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Strategies to Enhance Teaching and Learning of Physics

Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics and how to make learning physics easy | download free pdf
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Physics guide First assessment 2016Physics guide First assessment 2016Diploma Programme Physics guide Published February 2014 Published on behalf of the International Baccalaureate Organization, a not-for-profit educational foundation of 15 Route des Morillons, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland by the International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd Peterson House, Malthouse Avenue, Cardiff Gate Cardiff, Wales CF23 8GL United Kingdom Website: © International Baccalaureate Organization 2014 The International Baccalaureate Organization (known as the IB) offers four high-quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools, aiming to create a better, more peaceful world. This publication is one of a range of materials produced to support these programmes. The IB may use a variety of sources in its work and checks information to verify accuracy and authenticity, particularly when using community-based knowledge sources such as Wikipedia. The IB respects the principles of intellectual property and makes strenuous efforts to identify and obtain permission before publication from rights holders of all copyright material used. The IB is grateful for permissions received for material used in this publication and will be pleased to correct any errors or omissions at the earliest opportunity. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the IB, or as expressly permitted by law or by the IB’s own rules and policy. See IB merchandise and publications can be purchased through the IB store at Email: Note: Creativity, Action, Service has been renamed to Creativity, Activity, Service. Although the word Action may appear in this document, please ensure you refer to it as Activity when leading this workshop. International Baccalaureate, Baccalauréat International and Bachillerato Internacional are registered trademarks of the International Baccalaureate Organization. 4076IB mission statement The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.Contents Introduction 1 Purpose of this document 1 The Diploma Programme 2 Nature of science 6 Nature of physics 12 Aims 17 Assessment objectives 18 Syllabus 19 Syllabus outline 19 Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics 20 Syllabus content 25 Assessment 130 Assessment in the Diploma Programme 130 Assessment outline—SL 132 Assessment outline—HL 133 External assessment 134 Internal assessment 136 Appendices 154 Glossary of command terms 154 Bibliography 157 Physics guideIntroduction Purpose of this document This publication is intended to guide the planning, teaching and assessment of the subject in schools. Subject teachers are the primary audience, although it is expected that teachers will use the guide to inform students and parents about the subject. This guide can be found on the subject page of the online curriculum centre (OCC) at, a password-protected IB website designed to support IB teachers. It can also be purchased from the IB store at Additional resources Additional publications such as teacher support materials, subject reports, internal assessment guidance and grade descriptors can also be found on the OCC. Past examination papers as well as markschemes can be purchased from the IB store. Teachers are encouraged to check the OCC for additional resources created or used by other teachers. Teachers can provide details of useful resources, for example: websites, books, videos, journals or teaching ideas. Acknowledgment The IB wishes to thank the educators and associated schools for generously contributing time and resources to the production of this guide. First assessment 2016 Physics guide 1 1Introduction The Diploma Programme The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view. The Diploma Programme model The course is presented as six academic areas enclosing a central core (see figure 1). It encourages the concurrent study of a broad range of academic areas. Students study: two modern languages (or a modern language and a classical language); a humanities or social science subject; an experimental science; mathematics; one of the creative arts. It is this comprehensive range of subjects that makes the Diploma Programme a demanding course of study designed to prepare students effectively for university entrance. In each of the academic areas students have flexibility in making their choices, which means they can choose subjects that particularly interest them and that they may wish to study further at university. Figure 1 Diploma Programme model 2 2 Physics guideThe Diploma Programme Choosing the right combination Students are required to choose one subject from each of the six academic areas, although they can, instead of an arts subject, choose two subjects from another area. Normally, three subjects (and not more than four) are taken at higher level (HL), and the others are taken at standard level (SL). The IB recommends 240 teaching hours for HL subjects and 150 hours for SL. Subjects at HL are studied in greater depth and breadth than at SL. At both levels, many skills are developed, especially those of critical thinking and analysis. At the end of the course, students’ abilities are measured by means of external assessment. Many subjects contain some element of coursework assessed by teachers. The core of the Diploma Programme Model All Diploma Programme students participate in the three course elements that make up the core of the model. Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a course that is fundamentally about critical thinking and inquiry into the process of knowing rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. The TOK course examines the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging students to analyse knowledge claims and explore questions about the construction of knowledge. The task of TOK is to emphasize connections between areas of shared knowledge and link them to personal knowledge in such a way that an individual becomes more aware of his or her own perspectives and how they might differ from others. Creativity, action, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. The emphasis in CAS is on helping students to develop their own identities, in accordance with the ethical principles embodied in the IB mission statement and the IB learner profile. