Physics

Aims of the Physics Department

The Physics Department aims to:

  • instil, in pupils, a spirit of curiosity in the natural world
  • encourage logical thinking
  • provide some knowledge and understanding of facts, ideas and applications of Physics in society
  • develop problem solving skills
  • foster attributes such as being open-minded and showing initiative
  • raise awareness of how decisions affect ourselves, others and the environment
  • encourage mutual respect, tolerance and understanding of others.

Staff Names and Roles

Mr K. Carr (CL)

Mr G. Corrigan

Mr M. Flynn

Mr J. Gallagher (0.6)

Mr S. Hutton

National 4 Physics

N4 Physics is intended to provide a coherent progression leading to a deeper understanding of a wide range of Physical issues. The Physics Course enables learners to develop the ability to solve problems and establish relationships in physics by acquiring a broad knowledge base and practical skills.

To achieve a National 3/4 award in Physics pupils must pass all of the required units and the added value unit. There is no final exam and the course is not graded.

Internal Assessment

All Units are internally assessed against the requirements shown in the Unit Specification. They will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

The assessment of the Units in this Course will be as follows:

N4 Physics is split into 3 units that builds on Knowledge gained from S1-3:

Dynamics and Space: This unit covers how we actually make different types of measurements such as vectors and scalars, velocity and acceleration, Newton’s laws, projectile motions, space travel and observations and cosmology.

Electricity and Energy: This looks further at fossil fuels and renewable energies, the generation and distribution of electricity to society, the construction of different types of electrical circuits to carry out simple and complex tasks, heat, pressure and how gas particles around us behave in everyday situations.

Waves and radiation: This unit develops understanding of wave characteristics and behaviours, how we use the electromagnetic spectrum and light through refraction and reflections, nuclear radiation and nuclear reactions and how the world around us has been affected through use of nuclear reactions.

All course work is marked internally for N4. This includes:

End of unit test (NAR): This assesses both knowledge and problem solving skills.

Practical Investigation: Pupils will carry out a practical experiment and write a full experimental report of their results.

Added Value Unit: This is a larger research topic. Pupils will choose a topic that links to one of the units above. They will then research this topic of their choice and write a report on it.

National 5 Physics

The aims of this course are for learners to:

  • develop and apply knowledge and understanding of physics
  • develop an understanding of the role of physics in scientific issues and relevant applications of physics, including the impact these could make on society and the environment
  • develop scientific inquiry and investigative skills
  • develop scientific analytical thinking skills in a physics context
  • develop the use of technology, equipment and materials, safely, in practical scientific activities
  • develop planning skills
  • develop problem solving skills in a physics context
  • use and understand scientific literacy, in everyday contexts, to communicate ideas and issues and to make scientifically informed choices
  • develop the knowledge and skills for more advanced learning in physics
  • develop skills of independent working
  • In addition to scientific skills, learners will continue to develop and acquire the capabilities of the four capacities as well as skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. They will continue to develop their skills in literacy, numeracy and communication.

To achieve a National 5 award in Physics pupils must pass all of the required units as well as the course assessment. The added value unit will focus on breadth, challenge and application. The added value unit and the exam will be externally assessed.

Mandatory Units:

Electricity and Energy

The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking, along with knowledge and understanding of electricity and energy. The Unit covers the key areas of energy transfer, heat and the gas laws. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Waves and Radiation

The Unit covers the key areas of waves and nuclear radiation.

Dynamics and Space

The Unit covers the key areas of kinematics, forces and space.

Course Assessment:

Component 1 - External Exam

The question paper will have two Sections and will take place over 2 hours as the External Exam.

Section 1 Multiple Choice worth 20 marks.

Section 2 will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 60 marks.

Component 2 - Assignment

The assignment will have 20 marks out of a total of 100 marks. This is 20% of the overall marks for the Course assessment.

The assignment will give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and understanding by:

  • applying knowledge of physics to new situations and interpreting information
  • selecting information and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • processing the information (using calculations and units, where appropriate)
  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • communicating findings/information

Higher Physics

A one year Course for students who wish to continue their study of Physics beyond National 5 Physics.

The main aims of this Course are for learners to:

  • develop and apply knowledge and understanding of physics
  • develop an understanding of the role of physics in scientific issues and relevant applications of physics, including the impact these could make in society and the environment
  • develop skills of independent working

Advances in physics mean that our view of what is possible is continually being updated. This Course allows learners to deepen their understanding of the processes behind scientific advances, and thus promotes awareness that physics involves interaction between theory and practice. The Course will therefore enable learners to become scientifically literate citizens who will recognise the impact physics makes on their lives, the environment and society, and be able to appreciate topical scientific debate. Learners will develop skills for learning beyond Higher and for employment.

