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Thread: Science beliefs quiz

  1. #31
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    Remember that gas at the same temperature and pressure has the same number of molecules per volume and note that H2O has a molecular weight of 18 where O2 has one of 32.
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  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    35 - Is humid air thinner? That surprises me.
    Discussed recently http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=55988

    But baseballs are often observed to not carry as well in humid air, which IMO makes it a bad question.

  3. #33

    Lightbulb

    I got 37/47, but would have had 38 if I hadn't forgotten to change the drop-down box on the earthquake question from TRUE to FALSE. Sigh. But I thought many of the questions were written poorly. Some of my explanations were complete, but others were of the sort: "Uh, yeah. Duh. :)"

  4. 2007-Apr-06, 12:28 AM

  5. #34
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    On the flashlight one, I kind of laughed because it says just a wire and a battery. I couldn't help but think that you also need a light bulb in order to light up a light bulb. I know it was implied, but still.

    I think was overthinking a lot of the questions. On the "We (humans) need light in order to see," question, I put down the wrong answer because I was thinking that we need visual light to see, so maybe I was getting a bit too specific.

    It was a neat test, even if a few of the questions were worded strangely (yes, yes, the plants ones). It was kind of fun!

  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    At the bottom of the final page of the quiz is an e-mail link to contact them about the quiz. I dropped them an e-mail and suggested they might want to look at this discussion (I even sent them a link). I didn't give them any details; I figure, if they are really interested, they'll come here.
    I received a response back, from the web application developer. He said he would forward it to the faculty investigator. I'll let you know if I hear anything.
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  7. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Remember that gas at the same temperature and pressure has the same number of molecules per volume and note that H2O has a molecular weight of 18 where O2 has one of 32.
    That does make numeric sense, but wouldn't humid air have some transitional problems for a ball? Wouldn't there be some vapor that is changing phase to liquid and affecting the ball? Probably not.

    Thanks, swansont, for the thread I wish I would have read before the test.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  8. #37
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    My "mistakes":

    5. I said false and mentioned the aforementioned tube worms. This could depend on the definition of plants when considering what they eat.

    9. I forgot about some of the microbes.

    10. I got into a singular vs. plural quibble.

    12. A brain lock on my part. I meant to say false and misclicked.

    16. I stand by my answer of true. In modern times, an unforgiveable failure on their part to specify a vacuum as a condition for true free fall, in which light and heavy objects would indeed fall at the same rate.

    32. They should have said chemical reactions result in no measurable change in total mass. I see no reason why Einstein's famous equation should not apply. It merely would be very slight, about one part in several billion.

    39. Pure guesswork on my part. I knew about New Madrid, but I did not know whether or not Chicago was significantly affected by that earthquake, or might be at risk for future ones.

    41. I really was POed by that one. Everyone should know that the United States is not confined to North America north of the Rio Grande and Key West, and that most of Hawaii is south of the Tropic of Cancer. I would cheerfully wash out their mouths with some of the soap I made in high school chemistry lab.

    There were others on which I got the "right" answer but still considered the wording to be oversimplified, vague or sloppy. I think you all have mentioned them sufficiently for now, so I will not elaborate. It's past my bedtime.

  9. #38
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    Total questions: 47
    Total correct answers: 42
    Total incorrect answers: 5
    Final percentage score: 89 %

    And I think some of the questions were worded badly and do not agree with some.

  10. #39
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    Had to leave in a hurry, but I'm back. Don't agree with q 5 All animals depend on plants. What about extremophiles that live in rocks or around black smokers. They are not plants and directly metabolize methane and hydrogen sulphide... whole ecosystem that doesn't depend on plants!

    Think 23 "The total energy in the universe is constantly changing" is dubious since the universe as we know it is confined to our light horizon and we can't know what goes on beyond that. The meta-universe might be 157 billion light years but only 13.7 is accessable to us in "our" universe. If our universe is expanding, then matter and energy are flowing out of our range beyond our light horizon so the energy density of "our" universe should be decreasing. At least that is my thoughts on the subject.

