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Physics

The Physics Department aims to provide pupils with a high quality learning experience in a stimulating and positive learning environment.

Physics

About Our Physics Department

The Physics department consists of three members of teaching staff, supported by a technician. We encourage pupils to perform at the highest level throughout their Physics education. We have three teaching laboratories and a dedicated practical laboratory. The department is very well equipped to ensure that pupils gain the necessary practical skills, with hands on experience of modern apparatus.

In addition to the formal curriculum, the Department runs both a Physics and Electronics Club. We have also enjoyed success in out of school events, including Physics quizzes and the UK Space design competition. Some of our pupils have been awarded a CREST award for their contribution to the National Science and Engineering competition and we usually have pupil groups working towards an award by undertaking their own research and experimental work.

Staff

Dr Daniel Went (Head of Department)
Mr Jonny Campion
Mr Iain Smith

Curriculum Information

The study of National 5 Physics should foster an interest in current developments in, and applications of physics, the willingness to make critical and evaluative comment and the acceptance that physics is a changing subject.  Positive attitudes, such as being open-minded and willing to recognise alternative points of view, are promoted.

Course Structure

The course is made up of three units:

  • Dynamics and Space – vectors and scalars, displacement, velocity, velocity-time graphs, acceleration, Newton’s laws, projectile motion, space exploration, cosmology.
  • Waves and Radiations – wave parameters and behaviours, sound, electromagnetic spectrum, light, nuclear radiation.
  • Electricity and Energy – conservation of energy, electrical charge carriers and electric fields, potential difference (voltage), practical electrical and electronic circuits, Ohm’s law, electrical power, specific heat capacity, gas laws and the kinetic model. 

The resulting elements of knowledge and understanding, problem solving and practical activities form the basis of the National 5 Physics course.

Higher Course Outline

The course consists of three units. As well as the final examination in May, pupils must also pass a NAB test for each of the three units. There is also an investigation which must be carried out and written up in class.

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Course Structure

Mechanics and Properties of Matter

This unit involves the study of:

  • vectors
  • equations of motion
  • Newton’s Second Law, energy and power
  • momentum and impulse
  • pressure and density
  • gas laws

Electricity and Electronics

This unit involves the study of:

  • electric fields and resistors in circuits
  • alternating current and voltage
  • capacitance
  • analogue electronics

Radiation and Matter

This unit involves the study of:

  • waves
  • refraction of light,
  • optoelectronics and semiconductors
  • nuclear reactions,
  • dosimetry and safety

The course is made up of four units:

  • 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 (half unit)
    • 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 (half unit)
    • 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