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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):

Pre-requisites: 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 1 – General Physics: Measurement, base units and S.I. units, experimental techniques, graph plotting, scalars, 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, pressure.
  • Topic 3 – Thermal 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 4 – Properties of Waves: General wave properties, light, refraction of light, converging lenses, dispersion of light, the electromagnetic spectrum, sound and hearing.
  • Topic 5 – Electricity 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, DC motors.
  • Topic 6 – Atomic Physics: Radioactivity, characteristics of radioactive emissions, radioactive decay, half-life, safety precautions, the nuclear model of the atom.

Methods of assessment: School Examinations:

  • 1 x 1 hour examination
  • 1 x 2 hour examination
  • 1 x 3 hour examination (Pre-Q)

Internal Assessment: Regular formative assessment of both theoretical and practical work throughout the course. 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 in 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. Form 5 Pre-Q Physics is a pre-requisite for the study of Physics in Form 6 and 7 at School. 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):

Pre-requisites: Form 5 Science or Pre-Q Physics. and students should also be taking Form 6 Mathematics.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have achieved over 55% in the Form 5 School Physics examination, together with over 55% in Form 5 School Mathematics examination, have demonstrated an appropriate achievement level to study Form 6 Physics
  • Students who have achieved 45-55% in the Form 5 School Physics examination, or 45-55% in Form 5 Mathematics examination will find Form 6 NCEA Level 2 Physics very difficult (these students will not attempt Cambridge Assessment examinations)
  • Students who have achieved less than 45% in the Form 5 School Physics examination, or less than 45% in Form 5 School Mathematics examination, are strongly advised not to take 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, interference
  • Part 3 – Electric charge, electric field, DC electricity, resistor circuits, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction,

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students will sit 1 x 1-hour, 1 x 2-hour, and 1 x 3-hour School examinations. Approximately twenty experiments are performed, written up and marked during each year. Problem assignments are set and marked.

External Assessment: 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: Hard covered laboratory book and graph paper required. Theory and question workbooks cost $20 for the year. Subscription to Education Perfect costs $20.

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

Form 6 (AS):

Pre-requisites: 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. Examinations are set at the end of each segment (with marks from AS being carried forward to the A2 course if studied). 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
  • DC circuits
  • Particle and nuclear physics

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students will sit 1 x 1-hour, 1 x 2-hour, and 1 x 3-hour examinations. Approximately twenty 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 AS examination. The Cambridge AS format is:

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

Special equipment and costs: Hard covered lab book required. Theory and question workbook costs $20 for the year.

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

Form 7 (NCEA Level 3):

Pre-requisites: Form 6 Physics at AS or NCEA Level 2 and Mathematics.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have achieved over 55% in Form 6 Physics have an appropriate achievement level to study Form 7 Physics
  • Students who have achieved 45-55% in Form 6 Physics will find Form 7 Physics difficult
  • Students who have achieved less than 45% in Form 6 Physics 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, Modern physics (photoelectric effect, atomic spectra, nuclear reactions)
  • Part 2 – Simple harmonic motion, progressive and standing waves, interference, Doppler Effect, magnetism
  • Part 3 – Kirchhoff’s laws, capacitance, magnetic induction, alternating current, reactance, impedance

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: There are 1 x 1-hour, 1 x 2-hour, and 1 x 3-hour 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 [6 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: Hard-covered laboratory book and graph paper required. Theory and question workbook costs $25 for the year. Subscription to Education Perfect costs $20.

Form 7 (A2):

Pre-requisites: 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 all such students must repeat Cambridge AS in the May/June Examination Series to try to gain a better 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). Students will study the following 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

Methods of assessment:

Internal Assessment: Students will sit 1 x 1-hour, 1 x 2-hour, and 1 x 3-hour School examinations. Approximately twenty 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: 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. Students cannot sit single papers on either the first occasion or for resit purposes.

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

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