This chapter will focus on principles associated with measurements. It will discuss the proper way to measure and record data so others can understand it. It will also show how to convert data into different units of measurement, so it can be used in calculations.
The first section will introduce the principles of scientific notation. This is the notation used in all high school science classes and by professional scientists. Scientific notation makes very large (or very small) numbers easier to read and comprehend. It also makes large numbers easier to compare.
The second section will discuss the proper way to take measurements and will introduce the concept of significant figures. Significant figures show how precise a measurement is; thus, they allow scientists to understand the measurements of other scientists.
The third section will discuss units of measurements associated with two commonly used systems of measurement--the English system and the metric system. Here, we will learn how to convert measurements from one unit to another using conversion factors. We will learn how to convert units within each system, and how to convert from one system to the other.
The material in this chapter is essential to scientific data collection. These principles will reappear in biology, chemistry, and physics classes, and in any situation that requires the collection of data. The principles covered in this chapter allow for a universal understanding of data--they allow scientists, when looking at data, to read the same information as other scientists.
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