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Welcome to the Physics department at Wallington County Grammar School

 

KS3 Physics


In Physics at Key Stage 3 students study the National Curriculum through a series of themes and contexts. Engaging topics help to motivate students who cover Space, Pirates and Theme Parks in Year 7, and Concerts, Circuses, Transport and Save the Planet in Year 8. A combination of knowledge and skills is taught at a high level designed for the intelligent and hard working boys who attend Wallington Grammar School. Open-ended assessment tasks are built into the course, focussing on both the Physics content and on practical work through How Science Works.


In Year 7 there is one Physics lesson each week.


In the Space module, students study the historical development of ideas about the Solar System in different societies and use their findings to write a guide to the Solar System. They map out the paths of planets around the Sun and plan a space voyage past the planets into Deep Space. Students learn about forces, and apply their understanding to launch a rocket into Space in the first place.
In Pirates, students work in crews, consolidating their understanding of forces, and learning about speed, acceleration and motion. They compete in Pirate battles using their Mathematical and Physics skills, before being caught in a storm and having to test different ship types in Pirate Races.


In Theme Parks, students use their understanding of forces, and develop their knowledge of energy types, and plan parts of a Theme Park. There is an opportunity to carry out practical work on the safety aspects of theme park rides. Through an understanding of the cost of energy and electricity, students finish the year by developing a business proposal for their rollercoasters.


The topics covered in Year 8 Physics are slightly larger, as students now have three lessons per fortnight.


In concerts, students learn about both electrical circuits and sound waves, and combine these two areas to design a concert venue which can power both the lighting and the sound circuits and has good acoustics.


In circuses, students learn about light and use optical illusions to plan magic tricks for the circus. They focus on colours, and combine them to work out how to run spotlights during the circus show. A study of turning effects and moments leads students to consider the physics behind acrobats and trapeze artists.


In transport, students learn about pressure between solids, and in liquids and gases, and apply this to different transport types such as skiing and hydraulic tyres. By studying magnetism and electromagnetism students are able to design the next generation of MagLev train.


In Save the World, students start small by improving the insulation and eco-credentials of the school's dining hall using their understanding of conduction, convection and radiation. They learn about different types of power stations, look at the advantages and disadvantages of them, and then debate different energy solutions for the UK for the future.


Students have access to support sessions on Thursdays after school most weeks of the school year, and a large range of Science enrichment activities can be viewed on the science pages here.


KS4 Physics


In Physics at Key Stage 4, students follow the Edexcel Certificate, the iGCSE for state schools. This is a demanding academic course suitable for the boys at Wallington County Grammar School. Two terminal exams are sat during Year 11 and there is no coursework component to the course.


Students are taught in smaller classes for KS4, and they have two hours of Physics lessons a week which allows the boys time to explore topics in greater depth and to carry out worthwhile practical work.


Students study the following topics during the course:


Section A: Forces and Motion
Movement and Position, Forces and Shape, Forces and Movement, Momentum, the Turning Effect of Forces and Astronomy
Section B: Electricity
Mains Electricity, Electric Charge, Current and Voltage in Circuits and Electrical Resistance
Section C: Waves
Properties of Waves, Using Waves, Light Waves and Sound
Section D: Energy Resources and Energy Transfer
Energy Transfers, Thermal Energy, Work and Power and Energy Resources and Electricity Generation
Section E: Solids, Liquids and Gases
Density and Pressure and Solids, Liquids and Gases
Section F: Magnetism and Electromagnetism
Magnetism and Electromagnetism and Electric Motors and Electromagnetic Induction
Section G: Radioactivity and Particles
Atoms and Radioactivity, Radiation and Half-life, Applications of Radioactivity and Particles

Students have access to support sessions on Thursdays after school most weeks of the school year and a large range of Science enrichment activities can be viewed on the science pages here.


KS5 Physics


The qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and process skills developed in GCSE Science. Students are expected to have achieved at least a GCSE grade A in Physics or AA in Science (Double Award). It will be very helpful to have at least a grade B in GCSE Mathematics as numeracy and mathematical skills are important in Physics.


 A Level Physics is suitable for students who:
have an interest in, and enjoy Physics;
want to find out about how things in the physical world work;
enjoy applying their mind to solving problems;
enjoy carrying out investigations by the application of imaginative, logical thinking;
want to use Physics to support other qualifications or progress onto further studies or employment.

 

What does the course involve?


AS Unit 1: Particles, Quantum Phenomena and Electricity
Assessment is in the form of a 75 minute written examination.


Students will study:
The nucleus including particles, antiparticles and photons; hadrons and leptons; the quark model;
Quantum phenomena including photoelectricity, energy levels and photon emission, wave particle duality;
Electricity including electrical quantities, resistivity, circuits and components, alternating current.

AS Unit 2: Mechanics, Materials and Waves
Assessment is in the form of a 75 minute written examination.


Students will study:
Mechanics, including motion along a straight line, projectile motion, Newton's laws of motion, energy and power;
Properties of materials, including density and the Young modulus;
Waves, including longitudinal and transverse waves, progressive and stationary waves, refraction, diffraction and interference.

AS Unit 3: Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Physics
Assessment is in the form of a practical skills assessment.


Students will be required to show evidence of the processing of data, making observations and measurements and analysing and the evaluation of results.

A2 Unit 4: Fields and Further Mechanics
Assessment is in the form of a 105 minute written examination.


Students will study:
Further mechanics, including momentum, circular motion and simple harmonic motion;
Fields, including gravitational fields, electric fields, capacitors, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction.

A2 Unit 5: Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and an Optional Topic
Assessment is in the form of a 105 minute written examination.

Students will build on key ideas about particles and energy from AS Physics, including probing the nucleus, radioactivity, nuclear instability and nuclear energy, as well as the thermal properties of materials, ideal gases and the kinetic theory of gases.

In addition, students will study one of the following areas:
AstroPhysics: lenses and telescopes, non-optical telescopes, classification of stars, cosmology;
Medical Physics: Physics of the eye, Physics of the ear, biological measurements, non-ionising imaging, X-ray imaging;
Applied Physics: rotational dynamics, thermodynamics, engines;
Turning points in Physics: the discovery of the electron, wave-particle duality, special relativity.

A2 Unit 6: Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Physics

Assessment is in the form of a practical skills assessment. Students will be required to show selection and use of a variety of appropriate equipment, evidence of the processing of data, making observations and measurements and analysing and the evaluation of results.

 

Why study Physics?

Physics leads on to an extremely wide range of courses and careers. You could go on to use Physics to support other qualifications or progress onto further studies or employment. This could be:
From a Higher National programme (HNC & HND) to degree level;
Courses ranging from Physics, the Sciences, Medicine to Engineering;
Chemical Engineering and related programmes;
Employment in the area of radiography, and biotechnology as possible examples;
Indeed, Physics is recognised as an entry qualification for a vast range of Higher Education courses and employment.

A Physics Society is organised by volunteers from the sixth form, and students are supported in researching, writing and delivering talks on a range of topics of their choice. Students from across the school are invited to attend on Tuesday lunchtimes. A wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities are run by the Science Faculty, including the option to undertake various projects during timetabled Wednesday afternoon enrichment sessions. Please see the science pages here for further information.