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Physics

National 4 Physics

Course Description

Physics provides pupils with an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the study of the electrical and heat energy used in our society, to the exploration of space, it covers a range of applications of the relationships that have been discovered through experiment and calculation, including those used in modern technology.

Advances in physics mean that our view of what is possible is continually being updated. This course enables learners to understand the processes behind scientific advances, and to appreciate and contribute to topical scientific debate. It also aims to give all learners the opportunity to develop their interest in, and understanding of, the Laws of the Universe. The course is built around investigative tasks, developing the skills required to become creative, inventive and enterprising in a world where the skills and knowledge gained by physicists are in demand across all sectors of society today.

Course Outline

  • Waves and Radiation

This unit will explore the underlying concepts and application of technology relevant to telecommunications and medicine. It will focus on the use of electromagnetic waves for everything from mobile phones to medical scans. It will also investigate the various uses of sound, from entertainment to ultrasound scans.

  • Electricity and Energy

This unit will encompass everything from large scale generation of electricity to the electrical circuits that govern our everyday technology.

  • Dynamics and Space

This unit will begin by investigating relationships involving forces before going on to look at concepts relevant to study of the universe. It will investigate the risks and benefits of space exploration.

Course assessment

3 unit assessments – internally assessed then verified by SQA

Research assignment - internally assessed then verified by SQA

Course award awarded on passing unit assessments and research assignment

Skills for learning, life and work

  • Develop and apply knowledge and understanding of physics
  • Develop an understanding of the role of physics in scientific issues and relevant applications of physics in 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 problem solving skills in a physics context, including use of numeracy
  • Use and understand scientific literacy, in everyday contexts, to communicate ideas and issues
  • Develop the knowledge and skills for more advanced learning in physics
  • Working independently and as part of a group

Useful websites

The BBC Bitesize website contains useful information, assessments and simulations to support your understanding of this course.

The SQA National 4 Physics site contains useful information on the material covered in this course.

National 5 Physics

Course Description

Physics provides pupils with an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the study of the electrical and heat energy used in our society, to the exploration of space, it covers a range of applications of the relationships that have been discovered through experiment and calculation, including those used in modern technology.

Advances in physics mean that our view of what is possible is continually being updated. This course enables learners to understand the processes behind scientific advances, and to appreciate and contribute to topical scientific debate. It also aims to give all learners the opportunity to develop their interest in, and understanding of, the Laws of the Universe. The course is built around investigative tasks, developing the skills required to become creative, inventive and enterprising in a world where the skills and knowledge gained by physicists are in demand across all sectors of society today.

Course Outline

  • Waves and Radiation

This unit will explore the underlying concepts and application of technology relevant to telecommunications and medicine. It will focus on the use of electromagnetic waves for everything from mobile phones to medical scans. It will also investigate the role nuclear radiation has in our society.

  • Electricity and Energy

This unit will encompass everything from large scale generation of electricity to the electrical circuits that govern our everyday technology. It will explore relationships involving electrical, heat, potential and kinetic energy, as well as looking at the properties of matter.

  • Dynamics and Space

This unit will begin by investigating relationships involving forces before going on to look at concepts relevant to study of the universe. It will investigate the risks and benefits of space exploration as well as beginning to study the latest advances in the field of cosmology.

Course assessment

Research assignment (20 Marks) – externally assessed by SQA

Final examination (80 Marks) – externally assessed by SQA

Course award graded A-D on basis of assignment and exam

Skills for learning, life and work

  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding by making statements, describing information, providing explanations and integrating knowledge
  • Applying knowledge of physics to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems
  • Planning, designing, and safely carrying out experimental/practical investigations to test given hypotheses or to illustrate particular effects
  • Selecting information and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • Processing information (using calculations and units where appropriate)
  • Making predictions based on evidence/information
  • Drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • Identifying sources of uncertainty and suggesting improvements to experiments/practical investigations
  • Communicating findings/information
  • Working independently and as part of a group

Useful websites

The BBC Bitesize website contains useful information, assessments and simulations to support your understanding of this course.

The SQA National 5 Physics site contains useful information on the material covered in this course as well as past papers and marking instructions.

Higher Physics

Course Description

The Higher Physics course allows learners to understand and investigate the world in an engaging and enjoyable way. It develops learners’ ability to think analytically, creatively and independently, and to make reasoned evaluations. The course provides opportunities for learners to acquire and apply knowledge, to evaluate environmental and scientific issues, to consider risk, and to make informed decisions. This can lead to learners developing an informed and ethical view of complex issues. Learners will develop skills in communication, collaborative working and leadership, and apply critical thinking in new and unfamiliar contexts to solve problems.

