Physics is the science that deals with the structure of matter and the interactions between the fundamental constituents of the observable universe. In the broadest sense, Physics (from the Greek physikos) is concerned with all aspects of nature on both the macroscopic and sub-microscopic levels. Its scope of study encompasses not only the behaviour of objects under the action of given forces but also the nature and origin of gravitational, electromagnetic, and nuclear force fields. Its ultimate objective is the formulation of a few comprehensive principles that bring together and explain all such disparate phenomena.
Physics provides opportunities for students to engage with the classical and modern understandings of the universe. In Unit 1, students learn about the fundamental concepts of thermodynamics, electricity and nuclear processes. In Unit 2, students learn about the concepts and theories that predict and describe the linear motion of objects. Further, they will explore how scientists explain some phenomena using an understanding of waves. In Unit 3, students engage with the concept of gravitational and electromagnetic fields, and the relevant forces associated with them. Finally, in Unit 4, students study modern physics theories and models that, despite being counterintuitive, are fundamental to our understanding of many common observable phenomena.
At Aldridge SHS, Physics is offered in Year's 10 through to 12. Year 10 is a course that introduces students to the important foundations that underpin Units 1 and 2 and is essentially a dry run for Year 11. If the student can show proficiency in these units they will be “fast tracked", that is they will be recorded as having finished Year 11 and can then go on to do Units 3 and 4. This means they will have a year to prepare for Year 12.
The course, in Year 10 also introduces students to the types of assessment that they will face in Year 11 and 12, with the focus being on unpacking assessment tasks and the specific marking criteria involved with each piece.
Physics, along with all of the senior Sciences, also explicitly teaches the strategies related to responding to the cognitive verbs used in assessment tasks and the subsequent criteria on which the students will be graded.
Why study Physics?
Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science.
Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to great discoveries, like computers and lasers, that lead to technologies which change our lives from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions.
Physics encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles.
Moreover, it's the basis of many other sciences, including chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy (and can be applied to biology or medical science)
Facilities, equipment and software:
Students will become trained in using Scientific data logging software (Loggerpro – supplied by the school). Here at Aldridge we have a laboratory specifically set up to suit the needs of senior Physics students.
Units of study:
- Unit 1 and 2 are 15 week units. Units 3 and 4 are 18 week units.
Year 10 and 11, Sem I: Thermal, Nuclear and Electrical Physics
In Unit 1, students explore an understanding of heating processes, nuclear reactions and electricity and how they are essential to appreciate how global energy needs are met. Students investigate heating processes, apply the nuclear model of the atom to investigate radioactivity, and learn how nuclear reactions convert mass into energy. They examine the movement of electrical charge in circuits and use this to analyse and design electrical circuits.
Year 10 and 11, Sem II: Unit 2: Linear motion and waves
In Unit 2, students describe linear motion in terms of displacement, velocity, acceleration and time data, and examine the relationships between force, momentum and energy for interactions in one dimension. Students also investigate common wave phenomena, using waves on springs, sound waves and consideration of seismic waves. They compare the behaviour of these waves with the behaviour of light, leading to an explanation of light phenomena, including constructive and destructive interference, and diffraction, in terms of a wave model.
Year 12, Sem III: Gravity and Electromagnetism
In Unit 3, students develop a deeper understanding of motion and its causes by using Newton's laws of motion and the gravitational field model to analyse motion on inclined planes, and the motion of projectiles and satellites. Students develop their understanding of field theories of gravity and electromagnetism through investigations of motion and electromagnetic phenomena. Finally, they will investigate the production of electromagnetic waves.
Year 12, Sem IV: Revolutions in Modern Physics
In Unit 4, students examine observations of relative motion, light and matter that could not be explained by classical physics theories, and investigate how the shortcomings of existing theories led to the development of the special theory of relativity and the quantum theory of light and matter. Students evaluate the contribution of the quantum theory of light to the development of the quantum theory of the atom, and examine the Standard Model of particle physics and how it relates to the Big Bang theory.
Formative assessment – Units 1 and 2: Student Experiment, Data Test, Research Task and Mock External Exam.
Summative assessment – Units 3 and 4: Student Experiment (20%), Data Test (10%), Research Task (20%) and External Exam (50%).
A course of study in Physics can establish a basis for further education and employment in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and technology.
The current teachers of Physics at Aldridge High are Miss Midgley and Mr Carson. Miss Midgley came to us after a career in Pathology working in several laboratories in Queensland. She is a dedicated and passionate teacher whose technical and theoretical knowledge is of the highest standard. She came to Aldridge in 2016 and is also one of our fantastic Chemistry teachers. Mr Carson is currently the Head of the Aldridge High Science Department and has been with us, teaching Senior Maths, Chemistry and Physics since 1995. His past roles, that were served concurrently along with his present role, were as chairperson of the Wide Bay Physics Assessment Review Panel, Chairperson of the Wide Bay Science Head of Department Cluster and as a part time University lecturer at ACU specialising in the Pedagogical strategies and Assessment techniques used in Secondary Physics education.