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. The three strands of CAS are Creativity (arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking), Action (physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle) and Service (an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student). Possibly more than any other component in the Diploma Programme, CAS contributes to the IB’s mission to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The extended essay, including the world studies extended essay, offers the opportunity for IB students to investigate a topic of special interest, in the form of a 4,000-word piece of independent research. The area of research undertaken is chosen from one of the students’ Diploma Programme subjects, or in the case of the interdisciplinary world studies essay, two subjects, and acquaints them with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject or subjects chosen. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. As an authentic learning experience it provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research on a topic of choice, under the guidance of a supervisor. Approaches to teaching and approaches to learning Approaches to teaching and learning across the Diploma Programme refers to deliberate strategies, skills and attitudes which permeate the teaching and learning environment. These approaches and tools, intrinsically linked with the learner profile attributes, enhance student learning and assist student preparation for the Diploma Programme assessment and beyond. The aims of approaches to teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme are to: Physics guide 3T he Diploma Programme • empower teachers as teachers of learners as well as teachers of content • empower teachers to create clearer strategies for facilitating learning experiences in which students are more meaningfully engaged in structured inquiry and greater critical and creative thinking • promote both the aims of individual subjects (making them more than course aspirations) and linking previously isolated knowledge (concurrency of learning) • encourage students to develop an explicit variety of skills that will equip them to continue to be actively engaged in learning after they leave school, and to help them not only obtain university admission through better grades but also prepare for success during tertiary education and beyond • enhance further the coherence and relevance of the students’ Diploma Programme experience • allow schools to identify the distinctive nature of an IB Diploma Programme education, with its blend of idealism and practicality. The five approaches to learning (developing thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, self- management skills and research skills) along with the six approaches to teaching (teaching that is inquiry- based, conceptually focused, contextualized, collaborative, differentiated and informed by assessment) encompass the key values and principles that underpin IB pedagogy. The IB mission statement and the IB learner profile The Diploma Programme aims to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to fulfill the aims of the IB, as expressed in the organization’s mission statement and the learner profile. Teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme represent the reality in daily practice of the organization’s educational philosophy. Academic honesty Academic honesty in the Diploma Programme is a set of values and behaviours informed by the attributes of the learner profile. In teaching, learning and assessment, academic honesty serves to promote personal integrity, engender respect for the integrity of others and their work, and ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire during their studies. All coursework—including work submitted for assessment—is to be authentic, based on the student’s individual and original ideas with the ideas and work of others fully acknowledged. Assessment tasks that require teachers to provide guidance to students or that require students to work collaboratively must be completed in full compliance with the detailed guidelines provided by the IB for the relevant subjects. For further information on academic honesty in the IB and the Diploma Programme, please consult the IB publications Academic honesty, The Diploma Programme: From principles into practice and General regulations: Diploma Programme. Specific information regarding academic honesty as it pertains to external and internal assessment components of this Diploma Programme subject can be found in this guide. Acknowledging the ideas or work of another person Coordinators and teachers are reminded that candidates must acknowledge all sources used in work submitted for assessment. The following is intended as a clarification of this requirement. Diploma Programme candidates submit work for assessment in a variety of media that may include audio- visual material, text, graphs, images and/or data published in print or electronic sources. If a candidate uses the work or ideas of another person, the candidate must acknowledge the source using a standard style of 4 Physics guideThe Diploma Programme referencing in a consistent manner. A candidate’s failure to acknowledge a source will be investigated by the IB as a potential breach of regulations that may result in a penalty imposed by the IB final award committee. The IB does not prescribe which style(s) of referencing or in-text citation should be used by candidates; this is left to the discretion of appropriate faculty/staff in the candidate’s school. The wide range of subjects, three response languages and the diversity of referencing styles make it impractical and restrictive to insist on particular styles. In practice, certain styles may prove most commonly used, but schools are free to choose a style that is appropriate for the subject concerned and the language in which candidates’ work is written. Regardless of the reference style adopted by the school for a given subject, it is expected that the minimum information given includes: name of author, date of publication, title of source, and