutaway Book of Flight, Jon Richards

DK The Visual Dictionary of Flight, Fiona Courtenay-Thompson, Ed.

The Usborne Young Scientist: Jets, Mark Hewish

Fighting Jets, Bryce Walker

The History of Rockets, Ron Miller

If time allows: 

Eyewitness:  Time and Space

Explore!  Magazine edition dedicated to rockets, fireworks, and other explosive devices and explorsions, entitled: Kaboom!

Underground, David Macaulay

How Things Work: Monster Machines, Linda Sonntag, Ed.

DK Eyewitness: Train

Dk The Visual Dictionary of Cars

How Things Work:  Boats, Ships, Submarines and other Floating Machines, Ian Graham

K’nex bridge building kit (others available at Hobby Lobby)

Flight Test Lab: Hovercrafts, Jean Hopping – 4 different models, w/ handbook


K’nex Robot World:  Command-a-Bot, Radio Control building set w/ 6 models

DK Robot Challenge Kit, David Eckold

Books at Home:

How Things Work: Groovy Gadgets, Linda Sonntag, Ed.

Science on the Edge:  Artificial Intelligence, Philip Margulies

Eyewitness: Future

Eyewitness:  Technology

Memory Work:

Airfoil – the shape a wing needs in order to be able to make air flowing over it create lift.

Booster – an additional rocket designed to propel a spacecraft farther on its journey.

Drag – the resistance of water or air to the movement of an object through it.

Supersonic – traveling faster than the speed of sound (about 660 mph at 36,000 feet).

Afterburning – a boosting system in which fuel is injected and ignited I the jet exhaust to give extra thrust.

Thrust – the amount of forward push an engine creates.

General Resources at Home:

CPO Physical Science (teacher, student, workbook)

Conceptual Physics w/ workbook

CPO Physics: A First Course (teacher’s book)

Hands on Science, Volume I: Thermodynamics, Weather, Aerodynamics, Astronomy, Elizabeth Brough

Visual Factfinder: Science and Technology

Science Projects About Physics in the Home, Robert Gardner

Reader’s Digest: How Science Works

Physics:  Why Matter Matters!  Dan Green

Professor Noggins Famous Inventions card game
I'm also using the Rader's Physics 4 Kids website throughout the year. 

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