Uploaded by Tierra Jishie

Free Response Prompts

Free Response
Strand 1- Inquiry Process
There are many claims for weight-loss products that offer amazing results. Discuss the evaluation of
these claims in terms of:
-manipulative or deceptive media practices
-identifying relevant and valid information
-evaluating alternatives
A combination of many observations has documented a wide range of changes in our climate.
Discuss what environmental scientists have inferred about climate change based on their
observations. Include the following topics:
-Impact of greenhouse gases
-Significance of human activity
-Long term implications
What observations might the doctor have made using his five senses to conclude that Mike had a
cold, and how would these observations help him draw a conclusion?
An essential part of the scientific method is the hypothesis. Describe what a hypothesis is and how it
is related to the conclusion. Give an example.
John works at a trout farm. He notices that the trout have significantly more lice on them in the
summer, when the water levels are low. John hypothesizes that, if water levels are low, then rainbow
trout have more lice because there is less oxygen in the water during low water levels.
Design a valid scientific investigation, identifying the variables and controls, in order for John to test
his hypothesis.
Lisa had to identify her blood type for biology lab. She carefully followed the safety procedures for
pricking her finger and threw the lancet away in a designated receptacle.
She carefully placed a drop of her blood in the test well and then proceeded to add 2 drops of A
antiserum to her blood. She then mixed the antiserum and blood with a toothpick. She repeated the
procedure using the B antiserum. After her tests were complete, she rinsed out her test wells but left
her toothpicks on the table.
What did Lisa do wrong in regards to lab safety?
Holly is researching a topic for her oral presentation. She finds several academic articles, an article
in a science news magazine, and a Wikipedia article on the topic. Put these sources in order from
most reliable to least reliable and explain your ranking.
A pair of students are assigned a project. They are to design a container to put an egg in that will
keep the egg from breaking when dropped from a height of 10 feet. Before they gather materials for
their project, describe the steps in the scientific design process that they should perform.
Farmer Jones wanted to maximize his corn yield. For many years he applied little to no fertilizer on
his corn fields. This year he decided to test a new fertilizer to see if it made any difference on his
corn yield. He planted his corn in two fields side by side. They grew under the same growing
condition, except for amounts of fertilizer. Farmer Jones' yield results are in the data table. Which
field is the control group?
When an experiment yields positive results in support of the hypothesis, a repetition that confirms
the original results is called replication.
1. Explain why a scientific investigations must be replicable.
2. Give three reasons why independent testing by other scientists is an important process of a
scientific study.
Elaborate why experiment design is important to reduce variance.
Scientist often rely on the law of superposition to determine the relative age of fossils found within
rock strata. This law states that in any undisturbed sequence of rocks deposited in layers, the
youngest layer is on top and the oldest on bottom, each layer being younger than the one beneath it
and older than the one above it.
New information has come to scientists attention about a specific location. Magma from the Earth's
mantle has intruded or risen up through the layers within the Earth's crust. How would this change
the model above? Draw what you think will happen. Show which layer is the youngest.
1. Explain how Watson & Crick relied on their peers to discover the correct structure of DNA. Be
sure to include the importance of how scientists must communicate/collaborate to reach their
2. How did Watson & Crick communicate their findings to the rest of the scientific community?
Older cars generate more pollution than newer more efficient cars. A proposal is made to give
people an incentive or tax break to purchase a new car if they own a car that is older than ten years.
Suggest a possible positive and negative consequence of this proposal.
In an age when everyone has an internet capable device at the their disposal information, such
technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information. While this technology is an
effective tool to enhance learning, knowledge of the impacts and limitations of information systems is
essential to its effectiveness and ethical use. With this in mind, how should a student react to
websites urging the ban of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO)?
Strand 2- History and Nature of Science
Oil is a precious and non-renewable natural resource. American consumers use oil products as fuel
for vehicles and in the plastics they use daily. What solutions are engineers in the automobile
industry designing to solve the problem of increasing oil prices and depleting oil reserves?
This famous woman scientist discovered two chemical elements- radium and polonium. What was
the name of this scientist and how were her discoveries used to advance medical research?
With regard to food, medicine, and human health, what are some positive and negative effects of
biotechnology and genetic engineering?
Describe the process of forming a scientific theory.
When two treatments are compared in a study, often bias can be introduced by human involvement
despite their best efforts to be objective and unbiased. Therefore, blind testing is used when items
are compared to help minimize the chance of human influence.
If two drugs are being compared or a drug and a placebo are being compared, what techniques of
blinding might be used?
Continental drift is a theory to explain the present location of the continents and there past locations.
Why is this not a law? What evidence supports this theory?
Explain the difference between scientific theories and scientific law.
Place the following examples and definitions of pure and applied science into a table.
-Study of the moon's phases
-RADAR tracking of storms
-Gathering of new information or the discovery of a new relationship or fact
-Development of antibiotics
-The practical use of scientific information
-Discovery of a new species of marine life
Science is not absolute. Explain what that statement means. Give a historical example that shows us
that science is not absolute.
Strand 3- Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Discuss the effects of a forest fire on an ecosystem, and the possible recovery.
