Exploring Physical Science in the Laboratory

By John T. Salinas  •  
•  608
Format • 
Print ISBN  9781617317538
• eBook ISBN  9781617317545
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This full-color manual is designed to satisfy the content needs of either a one- or two-semester introduction to physical science course populated by nonmajors. It provides students with the opportunity to explore and make sense of the world around them, to develop their skills and knowledge, and to learn to think like scientists. The material is written in an accessible way, providing clearly written procedures, a wide variety of exercises from which instructors can choose, and real-world examples that keep the content engaging. Exploring Physical Science in the Laboratory guides students through the mysteries of the observable world and helps them develop a clear understanding of challenging concepts.

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What's New in this Edition
Table of Contents
About the Author
Instructor Resources
  • Robust introductory material provides context for the material covered in the chapter and helps students apply what they learn.
  • The scientific method is covered in Lab 1 and revisited in almost every chapter. In the last chapter, students are asked to do an independent research project to practice each step of the scientific method from beginning to end.
  • Procedures are clearly written and numbered. They explain how to set up the experiments, how to perform techniques, and where to record data.
  • The inclusion of data, maps, and graphs that reference real-life situations keeps the content engaging for students.
  • An extensive full-color art and photography program provides visuals of lab setups and real-world examples, and includes procedural and conceptual diagrams.
  • Pre-lab questions are written to make sure students understand the basic concepts as well as the procedure they are going to conduct in lab. Students hypothesize what might happen and how changing variables will change the outcome. Some questions require calculations.
  • The level of math in this manual is designed to be accessible to non-science majors. Step-by-step annotated examples reduce math difficulties by showing students how to work through the equations, which facilitates the understanding of math concepts and builds confidence.
  • Efforts were made to keep the need for specialized equipment to a minimum. Computer tips are provided for schools with access to Vernier, Pasco, or other probes and software.
  • Data sheets are provided for students to record their measurements and work through calculations.
  • Thoughtful post-lab questions ensure students understand the overall concepts from the laboratory and make connections with real-world examples.
  • For Further Consideration projects at the end of each lab allow students to synthesize concepts they have learned and apply these concepts to new problems.
What's New in this Edition

