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Student during a physics science lesson

Physics

Curriculum Intent:

Our Physics curriculum intends to promote exploration and understanding of the world around us. We aim to inspire and challenge students to engage in the wonderment and awe of everyday. Our content is presented in an order that tells a coherent and logical story through physics, with a strong emphasis on using practicals to embed skills and knowledge.  We encourage teamwork, logical problem solving and clarity of communication.

Physics should encourage students to ask questions about the world around them and develop the skills needed to investigate them. Students learn how to apply theory to real-world issues from global energy, communications, ionising radiation, mechanics, right up to fundamental particle and quantum physics, where their study may make a real impact on our future.

Physics is offered as:

  • Core subject Years 7, 8 & 9
  • GCSE Core Years 10 & 11
  • IB Years 12 & 13

 

Key Stage 3 Science

Curriculum overview

Biology Chemistry Physics
Year 7 -Cells

-Structure and function of body systems

-Reproduction

-Particles and their behaviour

-Elements, atoms, and compounds

-Reactions

-Acids and alkalis

-Forces

-Sound

-Light

Year 8 -Health and lifestyle

-Ecosystem processes

-Adaptation and inheritance

-The Periodic Table

-Separation techniques

-Metals and acids

-The Earth

-Electricity and magnetism

-Energy

-Motion and pressure

-Space

Year 9 -How do our bodies work?

-Why does size matter?

-How does our food keep us alive?

-How does exercise affect the body?

-Why is life as we know it on Earth at risk?

-How can we feed the 7.7 billion?

-How are energy transfers useful to us?

-How is long distance travel possible?

-How do waves allow us to communicate?

-What is the difference between potential difference and current?

-What is the link between electricity and magnetism?

-What is our universe made of?

-What are salts and how do we make them?

-Why are the elements arranged as they are?

-How can we make things more sustainable?

-Is there a climate crisis?

-Who done it- can we pinpoint the murder scientifically? CSI- Rochester

-Could there be life on other planets?

Year 7

Students receive six Science lessons per fortnight, with topics rotating through Biology, Chemistry and Physics. We follow the Activate Science scheme published by the Oxford University Press and there are various online resources which are available to the students. Students learn the basic types of forces and how they apply to every day situations. This is followed by an introduction into waves, how they travel and later on, the properties of light. We place a great emphasis on practical activities to enthuse the students and develop practical skills.

Year 8

Students receive seven Science lessons per fortnight, with topics rotating through Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students begin by looking at how electricity is transmitted in simple circuits and some of the principles behind electricity generation using magnets. In the next topic, transfers between energy stores are explored. Motion equations are introduced as well as graphical representations of motion. Finally, the Space topic looks into the objects in our universe and some of the key ideas behind their motion.

Year 9

Students receive three Physics lessons per fortnight, exploring a ‘big question’, linked to topics that impact on everyday life. As well as knowledge content, students develop their investigative skills and are introduced to a variety of experimental techniques.

Assessment

Each topic will have an End of Topic Assessment. This will include a variety of question types and will ask to the student to not only recall information but also apply it. A key component of scientific thinking is being able to apply knowledge to new areas based on what has already been learned. Practical skills are very important in science and these will be developed during lesson time. The application of scientific thinking to practicals will be assessed. This includes the setup and design of a practical, the process of data collection, the creation of tables and graphs, the processing of data, conclusions that can be reached, and evaluation of the practical.

Exams will be cumulative assessments that will challenge students on all areas of science they have covered.

  • Year 7 will have an End of Year Exam
  • Year 8 will have both a Mid-Year Exam and an End of Year Exam
  • Year 9 will have an End of Year Exam

Home learning will be assigned throughout. Year 7 and 8 will use Kerboodle for their Home learning. There are a variety of tasks to help students challenge their understanding through online quizzes.

Further Reading/Resources

Books:

– Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry  – Neil deGrasse Tyson

– A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

TV and websites:

– BBC – Bang goes the theory

– Brian Cox – Forces of Nature

– Khan Academy

– The BBC Bitesize website is very useful with additional information on topics, short videos, and practice questions. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zng4d2p

 

Key Stage 4 Physics

Curriculum overview

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 Energy Electricity Particle model of matter Atomic structure Forces – motion and newtons laws Forces – pressure, moments and springs
Year 11 Waves – principles and properties of waves Waves – electromagnetic spectrum and properties of light Electricity and magnetism Space Revision

 

Year 10

Students start by learning that nothing can happen without the transfer of energy, leading to an enhanced understanding of the universe. They are introduced to the idea that energy can be determined by measurements and that an appreciation of energy can help us make informed decisions about our uses of energy and their consequences. In the next topic we look at static and current electricity, using practical activities to investigate different types of circuit, including factors affecting resistance. They discover how electricity is transmitted to homes and about the energy and power transfers involved. Particle models are explored, including ideas about internal energy and specific heat capacity, along with their role when thinking about density. Students are introduced to some of the ideal gas laws. In “atomic structure”, students learn more about the current model of the atom and how this has been developed. They are introduced to ionising radiation and consider hazards relating to using them. The Forces topic teaches what forces are and what they do, including how motion can be calculated, Newton’s laws, turning effects and pressure. Throughout the course, students are given opportunities to carry out investigations and develop their practical skills.

