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Walton High

AS Quality of Measurement Task
Physics in Practice Coursework Booklet
Dr. S. Harding.

Walton High

AS Quality of Measurement Task
Physics in Practice Coursework Booklet
Dr. S. Harding.


What are the aims?5
Things for You to do6
Quality of Measurement tips7
Gathering data7
Writing Up7
Suggested Tasks9
Advancing Physics – Quality of Measurement Planning Sheet10
Strands of assessment in the Quality of Measurement task12
Making sense of data coursework - practice.14
Why do I want to use Excel, anyway?15
How do I open Excel?15
How do I save my work?15
How do I put data into my sheet?15
How do I get it to calculate stuff for me?16
What is the 'Nifty Short Cut' for copying a formula down a column?17
How do I use Excels built in formulae?17
How do I do graphs?18
How do I change it so it plots V against I or P against I?19
Hmm. Is there a less fiddly way?20
Let's get fancy…21

As part of your quality of measurement coursework you will be required to devise an approach to an experiment and then carry it out and perform some careful data analysis of your results.

There are many ways to tackle a problem (some better than others) as the following story illustrates:

The following is a question on a physics exam at the University of Copenhagen: "Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building." This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that he failed the student who immediately appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct. The university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter ruled that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. It was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied: "First, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from this formula I have worked out for you on my text paper here." Then the student added, "But, Sir, I wouldn't recommend it. Bad luck on the barometer." "Another alternative", offered the student, "is this: If the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional geometry to work out the height of the skyscraper. On the paper is the formula for that as well." "But, Sir, if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in a gravitational formula, which I have determined here this time on a long sheet of paper with a very long and complicated calculation." "Or, Sir, here's another way, and not a bad one at all. If the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up." "But if you merely...
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