    26 "Question: A ball made of solid steel will not float. However, a boat made of steel floats because the steel is made less dense because of the way the boat is shaped" is poorly worded. The steel is "effectively" rendered less dense by its water displacement due to its shape but the steel itself does not change density (I read it as a poorly worded question rather than a trick question, so I answered it wrong though qualified it with a correct explanation).

    Missed 35 since I don't know a thing about baseball, though I've heard that balls fly poorly on humid days (maybe the leather gets soggy and doesn't react with the bat the same?)

    43 "We see phases of the moon because the moon moves into the earth’s shadow." was thinking eclipses and had a brain fart on that one.

  11. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by yuzuha View Post
    Missed 35 since I don't know a thing about baseball, though I've heard that balls fly poorly on humid days (maybe the leather gets soggy and doesn't react with the bat the same?)
    A soggy ball is one plausible factor. Let's also consider the possibility that the batter is feeling droopy because of the heat and simply does not hit it as hard.

    Perhaps the sportscasters who perpetuate this misconception simply do not know anything about physics and believe that the "heavy" air really is heavier than dry air.

  12. #41
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    40/47 (85%)

    I very strongly disagree with the answer to the density of a steel
    boat question. That is carp.

    I question the answer to the two dropped balls question. Their
    explanation appears to say "Yes, but no." I said in my "explanation"
    that I had previously done this with a steel ball and a ping-pong
    ball, and got the result that they said is the true answer, that they
    fall at the same speed. I assumed that a 6-foot drop was not far
    enough for me to detect the difference by eyeball judgement.
    Obviously the heavier ball will reach the ground first if the lighter
    ball reaches terminal speed. But I *think* there will be a difference
    long before that.

    The only question I cheated on, I still got wrong. Apparently ToSeek
    did exactly the same. I looked in a mirror and thought that if I kept
    the image of the top of my head at the top edge of the mirror, I would
    see more and more of my body. Wrong. I said in my "explanation"
    that small mirrors in restrooms are sometimes tilted downward to allow
    you to see the lower part of your body. True, but if you back away
    from the mirror to do that, you can't see the top part of your body!

    **** Editing to add ****

    This is rather embarassing. I actually got that answer correct. I guess
    that when I cheated and looked in the mirror, I saw correctly what was
    happening, and answered correctly, but by the time the test was over
    I had forgotten, and I thought the results page said I got it wrong, but
    the box is green, meaning I got it right.

    **** End of edit ****

    I got the "Organisms that possess locomotive structures" question
    wrong, but explicitly mentioned protista in my text, so any intelligent
    and compassionate human scorer would score it as "correct".

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
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  13. #42
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    George,

    Another reason that humid air seems like it should be denser than dry
    air is by analogy with dissolving solids in a liquid: You can add a lot
    of some solids to a liter of water, and end up with a liter of heavy,
    dense gunk. So you'd think the same would happen to air: add a lot of
    water vapor to a liter of dry air and you should end up with a liter
    of heavy, dense, wet air. But instead you end up with two liters of
    very light, wet air.

    Hornblower,

    Hawaii! Remind Jeff that Hawaii is farther south than Florida!
    Remind Jeff that Hawaii is farther south than Florida! Remind
    Jeff that Hawaii is farther south than Florida!

    I got that question right, when I should have got it wrong!

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Last edited by Jeff Root; 2007-Apr-07 at 07:37 PM. Reason: Fixed very minor typo
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

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  14. #43
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    Total questions: 47
    Total correct answers: 44
    Total incorrect answers: 3
    Final percentage score: 94 %

    I must admit, though, that I lucked into a correct answer or two.

