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Physical Science Concept Inventory

Science Basics:
Units and Conversions:
1. There are 1000 millimeters in a meter, 100 centimeters in a meter, and a kilometer is 1000 meters.
2. An inch contains 2.54 centimeters
3. One kilogram is 2.2 pounds.
4. One meter is 3.28 feet.
5. There are 5,280 feet in 1 mile.
6. A kilometer is about 0.621 miles.
7. 1

is about 2.24

8. The 7 fundamental units are length (meter), time (second), mass (kilogram), temperature (Kelvin),
Amount of stuff (mole), Current (Ampere), & Brightness (candela)
SKILL: Convert between units using conversion factors.
SKILL: Convert between the various temperature scales.
Knowledge about Experiments:
9. An inference is a conclusion based on what you observe.
10. A quantitative observation uses numbers, data and measurements.
11. A qualitative observation is made using the five senses.
12. A variable is a factor in an experiment that can affect the outcome
13. A control in an experiment is used as a comparison which all test results are measured from.
14. Constants are things in an experiment that are held fixed.
15. A manipulative variable is a factor that is purposely changed by the experimenter.
16. A responding variable is a factor that might change as a result of the manipulative variable.
17. The manipulated variable is graphed on the x-axis & the responded variable is graphed on the y-axis.
18. Data that falls in a straight line can be explained by the equation y = mx + b.
19. The units of the slope for a straight lined graph are found by dividing the y-axis variable by the x-axis
SKILL: Be able to graph a set of data, draw the line of best fit & find the equation from that line in y = mx+b
20. Displacement is the final position minus the initial position.
21. Distance is the sum of the lengths of movements form the beginning of motion to the end.
22. Speed is the distance traveled divided by the time taken.
23. Velocity is speed with a direction. Displacement of motion divided by the time taken.
a. =


24. Acceleration is the rate of change of the velocity over time.

a. =


25. Distance and acceleration are related by the equation: = 2 2 (Assuming starting at rest and
constant acceleration)
26. For constant acceleration, the final velocity of a trip is twice the average velocity.
SKILL: Be able to calculate and describe acceleration, velocity and distance of an object given a description
of motion or graph.
Forces, Momentum & Energy
27. Inertia (related to mass) is a measure of resistance of an object to change its motion.
28. A force is described as a push or pull on an object, measured with the units called Newtons (N =

29. Newtons 1st Law: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force; An
object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
30. Newtons 2nd Law: The acceleration an object experiences is proportional to the Force being applied to
it and inversely proportional to the mass of the object:


31. The acceleration due to gravity is symbolized by the lowercase letter g and is of approximate

magnitude of 9.8 2 10 on the Earths surface.

32. Weight is the force of gravity felt upon the object. =
33. Newtons 3rd Law: Forces come in pairs. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
34. An objects ability to maintain its inertia is called momentum (), calculated by the equation =
35. Momentum is always conserved, meaning the momentum before an interaction is the same as after an

36. Kinetic Energy is the energy related to motion, calculated by the equation . . = 2 2
37. Potential Energy is the energy related to position, calculated by the equation . . =
SKILL: Be able to solve problems related to force, momentum and energy.
Electrostatics and Electric Circuits
38. The strength of the electric field attraction/repulsion depends on the amount of charge and distance
from the charge.
39. Charge is generated by friction, induction, or conduction.
40. The flow rate of charges through a material is known as electric current, measured in Amperes (A)
41. The ability to produce a current is known as voltage measured in volts (V)
42. The resistance to current is known as resistance measured in ohms ()
43. Ohms law relates Voltage (V) , Current (I) and Resistance (R) as V = I R.
44. Resistance in a wire is determined by the length of wire, thickness, material, and temperature.
45. A series circuit is a circuit in which there is only one path for the electrical current to flow.
46. In a series circuit, if one component is removed, the entire circuit is open.
47. Adding components in series increases the total resistance of the circuit. = 1 + 2 + 3 +
48. A parallel circuit is a circuit in which there are multiple pathways for current to flow.
49. In a parallel circuit, if one component fails, other components may still work.
50. Adding resistors in parallel decreases the resistance of the circuit.