Explain what the greenhouse effect is and why the greenhouse effect is important to life on earth.
Runoff. An important part of Earth's hydrologic cycle. A significant portion of precipitation in forested
watersheds is absorbed into soils (infiltration), is stored as groundwater, and is slowly discharged to
streams through seeps and springs. How does this change when an area becomes urbanized?
How is your ecological footprint measured? Can you identify an aspect of your life that could be
changed to reduce your personal footprint?
Many of Earth's resources are finite. Choose two of the following and describe how humans both
conserve (save) and deplete (use) this natural resource: food, water, and energy.
Elaborate at least two environmental concerns when considering storage solutions for nuclear
Developing sources of renewable energy is a priority to the Arizona government. List 3 types of
renewable forms of energy Arizona is invested in.
Over the last several decades scientists have considered the problem of nonrenewable natural
resources, such as fossil fuels. Humans are using fossil fuels at a rapid rate and scientists believe
that one day, we will run out of usable fossil fuels. To solve this problem, research has been
conducted on alternative energy sources. One alternative energy source is wind energy. Although
wind energy is a good solution to this problem, it is not the perfect solution. Explain why a perfectly
designed solution does not exist, in this case and in others.
What is carrying capacity?
Although it is difficult to determine the exact human carrying capacity for a country as large and
diverse as the U.S., an estimate of carrying capacity is essential for those whose jobs involve the
development of policies to ensure that the environment is able to support life into the future. List
three indications in a typical U. S. urban area that the city may be reaching its carrying capacity.
Describe how water stressed or water scarce situations influence the size of the local human
population. Include at least three examples.
Strand 4- Life Science
What is ATP, how is it made, and what is its primary function in cells?
Cells are the basic building block of living things. There are many similarities between all cells, but
there are also notable differences.
1. Define the terms prokaryote and eukaryote.
2. Identify two cell structures which are found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
3. Identify two cell organelles which are only found in eukaryotic cells.
Three properties of water allow for transport of water from the roots to the tops of trees. Water
molecules must stick to one another, to other substances and it must be forced upwards. What are
these properties?
Fundamental building blocks of all cell membranes are phospholipids, which consist of two
hydrophobic fatty acid chains linked to a phosphate-containing hydrophilic head group. Explain how
the structure of the bilayer membrane acts as a stable barrier between two aqueous (water based)
In you, this cycle is responsible for repairing your body and growth. Right now you are probably
growing quite a bit! Imagine that you are very sick and cannot eat. What will happen on the cellular
level? Use the model to help you answer the question.
DNA is ultimately responsible for the proteins that are produced in an organism. What is the process
(name and describe it) that produces proteins, and what are the roles of chromosomes, DNA, and
genes in this process?
Describe the structure and function of a chromosome. Be sure to include the terms DNA and gene in
your answer.
Explain, using the concept of genetic inheritance, how a complex organism like a mammal acquires
its physical traits from both its parents.
Compare and contrast the structure of a DNA nucleotide and an RNA nucleotide.
DNA undergoes the process of replication to produce new strands of identical DNA before cell
divisions. Describe the basic process of DNA replication.
What are inheritable traits, and how can they be expressed?
Each human has a specific number of chromosomes within each cell. These chromosomes are
inherited from their parents and determine the sex of the individual.
In a human male, how many chromosomes are inherited from each parent, and what would the sex
chromosomes be?
What is the hierarchy of life on earth which ranges from cells to ecosystems? Explain the main
characteristics of each level, and what is combined to create the next higher level.
Soil is sometimes called a bridge between life and the non-living world. Explain what that means.
Explain how the habitat played an active role in natural selection for the fur color of the arctic hare.
In your own words, describe the steps of bacterial resistance as it applies to natural selection.
The Arctic fox is the only canid that exhibits a change in the colour of its coat. In the winter, the fox is
white or blueish. In the spring and summer the back, tail, legs and head are brown, and the sides
and belly are blond. How does this happen? Why would it happen?
How does natural selection provide a mechanism for evolution to occur?
What are homologous and vestigial structures, and how do they support the theory of evolution by
natural selection?
Describe early development from single celled organisms such as bacteria or protozoa to
multicellular organisms.
The rate of photosynthesis can be affected by several factors, such as light intensity, temperature,
water and carbon dioxide. Describe how the lack of water in an environment can affect the amount
of carbon dioxide absorbed by the plant.
What property of carbon gives it the ability to form many different biological macromolecules, and
why is this so important to life?
What are the main stages in the water cycle?
Describe what else a deer gets from plants. Explain how this matter is cycled between plants and
the deer. Why is this cycle important to their survival? Provide a 3-5 sentence paragraph
How is energy transferred through the different trophic levels, and how much energy is actually
transferred from one level to another?
Describe the flow of energy through a tropical savanna ecosystem.
Describe the interactions of the nervous and muscular system.
Draw a simple diagram showing the sub-structures of the nervous system at three levels of
organization. Name the three levels of organization.
Sketch an animal cell, showing and labeling the organelles that perform the following functions:
Protein building