  15. #44
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    Wink sunlight for seeds

    42/47. I didn't mark my errors, but recall three in the bio section. One I disagree on...plant seeds can require sunlight for germination, too...not just water and temperature. In particular, as a gardener of many years, I admit to having been bamboozled by growing poppies. Neighbors had them as a kid(thank you Mrs. Clements). As I learned how to garden a bit, I was constantly losing poppies. Seedlings were spindly, did not transplant well from a cold frame. Perennials bought died. Finally, a week's vacation in Georgetown, Maine cured it. Walking around Loop Road with friends, we came upon a fabulous stand of pink poppies, So I stopped to ask the gardener his secret. How?
    His narrative made perfect sense. First of all, the peninsula was all rock and sand with pitiful soil. Sterile soil is where you see them in deserts, with excellent drainage. Rich soil with too much organic matter, holds winter water and rots the crowns out. The other thing is the function of the seed pods. They're the ones they slice and bleed to collect raw opium in Turkey, Afghanistan. They shake in a heavy breeze, and the seeds pop out the sides to scatter on the soil like pepper. In the wild nobody buries them.
    "So", he says. "Just take the seed pods off when they ripen in the fall, or if you buy seeds, and sprinkle them on top of the winter's last melting snows, like the way pods scatter them. They germinate in icy cold water in the sunlight. If you bury them,even a seed depth, they rot. So, like impatiens, they require sun to germinate.As a grower, cover damp potting soil lightened with sand, like catus mix, with seeds and a sheet of glass.
    I bought three packs of seeds, sprinkled them on top of the snow on the East side of the fence in a sandy area, and was buried with vigorous seedlings for the first time. His poppies were prickly poppies, with nasty spiky foliage similar to thistles, and also had great salt spray tolerance, with a bluish grey cast to the leaves. Don't just be nasty to nasturtiums, include poppies there, too. Now I understand that California state park with their miles of poppies....and the road to Oz.

    Park's seed catalog lists the seeds requiring light to germinate.Pete.

  16. #45
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    35/47, embarrassingly enough. But I think I accidentally clicked past #9.

    (Some of these I was right on, but most I scored wrong on)

    #10 - aren't viruses considered to be organisms?
    #16 - forgets air resistance.
    #18 - omits how the reference frame is defined (and thus "motion")
    #19 - Easy enough - hold the bulb tip against one of the poles, connect the other pole using the wire. Presto!
    #21 - The answer should be true, not false the way the test has it. The reason is that the projection of your own image will decrease in angular size the farther you back from the mirror. The mirror frame's angular size will also decrease, but only at half the rate.
    #26 - poorly worded. I missed where it spoke of the density being changed.
    #28 - doesn't the temperature also depend on the pressure? Or is that only an alternate definition?
    #29 - Forgets about relativity. The reactants will actually have a different mass than the products. The difference corresponds exactly to the energy difference of the reaction, divided by c^2.
    #41 - Assumes you don't live on Hawaii

    I missed *all* of the geology/"Earth science" stuff, since I haven't read any of that stuff since 4th grade. Some 20 years ago now... time flies.

  17. #46
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    Hmm. I tried #21. Seems the site was more correct than me. Guess I learned something today.

  18. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    And one for Gillian Does a single-cell organism "consist of cells"?
    I marked that it did, but in my explanation, I mentioned that the answer also depended on if you consider viruses to be organisms; they certainly aren't cells.

    I found giving explanations to be tedious after a while, since some of them left me with nothing to say other than "duh."

    Also, seeds require time to germinate, some of them more than others.
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  19. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by AstroSmurf View Post

    #21 - The answer should be true, not false the way the test has it. The reason is that the projection of your own image will decrease in angular size the farther you back from the mirror. The mirror frame's angular size will also decrease, but only at half the rate.
    Their answer is correct, at least in an idealized case with the mirror perfectly vertical, but their attempt at a verbal explanation was hideously incomplete and vague.

    Suppose the top of the mirror is at your eye level and the bottom is halfway down to the height of your belt buckle. You will see the reflection of your eyes at the top edge and the buckle at the bottom. If you back up to twice the original distance, the angular height of the mirror will be reduced by a factor of 2, and so will the angular height of your virtual image beyond the mirror. The relative positions of the mirror edges and your body parts will be unchanged.

