Skip to content ↓

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 - particles and radiation 

AS Physics year 1 Overview – Particles and Radiation

Skills

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.

AT l 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

  1. Particles- Constituents of the atom, Particles, antiparticles and photons, Particle interactions, Classification of particles, Quarks and antiquarks, Applications of conservation laws
  2. 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 understand the concepts of, and the mathematical application of the principles of mass and energy/radiation interchangeability and why it has driven research into these topics over many decades. They will appreciate the importance of international collaboration in the development of new experiments and theories in this area of fundamental research as it can no longer be developed in small laboratories as in the past.

unit overview - waves and optics 

AS Physics year 1 Overview –Waves and optics

Skills

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

  1. Progressive and stationary waves- Progressive waves, Longitudinal and transverse waves, Principle of superposition of waves and formation of stationary waves
  2. 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.

Understanding and appreciating that actual waves are observed as present in a great variety of physical phenomena and circumstances, the mathematics of waves (formulating how they are formed and how they actually move away from their source) forms a most important part of the study of mathematics and science.

The study of waves and the ideas learned from a vibrating string are the same as those found within atoms and molecules, electronic apparatus, antennas and modern communication. Learning the vibrating string helps people know the inner operation of these other fields of study and the fundamental principles can be applied to sound and light.

unit overview - mechanics and materials

AS Physics year 1 Overview –Mechanics and materials

Skills

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

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

Ate e. use of micrometers for small distances, using digital or vernier scales

Knowledge

  1. Force, energy 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
  2. Materials- Bulk properties of solids, The Young modulus,

Rationale

Vectors and their treatment are introduced followed by development of the student’s knowledge and understanding of forces, energy and momentum. The section continues with a study of materials considered in terms of their bulk properties and tensile strength.

Since mechanics is dealing with the study of motion of object using mathematics, no matter what your interest in science or engineering, mechanics is important as motion is a fundamental idea in all of science.

Furthermore, the section covers kinematics, dealing with describing motions, and dynamics, dealing with the causes of motion of and object combined with the material properties of the object and surroundings.

unit overview - electricity

AS Physics year 1 Overview – Electricity

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

  1. 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.

Electricity is a very important means of transport of energy from one place to another and appreciation of its existence, use and application is essential today. Understanding that electricity allows us to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa, it is easy to transport and transmitted almost at the speed of light. This section expands on the many physical effects involving electrical energy which make possible conversion into light, sound, motion, force, heat, cooling, and rapid transmission of information.

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.