Physics

Physics allows you to explain why things happen. Why does a plane fly, why does an ice skater spin faster when she pulls her arms in. Why can’t you make a swing catch another swing up? Why was Polonium 110 used as a poison, but not Polonium 209 or 211?

Physics is studied by all pupils from Years 7 to 11.

Aims

In the department we aim to stimulate curiosity and provide a positive atmosphere for the girls to hypothesise, take risks and succeed.

  • To use experimentation and modelling to develop explanations.
  • To encourage critical and creative thinking.
  • To develop the pupils’ scientific literacy, allowing them to take decisions based on scientific understanding and questioning the reliability and validity of evidence presented to them.
  • To encourage pupils to apply their scientific understanding throughout the school especially in other STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects.

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

Year 7

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Forces

Waves

Electricity

Energy

Matter

Forces

What forces do p1

What forces do p2

Describing forces

Balanced and unbalanced forces

Resultant forces

Mass and weight

Space

The night sky, stars and galaxies

Planets and the Solar System

The Earth

The Moon

Gravity

Energy

Energy stores

Energy transfers

Electricity

Current

Voltage

Resistance

Series and parallel circuits

Static electricity

Matter

Temperature

Heating and cooling

Thermal conduction

Thermal store of energy

Assessment Pieces

Multiple choice test on forces.

Assessment Pieces

Multiple choice test on space.

Assessment Pieces

Multiple choice test on electricity.

Key vocabulary

Balanced, unbalanced and resultant forces.

Mass and weight

Planets

Planets, galaxies, universe, stars

Current, voltage, resistance.

Series and parallel.

Conduction

Outside the taught curriculum

Watch science documentaries and interesting YouTube clips on Science.

Suggested reading

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zh2xsbk

Year 8

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Forces

Waves

Electricity

Energy

Matter

Forces

Speed and distance

Motion graphs

Work done

Hooke’s law

Moments

Simple machines

Waves

Properties of sound waves

Ultrasound

Light and matter

Reflection

Lenses and the eye

Colours

Water waves

Electricity

Circuit models

Electric and magnetic fields

Electromagnetism

Electricity generation

Paying for electricity

Matter

Pressure

Pressure in fluids

Temperature and pressure

Assessment Pieces

End of unit test on Forces

Assessment Pieces

End of unit test on Waves

Assessment Pieces

End of unit test on Electricity

Key vocabulary

Frequency

Amplitude

Wavelength

Current, voltage, resistance.

Energy resources

Kilo-watt hours

Outside the taught curriculum

Watch science documentaries and interesting YouTube clips on Science.

Suggested reading

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zh2xsbk

Year 9

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Energy stores and changes

Power, Work done and efficiency

Heat transfer

Energy resources

Atomic structure

Nuclear radiation and decay

Energy

  1. Energy changes and stores
  2. KE and GPE
  3. Elastic potential energy
  4. Energy calculations
  5. Work and energy
  6. Investigation planning
  7. Investigation
  8. Power
  9. Conservation of energy and efficiency
  10. Conduction
  11. Cooling curves
  12. Rates of heat transfer
  13. Insulation
  1. Specific heat capacity p1
  2. Specific heat capacity p2
  3. Energy resources and demands
  4. Energy from fuels
  5. Energy from wind and water
  6. Energy from the Sun and Earth
  7. Nuclear energy

Particles

  1. Density of regular shapes
  2. Density of irregular shapes and fluids
  3. Density and convection
  1. Changes of state
  2. Specific latent heat
  3. Melting and boiling points
  4. Pressure in gases and solids
  5. Gas pressure laws
  6. Work done in a gas

Assessment Pieces

Test on energy changes

Assessment Pieces

Teat on energy resources

Assessment Pieces

End of year exam on energy and particles

Key vocabulary

Outside the taught curriculum

Watch science documentaries and interesting YouTube clips on Science.