    I think my verbal presentation is complete. If it is clear as mud despite my best efforts, try drawing a side view of the light rays and their extensions which make the virtual image we see as a reflection. Trust me, it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroSmurf View Post
    #28 - doesn't the temperature also depend on the pressure? Or is that only an alternate definition?
    They used "motion" in a vague sense when they should have said "velocity".

    An adiabatic mechanical compression, as in an engine during the compression stroke, does indeed increase the temperature of a gas. Pressure changes under other circumstances may or may not do so.

  20. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by yuzuha View Post
    26 "Question: A ball made of solid steel will not float. However, a boat made of steel floats because the steel is made less dense because of the way the boat is shaped" is poorly worded. The steel is "effectively" rendered less dense by its water displacement due to its shape but the steel itself does not change density (I read it as a poorly worded question rather than a trick question, so I answered it wrong though qualified it with a correct explanation).
    I read the "change in density" to be a distribution of the steel's weight over a greater footprint, altering the amount of pressure on the water, allowing it to float.

    Kinda like when you're out on ice, and it starts to crack, you lay on the ice and spread you weight over the largest possible area, so all your mass isn't pushing on the small amount of area covered by the bottom of your feet.

  21. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I received a response back, from the web application developer. He said he would forward it to the faculty investigator. I'll let you know if I hear anything.
    Something may have been done. I clicked on the quiz today and the site itself comes up with "The file you requested is not available". Perhaps they have taken it down to make corrections?

  22. #51
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    I received an email from Mary Stein, one of the people responsible for the quiz. She pointed me right back to this very thread (!) and quoted from Hornblower's post #48 above as the best explanation for #21. She also referenced the video at this page (registration required but free), which seems to have been the inspiration for several of the questions. She concluded, "The quiz will be revised to reflect the comments and insights that have been provided through responses such as your e-mail, forum discussions, and the explanations provided by respondents."
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  23. #52
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    In a second response, she notes the following:

    In our analysis of the written explanations (again, mostly preservice teachers until recently), we have found that many explanations include misconceptions and a lack of some very basic understandings. However, a great number of respondents with extremely strong science backgrounds have recently found the quiz online and though these written explanations have not been analyzed yet, they appear to demonstrate "correct" written explanations even when the true or false response "appears" to be incorrect.
    And, in response to my taking credit for this thread:

    Oh, so I have you to thank -- the battering I have received has been relentless!
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  24. #53
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    Excellent job ToSeek! It demonstrates that BAUT is a strong force to be reckoned with among the scientific community.

  25. #54
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    I scored a 39, which seems to be about average for the people here. But it was late and I didn't feel like typing much, so didn't bother with too many explanations.

  26. #55
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    I wonder if there was really any need for that web page to be secure.
    That seemed unnecessary.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  27. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    At the bottom of the final page of the quiz is an e-mail link to contact them about the quiz. I dropped them an e-mail and suggested they might want to look at this discussion (I even sent them a link). I didn't give them any details; I figure, if they are really interested, they'll come here.
    Like ToSeek, I have received some e-mails from one of the quiz developers. She gave me permission to reproduce parts of her e-mails, but asked that I not share here name or e-mail address.

    From her first e-mail:
    Thank you for your message regarding the thread discussion on the Science Beliefs Quiz. I am one of the developers of the quiz. First, I need to say "OUCH" - lots of criticism regarding items, phrasing, answers, and general reception to the quiz. I tried to post a response, even though I felt I was walking into the lion's den, but my response was not allowed, so I am e-mailing you. I will attempt to do so again.