page numbers as applicable. Candidates are expected to use a standard style and use it consistently so that credit is given to all sources used, including sources that have been paraphrased or summarized. When writing, candidates must clearly distinguish between their words and those of others by the use of quotation marks (or other method, such as indentation) followed by an appropriate citation that denotes an entry in the bibliography. If an electronic source is cited, the date of access must be indicated. Candidates are not expected to show faultless expertise in referencing, but are expected to demonstrate that all sources have been acknowledged. Candidates must be advised that audio-visual material, text, graphs, images and/or data published in print or in electronic sources that is not their own must also attribute the source. Again, an appropriate style of referencing/ citation must be used. Learning diversity and learning support requirements Schools must ensure that equal access arrangements and reasonable adjustments are provided to candidates with learning support requirements that are in line with the IB documents Candidates with assessment access requirements and Learning diversity within the International Baccalaureate programmes/ Special educational needs within the International Baccalaureate programmes. Physics guide 5Introduction Nature of science The Nature of science (NOS) is an overarching theme in the biology, chemistry and physics courses. This section, titled “Nature of science”, is in the biology, chemistry and physics guides to support teachers in their understanding of what is meant by the nature of science. The “Nature of science” section of the guide provides a comprehensive account of the nature of science in the 21st century. It will not be possible to cover in this document all the themes in detail in the three science courses, either for teaching or assessment. It has a paragraph structure (1.1, 1.2, etc) to link the significant points made to the syllabus (landscape pages) references on the NOS. The NOS parts in the subject-specific sections of the guide are examples of a particular understanding. The NOS statement(s) above every sub-topic outline how one or more of the NOS themes can be exemplified through the understandings, applications and skills in that sub-topic. These are not a repeat of the NOS statements found below but an elaboration of them in a specific context. See the section on “Format of the syllabus”. Technology Although this section is about the nature of science, the interpretation of the word technology is important, and the role of technology emerging from and contributing to science needs to be clarified. In today’s world, the words science and technology are often used interchangeably; however, historically this is not the case. Technology emerged before science, and materials were used to produce useful and decorative artefacts long before there was an understanding of why materials had different properties that could be used for different purposes. In the modern world the reverse is the case: an understanding of the underlying science is the basis for technological developments. These new technologies in their turn drive developments in science. Despite their mutual dependence they are based on different values: science on evidence, rationality and the quest for deeper understanding; technology on the practical, the appropriate and the useful with an increasingly important emphasis on sustainability. 1. What is science and what is the scientific endeavour? 1.1. The underlying assumption of science is that the universe has an independent, external reality accessible to human senses and amenable to human reason. 1.2. Pure science aims to come to a common understanding of this external universe; applied science and engineering develop technologies that result in new processes and products. However, the boundaries between these fields are fuzzy. 1.3. Scientists use a wide variety of methodologies which, taken together, make up the process of science. There is no single “scientific method”. Scientists have used, and do use, different methods at different times to build up their knowledge and ideas, but they have a common understanding about what makes them all scientifically valid. 1.4. This is an exciting and challenging adventure involving much creativity and imagination as well as exacting and detailed thinking and application. Scientists also have to be ready for unplanned, surprising, accidental discoveries. The history of science shows this is a very common occurrence. 1.5. Many scientific discoveries have involved flashes of intuition and many have come from speculation or simple curiosity about particular phenomena. 6 6 Physics guideNature of science 1.6. Scientists have a common terminology and a common reasoning process, which involves using deductive and inductive logic through analogies and generalizations. They share mathematics, the language of science, as a powerful tool. Indeed, some scientific explanations only exist in mathematical form. 1.7. Scientists must adopt a skeptical attitude to claims. This does not mean that they disbelieve everything, but rather that they suspend judgment until they have a good reason to believe a claim to be true or false. Such reasons are based on evidence and argument. 1.8. The importance of evidence is a fundamental common understanding. Evidence can be obtained by observation or experiment. It can be gathered by human senses, primarily sight, but much modern science is carried out using instrumentation and sensors that can gather information remotely and automatically in areas that are too small, or too far away, or otherwise beyond human sense perception. Improved instrumentation and new technology have often been the drivers for new discoveries. Observations followed by analysis and deduction led to the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe and to the theory of evolution by natural selection. In these cases, no controlled experiments were possible. Disciplines such as geology and astronomy rely strongly on collecting data in the field, but all disciplines use observation to collect evidence to some extent. Experimentation in a controlled environment, generally in laboratories, is the other way of obtaining evidence in the form of data, and there are many conventions and understandings as to how this is to be achieved. 