The Physics standards emphasize a more complex understanding of experimentation, the analysis of data, and the use of reasoning and logic to evaluate evidence. The use of mathematics, including algebra and trigonometry, is important, but conceptual understanding of physical systems remains a primary concern. Students build on basic physical science principles by exploring in-depth the nature and characteristics of energy and its dynamic interaction with matter. Key areas covered by the standards include force and motion, energy transformations, wave phenomena and the electromagnetic spectrum, electricity, fields, and non-Newtonian physics. The standards stress the practical application of physics in other areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The effects of physics on our world are investigated through the study of critical, contemporary global topics.
The Physics standards continue to focus on student growth in understanding the nature of science. This scientific view defines the idea that explanations of nature are developed and tested using observation, experimentation, models, evidence, and systematic processes. The nature of science includes the concepts that scientific explanations are based on logical thinking; are subject to rules of evidence; are consistent with observational, inferential, and experimental evidence; are open to rational critique; and are subject to refinement and change with the addition of new scientific evidence. The nature of science includes the concept that science can provide explanations about nature and can predict potential consequences of actions, but cannot be used to answer all questions.
-from Virginia Standards of Learning