Year 11

Students learn about light and sound as waves, as well as how other electromagnetic waves behave. They investigate the behaviour of waves and learn about some of their uses, including in medicine. Students learn the key terms used to describe waves and how to accurately draw ray diagrams for lenses. Following this, we look at the basics of magnetism and the links between electricity and magnetism. This includes the studying of motors, generators, speakers, microphones and transformers. Students are given opportunities to practise maths skills, including rearranging equations and interpretation of graphs. The course concludes with the unit  “Space”  where we look at the origin and life cycle of the stars, including the role of gravity. We learn how we are able to state that the Universe is expanding and investigate phenomena such as red-shift and the big bang. Throughout the course, students are given opportunities to carry out investigations and develop their practical skills.

Assessment

Throughout the course, students receive informal assessment via a mixture of verbal and written feedback, and using self and peer assessment. Students also experience formal mock examinations to familiarise with the examination protocol.

At the end of year 11 students are externally assessed in two written examinations:

Paper 1: Paper 2:
What’s assessed

Topics 1-4: Energy; Electricity; Particle model of matter; and Atomic structure.

 What’s assessed

Topics 5-8: Forces; Waves; Magnetism and electromagnetism; and Space physics.

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Foundation and Higher Tier
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE
How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Foundation and Higher Tier
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE
Questions

• Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

Questions

• Multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response.

In addition, students complete “required practicals” at appropriate points in the scheme of work. Knowledge on these practicals is assessed in the written papers.

Further Reading/Resources

Books

– The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene

– How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog – Chad Orzel

– The First Three Minutes– Steven Weinberg

Websites:

– Khan academy

– Seneca Learning

– Institute of Physics – a large range of free resources for each age group

 

Key Stage 5 Physics

Curriculum Overview

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 12 Measurements and uncertainty

Mechanics

 

Thermal physics

Circular motion and gravitation

 

Oscillations and waves Wave phenomena Fields Electricity and magnetism
Year 13 Astrophysics

Electromagnetic induction

Atomic, nuclear and particle physics

Quantum and nuclear physics

 

Energy Production

 

 

Revision

 

Year 12

Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences in the International Baccalaureate, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. In year 12, students build upon previous knowledge to look at more complex problems such as objects in circular motion, field forces and wave theory. Models are developed to try to understand observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations.

Through studying the topics outlined above, Physics students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. In addition, through the overarching theme of the “Nature of Science” this knowledge and skills will be put into the context of the way science and scientists work in the 21st century and the ethical debates and limitations of creative scientific endeavour.

Year 13

Students explore the lifecycle of the stars in detail, along with the role of gravity in the universe, including theories on how the universe was created and how it will end. They learn how to calculate the size of electromagnetic forces and use laws to predict their directions. Students go on to look at global energy use, making detailed calculations and evaluating alternatives to fossil fuels. Students enjoy looking at fundamental particles and interactions and touching on some basic Quantum theory.

Students are taught practically, with opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. Students develop the skills to work independently on their own design, but also collegiately, including collaboration with schools in different regions, to mirror the way in which scientific research is conducted in the wider community.

Assessment

Throughout the course, students receive informal assessment via a mixture of verbal and written feedback, and using self and peer assessment. Students also experience formal mock examinations to familiarise with the examination protocol. Practice practical work is carried out in preparation for the Internally assessed investigation.

Formal assessment at the end of year 13 consists of the following HL papers:

Length of examination Weighting
Paper 1 Multiple choice 1 hour 20%
Paper 2 Short answer and extended response 2 hours 15 mins 36%
Paper 3 Measurement and uncertainties and option topic 1 hour 15 mins 20%
Internal assessment 10 hours lab + write up time 24%

Further Reading/Resources

Books:

– A Brief History of Time- Stephen Hawking

– Universe in a Nutshell- Stephen Hawking

– Three Roads to Quantum Gravity- Lee Smolin

Websites:

– https://www.khanacademy.org (video explanations and worked examples)

– https://www.iop.org/education/student/youth_membership/page_41684.html (institute of physics has a wide range of resources to share with students)

– https://phet.colorado.edu (excellent simulations)

 

British Values:

British Values in Physics

Rule of law: Ethics of nuclear power/medicine and global warming. Practical rules for safe practice.

Mutual respect: Peer review, applying the scientific method.

Tolerance of others’ faith and beliefs: Big bang theory