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In this unit, students will learn how to quantify the uncertainties associated with experimental data. Methods to minimise uncertainty and methods to increase the reliability of experimental data will be discussed in relation to practical tasks. Material covered will include uncertainty and error in measurement, uncertainties in calculated results and graphical techniques. Identification of organic compounds using spectroscopic techniques.

Essential idea

Many reactions are reversible. These reactions will reach a state of equilibrium when the rates of the forward and reverse reaction are equal. The position of equilibrium can be controlled by changing the conditions.

Learning Targets

Topic 11 (SL) Measurement and data processing (10 hours)

11.1 Uncertainty and errors in measurements and results


Global Citizens - Monitoring an analysis of toxins and xenobiotics in the environment is a continuous endeavour that involves collaboration between scientists in different countries

11.1 Uncertainty and errors in measurements and results

  • Can distinguish between random errors and systematic errors
  • Can record uncertainties in all measurements as a range (+) to an appropriate precision
  • Can discuss ways of reducing uncertainties in an experiment
  • Can propagate uncertainties in processed data, including the use of percentage uncertainties
  • Can discuss systematic errors in all experimental work, their impact on results and how they can be reduced
  • Can estimate whether a particular source of error is likely to have a major or minor effect on the final result
  • Can calculate the percentage error hen the experimental result can be compared with a theoretical or accepted result
  • Can demonstrate an understanding of the distinction between accuracy and precision in evaluating results

11. 2 Graphical techniques


Life-long Learners - The importance of basing decisions on sufficient reliable evidence

  • Can draw graphs of experimental results including the correct choice of axes and scale
  • Can interpret graphs in terms of the relationship of the dependent and independent variables
  • Draw best-fit lines or curves through data points on a graph
  • Determine the values of physical quantities from graphs by measuring slope (gradient) and intercept, including appropriate units

11.3 Spectroscopic Determination of Organic Compounds (Taught in Gr12)

  • Determination of Index of Hydrogen Deficiency (IHD) from a molecular formula
  • Can deduce the structural features of a compound from percentage composition data, mass spectrometry data, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy data and/or Infra-red spectroscopy data.

The detailed curriculum can be consulted here.

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