Subject Information - Physics

National 4/5

Head of Department: Mr Iain Lawrie

Course Progression: Physics

Courses

Physics helps pupils’ understanding of the world around us and of how things work. Physics is the Science that underlies the new technologies with advances in, for example, electronics, optics and nanotechnology with its exciting applications on the boundaries between Physics and Biology.

Elective courses are offered from S3–S6. Physics for S3 may be chosen by all pupils of all ability levels and all classes in S3/S4 will typically follow the SQA National 5 syllabus. All pupils will begin to study for the National 5 qualification, although some pupils may find the demands of National 5 too challenging and therefore, the National 4 qualification may be more suitable. For these pupils there will be an opportunity to transfer to the National 4 course at some point during S3/S4.

At S5, the main route of progress within SQA-based qualifications is from National 5 to Higher Physics. However, National 5 is available; a course which has a dual role in allowing pupils who dropped the subject at the end of S2, and in allowing others who did National 4, to take the two-year path towards possible Higher Physics in S6. In addition, some pupils aim for direct entry to Higher Physics in S5 having done no Physics since S2 but with a record of being strong in Maths and other Sciences.

In S6, the Advanced Higher course is available for all those who have gained a C or better at Higher and as well as the main body of course work, both theoretical and practical, there is the exciting element of an individual investigation. The Advanced Higher course is of great value for those going on to university courses in science and engineering. Others might take Physics up at National 5 or Higher - depending on ability in other, numerate, subjects and intended destination beyond Watson’s.

As part of the school’s IB Diploma Programme we also offer the IB DP Physics course at both Standard and Higher levels for pupils in S5 and S6.  These two-year courses are well resourced and provide either an excellent grounding in the subject or the basis for further study in tertiary education. 

Physics National 4

Recommended Entry

• None

Physics gives learners an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the sources of the power we use, 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. An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of physics concepts.

The course comprises four National 4 units. There is no external assessment at the end of the course.  The course and unit awards are based on evidence that will be internally marked by Watson’s staff in line with SQA guidelines and subject to quality assurance by SQA.

Electricity and Energy:
The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking, along with knowledge and understanding of electricity and energy. Learners will apply these skills when considering the applications of electricity and energy on our lives, as well as the implications on society/the environment. This can be done by using a variety of approaches, including investigation and problem solving.

The Unit covers the key areas of energy transfer, heat and the gas laws. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Waves and Radiation:
The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking, along with knowledge and understanding of waves and radiation. Learners will apply these skills when considering the applications of waves and radiation on our lives, as well as the implications on society/the environment. This can be done by using a variety of approaches, including investigation and problem solving.

The Unit covers the key areas of waves and nuclear radiation. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Dynamics and Space:
The general aim of this Unit is to develop skills of scientific inquiry, investigation and analytical thinking, along with knowledge and understanding of dynamics and space. Learners will apply these skills when considering the applications of dynamics and space on our lives, as well as the implications on society/the environment. This can be done by using a variety of approaches, including investigation and problem solving.

The Unit covers the key areas of kinematics, forces and space. Learners will research issues, apply scientific skills and communicate information related to their findings, which will develop skills of scientific literacy.

Added Value Unit: Physics Assignment
The assignment requires candidates to apply skills, knowledge and understanding to investigate a relevant topic in physics. The topic will draw on one or more of the key areas of the Course, and will be chosen with guidance from the assessor. The assignment requires learners to demonstrate aspects of challenge and application; learners will apply skills of scientific inquiry, using related knowledge, to carry out a meaningful and appropriately challenging task in physics and communicate findings.

This is a pass/fail internally assessed required component of the course.

Course Progression

Pupils who gain a pass in National 4 Physics in S4 could progress to an National 5 course in Chemistry or Biology or Physics in S5, with the possibility of Higher in that subject in S6 depending on progress.

Physics National 5

Recommended Entry

• None

Physics gives learners an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the sources of the power we use, 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. An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of physics concepts.