= + + +

51. A standard home electrical socket supplies 120 volts.

52. Electrical Power is the rate at which energy transfers from electrical energy into another form.

53. Electrical Power is measured in Watts (W) according to the formula Power = V I.
54. The electric energy used by an appliance is the electric power the appliance provides multiplied by the
time it was used: E = P T. (Units being kilowatt-hours)
SKILL: Be able to calculate Voltage, Current, and Resistance using Ohms Law
SKILL: Be able to calculate the total resistance of a series and/or parallel circuit.
SKILL: Be able to calculate power and energy usage.
55. The electromagnetic spectrum from the least energetic to the most energetic, are: radio waves,
microwave, infrared rays, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays.
56. A particle of light is called a photon.
57. The speed of light (c) in empty space is 186,282 miles per second or 3 108 meters per second.
58. The wavelength is the distance along a straight line from one crest (peak) of the wave to the next.
59. The frequency of a wave is the number of times each second that crests pass a stationary checkpoint
(f) measured by the units Hertz (Hz)
60. A waves Energy is directly related to the waves Amplitude.
61. The visible spectrum in order of decreasing length of the wave is Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue,
Indigo and Violet.
62. White light is a mixture all the visible spectrum of light, while black light is known as the absence of
63. Mechanical waves are created by a vibration of the medium of an object.
64. The speed of a wave is determined by the equation: = (If dealing with light, = , the speed of
65. Amplitude is the distance that a vibrating object moves from its position of rest as it vibrates.
66. Sound waves lose intensity/loudness as they spread outward in all directions from their source.
67. The speed of sound depends on the substance through which the sound waves travel(medium).
68. The speed of sound in air is around 770 miles per hour. ( This value is temperature and medium
SKILL: Be able to calculate wave speed, wavelength, Period, and frequency for a wave.

Properties of Matter:
69. Pure substance is matter that always has exactly the same composition.
70. A substance that cannot be broken down further is called an element.
71. The smallest piece of an element is referred to as the atom.
72. Two or more atoms that combine are called compounds. If same atoms then its a diatom, if the atoms
are not the same its a molecule.
73. Mixture is a physical combination of two or more substances. Heterogeneous mixture has noticeable
differences, while a homogenous mixture the parts are indistinguishable.
74. Solutions are homogenous mixtures where one substance is dissolved within another and does not
separate over time.
75. A suspension is a heterogeneous mixture where the components will separate/settle out over time.
76. Colloids are solutions of various sized particles that do not separate out. Known for their ability to
scatter light and look cloudy
77. The resistance of a fluid to flow is called viscosity
78. A materials ability to allow heat or electricity to flow is called conductivity
79. Malleability to the measure of an objects ability to be bent without breaking.
80. Hardness is a ranking of one substances ability to make a mark on another substance.
81. The ratio of an objects mass to its volume is called density.
82. An objects ability to burn in the presence of oxygen is referred to as flammability.
83. How readily a substance will combine with another substance is reactivity.
84. Evidence of a chemical exchange could include a color change, gas produced or formation of a new
States of Matter
85. A state of matter where the object has a defined shape and volume is called a solid.
86. A state of matter where the object has a defined volume, but not a defined shape is a liquid.
87. A state of matter where the object has no defined volume or shape is a gas.
88. Kinetic Theory states that all particles of matter are in constant motion due to the forces of attraction
and repulsion of particles and the conservation of momentum of their movement.
89. Kinetic Theory of Gas has three main points. (1) Particles in a gas are in constant, random motion. (2)
The motion of one particle is unaffected by the motion of other particles unless they collide into one
another. (3) Forces of attraction among particles can be ignored under standard conditions.
90. Pressure is the result of a force distribution over an area.
91. The factors that affect the pressure of a gas are temperature, volume and number of particles present.
92. Charles Law states that the volume of a gas is directly proportional to its temperature.
93. Boyles Law states that volume and pressure are inversely proportional to one another.
94. Absolute Zero refers to the coldest temperature that can be reached. This would be -273.15 Celsius or
0 Kelvin.
95. The combined gas law relates pressure, volume and temperature via :

