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Measurements and Uncertainty Virtual Lab

Take a scientific approach to the classic task of guessing how many candies are in a jar. Rather than random guesses, utilize good experimental design to select the correct measurement tools, continually refine the approach, and account for uncertainty in the data.

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Measurements and Uncertainty

About this Simulation

Now more than ever, it’s important for scientists to understand how much they can trust their results, when to disregard or accept them, and how to improve their reliability. In this simulation, you’ll learn how to select the right tool for carrying out an experiment and how to refine an experimental methodology to reduce its inherent uncertainty.

How Many Candies in the Jar:

In this simulation, you will  start by coming up with a guess including an uncertainty range. Through making this guess, you’ll gain an appreciation of the difficulties scientists face in the real world, and the errors associated with their experiments.

Measurements and Readings: 

Tools that produce measurements must be calibrated first, while tools that produce readings are assumed to be already calibrated. Students will learn about these differences and classify various experimental tools during this mission.

Refining the experimental methodology: 

Choose between two different approaches to scientifically guess how many candies are inside the jar. In each of the methods, you’ll address the potential errors and uncertainty that may occur in your approach.

Deciding on the correct figure: 

After you refine your experimental methodology and account for all the uncertainty you think you’ve uncovered, you’ll perform some calculations to decide on the number of candies that are in the jar. After the big reveal, you’ll find out how close you are.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between instruments that give a reading and a measurement

  • Select an instrument of appropriate resolution to perform a measurement

  • Refine an experimental methodology to reduce its inherent uncertainty

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Measurements and readings
  • Calibration of tools
  • Uncertainty calculations

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