Physics

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning" — Albert Einstein

Introduction

When you study Physics and you realise that you are asking more questions than you can answer you know that you are making progress.  Do not be disillusioned or concerned because the facts that you know will be more than enough to ensure your success at your present stage of education.

Key Stage Three Curriculum

Students cover a range of topics that provide an excellent foundation for their future studies. The content does cover many aspects of the IGCSE specification and in Year 9 students do officially start their IGCSE course.

In Year 7 students study measuring, forces, energy transfers, circuits and generating electricity.

In Year 8 sound, heat energy transfer, space, pressure and turning forces are studied.

In Year 9 the new topics of light, electromagnetic spectrum and special resistors are covered before the official start of the GCSE.

Key Stage Four Curriculum

All students study Edexcel IGCSE Physics 4PHO or Double Award Science 4SCO. Both specifications cover the topics given below, but the Physics students study them in more detail.

Paper 1 and 2: Forces and Motion, Electricity, Waves, Energy Resources and Energy Transfer, Solids,  Liquids and Gases, Magnetism and Electromagnetism, Radioactivity and Particles.

A Level Curriculum

Currently the students study AQA Physics 7408.

In the first year students study the following:

  • Unit 1: Particles and Radiation
  • Unit 2: Electromagnetic Radiation and Quantum Phenomena
  • Unit 3: Waves
  • Unit 4: Mechanics
  • Unit 5: Materials
  • Unit 6: Electricity.

In the second year students will study the following:

  • Unit 7: Further Mechanics
  • Unit 8: Thermal Physics
  • Unit 9: Gravitational and Electric Fields
  • Unit 10: Capacitors
  • Unit 11: Magnetic Fields
  • Unit 12: Nuclear Physics
  • Unit 13: Optional Unit.

The terminal examination at the end of the second year will assess all units.

Digital Learning

The students make good use of digital learning in Physics. We utilise a range of apps to aid learning such as digital oscilloscopes for analysing sound and Vernier Video Physics for investigating projectile motion. Demonstrations using data loggers give the students an insight into how technology can be used for the recording of results and graph plotting.

The main use at KS3 is for research and to give students the opportunity to present their new knowledge in a variety of ways to encourage peer teaching. The videoing of practical experiments with explanations also aids learning.

At KS4 the research continues and areas of particular interest are radioactivity and the origins of the Universe. Students gain the opportunity to use the data loggers for measuring temperature, potential difference and current.

At A level students extend the use of digital learning by recording revision lessons for peer teaching. They work individually with the data loggers and they use the videoing facility to slow down recordings, for example, to show the independence of horizontal and vertical motion for projectiles.

Enrichment

We place great emphasis on learning outside the classroom and encourage our students to broaden their knowledge beyond what is required for examinations. A science club is presently offered to Year 7 to 9 students. We also encourage older students to lead these activities. In Year 9 twenty students are given the opportunity to spend a day at Cummins – a local engineering company. They are given a tour of the plant and an insight as to how engines are designed and manufactured on an assembly line. Our Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to sit the Physics Challenge as part of the British Physics Olympiad. Our largest event is a trip to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland where our students meet with particle physicist from around the world. This is of particular significance for our sixth form students but is also open to those in Year 11.

Where might this subject lead?

Physics is highly regarded by Universities and so some students choose the subject at A level to ensure that they access the top Universities for courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Science or Accountancy. The majority of students opt for Physics because it is essential for their future University choices, for example, Physics, Physics with Philosophy, Mechanical and Chemical Engineering and Robotics. These qualifications lead onto a wide range of careers.