Option 1: Physical Sciences in our everyday lives


This option is very similar to portfolio 2—you need to pick a topic from life outside of class and apply the concepts of the physical sciences to it. It’s sort of like a mini paper on the way something works. Choose a topic to which you can apply concepts from this unit of the course: gravity, energy, temperature, thermodynamics, etc. Some ideas of appropriate topics include amusement parks, satellites, the orbits of planets and moons, weathering of rocks, climate change, ocean ice, geothermal energy generation, anything related to the weather…..the list goes on and on. Feel free to choose a topic that you know something about, but also feel free to choose something that you don’t know much about but interests you!

General organization of this portfolio item

The portfolio item should have the following sections:

-Topic (one paragraph maximum)

-Background concepts (150-300 words)

-Application of PHS100 concepts (include some diagrams if appropriate; 300-400 words)

-Works cited in APA format (and cited in-text throughout the portfolio)


Choose a topic as described in the above paragraph. Be sure it’s related to the physical sciences, and to the concepts we’re learning about during this unit. In a brief paragraph, tell me what your topic is, and maybe why you chose it.

Background Concepts

In several paragraphs, discuss the physical science concepts that you’ll be applying to your topic. Think about all of the concepts we’ve covered that apply to your topic, and write several paragraphs about them in general—without yet applying those concepts to your topic. Use your notes, lectures, and the textbook. If an online source helps you explain the concept, feel free to use that too—but be sure to cite it appropriately.


Now take those physical science concepts and write 300-400 words about how they apply to your topic. Try to think through these yourself before looking up specifics, but feel free to use additional sources, being sure to cite them appropriately. This is the largest and most important section of the portfolio item, and should be thoughtful and well-written. This is where you tell me how the physical sciences relate to your topic. Make sure to relate every concept that you discussed in the background section to your topic.

Works cited

This is a brief section where you include all of the sources you cited, in proper APA format. Make sure you have at least two outside sources; you can also use class notes and your textbook if you’d like. If you don’t know APA format, there are a bazillion online tutorials, and even programs that will do it for you.

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