Suggested reading

Specification: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-8463

AQA textbook 

www.kerboodle.co.uk

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zsc9rdm

Year 10

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

  1. Changes of state
  2. Specific latent heat
  3. Melting and boiling points
  4. Pressure in gases and solids
  5. Gas pressure laws
  6. Work done in a gas

Electricity

  1. Potential
  2. Static electricity
  3. Electric fields
  4. Series and parallel circuits p1
  5. Series and parallel circuits p2
  6. Resistance
  7. Resistance and length
  8. Power
  9. Bulbs
  1. Diodes
  2. LDRs and thermistors
  3. Mains electricity
  4. The national grid

Waves

  1. The Nature of waves
  2. Wave calculations
  3. EM waves for communications
  4. High frequency EM waves
  5. Reflection
  6. Colours
  7. Infrared radiation
  8. Radiation required practical
  1. The Earth’s infrared
  2. Refraction
  3. Concave lenses
  4. Convex lenses
  5. Sound waves
  6. Ultrasound
  7. Waves in water
  8. Waves in materials

Assessment Pieces

Test on Particles

Assessment Pieces

Test on Electricity

Assessment Pieces

Test on Waves

End of Year 10 Examination

Key vocabulary

Outside the taught curriculum

Watch science documentaries and interesting YouTube clips on Science.

Suggested reading

Specification: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-8463

AQA textbook 

www.kerboodle.co.uk

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zsc9rdm

Year 11

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Forces

  1. Resultant forces
  2. Resolving forces
  3. Acceleration
  4. Distance-time graphs
  5. Velocity-time graphs
  6. Suvat
  7. Terminal velocity
  8. Forces and Braking
  9. Momentum
  10. Change in momentum
  11. Hooke’s Law
  12. Elasticity
  13. Levers and moments
  1. Gears
  2. Pressure

Electromagnetism

  1. Magnets and electromagnets
  2. Uses of electromagnets
  3. Conductors in a magnetic field
  4. The motor effect
  5. Induction
  6. Transformers p1
  7. Transformers p2

Space

  1. Life cycle of stars
  2. The solar system and orbits
  3. The big bang theory

Assessment Pieces

Mock examinations

Assessment Pieces

Test on Forces

Test on electromagnetism

Assessment Pieces

Key vocabulary

Outside the taught curriculum

Watch science documentaries and interesting YouTube clips on Science.

Suggested reading

Specification: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse/physics-8463

AQA textbook 

www.kerboodle.co.uk

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zsc9rdm

Year 12

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Mechanics

Vectors

Motion graphs

Equations of motion

Projectile motion

Newton’s Laws

Waves

Polarisation

Superposition

Stationary waves

Young’s slits and diffraction

Refraction

Total Internal reflection

Mechanics (cont.) and Materials

Momentum

Impulse

Energy and Power

Work done

Moments

Materials

Density

Springs

Deformation of materials

Particle Physics

Photoelectric effect

Line spectra

Particles and accelerators

Radioactive decay

Electricity

Potential

Resistance

Bulbs

Components

Resistivity

Potential dividers

Kirchhoff’s laws

Particles (cont.)

Further mechanics

Circular motion

Centripetal force

Assessment Pieces

Test on mechanics

Test on waves

Assessment Pieces

Test on mechanics

Test on waves

Assessment Pieces

End of year 12 exam.

Key vocabulary

Outside the taught curriculum

Suggested reading

Specification:  https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/physics-7407-7408

AQA textbook

Year 13

Key Learning Constructs to be developed over the academic year

Scheme of Learning 

Autumn Term

Scheme of Learning 

Spring Term

Scheme of Learning 

Summer Term

Thermal Physics and Ideal Gases

Internal energy

Gas equations

Kinetic theory

Fields

Gravitational fields

Electric fields

Magnetic fields

Further mechanics

Simple harmonic motion

Mass-spring systems

Resonance and damping

Nuclear Physics

Rutherford expt.

Radius and density

Radiation

Fields(cont.)

Capacitors

Induction

Nuclear Physics (cont.)

