Basic science: understanding experiments
Basic science: understanding experiments

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Basic science: understanding experiments

Week 2: Unique properties of water


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Welcome to Week 2. Your experiments so far have shown us two important things-- water can make up a large amount of the content of an everyday food, and water can pass through semipermeable barriers such as cell walls. That means that the water content of, in our case, a cucumber is not necessarily constant over time.
Now you were probably aware of those things, but the implications are massive. Personally, I find it amazing that very small scale physical processes such as osmosis have the potential to be an energy source in the future. On the way, you've also learned how to make and record observations in a systematic way, how to plot graphs, and how to interpret your data.
Now, both of the experiments revealed some important facts about water. And this week, you're going to do another simple experiment that will reveal something astonishing. You're going to freeze some common liquids to see how their properties differ when they change their physical state from liquid into a solid.
It's straightforward and I'm sure you can guess at least some of the results in advance. But as you will see, the implications of two of the results are amazing. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say to the experiment reveals that the physical properties of one of the liquids you will freeze are fundamental to life on our planet, and perhaps even to life on the other planets in the universe. As you untangle and interpret what your observations and results mean, you'll learn about the three main states of matter-- solids, liquids, and gases. So without more ado, let's get started.
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This week, you are going to perform an experiment to investigate how the physical properties of common liquids change when they are frozen.

Like last week, this simple experiment can be performed in your kitchen, but the science behind your results goes far beyond it. In fact, the physical properties of one of the liquids you will freeze are fundamental to life on our planet.

As you work through this week, try and remember the scientific techniques you covered last week, such as making precise measurements, recording data and observations and interpreting any results.

So, clear some space in your freezer and get started!

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