    My second impression after reading the thread, was that this discussion is great and reflects the very purpose of why the quiz was originally developed. It was originally developed for preservice elementary teachers, many of whom have a VERY limited science background. Some had not taken a science course since their sophomore year of high school. We are very interested in their beliefs and understandings of some very basic concepts. It is very difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to develop a declarative statement that can be absolutely true or absolutely false when considering scientific phenomenon. There are nearly always examples of ways in which the opposite could be correct. Thus, our focus has been primarily on the explanations provided, with an understanding that an "incorrect" true/false response may actually be "correct" when a correct explanation is provided. I wish I could say that the types of explanations for "incorrect" answers we read are like the more sophisticated understandings demonstrated in the thread discussion on this. However, that is not the case. As examples, explanations include that the bubbles in boiling water are comprised of hydrogen gas and some of oxygen gas; that eventually Chicago will experience a major earthquake --- after California and states west of Illinois fall into the ocean; or that extinction is limited to dinosaurs and plants/animals that reside in rain forests. Many of the thread discussants would be very interested to hear the conversations of these preservice elementary teachers after they have taken the quiz. It clearly gets them thinking about ideas that they have not considered for quite some time (if ever)and the quest for the "scientifically accepted" response is greater as a result of having to commit to their own beliefs about a concept.

    Finally, a few more notes that may be of interest:

    The items were developed from published (peer-reviewed) instruments and also included direct statements from the National Science Education Standards.

    The quiz will be revised and will include some of the thread discussion points as well as e-mails received) to provide improved item phrasing and more detailed explanations of the concepts (at the end of the quiz). Additionally, the idea that an "incorrect" true/false response may actually be correct depending on the explanation.

    Some items are especially interesting and provide promising implications for teachers. For example, for the item "a visible cloud in the sky consists primarily of water vapor", the explanations often include the word "condensation" but go on to explain that the condensation creates water vapor.

    I have also attached the true/false "correct" response rates as of today. Although, the explanations will alter these results, there tend to be more "incorrect" explanations for correct true/false responses than "correct" explanations for incorrect true/false responses (like those suggested in the thread).

    Thank you for letting me know about the discussion thread.
    From her second e-mail:
    Yes, you may post the relevant parts of my e-mail to you. I would prefer that my name not be included on the post (though folks can contact me through the web site provided in the quiz introduction). I am not the type to want to get into the fray or debate about this, though I will listen to the thoughtful discussions and consider how I can use them to make improvements to the instrument and also in my own work with teachers. To say I am discouraged would be an understatement and the debate about the quiz is far removed from its intended purpose. We will be revising the instrument in light of these discussions.
    It sounds like they were a little surprised and maybe even a little taken aback by the response, but that it was also helpful.
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  28. #57
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    So, the quiz page coming back as unavailable is because it is being revised?

    CJSF
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  29. #58
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    It's interesting that this was for teachers, because what it's revealed has been potentially useful from the perspective of education (and testing), as well as the perspective of assessing scientific knowledge. It's revealed how much the writing of the test can affect scores independent of the student's understanding of the subject.

    When I was in school and taking standardized tests (which are of course usually T/F or multiple-choice), I often found myself in the frustrating position of knowing the subject perfectly well but being unsure whether I could figure out the right answer anyway because of the ways that the questions were set up: instead of being tested on the material, I was being tested on my ability to determine which kind of error the test authors had committed and which kind of error I was expected to commit.

  30. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    I wonder if there was really any need for that web page to be secure.
    That seemed unnecessary.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Its a research project, so I'm assuming they're putting some effort into insuring their data collected is secure.

    No point in doing a project of this nature and letting your samples be contaminated.

  31. #60
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    When I saw the link, I wondered if we were going to skew the results beyond their intent. I debated filing as a commenter but not to include my scores, but decided to contribute for full participation. I hope we haven't created more chaos than contribution.

    I scored 41 out of 47 - not bad, but missed a few. A couple I did not know the answer, a few I had to piece out the intent of the question based upon the expected technical level of the question, and one or two I just outright missed.