1.9. This evidence is used to develop theories, generalize from data to form laws and propose hypotheses. These theories and hypotheses are used to make predictions that can be tested. In this way theories can be supported or opposed and can be modified or replaced by new theories. 1.10. Models, some simple, some very complex, based on theoretical understanding, are developed to explain processes that may not be observable. Computer-based mathematical models are used to make testable predictions, which can be especially useful when experimentation is not possible. Models tested against experiments or data from observations may prove inadequate, in which case they may be modified or replaced by new models. 1.11. The outcomes of experiments, the insights provided by modelling and observations of the natural world may be used as further evidence for a claim. 1.12. The growth in computing power has made modelling much more powerful. Models, usually mathematical, are now used to derive new understandings when no experiments are possible (and sometimes when they are). This dynamic modelling of complex situations involving large amounts of data, a large number of variables and complex and lengthy calculations is only possible as a result of increased computing power. Modelling of the Earth’s climate, for example, is used to predict or make a range of projections of future climatic conditions. A range of different models has been developed in this field and results from different models have been compared to see which models are most accurate. Models can sometimes be tested by using data from the past and used to see if they can predict the present situation. If a model passes this test, we gain confidence in its accuracy. 1.13. Both the ideas and the processes of science can only occur in a human context. Science is carried out by a community of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and traditions, and this has clearly influenced the way science has proceeded at different times. It is important to understand, however, that to do science is to be involved in a community of inquiry with certain common principles, methodologies, understandings and processes. 2. The understanding of science 2.1. Theories, laws and hypotheses are concepts used by scientists. Though these concepts are connected, there is no progression from one to the other. These words have a special meaning in science and it is important to distinguish these from their everyday use. 2.2. Theories are themselves integrated, comprehensive models of how the universe, or parts of it, work. A theory can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Predictions can be made from the theories and these can be tested in experiments or by careful observations. Examples are the germ theory of disease or atomic theory. 2.3. Theories generally accommodate the assumptions and premises of other theories, creating a consistent understanding across a range of phenomena and disciplines. Occasionally, however, a new theory will radically change how essential concepts are understood or framed, impacting other theories and causing what is sometimes called a “paradigm shift” in science. One of the most famous paradigm shifts in science occurred when our idea of time changed from an absolute frame of reference to an observer-dependent frame of reference within Einstein’s theory of relativity. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection also changed our understanding of life on Earth. Physics guide 7Nature of science 2.4. Laws are descriptive, normative statements derived from observations of regular patterns of behaviour. They are generally mathematical in form and can be used to calculate outcomes and to make predictions. Like theories and hypotheses, laws cannot be proven. Scientific laws may have exceptions and may be modified or rejected based on new evidence. Laws do not necessarily explain a phenomenon. For example, Newton’s law of universal gravitation tells us that the force between two masses is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, and allows us to calculate the force between masses at any distance apart, but it does not explain why masses attract each other. Also, note that the term law has been used in different ways in science, and whether a particular idea is called a law may be partly a result of the discipline and time period at which it was developed. 2.5. Scientists sometimes form hypotheses—explanatory statements about the world that could be true or false, and which often suggest a causal relationship or a correlation between factors. Hypotheses can be tested by both experiments and observations of the natural world and can be supported or opposed. 2.6. To be scientific, an idea (for example, a theory or hypothesis) must focus on the natural world and natural explanations and must be testable. Scientists strive to develop hypotheses and theories that are compatible with accepted principles and that simplify and unify existing ideas. 2.7. The principle of Occam’s razor is used as a guide to developing a theory. The theory should be as simple as possible while maximizing explanatory power. 2.8. The ideas of correlation and cause are very important in science. A correlation is a statistical link or association between one variable and another. A correlation can be positive or negative and a correlation coefficient can be calculated that will have a value between + 1, 0 and −1. A strong correlation (positive or negative) between one factor and another suggests some sort of causal relationship between the two factors but more evidence is usually required before scientists accept the idea of a causal relationship. To establish a causal relationship, ie one factor causing another, scientists need to have a plausible scientific mechanism linking the factors. This strengthens the case that one causes the other, for example smoking and lung cancer. This mechanism can be tested in experiments. 