Entry Level

N5 Award A to C pass in Physics

N5 Award A to C pass in Maths

Course Content

Our Dynamic Universe

The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking, along with knowledge and understanding of our dynamic universe. Learners will apply these skills when considering the applications of our dynamic universe on our lives, as well as the implications on society/the environment. This can be done by using a variety of approaches, including investigation and problem solving. The Unit covers the key areas of kinematics, dynamics and space-time. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Particles and Waves

The Unit covers the key areas of particles and waves. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Electricity

The Unit covers the key areas of electricity, and electrical storage and transfer. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Researching Physics

The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills relevant to undertaking research in Physics. Learners will collect and synthesize information from different sources, plan and undertake a practical investigation, analyse results and communicate information They will also consider any applications of the physics involved and implications for society/the environment. The Unit offers opportunities for collaborative and for independent learning. Learners will develop knowledge and skills associated with standard laboratory apparatus and in the recording and processing of results.

Course Assessment

The course assessment will consist of two components: a question paper and an assignment.

Component 1 - External Exam

The purpose of the question paper is to assess breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding from across the Units.

The question paper will have 100 marks (77% of the total mark) and will have two sections.

Section 1 - Multiple Choice will have 20 marks.

Section 2 - 'Paper 2' will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 80 marks.

Component 2 - Assignment

The assignment will have 30 marks (23% of the total marks)

In preparation for the controlled assessment, the pupil will carry out an investigation stage:

  • select an appropriate chemistry topic within the set guidelines provided by SQA
  • investigate/research the topic, focusing on applications and impact on society
  • process the information collected

In the controlled assessment stage, the pupil will present evidence of:

  • the process they have undertaken
  • applying physics knowledge and understanding related to the topic investigated
  • a balanced evaluation of the impact on society
  • a reasoned conclusion

Advanced Higher Physics

Advanced Higher Physics is studied in S6. The course is designed for pupils wishing to further extend their knowledge and understanding of the dynamic arena of Physics. Advanced Higher Physics is highly regarded for entry into further education courses in Engineering, Aeronautics and Physics.

The content of the Advanced Higher course covers a proportion of the 1st year University Physics content resulting in a smoother transition from school to University.

The aims of the course are to enable learners to:

  • extend and apply knowledge, understanding and skills of physics
  • develop and apply the skills to carry out complex practical scientific activities, including the use of risk assessments, technology, equipment and materials
  • develop and apply scientific inquiry and investigative skills, including planning and experimental design
  • extend and apply problem solving skills in a physics context

Entry Level

N6 Award A to C pass in Physics

N6 Award A to C pass in Maths

Course Content

Rotational Motion and Astrophysics

This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to rotational motion and astrophysics. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving angular motion. An astronomical perspective is developed through a study of gravitation, leading to work on general relativity and stellar physics.

Quanta and Waves

This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to quanta and waves. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving quantum theory and waves. The Unit introduces non-classical physics and considers the origin and composition of cosmic radiation. Simple harmonic motion is introduced and work on wave theory is developed.

Electromagnetism

This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to electromagnetism. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving electromagnetism. The Unit develops knowledge and understanding of electric and magnetic fields and capacitors and inductors used in d.c. and a.c. circuits.

Investigating Physics

In this Unit, learners will develop key investigative skills. The Unit offers opportunities for independent learning set within the context of experimental physics. Learners will identify, research, plan and carry out a physics investigation of their choice.

Course Assessment

The course assessment will consist of two Components:

Component 1 — External Exam

The purpose of this question paper is to assess breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding from across the Units. The question paper will assess scientific inquiry skills and analytical thinking skills.

The question paper will have 100 marks.

The question paper will have two Sections.

Section 1 will contain objective questions and will have 30 marks.

Section 2 will contain restricted and extended response questions and will have 70 marks.

Component 2 — Project

The purpose of the project is to allow the learner to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chemistry topic and produce a project–report.

The project will have 30 marks. The majority of the marks will be awarded for applying scientific inquiry skills. The other marks will be awarded for applying related knowledge and understanding. The project will be externally assessed.

National 4 Practical Electronics

This course enables you to develop knowledge and understanding of key concepts in electronics. There are four mandatory units including the added value unit.

Circuit Design

You will develop a basic understanding of key electrical concepts and electronic components. You will analyse straightforward electronic problems and design solutions

Circuit Simulation

You will use simulation software to assist in the design, construction and testing of simple circuits and systems and investigate their behaviour

Circuit Construction

You will have experience in assembling a range of simple electronic circuits using permanent and non-permanent methods. You will develop skills in practical wiring and assembly techniques. You will also learn basic testing and fault finding skills

Added Value Unit

Developing an electronic solution – you will apply your skills and knowledge from all of the previous units to solve an electronics problem.

Assessment

To achieve the course award you must pass all of the above units including the added value unit. All course work is marked internally for N4 & is not graded.