    1: What plants need to grow. Got correct. I considered whether carbon dioxide should be considered as a "nutrient" or not, but decided that nutrients referred to things absorbed from the soil through the roots. Although I think some plants can absorb nitrogen directly from the air. Nevertheless, the key ingredient not in that list was carbon dioxide, and it seemed conspicuously absent.

    5: All animals depend on plants. Got correct. I was a little worried about extremophiles, but considered the question level as a basic food cycle question and determined that the intent from that assumption. Ergo, animals eat plants or plant eaters, and animals breath oxygen that they get from plants.

    9: All organisms that move and reproduce are animals. Missed. Just totally bungled it. I know about some fungi and protista that move, and couldn't remember what classifies an organism as an "animal".

    10: All organisms are composed of cells. Got correct. Noticed the case issue over singular vs plural, but (correctly) interpreted the sentence that since organisms was plural, cells had to be plural. Single-celled organisms are made of a single cell (duh), but the sentence treated them as a group, so it's several organims, and thus several cells. My understanding of viruses is that they are not considered "organisms".

    16: Two spheres of same size, heavy one hits firts. Got correct. I interpreted "have similar surfaces" to address shape as well, and thus eliminate drag as a variable. Perhaps explicitly mentioning shape would help with clarity.

    17: Two spheres hit with different amounts of force. Got correct. Yes, the more massive object would hit with greater energy and with greater momentum, which are usually the more meaningful questions for the circumstance, but force = mass times acceleration. Acceleration is the same, mass is different, ergo force is different.

    19: Light a flashlight bulb. Got correct. Those who missed it didn't seem to understand the key feature of a flashlight bulb. Anybody payed attention when changing out the batteries on a typical tube flashlight? The bulb is directly in contact with the battery positive terminal. A copper strip connects the spring from the negative with a sliding switch that makes/breaks the circuit to a contact point on the shell of the bulb. So all it takes is a battery and one wire, with one terminal touching the bulb directly. Can't blame the question for this one.

    21: Mirror question. Got correct. Did have to think about. This one is tricky. Technically, your field of view will expand slightly as you back up, and if you go far enough you will be able to see your belt buckle. However, you will be so far back as to be effectively useless for any detail. Practically, it makes more sense to move laterally or to tilt the mirror.

    24: Entropy question. Missed. Explanation was more correct, though. Argument over the standard terminology more than the technical accuracy. Typically entropy is described as a process of creating disorder. However, evenly spaced is not disorderly, it is orderly. Clumping can be considered disorderly, depending upon perspective. But I should have gotten it right, because I know the standard presentation and knew the test was aimed at basic science understanding from standard lessons, not detailed technical quibbles. So this was my fault.

    26: Floating steel boat has lower density. Missed. Technically, the density of the steel does not change. The effective density of the boat is less. Paying closer attention to the actual wording would have helped me.

    29: Sugar in solution. Got correct. Sugar dissolves. As long as the quantity of sugar isn't too much, the sugar will dissolve and remain in solution, no precipitate. With or without stirring, though stirring speeds up the dissolving.

    30: Bubbles in boiling water. Got correct. Had to think about. It says primarily, and primarily the bubbles are steam. A little dissolved air is released, but mostly steam.

    35: Humid air. Missed. Even after having read that other thread. Wet air is less dense. Less dense. Repeat after me. ;-)

    36: Clouds consist of water vapor. Got correct. Water vapor is gaseous form. Clouds are condensed, i.e. liquid drops. They're just tiny drops floating in the air.

    37: 97% of water is in oceans. Got correct. Had to think about. Wasn't precisely aware of the answer, but after thinking about it, it seemed right.

    38: Volcano magma is from middle mantle. Missed. Didn't know. Should have figured out middle mantle is below upper mantle, which is just below the lithosphere (crust).

    39: Chicago earthquake. Missed. Guessed. Chicago had a major earthquake less than 200 years ago?

    I didn't think the test was that bad. Mostly there was a need for technically trained and nuanced people to simplify down to the level of elementary through high school curricula.

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