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Physics

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us and the world beyond us.

One of the fundamental scientific disciplines, Physics is the study of matter, with the ultimate aim being to understand how our universe works.

The subject challenges our imaginations and leads to amazing discoveries like electricity and lasers, which, in turn, lead to revolutionary technologies that can completely alter our daily lives.

Studying Physics within our four teaching laboratories, pupils develop their ability to evaluate evidence, solve problems and form logical arguments to support their ideas. In learning through hands-on experience of modern apparatus and techniques. pupils enhance their team-working, communication and leadership skills in a highly stimulating and experimental environment.

Physics is introduced within the Junior Science courses for our Transitus and First Year cohort, with Second Year pupils studying it as a discreet science in a 10-week rotational block.

Our Junior Science curriculum is designed to enthuse pupils, nurturing their scientific curiosity about the world in which they live, and its future.

Our learners study a variety of topics between Transitus and Second Year, with a focus on developing not only knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts, but also improving practical and investigative abilities, and other skills involved in the processing of scientific information and data, including scientific literacy. All topics cover Third Level learning outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence, while certain topics are extended to include some Fourth Level outcomes.

Topics covered in Transitus are 'Introducing Science', 'Separation and Purification', 'Energy and Forces', and 'Living Things'. This latter topic includes an investigative field trip during the summer term.

First Year learners study 'Model of Matter', 'Heat, Cells and Reproduction', 'Elements and Compounds', and 'Energy for Life'. These follow on from topics studied in Transitus, extending our pupils' scientific knowledge and skills.

In Second Year, the final year of Junior Science, pupils study the three discrete sciences - Biology, Chemistry and Physics - on a rotational basis. This gives pupils an idea of what to expect should they go on to study the different sciences at National 5 level.

The topics studied in Second Year Physics are 'Electricity', 'Light and Sound', and 'Space Physics', while, at the end of the year, pupils take part in a mini-rotation for each subject, often involving cross-curricular links between the three sciences, where they can integrate skills, knowledge and understanding.

The National 5 Physics course challenges pupils to study evidence and logically solve problems, working both individually and as a team. Over the course of two years, pupils study a wide range of issues fundamental to Physics, including motion and forces, space exploration and matter, in the following topics: 'Dynamics', 'Electricity', 'Space' (3rd Year), 'Properties of Matter', 'Radiation' and 'Waves' (4th Year).

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The Higher course takes those with a serious interest in science and technology and develops their problem solving and logical thinking skills, increasing knowledge of the concepts of Physics and studying its many applications in modern society.

The main topics covered in Higher Physics are: 'Our Dynamic Universe - Motion', 'Particles and Waves' and 'Electricity', with a practical assignment making up part of a pupil's overall grade.

The course develops the skills necessary to find solutions to scientific problems, making a valuable contribution to pupils' general education, expanding on a number of issues studied at National 5 level.and providing a sound basis for further study at Advanced Higher. For those wishing to study any branches of engineering and technology at university, Higher Physics is a necessity.

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Advanced Higher Physics is for Sixth Year pupils who wish to carry their studies of the subject even further, with many choosing to go on to follow applied science and engineering courses at university or college. The Advanced Higher course forms a bridge between school and further education, with pupils developing study skills and work patterns which will stand them in good stead for the future. With this in mind, there is a strong emphasis on self-reliance and independent learning for pupils who participate in the course.

The main topics covered in Advanced Higher Physics are: 'Rotational Motion and Astrophysics', 'Quanta and Waves' and 'Electromagnetism', with pupils required to carry out a project for which 20 hours of course time is allocated. This allows pupils to pursue their own interests in the field of Physics, providing a valuable exercise, not only in experimental work, but in self-motivation, organisation and perseverance. Experimental work of a more formal kind is also important, providing experience in a range of experimental techniques and reinforcing theoretical parts of the course.

Those who study physics will not necessarily become health physicists, sport scientists or electronic engineers. They are just as likely to become doctors, patent lawyers, cancer specialists, journalists or accountants.

This is why physics is such an exciting subject to study!

The analytical and problem solving skills that physicists are renowned for are valued and appreciated in so many different careers. Therefore, a number of university courses in subjects such as medicine, engineering, technology and other related fields, require pupils to have studied Physics to Higher or Advanced Higher level.

Away from the formal curriculum, our department also runs the popular Robotics Club, while pupils enjoy acclaim in events such as the UK Space Design Competition and the nationally recognized CREST award scheme.

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