Lesson 2: Measurement and Problem Solving

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For this lesson we’re going to learn about scientific notation, significant figures, and units of measurement. If you have taken other science courses in the past, you are likely to find at least some of this section to be a review. For those of you who have never experienced these techniques and concepts, this is undoubtedly the most tedious section in the book. Give it your best effort, however, because once you’ve learned it, you will be able to apply it to many fields.

Textbook Reading:  Chapter 2 Measurement and Problem Solving (pp. 11-44)

Helpful practice:
Please do Skillbuilder 2.4 at the top of page 17 (answers on page 53).
Be sure to read and understand Examples 2.18 – 2.25 on pages 40-42. If you struggled with the density calculations in the last lab, look at examples 2.27 and 2.28 on pages 43-44.
Also, do Problem 42 on page 46 (answers for even numbered problems are in the back).


Still unsure about scientific notation after reading the text? Math is Fun has a scientific notation tutorial where you can type in your own examples to test (optional).

This video goes over significant figures (like in the textbook), and then gives a cool shortcut to use at the end.

(If the video player doesn’t work, link to YouTube)

Finally, this video gives a laid back review of measurement and units. You can zone out when he mentions accuracy, precision and percent error, as those are not covered in the Tro text.

(Direct link)

Please let me know if you have any questions. We will be going over examples at our meeting.

A Chemistry Sidebar:

mL vs ml

Have you seen milliliter abbreviated mL or ml and wondered which is correct?

According to the U.S. Metric Association (USMA):

“The symbol for liter (or litre) may be either a capital el (L) or a lowercase el (l); both are correct. In the U.S., Canada, and Australia, the capital el (L) is preferred, but most other nations use the lowercase el (l).”

So there you have it!

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