This Course will enable learners to develop a deeper understanding of physics concepts and the ability to describe and interpret physical phenomena using mathematical skills. They will develop scientific methods of research in which issues in physics are explored and conclusions drawn. 

The course is typically delivered as three National 5 units over the course of the two sessions in S3/4. National 5 is also available as a one-session option in S5 and S6.

Electricity
The topics covered are: electrical charge carriers; potential difference (voltage); Ohm’s law; practical electrical and electronic circuits; electrical power.

Properties of Matter
The topics covered are: specific heat capacity; specific latent heat; gas laws and the kinetic model.

Waves 
The topics covered are: wave parameters and behaviours; electromagnetic spectrum; refraction of light.

Radiation
The topic covered is nuclear radiation, this includes the nature of alpha, beta and gamma.  The science of Dosimetry and a working understanding of Half Life.

Dynamics 
The topics covered are: vectors and scalars; velocity–time graphs; acceleration; Newton’s laws; energy; projectile motion.

Space
The topics covered are: space exploration; cosmology.

Added Value Unit: Physics Assignment 
The assignment requires candidates to apply skills, knowledge and understanding to investigate a relevant topic in physics. The topic will draw on one or more of the key areas of the Course, and will be chosen with guidance from the assessor. The assignment requires learners to demonstrate aspects of challenge and application; learners will apply skills of scientific inquiry, using related knowledge, to carry out a meaningful and appropriately challenging task in physics and communicate findings.

It is worth 20% of the final grade.

Course Progression

• To further study or employment in almost any field.

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Higher

Head of Department: Mr Iain Lawrie

Course Progression: Physics

Courses

Physics helps pupils’ understanding of the world around us and of how things work. Physics is the Science that underlies the new technologies with advances in, for example, electronics, optics and nanotechnology with its exciting applications on the boundaries between Physics and Biology.

Elective courses are offered from S3–S6. Physics for S3 may be chosen by all pupils of all ability levels and all classes in S3/S4 will typically follow the SQA National 5 syllabus. Occasionally, where numbers and individual ability dictate, some pupils might follow the SQA National 4 syllabus throughout all, or some of, S3/S4.

At S5, the main route of progress within SQA-based qualifications is from National 5 to Higher Physics. However, National 5 is available; a course which has a dual role in allowing pupils who dropped the subject at the end of S2, and in allowing others who did National 4, to take the two-year path towards possible Higher Physics in S6. In addition, some pupils aim for direct entry to Higher Physics in S5 having done no Physics since S2 but with a record of being strong in Maths and other Sciences.

In S6, the Advanced Higher course is available for all those who have gained a C or better at Higher and as well as the main body of course work, both theoretical and practical, there is the exciting element of an individual investigation. The Advanced Higher course is of great value for those going on to university courses in science and engineering. Others might take Physics up at National 5 or Higher - depending on ability in other, numerate, subjects and intended destination beyond Watson’s.

As part of the school’s IB Diploma Programme we also offer the IB DP Physics course at both Standard and Higher levels for pupils in S5 and S6.  These two-year courses are well resourced and provide either an excellent grounding in the subject or the basis for further study in tertiary education. 

Physics (CfE) Higher

Recommended Entry

  • National 5 Physics course at grade A or B
  • A previous attempt at Higher in S5
  •  

This course develops knowledge and understanding, problem solving skills and practical abilities in Physics. It aims to develop skills necessary to find solutions to scientific problems and encourage positive attitudes.

Purpose

The Higher Physics Course has been designed to articulate with and provide progression from the National 5 Physics course.  Through a deeper insight into the structure of the subject, the Course aims to provide an opportunity for reinforcing and extending the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the concepts of Physics and developing the candidate’s skills in investigative practical work.

Course Details

The course has three mandatory units and an assignment:

Our Dynamic Universe:
Equations of Motion, Forces, energy and power, collisions and explosions, gravitation, special relativity, the expanding universe and Big Bang theory.

Particles and Waves:
The Standard Model, forces on charged particles, nuclear reactions, wave particle duality, interference and diffraction, refraction of light and spectra.

