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Physics

Introduction

Physics is an essential area of knowledge for boys looking to study engineering, chemistry, oceanography, seismology, astronomy and many more. Physics teaches boys how the building blocks of the universe work, and allows our students to leave Auckland Grammar School with the potential to make huge technological advances.

Physics Tournament

Auckland Grammar School has had recent success in the New Zealand Young Physicists tournament. The Schools challenge each other to present their solution to one of the seven open-ended problems set by an international committee of physicists.

Form 5 (Pre-Q):

Prerequisites: A background in Auckland Grammar Form 4 Science is assumed and a strong understanding in Mathematics is an advantage.

Course description/aims:

Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of Physics includes motion, mechanics, heat, light and other electromagnetic radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. It is the basis for most of the modern advances in technology, electronics and computers.

Candidates who successfully study Physics in Form 5 can continue to study Physics through Cambridge Assessment International at AS and A Level or through NCEA Level 2 and Level 3 Physics.

Course outline:

  • Topic 1General Physics: Measurement, base units and S.I. units, experimental techniques, graph plotting, scalars and vectors
  • Topic 2 – Motion and Force: Kinematics, suvat equations, velocity, acceleration, mass, weight, density, effects of force, centripetal force, conditions for equilibrium, moments, centre of mass, momentum, energy, energy resources, efficiency, work, power and pressure
  • Topic 3Thermal Physics: States of matter, particle models, evaporation, gas pressure changes, gas laws, thermal expansion, temperature measurement, thermal capacity, melting and boiling, transfer of heat, conduction, convection and radiation
  • Topic 4Properties of Waves: General wave properties, light, refraction of light, converging lenses, dispersion of light, the electromagnetic spectrum, sound and hearing
  • Topic 5Electricity and Magnetism: Simple phenomena of magnetism, electric charge, current, electromotive force, potential difference, resistance, electrical energy, circuit diagrams, series and parallel circuits, action and use of components, dangers of electricity, electromagnetic induction, AC generators, transformers, magnetic effects of a current, force on a current carrying conductor and DC motors
  • Topic 6Atomic Physics: Radioactivity, characteristics of radioactive emissions, radioactive decay, half-life, safety precautions, the nuclear model of the atom.

Methods of assessment: Regular formative assessment of both theoretical and practical work will occur throughout the course.

Students sit three School examinations. The structure of the examinations will include a multiple-choice paper, short answer theoretical questions and alternative to practical data analysis and experimental design questions. The Pre-Q course does not include an external examination. All examinations are set, marked and moderated by the team of Physics teachers at the School.

Special equipment and costs: Theory and question workbook at $20 for the year.

Continuation of subject: The study of Physics continues into Forms 6 and 7 through the Cambridge AS and A2 courses as well as NCEA Levels 2 and 3. Pre-Q Physics is a prerequisite for the study of Physics in Form 6 and 7. Physics is also a pre-requisite for the study of many courses at university, technical institutes and a range of careers.

Form 6 (NCEA Level 2):

Prerequisites: Form 5 Science or Pre-Q Physics. Confident use of Mathematics is an advantage with all students taking Form 6 Mathematics to assist with their study of Physics.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have achieved over 50% in the final Pre-Q Physics examination, together with over 50% in Pre-Q Mathematics examination, have demonstrated an appropriate achievement level to study Form 6 Physics
  • Students who have achieved 40-50% in the final Pre-Q Physics examination, or 45-55% in the final Pre-Q Mathematics examination will find NCEA Level 2 Physics demanding (these students will find Cambridge Assessment examinations very difficult)
  • Students who have achieved less than 45% in the Pre-Q Physics examination or less than 45% in Pre-Q Mathematics examination often need additional help to pass Form 6 Physics

Course description/aims: Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of Physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. It is the basis for most of the modern advances in technology, electronics and computers.

Course outline:

  • Part 1: Experimental methods, kinematics, vectors, force, moments, momentum, energy, free fall, projectiles, atomic models, radioactivity, nuclear reactions, nuclear fission and fusion
  • Part 2: Circular motion and gravitation, propagation of light, wave properties, reflection, images, refraction, waves and interference
  • Part 3: Electric charge, electric field, DC electricity, resistor circuits, magnetic fields and electromagnetic induction

Methods of assessment: Students will sit three School examinations. Approximately 20 experiments are performed, written up and marked during each year.  Problem assignments are set and marked.

NCEA Level 2 Achievement Standards that students will be prepared for include:

  • 2.1 – carry out a practical physics investigation that leads to a non-linear mathematical relationship [4 Credits, Internal]
  • 2.3 – demonstrate understanding of waves [4 Credits, External]
  • 2.4 – demonstrate understanding of mechanics [6 Credits, External]
  • 2.5 – demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics [3 Credits, Internal]
  • 2.6 – demonstrate understanding of electricity and electromagnetism [6 Credits, External]

Special equipment and costs: Hardcover laboratory book and graph paper required. Externally published student workbooks cost approx. $30 for the year. Subscription to Education Perfect costs $20.

Continuation of subject: Physics continues onto Form 7 NCEA Level 3 Physics, which is a prerequisite for courses at universities, technical institutes and other careers.

Form 6 (AS):

Prerequisites: Form 5 Pre-Q Physics. A strong ability in Mathematics is an advantage, and all students should be taking Cambridge AS or A2 Mathematics.

Recommended achievement levels: Students who wish to study Cambridge Assessment AS Physics should have scored in excess of 60% in School examinations and gained a 60% or better in the Pre-Q examinations.