Inverse gamma law

Half-life and decay constants

Density and instability

Power stations

Turning points in Physics

Michelson Morley

Special relativity

Mass and energy

EM waves

Wave-particle duality

Discovery of the electron

Assessment Pieces

Test on Thermal Physics

Test on Further Mechanics

Assessment Pieces

Test on Thermal Physics

Test on Nuclear

Assessment Pieces

Key vocabulary

Outside the taught curriculum

Suggested reading

Specification:  https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/physics-7407-7408

AQA textbook

Further information

The Department boasts a wide range of experience. Current staff are:-

  • Mr A North (Teacher of Physics)

  • Mr C Trotter (Assistant Headteacher) 

  • Mr A Lock (Physics Technician)

What your daughter may do in lessons:

At GCSE and A-Level, practical activities are used where ever possible show Physics in action. Pupils are expected to work together to solve problems and make sense of the observations they make. There is a greater emphasis on the use of Maths to model and determine physical relationships.

Year 7

The pupils will receive one lesson of Physics each week. During the year they will study two topics. They are (i) Forces and Space and (ii) Electricity and Magnetism.

End of unit tests provide an opportunity for teachers to give feedback and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Year 8

The pupils will receive one lesson of Physics each week. During the year they will study two topics. They are (i) Light and Sound and (ii) Energy. They will also do a short project at the end of Year 8.

End of unit tests provide an opportunity for teachers to give feedback and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Years 9, 10 and 11

All girls take Physics at GCSE following the AQA 8463 specification starting in Year 9. They are is assessed via two written papers both taken at the end of Year 11. Each paper is of 1 hour 45 minutes duration.

Practical skills are taught throughout the course and the pupils undertake ten required practical investigations. These are assessed in the written papers at the end of Year 11.

In Year 9 pupils have 4 lessons of Physics per fortnight and in Years 10 and 11 this increases to 5 lessons per fortnight.

End of topic tests and homelearning tasks provide teachers with an opportunity to provide feedback to the pupils and for pupils to reflect on their learning.

Post 16 (A Level)

We follow the AQA A Level Physics specification 7408 which consists of 3 written papers at the end of Year 13. Students complete 12 required practical investigations, for which they have to meet 5 competencies and the skills gained are assessed in their written papers.

Each group in Year 12 and 13 is taught by two teachers. Throughout the course the girls are assessed by both of their teachers. Tests are regularly set, marked and feedback provided. Practical skills are observed and outcomes monitored.

Physics opportunities parents can provide:

  • Thinktank, Birmingham’s science museum has many exhibits related to Physics and its applications.
  • Science is a popular television topic, Horizon and programmes with Brian Cox or Jim Al-Khalili are frequently repeated on BBC3 and 4. Myth busters, Bang goes the theory, and Brainiac all approach entertainment from a scientific perspective. Documentaries with “Engineering” in the title would also be useful.
  • Encouraging your daughter to help with DIY and using tools gives an awareness of forces, levers and machines.
  • Encouraging your daughter to take advantage of the opportunities available at school.

An A-level in Physics can lead to a variety of courses at university such as Geophysics, Architecture, Computer Science, Finance and Economics, Materials Science etc. as well as the more traditional routes into Physics, Astronomy and Engineering.

One possibly appealing aspect of studying Physics at university is the diversity of physics careers, which are not set in any one direction. Physics graduates have skills that are in high demand in diverse sectors. These include skills relating to numeracy, problem-solving, data analysis and the communication of complex ideas, as well as a wider understanding of how the world works, on a scientific and human level.

This highly transferable and valued skillset also means physics graduates earn more. According to the Institute of Physics (IOP) those with a BSc in Physics earn 14% more than other graduates, and this increases to 18% more for those with a Master of Physics (MPhys).

Physics graduates are in demand in many industries such as research, education, finance, automotive and aerospace industries, defence, the public sector, healthcare, energy, materials, technology, computing and IT, meteorology.

Physics opportunities outside of lessons:

  • Science club for years 7 and 8.
  • STEM club for Key Stage 4 and 5
  • Regular external competitions advertised on the notice boards
  • Activity day trip to GCSE Live (y10)
  • STEM activity day events (y9)
  • Birmingham University evening lecture series
  • EDT Headstart courses for y12
  • Nuffield Bursary placements in y12
  • Library:
    • Periodicals: Physics review, New Scientist magazine, FLIPSIDE,
    • Books: Bad Science, Alice in Quantum Land, and many others