1 1

2 2

96. A phase change occurs when a substance transitions from one state of matter to another.
97. Phase Changes:

Solid to Gas: sublimation

Gas to Solid: Deposition
Gas to Liquid: Condensation
Liquid to Gas: Vaporization
Solid to Liquid: Melting
Liquid to Solid: Freezing
98. The temperature of a substance does not change during a phase change.
99. A change that absorbs energy (feels cold) is endothermic, while a change that releases energy (feels
hot) is exothermic.
100. The heat of fusion is the energy needed to change a substance from solid to liquid.
101. The heat of vaporization is the energy needed to change a substance from liquid to gas.
102. The triple point is the conditions where all 3 states of mater can exist at the same time.
Atomic Structure
103. Know the first twenty elements and symbols, in addition know: Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Silver (Ag),
Gold (Au), and Lead (Pb)
104. An atom is the smallest part of matter that contains all the properties of the matter.
105. There are three basic sub atomic particles: protons, neutrons and electrons
106. The nucleus is in the center of the atom, containing both protons and neutrons.
107. Protons are positively charged particles, electrons are negatively charged, while neutrons possess
no charge.
108. Atomic number is the number of protons in an atom's nucleus.
109. Mass number is the total number of protons and neutrons in an isotope
110. A neutral atom has the same number of electrons as there are protons in the nucleus.
111. An atom where the number of protons differs from the number of electrons is referred to as an ion.
112. An element is uniquely identified by the number of protons it contains.
113. According to E. Rutherford, an atom is mostly made of empty space and contains a positive center,
discoverer of the proton
114. Isotopes are atoms with the same atomic number, but different atomic weights due to a different
number of neutrons
115. J.J. Thompson discovered the electron.
116. The neutron was discovered by James Chadwick.
117. N. Bohr stated that electrons are found in energy levels.
118. The electrons are arranged in levels called electron shells, according to how much energy the
electrons have.
119. Valence electrons are the outer electrons which form a bond and thus control the atoms chemical
120. The Octet rule states that atoms seek to have 8 electrons in their outer shell or none, except H and
121. John Dalton is said to have proposed the first Atomic Theory with his 4 Postulates.
122. Aristotle first categorized matter into Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, while Democritus classified matter
as atomos

123. An atom whose outer electrons are in a higher energy state is said to be excited, while when all
electrons are in their lowest energy state, the electron is grounded.
124. The 4 orbitals are s (2), p (6), d(10) and f (14)
125. Energy Levels:
s and p
s, p, and d
4 + s, p, d and f
Periodic Table
126. The periodic table as we know it was first organized by the Russian chemist Mendeleev
127. Periods are rows on the periodic table from 1 to 7 based on the energy levels in an atom.
128. Groups are columns on the periodic table from 1 to 18. Elements in a group have similar properties.
129. Atomic Mass is the average weight of an element based on percent abundance measured in atomic
mass units (amu)
130. Metals are elements that are good conductors
131. Non-metals are elements that are poor conductors
132. The groups of the period table are: Alkalai, Alkali Earth, Boron Family, Carbon Family, Nitrogen
Family, Oxygen Family, Halogens and Noble Gases.
Chemical Bonds
133. Electron dot diagram (Lewis Diagram) is a visual method for seeing the electron arrangement for an
atom or compound.
134. Ionic bond is when an electron transfers to a nearby atom and the atoms are held together by ion
135. Covalent Bond is when an electron pair is shared between two atoms. The attraction of the electron
to the nucleus holds this bond together.
136. Polar molecule is one where there is a charge difference across a molecule where one side has a
positive charge while the other side of the molecule has a negative, but the molecule is neutral as a
137. Polyatomic Ions are a set of covalent bonds that form a molecule that act as a single unit, but has an
overall charge.
138. Metallic Bond are the attraction between a metal cation and the shared electrons that surround it.
139. Alloy is a mixture of two elements where one of them is a metal.
Chemical Reactions
140. The substance that undergoes a change is the chemical reactant
141. The substance that is formed as a result of a chemical reactions in the product.
142. A chemical equation is a representation using the chemical symbols of reactants turning into
143. Law of Conservation of Mass states that the total mass before a chemical reaction is equal to the
total mass afterwards.


A mole is used to represent a large amount of small particles. Equivalent to 6.022 x 10 23 particles.
The mass of one mole of a substance is called the molar mass.
A synthesis reaction is one where two reactants combine to make a product.
A decomposition reaction is where a reactant breaks down into two or more products
A single-replacement reaction is where one reactant swaps places with part of another reactant
A double-replacement reaction is where two different compounds exchange positive ions to form
two new compounds.
Combustion reactions is where a compound reacts with oxygen to release energy.
Oxidation is a reaction where an element loses electrons.
Reduction reactions are when an element gains electrons.
The factors that affect the rate of a chemical reaction are most often temperature, surface area,
concentration, and a catalyst.
Activation energy is the energy needed to kick start a chemical reaction.

Carbon Chemistry
Nuclear Chemistry
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