Course description/aims: Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of Physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. It is the basis for most of the modern advances in technology, electronics and computers.

Course outline: The subject content of the Cambridge course is divided into two segments (AS and A2). This is the first year of the Cambridge syllabus. The topics studied during the AS Physics course are listed below:

  • Physical quantities and units
  • Kinematics
  • Dynamics
  • Forces, density and pressure
  • Work, energy and power
  • Deformation of solids
  • Waves
  • Superposition
  • Electricity
  • D. C. circuits
  • Particle/nuclear physics

AS Level candidates also study practical skills.

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students will sit three School examinations. Approximately 20 experiments are performed, written up and marked during each year.  Practical examinations are undertaken each term and contribute towards the examination mark awarded each term. Formative assessments are sat in each part of the course. 

External Assessment: Students are prepared for the Cambridge Advanced Subsidiary (AS) examination (Syllabus 9702 AS). The Cambridge AS format is:

  • Paper 1 [1 hour 15 mins] – 40 x Multiple-choice questions, 31% of Cambridge AS course mark
  • Paper 2 [1 hour 15 mins] – structured questions, 46% of Cambridge AS course mark
  • Paper 3 [2 hours] – advanced practical skills, 23% of Cambridge AS course mark

Special equipment and costs: Hardcover lab book required. Theory and question workbooks costs $20 for the year.

Continuation of subject: Physics AS Level continues onto Form 7 Cambridge A2 Physics, which is a prerequisite for courses at universities, technical institutes and other careers.

Form 7 (NCEA Level 3):

Prerequisites: Form 6 Physics at AS or NCEA Level 2 and Mathematics

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have achieved over 55% in the final Form 6 Physics School examinations have an appropriate achievement level to study Form 7 Physics
  • Students who have achieved 45-55% in the final Form 6 Physics School examinations will find Form 7 Physics difficult
  • Students who have achieved less than 45% in the final Form 6 Physics School examinations are not recommended to take Form 7 Physics

Course description/aims: Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of Physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. It is the basis for most of the modern advances in technology, electronics and computers.

Course outline:

  • Part 1: Experimental methods, kinematics, force, circular motion, rotational kinematics and Modern physics (photoelectric effect, atomic spectra, nuclear reactions)
  • Part 2: Simple harmonic motion, progressive and standing waves, interference, the Doppler Effect, and magnetism
  • Part 3: Kirchhoff’s laws, capacitance, magnetic induction, alternating current, reactance and impedance

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students sit three School examinations. Approximately 20 experiments are performed and written up during each year. Problem assignments are set and marked.

External Assessment:

  • 3.1 – carry out a practical investigation with guidance that leads to a mathematical relationship [4 Credits, Internal]
  • 3.3 – demonstrate understanding of wave systems [4 Credits, External]
  • 3.4 – demonstrate understanding of mechanical systems [4 Credits, External]
  • 3.5 – demonstrate understanding of modern Physics [3 Credits, Internal]
  • 3.6 – demonstrate understanding of electrical systems [6 Credits, External]

Special equipment and costs: Hardcover laboratory book and graph paper required. Externally published student workbooks cost approximately $30 for the year. Subscription to Education Perfect costs $20.

Form 7 (A2):

Prerequisites: Form 6 Physics (Cambridge AS) and AS or A Level Mathematics.

Recommended achievement levels: Students who wish to sit Cambridge A2 examinations must pass Cambridge AS Level in Form 6, with an A to C Grade. It is possible to be accepted onto the Cambridge A2 course with a D or E Grade from Cambridge AS but students must repeat Cambridge AS in the May/June Examination Series during Form 7 to try to gain an improved Cambridge AS grade. Students who fail the Cambridge AS course and still need Physics for their career choice may be accepted into NCEA Level 3.

Course description/aims: Physics is the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of Physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. It is the basis for most of the modern advances in technology, electronics, and computers.

Course outline: The subject content of the Cambridge course is divided into two parts, Cambridge AS and Cambridge A- Level (A2). Candidates for Cambridge International A Level Physics study the AS Level topics and the following A2 Level topics:

  • Motion in a circle
  • Gravitational fields
  • Temperature
  • Ideal gases
  • Thermodynamics
  • Oscillations
  • Electric fields
  • Capacitance
  • Magnetic fields
  • Alternating currents
  • Quantum physics
  • Nuclear physics
  • Medical physics
  • Astronomy and cosmology

A Level candidates also study practical skills.

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students will sit three School examinations. Approximately 20 experiments are performed, written up and marked during each year.  Practical design and data analysis examinations are undertaken each term and contribute towards the examination mark awarded each term. Formative assessments are sat in each part of the course.

External Assessment: Students are prepared for the Cambridge Advanced Level examination (Syllabus 9702 A2). The Cambridge A2 examination format is:

  • Paper 4 [2 hours] – structured questions, 38.5% of Cambridge A Level course mark)
  • Paper 5 [1 hour 15 mins] – practical skills, planning, analysis and evaluation, 11.5% of Cambridge A Level course mark)

Note: Marks from Cambridge AS examinations contribute 50% to the final A Level mark. It is possible to resit the Cambridge AS examinations in the May/June Examination Series of Form 7 to try to improve marks but most A2 classes only teach the A2 course to students so self-study for the examination is required. Students cannot sit single papers on either the first occasion or for resit purposes.

Special equipment and costs: Hardcover lab book required. Theory and question workbook at $20.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff today.