Conservation of Energy

For this technical paper, you will write a 4-6 page report (not counting title or reference page) reviewing how and when the steam engine was invented and how it related to the development of our understanding of energy.  After discussing its history, you should discuss 2 current designs that require the expansion of a gas to do work.  Each design application should be discussed in depth.  Your purpose is to educate a competent reader who has no specific knowledge of your topic.  The reader should, after reading your paper, be able to appreciate how this principle was discovered, and how it is applied to help design the objects you select.

Written communication is an important skill.  Presenting factual information in a clear and logical fashion is developed with practice, and is required in many jobs.  I have provided some guidance to help you master this skill in the following paragraphs. 

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In your report you should include the following:

1 –  Title Page with your report tile, your name, class, and date, towards the top of the page.

2 –  Abstract  —  You should include a short, one paragraph summary of what your report is about, on the bottom of your title page.  This paragraph is designed to help the reader save time in considering if the information in your report is relevant and useful to them.    This type of paragraph is called an Abstract, and should be titled with the word Abstract directly above the paragraph.  Use of an Abstract is standard practice in scientific papers.

3 —  Body of Report  —  The body of your report should be divided into sections, with appropriate headings.  This makes it easier for the reader to understand, and for you to write.  Some suggestions for titles, and what would be included under them, is included below.

INTRODUCTION —  For example, you could use the title “Introduction” to head a paragraph or two that explains to your readers what you are going to tell them.  This is partially a repeat of the Abstract. This would be a short paragraph, which mostly repeats the assignment statements.

DISCOVERY OF THE STEAM ENGINE — Include in this section what you found in researching this topic.  When, where, and by whom, was this principle discovered?  What was an early application?  As this is a scientific paper, you should include references for the information you found.  I do not want your opinion, I expect your key facts to be marked with small numbers that relate to footnotes, using the MLA style. These footnotes will track to a separate reference page at the end of your report. 

You may quote especially relevant statements that you found, by indenting the quoted material and enclosing them in quotation marks.  Note that your report should not just be a series of quotations.  The quotations, if you use them, should be limited to key statements that help make a point.  You may include up to 3 photographs or sketches in your report, but remember to give source credit for any such inclusions, unless your developed them yourself.

CURRENT APPLICATIONS —  This section will have 2 subsections, each titled with an example you have selected.  Under each subheading, you will review, in detail, how the design demonstrates the need for expansion of a gas to do work and the associated efficiency of the design.

SUMMARY —  Under the summary heading, you will briefly restate the key points that you presented in your paper; the who, when, and where.  Then, note the design applications you considered without going into detail.  You should not include new information in the summary, so no footnotes need to be included.  The readers can find the footnotes in the body of the paper.

REFERENCES —  A separate page of references should be enclosed, using the MLA format.  While Wikipedia may be a starting point in your research, you should note that unless references are provided, all you have in Wikipedia is an opinion, which can change as soon as someone else updates the page.  You should follow the references in Wikipedia to the source documents and quote those documents, do not quote Wikipedia!

Closing thoughts on writing a technical report:

You should have someone read your report if possible and ask them to tell you what is not clear. Try to understand their confusion, don’t jump to a verbal explanation.  Focus on understanding their issue, not explaining what you meant.  Your purpose is to modify your sentences, so that they would be understandable, not to teach the reviewer the subject.

Always use a spelling and grammar checker to catch errors.

A technical report is any writing that has the objective of transmitting factual information.  Writing effectively is much more redundant than you might expect.  The old newspaper rule is;  tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and finally, tell them what you told them.  This is repetitive, and it works, because it helps set the information in a person’s mind.  If you only state something once, most people will not remember it.

Note that the Introduction, Body, and Summary headings follow the newspaper rule of;  tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. 

Notice what I did with redundancy here.  Hopefully this will help you remember this principle when writing any factual document.  Always tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them!  It works every time.

Technical ideas are stated clearly and easy to understand. The paper is well organized and has a fully developed thesis statement. 20 pts
Exemplary- Ideas are stated clearly and easy to understand The paper is well organized and has a fully developed thesis statement.

The topic is described in depth; the description demonstrates a solid understanding of both the theoretical and practical significance of the topic.
30 pts
Exemplary- The topic is described in depth; the description demonstrates a solid understanding of both the theoretical and practical significance of the topic.

Two modern applications are identified and described in depth.
30 pts
Exemplary- Two modern applications are identified and described in depth.

Comfortable command of the language, makes precise word choices, and shows few – if any -errors in usage or mechanics. The paper is written entirely in 3rd person.
10 pts
Exemplary- Comfortable command of the language, makes precise word choices, and shows few – if any -errors in usage or mechanics. The paper is written entirely in 3rd person.

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome References are correctly included in MLA format.
10 pts
Exemplary – References are correctly included in MLA format. For more information on Conservation of Energy see this:

Conservation of Energy

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