# Physics

Curriculum Leader:

Ms J Davies

Department Introduction:

Physics is the study of the laws that govern the working of the physical world. It helps us to answer the questions 'Why?' and 'How?' Each topic is chosen to broaden a students’ knowledge of the surroundings and to encourage them to want to find out more.

Each year students will be introduced to specialised scientific terms and units and will learn how to measure accurately, use laboratory equipment safely, manipulate equations to calculate values, interpret simple graphs and draw scientific diagrams. They will have an opportunity to display data in tables, draw bar charts, pie charts and graphs and look for patterns and trends in data.

Department Aims:

Key Stage 3:

Year 7

Topics Include:

- Forces: Students will begin a topic to study the forces around us; they will go on to study concepts such as floating, magnetism, friction.
- Energy and Electricity: Students study different energy types and begin work to understand how an electric current transfers energy around a circuit. Work continues to understand how an electric current transfers energy in various circuits and the factors affecting current.
- Sound: Students will study the key difference between light and sound and the properties of sound waves.
- Investigative Skills: Students will design and carry out an investigation into how a ball bounces. Their practical skills will be assessed at the end of this.

Assessment:

During each topic there tests to make sure that the work has been understood and to show the type of questions on each topic likely to be asked in the summer examination. Students are given plenty of notice of the test date and homework time to revise for the test and the teacher advises how best to set about learning the work.

At the end of the year there is an examination that will examine how their knowledge and understanding of the topics they have studied.

Year 8

Topics include:

Magnets and Electromagnets: They will study magnetism and electromagnetism and extend their understanding of electricity.

Light: Students will look at waves in the context of light – studying reflection, refraction and how we see in colour.

Energy: Students will study the different methods of heat transfer and study house insulation.

Assessment

During each topic there tests to make sure that the work has been understood and to show the type of questions on each topic likely to be asked in the summer examination. Students are given plenty of notice of the test date and homework time to revise for the test and the teacher advises how best to set about learning the work.

At the end of the year there is an examination that will examine how their knowledge and understanding of the topics they have studied.

Year 9

Physics GCSE (AQA Physics Syllabus 8463)

Aims

This year students will begin the study of the Physics GCSE. Students have access to an online book and resources through the Kerboodle website.

During the GCSE course students complete a wide variety of practical work. There are a number of required practicals the students must complete. They will have an opportunity to display data in tables, draw bar charts, pie charts and graphs and look for patterns and trends in data. They will be expected to use the correct scientific vocabulary to describe their findings.

Content

Topics covered: energy and electricity.

Assessment

There will be regular assessments based on the topics covered together with regular equation and fact recall tests. At the end of topics there is a test to make sure that the work has been understood and to show the type of questions on each topic they are likely to be asked in the summer examination. Students are given plenty of notice of the test date and homework time to revise for the test and the teacher advises how best to set about learning the work. At the end of the year they will undertake an examination paper composed of GCSE standard questions.

Key Stage 4:

Aims

Physics GCSE (AQA Physics Syllabus 8463)

In year 10 and 11 students continue the GCSE course begun in year 9.

Year 10

Topics covered: Electricity (continued) particle model of matter, atomic structure, waves and forces.

Year 11

Topics covered: Forces (continued), space physics, magnetism and electromagnetism

Assessment

There will be regular assessments based on the topics covered together with regular equation and fact recall tests. At the end of topics there is a test to make sure that the work has been understood and to show the type of questions on each topic they are likely to be asked in the summer examination. Students are given plenty of notice of the test date and homework time to revise for the test and the teacher advises how best to set about learning the work. At the end of the year they will undertake an examination paper composed of GCSE standard questions.

Key Stage 5:

A Level Physics

AQA specification -7407

Physics A level is interesting, practical, challenging and very highly regarded by employers and Universities alike. Although Mathematics at A level is not required for the study of A level Physics, it is highly recommended. Those who are intending to pursue Physics or Engineering to degree level will need to have also studied Mathematics to A level. To enter the course students must have achieved a minimum of a GCSE grade 7 in Physics or Science.

- Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, and behaviour through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.
- In Year 12 we begin to introduce ‘Modern Physics’ topics which will be brand new to the pupils, including Quantum Physics and Particle Physics. In addition, the course builds on the key concepts of matter, energy and forces which have been covered in some depth during the GCSE course. Here, we look again at forces and how they cause linear motion of objects. The course is far more mathematical in its approach to physical theories and pupils are given the opportunity to work on manipulation and derivation of physical formulae, in addition to a more technical use of prefixes, standard form and units. In addition, pupils develop their understanding of energy in topics on waves and electricity. Practical work is at the heart of the A-level syllabus, and the required practical elements will give the pupils the opportunity to embed their skills and knowledge. Pupils will carry out 7 of the 12 required practicals during Year 12, ensuring that they are able to access the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) elements of the course.
- In Year 13, pupils will continue to develop their understanding of the forces and motion topics covered in Year 12, including the study of moments, circular motion and Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM). The idea of ‘force fields’ is thoroughly explored here, with mathematically rigorous sections on gravitational fields, magnetic fields and electric fields. These concepts are then combined with prior learning on electricity to explain, from a mathematical view-point, the concept of electromagnetic induction. With their newly acquired knowledge of particle physics, nuclear physics is also explored in a much greater depth than previously studied at GCSE. In addition, pupils are provided with an opportunity to explore a specialist area of Physics to introduce them to one on the many specialist areas that are available for further study at university level – this is currently the AQA Astrophysics option. Practical work is at the heart of the A-level syllabus, and the required practical elements will give the pupils the opportunity to embed their skills and knowledge. Pupils will carry out 5 of the 12 required practicals during Year 13, ensuring that they are able to access the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) elements of the course.

Progression to Career/University courses:

A-level Physics is an important qualification for many careers. Some students go on to study Physics at University. This may lead to a career in research and development, either in a University or in industry. Perhaps the majority of those who study A-level Physics do so in order to apply their Physics knowledge in another subject area at University. Examples of this are the many branches of applied Maths, Engineering, Electronics and Meteorology. For these careers, A-level Physics is essential. Another group of students choose to study Physics because they feel that it will be useful even if not essential for their career. Those intending to follow a career in Medicine or Biochemistry fall into this category. The remainder are going to follow a career in a completely unrelated area such as Law or Accountancy. This group of students may have chosen Physics simply because they enjoy it or because they know that it is highly regarded by Universities as a test of problem-solving ability and logical thought. Whatever a student’s motivation, a Physics AS or A level never fails to look impressive on a CV. It is a challenging but equally rewarding course enjoyed by an increasing number of students at WGHS.

Extra-Curricular Activities:

A weekly Science support club is available for all students.

Year 8 have a visit to Think Tank in Birmingham