Electricity:
Monitoring and measuring ac; current, potential difference, power and resistance; Electrical sources and internal resistance; capacitors; semiconductors and p-n junctions.

Added Value Unit: Physics Assignment
The assignment requires candidates to apply skills, knowledge and understanding to investigate a relevant topic in physics. The topic will draw on one or more of the key areas of the Course, and will be chosen with guidance from the assessor. The assignment requires learners to demonstrate aspects of challenge and application; learners will apply skills of scientific inquiry, using related knowledge, to carry out a meaningful and appropriately challenging task in physics and communicate findings.

Course Progression

• To further study or employment in almost any field.

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Advanced Higher

Head of Department: Mr Iain Lawrie

Course Progression: Physics

Courses

Physics helps pupils’ understanding of the world around us and of how things work. Physics is the Science that underlies the new technologies with advances in, for example, electronics, optics and nanotechnology with its exciting applications on the boundaries between Physics and Biology.

Elective courses are offered from S3–S6. Physics for S3 may be chosen by all pupils of all ability levels and all classes in S3/S4 will typically follow the SQA National 5 syllabus. Occasionally, where numbers and individual ability dictate, some pupils might follow the SQA National 4 syllabus throughout all, or some of, S3/S4.

At S5, the main route of progress within SQA-based qualifications is from National 5 to Higher Physics. However, National 5 is available; a course which has a dual role in allowing pupils who dropped the subject at the end of S2, and in allowing others who did National 4, to take the two-year path towards possible Higher Physics in S6. In addition, some pupils aim for direct entry to Higher Physics in S5 having done no Physics since S2 but with a record of being strong in Maths and other Sciences.

In S6, the Advanced Higher course is available for all those who have gained a C or better at Higher and as well as the main body of course work, both theoretical and practical, there is the exciting element of an individual investigation. The Advanced Higher course is of great value for those going on to university courses in science and engineering. Others might take Physics up at National 5 or Higher - depending on ability in other, numerate, subjects and intended destination beyond Watson’s.

As part of the school’s IB Diploma Programme we also offer the IB DP Physics course at both Standard and Higher levels for pupils in S5 and S6.  These two-year courses are well resourced and provide either an excellent grounding in the subject or the basis for further study in tertiary education.

Physics (CfE) Advanced Higher

Recommended Entry

Higher Physics. The Advanced Higher course is designed to be attractive to candidates who have obtained a C or better at Higher Physics and who wish to carry their study of Physics further. The Head of Physics may allow a candidate with a good record in Maths and other science subjects direct entry to Advanced Higher Physics.

Purpose

The Advanced Higher Physics Course has been designed to articulate with and provide progression from the (CfE) Higher Physics Course. Through a deeper insight into the structure of the subject, the Course aims to provide an opportunity for reinforcing and extending the candidate‘s knowledge and understanding of the concepts of Physics and developing the candidate‘s skills in investigative practical work. A pass in Advanced Higher makes first year university work much easier and, increasingly, universities are offering direct entry into second year to candidates with Advanced Highers.

As a result of following an Advanced Higher Physics course you should acquire:

  • a deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of physics and its applications
  • skill in applying their knowledge and understanding in a wide variety of theoretical and practical problem solving contexts
  • skills associated with carrying out experimental and investigative work in Physics and analysing the information obtained.

 

Course Details

The Course is made up of four mandatory Units: Rotational Motion and Astrophysics, Quanta and Waves, Electromagnetism and Physics Investigation.

Rotational Motion and Astrophysics:
Kinematic relationships; Angular motion; Rotational dynamics; Gravitation; Space and time; Stellar physics

Quanta and Waves:
Quantum theory; Particles from space; Simple Harmonic Motion; Waves; Interference; Polarisation.

Electromagnetism:
Electric & Magnetic fields; Circuits; Electromagnetic Radiation

Physics Investigation:
This exciting feature of the course allows some open-ended investigation on any suitable topic

Course Progression

• To further study or employment in almost any field

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