Are you as scientifically literate as an eighth grader?

October 8, 2007 | By | 6 Replies More

To find out, take the short test here.


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Category: Education, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Vicki Baker says:

    I got an A+, even though I made a random click by accident on one of the questions. Woo-hoo I pwn multiple guess tests!111!!!

    Back to work now.

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    I got a disappointing B+ on that quiz. On some of the questions where none of the 4 given choices were actually correct, the one I guessed as least wrong was not the "correct" one found in their textbook.

    It would be nice if grade school science books were vetted by experts in the fields. I have read scathing reviews of such texts by the likes of Asimov and Feynman. But publishers have to please everybody, so vague or incorrect answers are preferable to those that might offend somebody, or require more explanation.

    Example: "Momentum" was a theory that was disproved/discarded around Netwon's time in favor of his theory of Inertia. The Moment of a moving object is its velocity times its mass, but not its momentum. Sloppy wording on a question that I got right by willfully misinterpreting.

    The function of fruit depends on the fruit in question. A strawberry does nothing to protect the seeds. A coconut does not attract animals or insects to help disperse the seeds. In general, fruit provides nutrients for some seeds, attracts distributors for others, and protects yet others, in ratios of importance depending on the growing conditions for which the plant evolved. None of their answers matched, and I picked the wrong combination.

  3. Ebonmuse says:

    I got them all right, but I agree with Dan: some of the questions weren't worded very well. That one about the fruit was particularly confusing and arguably inaccurate.

  4. Skblllzzzz says:

    Well, I gots me an A, so I'm not entirely scientifically illiterate 😉

  5. Ben says:

    Inertia is the measure of, the reluctance of the object to change either its state of rest or, if it is moving, its motion in a straight line. It should be emphasized that 'inertia' is a scientific principle, and thus not quantifiable. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, it is neither a force nor a measure of mass. In common usage, however, people may also use the term "inertia" to refer to an object's "amount of resistance to change in velocity" (which is quantified by its mass), and sometimes its momentum, depending on context (e.g. "this object has a lot of inertia"). The term "inertia" is more properly understood as a shorthand for "the principle of inertia as described by Newton in his First Law."

  6. Lynet says:

    Physicists still use the idea of 'momentum', though. In Newtonian physics it's defined as mass multiplied by velocity; in special relativity there's a gamma factor in there.

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