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Teachers Notes This sequence of slides is designed to introduce, and explain, the different types of variables (categoric, ordered, discrete, continuous), as explained on pages 360 in New Physics for You, 2006 & 2011 editions. It should be used after the other PowerPoint on Variables. Note : When you start this PowerPoint if you see a message about Read-only embedded fonts then you are recommended to select Open Read-Only as this (i) gives a clearer font for those at the back of the room and (ii) ensures that the text-highlighting of key words is correct. On each slide the key points are revealed step by step, at the click of your mouse (or the press of a key such as the space-bar). Before making the next mouse-click you can ask questions of the class or make statements about what is about to be revealed. This should help students to become clearer about the ideas involved. Naturally it pays to have quick practice-run first. To start the slide-show, press function-key F5 (or right-click->Full Screen) (to return to normal view press the key). For more (free) PowerPoint presentations, visit

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How Science works: Types of Variables New Physics for You, page 360

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About different types of variables, How to identify them when doing your practical work. Learning Objectives You should learn :

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Revision of variables Can you remember what is meant by… …an independent variable? …a dependent variable? …a control variable?

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Revision of variables Summary: The independent variable is the one that you change or select. The dependent variable is the one changes as a result, and that you measure. The control variables must not change, so that it is a fair test.

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Types of variables There are 4 other types of variables that you may meet. Their names are: Categoric Ordered Discrete Continuous Well look at two examples of each one.

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Categoric variables These have word labels. Example 1 copper, iron, glass In this experiment on conduction of heat: The Categoric variables are:

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These have word labels. Example 2 copper wire, iron wire, steel wire, etc In this experiment to find the resistance of wires: Categoric variables The Categoric variables could be:

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Ordered variables These are categoric variables that can be ranked, in an order. Example 1 thick copper wire, thinner copper wire, very thin copper wire. In this experiment to find the resistance of wires: The Ordered variables could be:

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These are categoric variables that can be ranked, in an order. Example 2 large parachute, medium parachute, small parachute. In an experiment to investigate a falling parachute: Ordered variables The Ordered variables could be:

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These variables can only have whole number values, 1, 2, 3,… Example 1 1 weight, 2 weights, 3 … In an experiment to investigate the stretching of a spring: Discrete variables The discrete variables are:

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These variables can only have whole number values, 1, 2, 3,… Example 2 number of layers of insulation = 1 layer, 2 layers, 3 … In an experiment on the cooling of an insulated beaker: Discrete variables The discrete variables are:

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These variables can have any numerical value. Example 1 length of the spring = 15.1 cm, 15.5 cm, 15.9 cm … In this experiment to investigate the stretching of a spring: Continuous variables The continuous variable is:

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These variables can have any numerical value. Example 2 the temperature of the water = 70.6 o C, 68.4 o C, 66.2 o C … In this experiment to investigate the cooling of water: Continuous variables The continuous variable is:

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In summary Categoric These have word labels. Ordered These categoric variables can be ranked, in an order. Discrete These can only have whole number values. Continuous These can have any numerical value.

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Understand the difference between - Categoric, - Ordered, - Discrete, and - Continuous variables Be able to identify these variables when doing your practical work. Learning Outcomes You should now:

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For more details, see: New Physics for You, page 360 For more free PowerPoints, visit the web-site at

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If you are connected to the web at the moment, click below to see whats available:

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