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Table of contents
Periodic Table/Useful Information Tables
Lab 1 Scientific Basics: Measurements and Calculations
Lab 1 Intro Material
Lab 1 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 1 Part A: Measuring the Period of Swing of a Pendulum
Lab 1 Part B: Measuring the Time Interval for a Ball Drop
Lab 1 Part C: Measuring the Volume of a Book
Lab 1 Part D: Calculating the Density of a Metal Sample
Lab 1 Data Sheet
Lab 2 Scientific Tools: Instruments and Conversions
Lab 2 Intro Material
Lab 2 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 2 Part A: Measuring Distance and Calculating the Volume of a Room
Lab 2 Part B: Calculating the Pressure under Your Feet
Lab 2 Part C: Calculating the Energy in a Container of Water
Lab 2 Part D: Calculating the Speed of a Pitched Baseball
Lab 2 Data Sheet
Lab 3 Motion: Distance and Time
Lab 3 Intro Material
Lab 3 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 3 Part A: Preparing a Ramp and Table
Lab 3 Part B: Calculating the Constant Speed of a Stationary Cart
Lab 3 Part C: Calculating the Constant Speed of a Moving Cart
Lab 3 Part D: Calculating the Acceleration of a Cart Changing Speed
Lab 3 Computer Tips
Lab 3 Data Sheet
Lab 4 Newton’s Second Law: Mass and Acceleration
Lab 4 Intro Material
Lab 4 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 4 Part A: Measuring the Acceleration of a Cart
Lab 4 Part B: Measuring the Acceleration after Increasing Mass
Lab 4 Part C: Measuring the Acceleration after Increasing Force
Lab 4 Part D: Measuring the Acceleration after Changing Force and Mass
Lab 4 Computer Tips
Lab 4 Data Sheet
Lab 5 Gravity: Intertial and Gravitational Mass
Lab 5 Intro Material
Lab 5 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 5 Part A: Measuring Your Object's Mass and Weight
Lab 5 Part B: Measuring Your Object's Inertial Mass
Lab 5 Part C: Mathematically Comparing Inertial with Gravitational Mass
Lab 5 Part D: Physically Comparing Inertial with Gravitational Mass
Lab 5 Data Sheet
Lab 6 Projectile Motion: Trajectories of Ballistic Objects
Lab 6 Intro Material
Lab 6 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 6 Part A: Measuring the Tabletop
Lab 6 Part B: Measuring the Speed of a Rolling Marble
Lab 6 Part C: Predicting the Landing Spot of the Marble
Lab 6 Part D: Taking Flight
Lab 6 Data Sheet
Lab 7 Momentum and Impulse: Understanding Motion
Lab 7 Intro Material
Lab 7 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 7 Part A: Setting up a Cart on an Inclined Ramp and Measuring Its Force
Lab 7 Part B: Measuring a Cart's Impulse and Momentum
Lab 7 Part C: Measuring a More Massive Cart's Force, Impulse, and Momentum
Lab 7 Part D: Measuring a Cart's Force, Impulse, and Momentum with the Angle of the Ramp Changed
Lab 7 Computer Tips
Lab 7 Data Sheet
Lab 8 Power: Working for Some Time
Lab 8 Intro Material
Lab 8 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 8 Part A Determining the Power of a Falling Mass
Lab 8 Part B Calculating Human Power
Lab 8 Computer Tips
Lab 8 Data Sheet
Lab 9 Centripetal Motion: Traveling in Circles
Lab 9 Intro Material
Lab 9 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 9 Part A: Measuring the Centripetal Force on an Orbiting Object
Lab 9 Part B: Determining the Force on an Orbiting Mass
Lab 9 Part C: Determining the Radius of an Orbit for Multiple Stoppers
Lab 9 Part D: Determining Centripetal Acceleration Relationships
Lab 9 Part E: Determining the Equation for Centripetal Acceleration
Lab 9 Data Sheet
Lab 10 Energy Conservation: Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy, and Heat
Lab 10 Intro Material
Lab 10 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 10 Part A: Measuring the Potential Energy in a Stretched Rubber Tube
Lab 10 Part B: Measuring Frictional Forces in a Sliding Block
Lab 10 Part C: Calculating Distances
Lab 10 Part D: Launching the Block
Lab 10 Computer Tips
Lab 10 Data Sheet
Lab 11 Gases: Basic Laws and Buoyancy
Lab 11 Intro Material
Lab 11 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 11 Part A: Determining Boyle's Law
Lab 11 Part B: Determining Gay-Lussac's Law
Lab 11 Part C: Determining the Density of a Gas
Lab 11 Data Sheet
Lab 12 Heat Energy: Specific Heat Capacities
Lab 12 Intro Material
Lab 12 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 12 Part A: Preparing the Metal