2.9. The ideal situation is to investigate the relationship between one factor and another while controlling all other factors in an experimental setting; however, this is often impossible and scientists, especially in biology and medicine, use sampling, cohort studies and case control studies to strengthen their understanding of causation when experiments (such as double-blind tests and clinical trials) are not possible. Epidemiology in the field of medicine involves the statistical analysis of data to discover possible correlations when little established scientific knowledge is available or the circumstances are too difficult to control entirely. Here, as in other fields, mathematical analysis of probability also plays a role. 3. The objectivity of science 3.1. Data is the lifeblood of scientists and may be qualitative or quantitative. It can be obtained purely from observations or from specifically designed experiments, remotely using electronic sensors or by direct measurement. The best data for making accurate and precise descriptions and predictions is often quantitative and amenable to mathematical analysis. Scientists analyse data and look for patterns, trends and discrepancies, attempting to discover relationships and establish causal links. This is not always possible, so identifying and classifying observations and artefacts (eg types of galaxies or fossils) is still an important aspect of scientific work. 3.2. Taking repeated measurements and large numbers of readings can improve reliability in data collection. Data can be presented in a variety of formats such as linear and logarithmic graphs that can be analysed for, say, direct or inverse proportion or for power relationships. 3.3. Scientists need to be aware of random errors and systematic errors, and use techniques such as error bars and lines of best fit on graphs to portray the data as realistically and honestly as possible. There is a need to consider whether outlying data points should be discarded or not. 3.4. Scientists need to understand the difference between errors and uncertainties, accuracy and precision, and need to understand and use the mathematical ideas of average, mean, mode, median, etc. Statistical methods such as standard deviation and chi-squared tests are often used. It is important to be able to assess how accurate a result is. A key part of the training and skill of scientists is in being able to decide which technique is appropriate in different circumstances. 3.5. It is also very important for scientists to be aware of the cognitive biases that may impact experimental design and interpretation. The confirmation bias, for example, is a well-documented cognitive bias that urges us to find reasons to reject data that is unexpected or does not conform to our expectations or desires, and to perhaps too readily accept data that agrees with these expectations or desires. The processes and methodologies of science are largely designed to account for these biases. However, care must always be taken to avoid succumbing to them. 8 Physics guideNature of science 3.6. Although scientists cannot ever be certain that a result or finding is correct, we know that some scientific results are very close to certainty. Scientists often speak of “levels of confidence” when discussing outcomes. The discovery of the existence of a Higgs boson is such an example of a “level of confidence”. This particle may never be directly observable, but to establish its “existence” particle physicists had to pass the self-imposed definition of what can be regarded as a discovery—the 5-sigma “level of certainty”—or about a 0.00003% chance that the effect is not real based on experimental evidence. 3.7. In recent decades, the growth in computing power, sensor technology and networks has allowed scientists to collect large amounts of data. Streams of data are downloaded continuously from many sources such as remote sensing satellites and space probes and large amounts of data are generated in gene sequencing machines. Experiments in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider regularly produce 23 petabytes of data per second, which is equivalent to 13.3 years of high definition TV content per second. 3.8. Research involves analysing large amounts of this data, stored in databases, looking for patterns and unique events. This has to be done using software that is generally written by the scientists involved. The data and the software may not be published with the scientific results but would be made generally available to other researchers. 4. The human face of science 4.1. Science is highly collaborative and the scientific community is composed of people working in science, engineering and technology. It is common to work in teams from many disciplines so that different areas of expertise and specializations can contribute to a common goal that is beyond one scientific field. It is also the case that how a problem is framed in the paradigm of one discipline might limit possible solutions, so framing problems using a variety of perspectives, in which new solutions are possible, can be extremely useful. 4.2. Teamwork of this sort takes place with the common understanding that science should be open- minded and independent of religion, culture, politics, nationality, age and gender. Science involves the free global interchange of information and ideas. Of course, individual scientists are human and may have biases and prejudices, but the institutions, practices and methodologies of science help keep the scientific endeavour as a whole unbiased. 4.3. As well as collaborating on the exchange of results, scientists work on a daily basis in collaborative groups on a small and large scale within and between disciplines, laboratories, organizations and countries, facilitated even more by virtual communication. Examples of large-scale collaboration include: – The Manhattan project, the aim of which was to build and test an atomic bomb. It eventually employed more than 130,000 people and resulted in the creation of multiple production and research sites that operated in secret, culminating in the dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. – The Human Genome Project (HGP), which was an international scientific research project set up to map the human genome. The 3-billion project beginning in 1990 produced a draft of the genome in 2000. The sequence of the DNA is stored in databases available to anyone on the internet. – The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), organized under the auspices of the United Nations, is officially composed of about 2,500 scientists. They produce reports summarizing the work of many more scientists from all around the world. – CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, an international organization set up in 1954, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. The laboratory, situated in Geneva, employs about 2,400 people and shares results with 10,000 scientists and engineers covering over 100 nationalities from 600 or more universities and research facilities. All the above examples are controversial to some degree and have aroused emotions among scientists and the public. 