Physics

Welcome to the Physics Department

Courses offered:

National 4 Physics
National 5 Physics
Higher Physics
Advanced Higher Physics

Description of each course:

National 4/5 Physics

COURSE AIMS
The main aims of this Course are for learners to:-
• improve their understanding of the physical world
• develop an understanding of the applications of physics in our everyday lives
• carry out experiments and analyse their results
• develop the ability to think logically
• develop problem solving skills in a physics context

COURSE CONTENT
The course consists of three units as follows:-

Dynamics and Space
At Nat 4, this unit aims to investigate moving objects and the forces acting on them. It starts simply, by considering constant speeds and leads up to an understanding of satellite motion. The unit finishes with us considering the possibility of life on other planets.
At Nat 5, this unit investigates constant speed, acceleration and projectile motion and explains why these motions occur in terms of forces. This leads on to the physics of space exploration and how our understanding of the Earth’s place in the Universe has changed over time.

Electricity and Energy
At Nat 4, this unit aims to develop an understanding of the generation of electricity and looks at the behaviour of practical electrical and electronic circuits.
At Nat 5, this unit aims to introduce the principle of the conservation of energy and looks at electrical charge carriers and their behaviour in electric fields. This leads to a more detailed look at the behaviour of practical electrical and electronic circuits

Waves and Radiation
At Nat 4, this unit aims to investigate how waves behave in a variety of materials, looking at sound waves and the electromagnetic spectrum.
At Nat 5, this unit aims to investigate the behaviour of light, the electromagnetic spectrum and the different types of radiation. The unit concludes with nuclear radiation and its associated benefits and risks.

SKILLS
Pupils being presented at National 4 will be able to
• think their way through problems and make predictions
• design and plan experiments to test their ideas
• carry out experiments and analyse their results
• draw appropriate conclusions from data analysed
Once they have understood and assimilated the scientific method, pupils in National 5 will be expected to:-
• Demonstrate deeper knowledge and retain it over a long period of time
• Integrate and apply their skills and knowledge across the three units of the course
• Solve unfamiliar problems using physics principles
• Apply the scientific method to unfamiliar situations

Higher Physics

COURSE AIMS

Our Dynamic Universe
This Unit revises candidates’ knowledge of forces and movement then extends the work to include energy, power, momentum and motion in space. Satellites and gravitation introduce the astrophysics section. The effects of motion at high speed are considered in an introduction to special relativity. Evidence for the expanding universe and the origin of the universe completes the topics covered in the Unit.
Electricity
This Unit builds on candidates’ knowledge of electricity. This leads to a more detailed look at the behaviour of practical electrical and electronic circuits. Candidates study how to monitor and measure a.c. signals. The unit concludes by explaining how L.E.Ds operate.

Particles and Waves
This Unit extends the candidates’ knowledge of how charged particles behave in electric fields. This will then allow them to understand how particle accelerators work. This leads to an understanding of the Standard Model of fundamental particles. The topic concludes with the properties of light and its surprising ability to behave like both a wave and a particle.

Researching Physics
The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills relevant to undertaking research in physics. Learners will collect and synthesise information from different sources, plan and undertake a practical investigation, analyse results and communicate information related to their findings. They will also consider any applications of the physics involved and implications for society/ the environment. Candidates will prepare a scientific communication, presenting the aim, results and conclusions of their practical investigation.

COURSE CONTENT

Chemical Changes and Structure
This Unit covers the knowledge and understanding of controlling reaction rates and periodic trends, and strengthens the learner’s ability to make reasoned evaluations by recognising underlying patterns and principles. Learners will investigate collision theory and the use of catalysts in reactions. Learners will explore the concept of electro-negativity and intra-molecular and intermolecular forces. The connection between bonding and a material’s physical properties is investigated.

Researching Chemistry
This Unit covers the key skills necessary to undertake research in chemistry. Learners will research the relevance of chemical theory to everyday life by exploring the chemistry behind a topical issue. Learners will develop the key skills associated with collecting and synthesising information from a number of different sources. Equipped with the knowledge of common chemistry apparatus and techniques, they will plan and undertake a practical investigation related to a topical issue. Using their scientific literacy skills, learners will communicate their results and conclusions.

Nature’s Chemistry
This Unit covers the knowledge and understanding of organic chemistry within the context of the chemistry of food and the chemistry of everyday consumer products, soaps, detergents, fragrances and skincare. The relationship between the structure of organic compounds, their physical and chemical properties and their uses are investigated. Key functional groups and types of organic reaction are covered.

Chemistry in Society
This Unit covers the knowledge and understanding of the principles of physical chemistry which allow a chemical process to be taken from the researcher’s bench through to industrial production. Learners will calculate quantities of reagents and products, percentage yield and the atom economy of processes. They will develop skills to manipulate dynamic equilibria and predict enthalpy changes. Learners will investigate the ability of substances to act as oxidising or reducing agents and their use in analytical chemistry through the context of volumetric titrations. Learners will use analytical chemistry to determine the purity of reagents and products.

SKILLS

Once they have understood and assimilated the scientific method, pupils in Higher Physics will be expected to
• Demonstrate deeper knowledge and retain it over a long period of time
• Integrate and apply their skills and knowledge across the four units of the course
• Solve unfamiliar problems using physics principles
• Apply the scientific method to unfamiliar situations both theoretically and practically

Physics– Advanced Higher

ENTRY LEVEL

Higher Physics at A or B (entry with C at discretion of department). Higher Mathematics pass at A, B or C would also be beneficial.

COURSE Units

1. Rotational Motion and Astrophysics
2. Quanta and Waves
3. Electromagnetism
4. Investigating Physics

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.

SKILLS

  • extending and applying knowledge of physics to new situations, interpreting and analysing information to solve more complex problems
  • planning and designing physics experiments/investigations, using reference material and including risk assessments, to test a hypothesis or to illustrate particular effects
  • carrying out complex experiments in physics safely, recording systematic detailed observations and collecting data
  • selecting and presenting detailed information appropriately, in a variety of forms
  • processing and analysing physics information (using calculations, significant figures and units, where appropriate)
  • making reasoned predictions from a range of evidence/information
  • drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • critically evaluating experimental procedures by identifying sources of uncertainty, suggesting and implementing improvements
  • drawing on knowledge and understanding of physics to make accurate statements, describe complex information, provide detailed explanations and integrate knowledge
  • communicating physics findings/information fully and effectively
  • analysing and evaluating scientific publications and media reports

 

Staff Members

Mrs P. Sneddon
Mr S. Campbell
Mr J. McLean (Faculty Head)

 

Further information on each course can be accessed by clicking the relevant link below

SQA National 4 Physics
SQA National 5 Physics
SQA Higher Physics
SQA Advanced Higher Physics