Lab 12 Part B: Preparing the Calorimeter
Lab 12 Part C: Observing the Transfer of Heat
Lab 12 Part D: Calculating the Specific Heat of the Metal
Lab 12 Computer Tips
Lab 12 Data Sheet
Lab 13 Phase Changes: Melting and Boiling
Lab 13 Intro Material
Lab 13 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 13 Part A: Determining Melting Point
Lab 13 Part B: Determining Boiling Point
Lab 13 Part C: Determining Water's Heat of Fusion
Lab 13 Part D: Drawing and Examining the Phase Diagram for Water
Lab 13 Data Sheet
Lab 14 Electricity: Static Charges
Lab 14 Intro Material
Lab 14 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 14 Part A: Observing Static Electricity in Common Objects
Lab 14 Part B: Observing Static Electricity Using an Electroscope
Lab 14 Part C: Calculating the Charge on an Object
Lab 14 Data Sheet
Lab 15 Electricity in Motion: Series and Parallel Circuits
Lab 15 Intro Material
Lab 15 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 15 Part A: Using a Digital Multimeter
Lab 15 Part B: Designing a Parallel Circuit
Lab 15 Part C: Designing a Series Circuit
Lab 15 Data Sheet
Lab 16 Magnetism: Currents and Motors
Lab 16 Intro Material
Lab 16 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 16 Part A: Viewing a Magnetic Field
Lab 16 Part B: Viewing Interacting Magnetic Fields
Lab 16 Part C: Using a Magnetic Compass
Lab 16 Part D: Using Permanent Magnets
Lab 16 Part E: Investigating Magnetic Fields and Electric Currents
Lab 16 Part F: Making an Electric Motor
Lab 16 Data Sheet
Lab 17 Waves: Motions in Gases, Liquids, and Solids
Lab 17 Intro Material
Lab 17 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 17 Part A: Generating and Observing Waves
Lab 17 Part B: Measuring the Speed of Waves
Lab 17 Part C: Characterizing Standing Waves
Lab 17 Part D: Calculating Wave Speeds
Lab 17 Part E: Discussing Other Wave Generators
Lab 17 Part F: Observing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse
Lab 17 Data Sheet
Lab 18 Sound: Hearing Our Surroundings
Lab 18 Intro Material
Lab 18 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 18 Part A: Recording a Hearing Test
Lab 18 Part B: Measuring the Speed of Sound
Lab 18 Part C: Describing the Quality of Sounds
Lab 18 Data Sheet
Lab 19 Light: Investigations of its Speed and Properties
Lab 19 Intro Material
Lab 19 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 19 Part A: Approximating the Speed of Light
Lab 19 Part B: Observing Reflection
Lab 19 Part C: Observing Refraction
Lab 19 Part D: Observing Diffraction and Interference
Lab 19 Data Sheet
Lab 20 Optics: Telescopes that Bend and Reflect Light
Lab 20 Intro Material
Lab 20 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 20 Part A: Measuring the Focal Length of a Lens
Lab 20 Part B: Measuring the Focal Length of a Mirror
Lab 20 Part C: Building a Refracting Telescope
Lab 20 Data Sheet
Lab 21 Color: The Spectrum of Light
Lab 21 Intro Material
Lab 21 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 21 Part A: Observing Light Produced by a Hot Solid
Lab 21 Part B: Observing Light Produced by a Hot Gas
Lab 21 Part C: Observing Light Produced by Chemical Elements in a Flame
Lab 21 Part D: Subtracting Colors
Lab 21 Part E: Adding Colors
Lab 21 Data Sheet
Lab 22 Water: Tests to Determine Quality
Lab 22 Intro Material
Lab 22 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 22 Part A: Checking for Water Quality
Lab 22 Part B: Determining the Electrical Conductivity of Water
Lab 22 Part C: Measuring the pH of a Water Sample
Lab 22 Part D: Testing for the Presence of Chloride Ion
Lab 22 Data Sheet
Lab 23 Elements: Descriptions of Atoms
Lab 23 Intro Material
Lab 23 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 23 Part A: Using Atomic Theory
Lab 23 Part B: Determining the Physical Nature of Selected Elements
Lab 23 Part C: Observing Atomic Changes in Electron Energy
Lab 23 Part D: Observing a Chemical Reaction
Lab 23 Data Sheet
Lab 24 Covalent Compounds: Descriptions of Molecules
Lab 24 Intro Material
Lab 24 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 24 Part A: Designing and Naming Covalent Compounds
Lab 24 Part B: Synthesizing a Molecular Compound
Lab 24 Data Sheet
Lab 25 Atomic Nuclei: Investigations of Radioactivity
Lab 25 Intro Material
Lab 25 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 25 Part A: Using a Geiger Counter to Identify Radioactive Material