Course Outline

  • Our Dynamic Universe

This Unit begins by looking at the interactions between objects on Earth before looking outwards to space. Students will undertake a journey from Newton’s theory of gravitation, through Einstein’s theories of relativity before examining the evidence to support the Big Bang theory and coming right up to date with the latest theories of dark matter and energy.

  • Particles and Waves

With the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN, particle physics is now more talked about than ever before. Students will explore the Standard Model of particle physics essentially the building blocks of our Universe, before delving into the strange world of quantum mechanics. They will be challenged by counter-intuitive ideas such as wave-particle duality and make links with techniques developed by particle physicists and used by astronomers to investigate the Universe

  • Electricity

This Unit involves the study of Electricity, from large scale distribution right down to the structure of the transistors that have allowed for the proliferation of complex electronic devices that we take for granted. There is also scope to investigate the rising use of renewable energy and the challenges faced in producing more efficient solar cells.

  • Researching 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

Researching physics assignment (20 marks) – externally assessed by SQA

Final examination (100 marks) – externally assessed by SQA

Course award graded A-D on basis of assignment and exam

Skills for learning, life and work

  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of physics by making statements, describing information, providing explanations and integrating knowledge
  • Applying knowledge of physics to new situations, interpreting information and solving problems
  • Planning and designing experiments/practical investigations to test given hypotheses or to illustrate particular effects, including safety measures
  • Selecting information and presenting information appropriately in a variety of forms
  • Processing information (using calculations, significant figures and units, where appropriate)
  • Making predictions from evidence/information
  • Drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by evidence/justification
  • Evaluating experimental procedures, identifying sources of uncertainty and suggesting improvements
  • Working independently and as part of a group
  • Applying skills of scientific inquiry and analytical thinking in complex contexts

Useful websites

The Scholar website contains useful information, assessments and simulations to support your understanding of this course.

The SQA Higher Physics site contains useful information on the material covered in this course as well as past papers and marking instructions.

Advanced Higher Physics

Course Description

As our understanding of physics and its potential applications is constantly evolving, our success as an industrial society depends on the development of young people who are secure in their knowledge of physics and who are resilient, adaptable, creative and inventive.

The Course offers opportunities for collaborative and independent learning set within familiar and unfamiliar contexts, and seeks to illustrate and emphasise situations where the principles of physics are used and applied, thus promoting the candidate‘s awareness that physics involves interaction between theory and practice. An opportunity for engaging in some independent research is provided. The resulting elements of knowledge and understanding and skills form the basis of the Advanced Higher Physics Course.

The study of Advanced Higher Physics should also 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 outline

  • Rotational Motion and Astrophysics

This Unit allows students to make links with the behaviour of objects in motion on Earth and relate it to the behaviour of objects in space, highlighting the consistency of the laws of Physics across the Universe. Students investigate widespread areas of astrophysics including space-time, black holes and the evolution and properties of stars.

  • Quanta and Waves

This Unit begins by examining the challenges to classical physics that introduced the ideas that underpin quantum mechanics. Links will be made from the study of particles on Earth to the use of these techniques to study the Universe. The study of optics is also introduced in this unit, allowing an understanding of the behaviour of light and the use of polarisation. 

  • Electromagnetism

The Unit develops knowledge and understanding of electric and magnetic fields and capacitors and inductors used in d.c. and a.c. circuits. In addition, students will follow in the footsteps of the celebrated Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in examining the link between electricity and magnetism and its application to light.

  • 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.

  • Project

As part of their Advanced Higher Physics Course, students need to carry out a practical Project. This could be on any related topic they choose, or it could be on a theme suggested by their teacher. Students will be supported through their Project, but they will also be expected to make progress independently for some of the time.

Course assessment

Carry out a detailed project on a Physics topic of interest to the pupil - this involves topical research and rigorous practical work. (30 Marks) – externally assessed by SQA

 External examination (100 Marks) – externally assessed by SQA

Course award graded from A-D on basis of project and exam

Skills for learning, life and work

  • Development of a critical understanding of the role of physics in scientific issues and relevant applications, including the impact these could make on the environment/ society
  • Skills to carry out complex practical scientific activities, including the use of risk assessments, technology, equipment and materials
  • Scientific inquiry and investigative skills, including planning and experimental design
  • Scientific analytical thinking skills, including critical evaluation of experimental procedures in a physics context
  • Problem-solving skills in a physics context
  • Further develop an understanding of scientific literacy, using a wide range of resources, in order to communicate complex ideas and issues and to make scientifically informed choices
  • Skills of independent/autonomous working

Useful websites

The Scholar website contains useful information, assessments and simulations to support your understanding of this course.

The SQA Advanced Higher Physics site contains useful information on the material covered in this course as well as past papers and marking instructions.

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Address

Beeslack Community High School
Edinburgh Road
Penicuik
Midlothian
EH26 0QF

Phone

01968 678 060

Email

beeslack.hs@midlothian.gov.uk