cientific Law, Hypothesis, and Theory (graded)What is a scientific investigation and what are the steps generally used to evaluate the results? Compare and contrast a scientific law, a hypothesis, and a theory, providing two examples of each. What types of models are used in scientific research?Designing an Experiment (graded)What do researchers mean when they say that they have designed a controlled experiment? What is an experimental variable? How do scientists test the data to make sure that what they are seeing isn’t just a random collection of measurements? Can you find an example of a controlled experiment using the Internet or a research journal? Perhaps you would like to describe how you might design an experiment to study something that you find interesting.week 2Motion and Energy (graded)Compare and contrast Newton’s first and second laws of motion. Suppose that you are driving your car down the road and you have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting your neighbor’s dog. How would Newton’s Laws of Motion play on the motion of the car and the movement of your body while you are accelerating out of the driveway, driving down the road, and coming to a stop?Kinetic and Potential Energy (graded)Compare and contrast kinetic and potential energy. Does a person standing motionless in the aisle of a moving bus have kinetic energy? Explain.Chemical Reactions (graded)How has our understanding of atomic structure helped explain why chemicals react the way they do?This section lists options that can be used to view responses.Electricity and Magnetism (graded)Electrical charge and magnetic force are fundamental properties of matter we have learned to manipulate in all the electrical devices we use in our daily lives. From where do these properties arise? How do they relate to one another? How have they been manipulated to make generators, motors, transformers and other useful technologies?week 4Earth’s Place in an Expanding Universe (graded)A famous photograph taken by the Hubble telescope shows galaxies extending into what appears to be limitless regions of space. What evidence do we have that supports the Big Bang Theory, this expansion from an incredibly dense state? How did our current structure, both large scale (galaxies and clusters) and individual stars and solar systems, form?This section lists options that can be used to view responses.Earth: A World of Change (graded)Earth is a dynamic world where rocks cycle from one type of material to another, and where continents drift like ships over oceans of hot mantle. What is the anatomy of this planet? What minerals give it form and substance? What proof do we have that massive continental sheets drift from one place to another; that the crust is in a dynamic state of change?Cells: Living Building Blocks (graded)Why do we consider some things to be living and some things not? Can you imagine what Anton Leeuwenhoek must have thought when he looked at a drop of water for the very first time with his primitive microscope? A sea of cells in a drop of water; living, replicating, going about their business in a world that no one had ever envisioned. From where did these cells come? What were the functions of the various components that he was able to barely see? What were their sources of energy? How did they reproduce themselves? Our discussions for this week will focus on just how far we have come in answering these questions.Ecosystems and Interactions (graded)’Global Warming!’ Regardless of your position on the subject, it makes sense that the more we understand about how ecological systems are organized, how energy flows through ecosystems, how materials are cycled through ecosystems, and the interactions that occur between the diverse communities that make up ecosystems, the better we can make decisions concerning the various factors (including increased carbon dioxide emissions) that impact these ecosystems. The purpose of this thread is to discuss each of these issues within the broader perspective of man’s influence on the environment.week 6DNA and Genetics (graded)When Gregor Mendel formulated his three laws of inheritance, he opened the door to a long line of research that has produced a deep understanding of how genetic traits are transmitted from one generation to the next. Our understanding of the nature of the gene began with his work. And in a triumph no less profound than landing a human being on the moon, his research has led us to point where we have mapped the entire genome of the human being. During the course of this discussion, we will explore the nature of the gene. What are alleles? What are the various models of inheritance? What is the structure of DNA, the material from which genes are constructed? How is the information in DNA transmitted from one generation to the next? How does it regulate the functions of cells? And finally, where does mutation fit into the overall picture?Evolution and Change Over Time (graded)It’s difficult to look at a modern bird and fossils of some theropod dinosaurs and not see a connection. It’s equally difficult to imagine the changes in the Earth’s crust that must have occurred in order to lift a marine fossil to a mountain top. The Earth is over 4.5 billion years old. The possibilities for change over that period of time are enormous. During the course of this thread, we will discuss how our understanding of the origin of life has changed. We will examine the role played by natural selection and look into those factors that influence natural selection. How do species change over time? What kinds of conditions need to exist in order for change to occur? What is the role of mutation in the process?
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