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Physics


Physics encompasses the whole of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest of subatomic particles. It is therefore the most basic and fundamental science. It is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. This understanding can then challenge our imaginations which eventually leads to great discoveries and technologies that can change the lives of us all.   

 A study of physics provides a basis to many of the other sciences, including biology, chemistry, the medical sciences, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy as well as all areas of engineering.   

We have developed a physics curriculum that supports the development of the students in terms of both their subject knowledge and the practical skills required of a physicist.  

Year 9

Students follow a bespoke curriculum that provides them with a solid foundation to progress into study at GCSE. We begin with an introduction to making measurements using technology (in this case an oscilloscope) and we use the experimental study of wave phenomena to introduce students to the ideas and skills required to design, conduct, analyse and evaluate experiments.  

 Four main topic areas, covering the major area of physics, culminate in a team project that enables the students to demonstrate their acquired subject knowledge and practical skills.   

  1. Energy and Electricity 
  2. Forces and Motion  
  3. Pressure and Moments  
  4. Space and Gravity

In the final half-term of the year students undertake a cross-curricular project that focuses on the scientific challenges of colonising Mars. The physics element focuses upon the safe delivery of the colonising team from Earth to Mars – from the rocket launch on Earth to the safe landing onto Mars.  

Assessment takes place at the end of Key Stage 3 with a 1 hour exam

Years 10 and 11

We follow the AQA 8463 GCSE Physics Specification.   

We have structured our teaching of the 8 topics to account for and support the students learning in other subjects. We begin with Space as it has been acknowledged as a favourite topic among young people. Atomic structure then provides an understanding of the fundamental building blocks of all matter so students are well-placed to then study Electricity. That knowledge of the basic principles of electric circuits and their components leads on to the Electricity and Magnetism topic. This teaches students about the processes involved in producing electricity before we study the National Grid.

Next we introduce students to some of the key ideas of thermal physics in The Particle Model of Matter topic. This includes some of the fundamental gas laws linking the measurable properties of pressure, volume and temperature and also the behaviour of materials as they are heated and change from a solid to a liquid to a gas.  We then complete Year 10 with  Waves and Energy. The Energy topic consolidates many of the areas already studied as well as preparing the students for the energy concepts they will meet in Year 11.  

In Year 11, Forces is the first topic that becomes heavily mathematical and waiting until Year 11 are able to develop the necessary maths skills beforehand. This topic introduces methods for measuring motion (speed, velocity and acceleration) before combining these with Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion to show how forces change the state of motion and how momentum can be used to analyse motion and collisions.  

Year 10

Autumn Term 1Space (8)

Autumn Term 2: Atomic Structure (4)

Spring Term 1: Electricity (2)

Spring Term 2: Electricity and magnetism (7)

Summer Term 1: Particle model of matter (3)

Summer Term 2: Waves (6) and Energy (1)

Year 11

Autumn Term 1: Forces - Newton's Laws (5)

Autumn Term 2: Force and energy (5)

Spring Term 1: Describing Motion (5)

Spring Term 2: Revision

Summer Term 1: Revision/GCSE assessment

Summer Term 2: GCSE assessment

Assessment

Two x 1 hour 45min exams (paper 1 units 1, 2, 3 & 4, paper 2 units 5, 6, 7 & 8)  

Each of the two papers contributes 50% of the overall grade for Physics  

Both papers contain a mixture of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions  

In addition to the exams each student has to complete 10 required practical activities, whilst although not assessed, are a compulsory component of the course.