4.4. Scientists spend a considerable amount of time reading the published results of other scientists. They publish their own results in scientific journals after a process called peer review. This is when the work of a scientist or, more usually, a team of scientists is anonymously and independently reviewed by several scientists working in the same field who decide if the research methodologies are sound and if the work represents a new contribution to knowledge in that field. They also attend conferences Physics guide 9Nature of science to make presentations and display posters of their work. Publication of peer-reviewed journals on the internet has increased the efficiency with which the scientific literature can be searched and accessed. There are a large number of national and international organizations for scientists working in specialized areas within subjects. 4.5. Scientists often work in areas, or produce findings, that have significant ethical and political implications. These areas include cloning, genetic engineering of food and organisms, stem cell and reproductive technologies, nuclear power, weapons development (nuclear, chemical and biological), transplantation of tissue and organs and in areas that involve testing on animals (see IB animal experimentation policy). There are also questions involving intellectual property rights and the free exchange of information that may impact significantly on a society. Science is undertaken in universities, commercial companies, government organizations, defence agencies and international organizations. Questions of patents and intellectual property rights arise when work is done in a protected environment. 4.6. The integrity and honest representation of data is paramount in science—results should not be fixed or manipulated or doctored. To help ensure academic honesty and guard against plagiarism, all sources are quoted and appropriate acknowledgment made of help or support. Peer review and the scrutiny and skepticism of the scientific community also help achieve these goals. 4.7. All science has to be funded and the source of the funding is crucial in decisions regarding the type of research to be conducted. Funding from governments and charitable foundations is sometimes for pure research with no obvious direct benefit to anyone, whereas funding from private companies is often for applied research to produce a particular product or technology. Political and economic factors often determine the nature and extent of the funding. Scientists often have to spend time applying for research grants and have to make a case for what they want to research. 4.8. Science has been used to solve many problems and improve humankind’s lot, but it has also been used in morally questionable ways and in ways that inadvertently caused problems. Advances in sanitation, clean water supplies and hygiene led to significant decreases in death rates but without compensating decreases in birth rates, this led to huge population increases with all the problems of resources, energy and food supplies that entails. Ethical discussions, risk–benefit analyses, risk assessment and the precautionary principle are all parts of the scientific way of addressing the common good. 5. Scientific literacy and the public understanding of science 5.1. An understanding of the nature of science is vital when society needs to make decisions involving scientific findings and issues. How does the public judge? It may not be possible to make judgments based on the public’s direct understanding of a science, but important questions can be asked about whether scientific processes were followed and scientists have a role in answering such questions. 5.2. As experts in their particular fields, scientists are well placed to explain to the public their issues and findings. Outside their specializations, they may be no more qualified than ordinary citizens to advise others on scientific issues, although their understanding of the processes of science can help them to make personal decisions and to educate the public as to whether claims are scientifically credible. 5.3. As well as comprising knowledge of how scientists work and think, scientific literacy involves being aware of faulty reasoning. There are many cognitive biases/fallacies of reasoning to which people are susceptible (including scientists) and these need to be corrected whenever possible. Examples of these are the confirmation bias, hasty generalizations, post hoc ergo propter hoc (false cause), the straw man fallacy, redefinition (moving the goal posts), the appeal to tradition, false authority and the accumulation of anecdotes being regarded as evidence. 5.4. When such biases and fallacies are not properly managed or corrected, or when the processes and checks and balances of science are ignored or misapplied, the result is pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is the term applied to those beliefs and practices that claim to be scientific but do not meet or follow the standards of proper scientific methodologies, ie they lack supporting evidence or a theoretical framework, are not always testable and hence falsifiable, are expressed in a non-rigorous or unclear manner and often fail to be supported by scientific testing. 5.5. Another key issue is the use of appropriate terminology. Words that scientists agree on as being scientific terms will often have a different meaning in everyday life and scientific discourse with the public needs to take this into account. For example, a theory in everyday use means a hunch or speculation, but in science an accepted theory is a scientific idea that has produced predictions that have been thoroughly tested in many different ways. An aerosol is just a spray can to the general public, but in science it is a suspension of solid or liquid particles in a gas. 10 Physics guide