Lab 25 Part B: Investigating the Relationship of Radioactivity and Distance
Lab 25 Data Sheet
Lab 26 Nuclear Energy: Radioactive Half-Lives
Lab 26 Intro Material
Lab 26 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 26 Part A: Shielding of Nuclear Radiation
Lab 26 Part B: Calculating the Half-Life of a Radionuclide
Lab 26 Data Sheet
Lab 27 Physical and Chemical Reactions: Noting the Difference
Lab 27 Intro Material
Lab 27 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 27 Part A: Using Reference Materials to Find Physical Properties
Lab 27 Part B: Learning about Lab Safety and the SDS
Lab 27 Part C: Observing Physical Reactions
Lab 27 Part D: Observing Chemical Reactions
Lab 27 Data Sheet
Lab 28 Ionic Compounds: Nomenclature and Equations
Lab 28 Intro Material
Lab 28 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 28 Part A: Recognizing and Naming Ionic Compounds
Lab 28 Part B: Synthesizing an Ionic Compound
Lab 28 Data Sheet
Lab 29 Chemical Measurements: Mass and Amount
Lab 29 Intro Material
Lab 29 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 29 Part A: Calculating Molar Masses
Lab 29 Part B: Measuring the Mass and Calculating the Amount
Lab 29 Part C: Dispensing the Mass
Lab 29 Part D: Determining the Volume, Amount, and Mass of a Balloon
Lab 29 Data Sheet
Lab 30 Chemical Bonding: Molecular Geometry
Lab 30 Intro Material
Lab 30 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 30 Part A: Drawing the Lewis Dot Structure of an Atom
Lab 30 Part B: Drawing the Lewis Dot Structure of a Molecule
Lab 30 Part C: Calculating the Bond Angle and Geometry of a Molecule
Lab 30 Part D: Drawing the Geometry of a Molecule
Lab 30 Data Sheet
Lab 31 Chemical Calculations: Balancing Equations
Lab 31 Intro Material
Lab 31 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 31 Part A: Balancing Chemical Equations
Lab 31 Part B: Calculating the Amount of Product
Lab 31 Part C: Calculating the Chemical Formula of a Product
Lab 31 Data Sheet
Lab 32 Acids and Bases: Making and Using a pH Indicator
Lab 32 Intro Material
Lab 32 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 32 Part A: Developing Accuracy in Volume Delivery
Lab 32 Part B: Making and Testing an Acid-Base Indicator
Lab 32 Part C: Comparing Household Acids and Bases
Lab 32 Part D: Determining the Concentration of an Acid
Lab 32 Data Sheet
Lab 33 Geosphere: Defining Rocks and Minerals
Lab 33 Intro Material
Lab 33 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 33 Part A: Characterizing Physical Rock or Mineral Type
Lab 33 Part B: Characterizing Mineral Chemical Composition
Lab 33 Part C: Measuring the Density of Rocks, Minerals, and Ores
Lab 33 Part D: Identifying a Carbonate-Containing Rock or Mineral
Lab 33 Part E: Viewing and Drawing Rocks and Meteorites
Lab 33 Data Sheet
Lab 34 Dynamic Earth: Drivers of Plate Tectonics
Lab 34 Intro Material
Lab 34 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 34 Part A: Forming Pangaea from Modern Continents
Lab 34 Part B: Observing Seismic Activity and Plate Boundaries
Lab 34 Part C: Observing Plate Boundary Interactions
Lab 34 Part D: Measuring the Density of Earth's Building Materials
Lab 34 Data Sheet
Lab 35 Hydrologic Cycle: Water and Heat in Motion
Lab 35 Intro Material
Lab 35 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 35 Part A: Spatially Comparing Washington Geography with Rainfall
Lab 35 Part B: Modeling Rainfall versus Reservoir Storage
Lab 35 Part C: Distilling Fresh Water from Salt Water
Lab 35 Data Sheet
Lab 36 Erosion: Wind, Water, Ice, and the Inevitable Result
Lab 36 Intro Material
Lab 36 Pre-Lab Questions
Lab 36 Part A: Comparing Erosional Landforms
About the Author

John T. Salinas

John Salinas completed his undergraduate studies in physics at San Jose State University and received an early introduction to teaching. He spent ten fulfilling years teaching high school sciences, photography, and algebra. After completing graduate work in chemistry at Oregon State University and earning a Master’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry, he taught for thirty years at Rogue Community College, where summers typically involved field work studying and monitoring lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in Southern Oregon.

Instructor Resources

An online Instructor’s Manual contains answers to all of the exercises as well as electronic access to all of the images in the manual.