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Physics

subject overview 

We follow the AQA syllabus in Physics. The course is split in three units at both AS and A2 stages.

Learners will take their terminal examination in June. They will study the following units at AS:

•Unit 1: Particles, Quantum Phenomena and Electricity

•Unit 2: Mechanics, Materials and Waves

•Unit 3: Investigative and Practical Skills. (20% of total AS marks, 10% of total A Level marks)

The learners will study the following units during the A2 units taking their terminal examinations in June:

•Unit 4: Fields and Further Mechanics

•Unit 5: This unit comprises two sections

‚ó¶Section A: Nuclear and Thermal Physics

 ‚ó¶Section B: Option Units

•Unit 6: Investigative and Practical Skills. (10% of the total A Level marks)

unit overview - autumn term 

AS Physics year 1 Overview –Mechanics

6: Forces in Equilibrium, 7: On the move, 8: Newtons Laws

AS Physics year 1 Overview -Particles and Radiation

1: Matter and radiation, 2: Quarks and leptons, 3: Quark Phenomena,

Skills

Mechanics

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Required practical 3: Determination of g by a freefall method.

ATA use appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance, temperature, pressure, force, angles, volume) and to interpolate between scale markings ATc use methods to increase accuracy of measurements, such as timing over multiple oscillations, or use of fiduciary marker, set square or plumb line ATd use stopwatch or light gates for timing ATk use ICT such as computer modelling, or data logger with a variety of sensors to collect data, or use of software to process data.

Knowledge

Forces in equilibrium, Scalars and vectors, Motion along a straight line, Projectile motion, Newton’s laws of motion.

Rationale

Newton's laws of motion are important because they are the foundation of classical mechanics, one of the main branches of physics. Mechanics is the study of how objects move or do not move when forces act upon them.

Skills

Particles and radiation

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

AT I Detection of gamma radiation.

AT k Use of computer simulations of particle collisions.

ATl Cosmic ray showers as a source of high energy particles including pions and kaons; observation of stray tracks in a cloud chamber; use of two Geiger counters to detect a cosmic 

ray shower.

AT j Observation of line spectra using a diffraction grating.

MS 1.1, 2.3 Use prefixes when expressing wavelength values.

Knowledge

Particles- Constituents of the atom, Particles, antiparticles and photons, Particle interactions, Classification of particles, Quarks and antiquarks, Applications of conservation laws. 

Electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena- The photoelectric effect, Collisions of electrons with atoms, Energy levels and photon emission, Wave-particle duality.

Rationale 

Content in this section introduces students both to fundamental properties of matter, and to electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena. Through a study of these topics, students become aware of the way new ideas develop and evolve in physics. They will appreciate the importance of international collaboration in the development of new experiments and theories in this area of fundamental research.

unit overview - spring term 

AS Physics year 1 Overview –Waves and optics

4: Waves, 5: optics, 9: Force and momentum, 10: Work energy and power

Skills

Waves and optics

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Required Practical 1: Investigation into the variation of the frequency of stationary waves on a string (or wire) with length, tension, and mass per unit length of string.

a. use appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance)

b. use appropriate digital instruments to obtain a range of measurements (to include mass)

c. use methods to increase accuracy of measurements

i. generate and measure waves using vibration transducer

Required Practical 2: Investigation of interference effects to include the Young’s slit experiment and interference by a diffraction grating.

a. use appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance)

j.  use laser or light source to investigate characteristics of light, including interference and diffraction

AT a, b Laboratory experiment to determine the speed of sound in free air using direct timing or standing waves with a graphical analysis.

AT I Students can investigate the factor that determine the speed of a water wave.

AT I Students can investigate the factors that determine the frequency of stationary wave patterns of a stretched string.

AT I Investigation of two-source interference with sound, light and microwave radiation.

Knowledge

Progressive and stationary waves- Progressive waves, Longitudinal and transverse waves, Principle of superposition of waves and formation of stationary waves.

Refraction, diffraction and interference- Interference, Diffraction, Refraction at a plane surface.

Rationale 

GCSE studies of wave phenomena are extended through a development of knowledge of the characteristics, properties, and applications of travelling waves and stationary waves. Topics treated include refraction, diffraction, superposition and interference.

Skills

Mechanics

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Required practical 3: Determination of g by a freefall method.

ATA use appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance, temperature, pressure, force, angles, volume) and to interpolate

between scale markings

ATc use methods to increase accuracy of measurements, such as timing over multiple

oscillations, or use of fiduciary marker, set square or plumb line

ATd use stopwatch or light gates for timing

ATk use ICT such as computer modelling, or data logger with a variety of sensors to collect data, or use of software to process data

Knowledge

Force, energ and momentum- Scalars and vectors, Motion along a straight line, Projectile motion, Newton’s laws of motion, Momentum, Work, energy and power, Conservation of energy.

Rationale 

Momentum, like energy, is important because it is conserved. Only a few physical quantities are conserved in nature and studying them yields fundamental insight into how nature works. Work, Power and Energy is a very important concept in physics. Work done by all the forces is equal to the change in kinetic energy.

unit overview- summer term 

Electricity and Materials

11: Materials, 12: Electric current, 13: DC circuits

Skills

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

Required Practical 5 : Determining the resistivity of a wire using a micrometre, ammeter and voltmeter

Required Practical 6 : Determining the emf and internal resistance

ATb Use appropriate digital instruments, including electrical multimeters, to obtain a range of measurement (current and voltage)

ATf Correctly construct circuits from circuit diagram using DC power supplies, cells and a range of circuit components, including those where polarity is important.

ATg Design, construct and check circuits using DC power supplies, cells, and a range of circuit components. 

Knowledge

Current Electricity- Basics of electricity, Current–voltage characteristics, Resistivity, Circuits, Potential divider, Electromotive force and internal resistance

Rationale 

This section builds on and develops earlier study of these phenomena from GCSE. It provides opportunities for the development of practical skills at an early stage in the course and lays the groundwork for later study of the many electrical applications that are important to society.

Skills

Materials

After carrying out the practical tasks in this topic, students will gain the following skills

ATc use methods to increase accuracy of measurements, such as timing over multiple

oscillations, or use of fiduciary marker, set square or plumb line

ATd use stopwatch or light gates for timing

ATk use ICT such as computer modelling, or data logger with a variety of sensors to collect data, or use of software to process data.

Required practical 4: Determination of the Young modulus by a simple method.

ATa- use appropriate analogue apparatus to record a range of measurements (to include length/distance, temperature, pressure, force, angles, volume) and to interpolate between scale markings.

ATc c. use methods to increase accuracy of measurements.

Knowledge

Materials- Bulk properties of solids, The Young modulus. Behaviour of materials subject to forces.

Rationale 

Through understanding their mechanical properties, we can predict their behaviour in manufacturing and processing, maximise their performance capabilities. The Young's modulus of a material is a useful property to know to predict the behaviour of the material when subjected to a force.

knowledge organisers

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.