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Scientific literacy question bank

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Chew:
I'm always complaining about the astounding level of scientific illiteracy found on the internet. While I can't do anything about that I've often fantasized about a forum requiring potential registrants to pass a simple science and critical thinking test before being allowed to post. Of course this would dissuade people genuinely interested in the space program but lacking in the basics of science from asking questions. Based on a few recent posts here are some pertinent questions.

-What is the volume of a cone 5 feet in diameter with a height of 8 feet?
-How much space is occupied by a wire 1 mm in diameter and 10 miles long.
Math problems would use randomized numbers and rounded to the nearest integer to prevent cheating.
-Which best describes Kepler's 1st Law of Planetary Motion? Multiple choice.
-The amount of light reflected by an astronomical object is known as ______. Fill in the blank.

Answers would be timed to prevent someone from Googling it.

What questions would you like to see for such a test?

BazBear:

--- Quote from: Chew on May 16, 2012, 12:07:38 PM ---I'm always complaining about the astounding level of scientific illiteracy found on the internet. While I can't do anything about that I've often fantasized about a forum requiring potential registrants to pass a simple science and critical thinking test before being allowed to post. Of course this would dissuade people genuinely interested in the space program but lacking in the basics of science from asking questions. Based on a few recent posts here are some pertinent questions.

-What is the volume of a cone 5 feet in diameter with a height of 8 feet?
-How much space is occupied by a wire 1 mm in diameter and 10 miles long.
Math problems would use randomized numbers and rounded to the nearest integer to prevent cheating.
-Which best describes Kepler's 1st Law of Planetary Motion? Multiple choice.
-The amount of light reflected by an astronomical object is known as ______. Fill in the blank.

Answers would be timed to prevent someone from Googling it.

What questions would you like to see for such a test?

--- End quote ---
I guess it's not a bad idea, but for someone like me who has rarely calculated volumes since H.S. (it'll be 30 years since graduation on the 30th) I had to look up the formulas for cones and cylinders.

Chew:
In my idealized forum you don't need to get a perfect score. Maybe 80%.

Not Myself:

--- Quote from: BazBear on May 16, 2012, 12:35:56 PM ---I guess it's not a bad idea, but for someone like me who has rarely calculated volumes since H.S. (it'll be 30 years since graduation on the 30th) I had to look up the formulas for cones and cylinders.

--- End quote ---

Well, me being much younger, having graduated 13 days after you, I might have to derive them (which I can do, but that might get me into trouble on the time limit).  I had to guess about the formula for the volume of a cone, but I then derived it, and my guess was correct.

I would like the questions to be more on understanding the concepts, and not so much on the words used to describe them.  The first two questions seem very much on understanding/using the concepts, the last two are more about words/names.  I don't remember which law is Kepler's 1st law, although given sufficient time, paper, and ink, I could work out in full detail the equations describing a planet's orbit.  So someone could know Kepler's 1st law, without knowing that it is called Kepler's first law.

Just my preference . . .

So there are currently some questions on astronomy, and some on geometry.  Maybe some physics (problems involving basic motion of a projectile in a gravitational field, structure of the atom, some conservation of energy problem), chemistry (which element does this, which one does that, different types of chemical bonds), a few biology (maybe a genetics problem, and some general morphology questions, perhaps evolution).  Maybe some geology.

gillianren:
If you want people who get math questions right, you won't be getting me.  I get a daily SAT question in my inbox, and I don't even bother with the math ones.  I graduated from high school a mere seventeen years ago next month, but get me to tell you someday about my physics class in high school and why I don't know physics.