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Natural Science - Year I

Unit 0: How do we study science?

Course Materials are always under revision! Weblecture content may change anytime prior to two weeks before scheduled chat session for content.

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Science Web Assignment for Unit 0


This Unit's Homework Page History Lecture Science Lecture Lab Parents' Notes

Science Lecture for Unit 0: Doing the Written Work for Natural Science

For Class
Outline/Summary

Writing the chat preparation essay

Read the following sections in the Student Survival Guide:

  • Doing the homework (pay attention to the section on essay questions!
  • Getting the Most from Chat
  • Quizzes
  • Exams
  • Study Groups

The first assignment you need to complete (after your reading) is your chat preparation essay. This must be posted to the Moodle before chat starts. That way we can look at your essay and discuss the ideas. That means that the chat preparation essay for unit 0 (this unit) which we discuss at the first chat session is due before that session starts. Fortunately, it is on a topic you should know pretty well.

Your chat preparation essay should be short, not more than 300 words, in three to five paragraphs with multiple sentences. It should have a good topic sentence that answers the question asked. It should present supporting examples, usually a specific scientific concept or some historical figure or event (with names and dates). A really good chat preparation essay will also mention something about the application of the idea, or its influence or effect on other areas than that defined in the question.

I grade chat preparation essays on a scale from 1 to 3:

  1. The essay is minimal and answers the question, but displays no real thought. It is a rote answer, merely quoting what was stated in the readings.
  2. The essay contains good factual examples supporting the idea it describes.
  3. The essay shows creative thought in some way beyond the material the student read.

Completing the Mastery Exercise

Each unit has a mastery exercise with questions about the reading material. These include multiple choice, chose the correct term, matching, diagram or map labelling, fill in the blank words, short essays, and sometimes even numerical calculation questions.

You should try to complete the mastery exercise before you post your chat preparation essay, since the exercises may help you identify information you need for your essay.

The mastery exercise has feedback to help you quickly identify errors or misconceptions. Be sure to identify any questions you can't answer, or if you don't understand the feedback given in the exercise.

Mastery exercises must be completed satisfactorily, that is, with a score of at least 85% correct, before you can take the quiz. You should try to get the exercise done by Thursday at the latest so that you have time to attempt the quiz before it is due (at the start of the next chat).

Taking Quizzes

Every unit has a quiz. These are in the Moodle, and they have set time periods. They open after chat, when you've had a chance to study the answers for your mastery exercise and "fix" any concepts you missed on the homework assignment. They close before the next chat starts, so that we can discuss them in class.

You may take quizzes only once during the regular term, since you have multiple chances to attempt the mastery exercise in preparation for the quiz. There will be a short period before the semester exam to make up quizzes you may have missed due to illness, network outages, or other issues (like not finishing the mastery exercises in time) — but to take any unit quiz, you must complete the mastery exercise satisfactorily first.

Quiz results are posted immediately, so that you can see how you did and which questions you missed. You should study missed questions carefully, and review those you got right. Many of these questions will show up again on the semester final examination.

Reviewing for Exams

At the end of each semester, there will be a "comprehensive review", where we go over everything we have learned during the semester, and then take an examination on it. The examination requires you to match people or event names with what happened, to define scientific terms or apply scientific concepts to a particular situation, and to write short essays that pull together ideas from many units.

Exam preparation should start when you take on a new unit, and you should plan regular review sessions throughout the semester, not just one long review session near the end!

Completing Written Work

Click your way through the presentation below to see other ideas on how to prepare and complete your written work for this course.

Study/Discussion Questions

Further Study On your Own (Optional)

All "further study" or "optional website" sections are merely suggestions for you to follow up ideas that might interest you. I will not require you to read these, we won't discuss them in chat (unless you have questions about them) and I won't quiz you or examine you on their contents.