Skill Area P - Planning experimental procedures.

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Solar cell investigation

Skill Area P: Planning experimental procedures

Activities chosen should enable pupils to develop their abilities in the aspects listed below.

  1. Plan the most appropriate experimental method that can be carried out in a school science context.
  1. Identify and take account of the key safety requirements.
  1. Select the most appropriate measuring instruments and other necessary equipment.
  1. Consider how many results to take and whether repetition is necessary.
  1. Consider over what range the results should be taken.
  1. Plan how to vary, control or take account of the key factors likely to affect the outcome of the activity.
  1. Make predictions where this helps the planning or supports their understanding of the nature of the Enquirer.
  1. Make use of scientific knowledge and understanding to explain the plans made.
  1. Use secondary sources or preliminary work as an aid to planning.

Aim:         To investigate the effects of two variables on solar cell output.


Factor’ here means ‘anything which may influence the outcome of the activity’ e.g. guarding against draughts, avoiding heating effects, keeping temperature constant, or changing a variable.

It may not always be appropriate - or possible - to change or control such factors, but where they are included in mark descriptions, candidates should consider the things which may influence the result.

Candidates should be taught:

a         to use scientific knowledge and understanding, drawing on secondary sources where appropriate, to turn ideas suggested to them, and their own ideas, into a form that can be investigated;

b         to carry out preliminary work where this helps to clarify what they have to do;

c         to make predictions where it is appropriate to do so;

d         to consider the key factors in contexts involving a number of factors;

e         to plan how to vary or control key variables;

f         to consider the number and range of observations or measurements to be made;

g         to recognise contexts, e.g. fieldwork, where variables cannot readily be controlled and to make judgements about the amount of evidence needed in these contexts;

h         to select apparatus, equipment and techniques, taking account of safety requirements

MARK DESCRIPTIONS:        The mark descriptions are designed to be hierarchical.

6 marks

P.6a        Use scientific knowledge and understanding to plan a procedure, to identify key factors to vary, control or take into account, and to make a prediction where appropriate

  1. Produce a plan of how the experiment will be carried out
  1. Say what factors will affect how well the experiment will work.
  1. Give scientific reasons for why you think these factors are important.
  1. Say what you think will happen and give scientific reasons.

P.6b        Decide on a suitable number and range of observations or measurements to be made.

  1. Say what results you are planning to obtain and how many you think you will need.

8 marks

P.8a        Use detailed scientific knowledge and understanding to plan an appropriate strategy, taking into account the need to produce precise and reliable evidence, and to justify a prediction where appropriate

  1. Give a clear description of what you are going to do
  1. Use detailed scientific reasons to explain why you think your plan is a good way of carrying out the experiment.
  1. Explain how you will use the equipment to make sure that the results you obtain will be correct and as precise as possible.
  1. Say what you think will happen and give detailed scientific reasons to explain this.

P.8b        Use, where appropriate, relevant information from secondary sources or preliminary work

  1. Describe any earlier work that helped your planning.
  1. Give any information that you have obtained from books or other sources to help your planning.

Colour of light-

This would mean that the frequency of light waves is different and therefore meaning that each colour has different level of energy.

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This is because Einstein's theory claims that the energy of each photon is directly proportional to the frequency of the light wave.

E = h.f                        Energy = Planck's constant × frequency

We can use the wave equation in conjunction with Einstein's equation to see which colour of light offers more energy.

c =  f.λ                        Speed = wavelength × frequency

The red part of the spectrum has the largest wavelength with around 700 × 109 m compared with violet, which has a wavelength of about 400 × 109 m.

The speed of light as with all electromagnetic ...

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