Physics is the most fundamental of all the Sciences; at its heart it is about finding the laws that govern the Universe, from the unimaginably small (the bits inside atoms) to the distant Universe.
If you like asking questions, such as..
- “Just how does the sun keep shining?”
- “Why, when glass is transparent, do cracks in it look black?”
- “How are rainbows made?”
- “What is everything made from?”
..then you will enjoy Physics. It’s even better if you like carrying out experiments that help you work ideas out, too.
These ideas about how the Universe works are really useful; every time you use a computer, a mobile phone, an aeroplane, then you are depending on ideas developed through Physics to do things undreamed of 100 years ago.
In Physics you will find out how applying scientific principles can help us to prepare for a changing future. We need to use our non-renewable resources of energy wisely; we need to develop new renewable resources and technology for the future. Studying Physics should help all of our pupils have a rational basis from which to decide on their energy and resource use. Some of our girls go on to study Physics or Engineering at University and so are able to use their skills and knowledge to help in many spheres of human activity, such as:
- Designing low energy buildings for the future
- Developing new materials, for instance for sports equipment
- Improving the both diagnosis of cancer, with new forms of imaging, and its treatment with techniques developed at CERN.
At AGGS Physics is taught as a separate subject from Y9, and our GCSE courses begin during that school year. Almost half of our students take Triple Science at GCSE (Separate Physics, Chemistry and Biology); the rest take GCSEs in Science and Additional Science.
Each year we have three groups taking AS and then A2 Physics. Some of the girls in our Physics groups intend to study medical subjects at University, but increasingly girls are drawn to careers in Physical Sciences and Engineering.
We have now taken ten trips from the Physics Department to CERN: the European Laboratory for Particle Physics and the biggest experiment in the world.
The visits are always a hectic mix of meeting physicists, seeing some of the CERN site and getting to appreciate the collaboration that takes place in order to carry out the leading edge research there.
Girls on past visits have been inspired by the search for evidence at the very frontiers of knowledge and by the scale of the undertaking. Several of the students on past visits are now Physics and Engineering undergraduates in Universities.
Whilst in Geneva we find time to visit the UN and the Old City; girls realise that the city’s history of internationalism is what made it become a centre for the search for answers in Physics. We also manage to have fun.
|Physics Extension Y12/13||Tuesday||12:30||L12||Mrs Lord|
|Physics Help||Thursday||12:30||L12||Physics Staff|
|Science Club Y7/8||Thursday||12:30||L1||Miss Lloyd|
Key Stage 3 – Year 7-9
In Years 7 and 8, Physics is taught within a Science course. Pupils are taught in form groups and cover a range of topics including Forces and Electricity. They have the opportunity to carry out appropriately challenging practical work including using Electrical Circuits, with the aim being to develop confidence in practical techniques that are needed to succeed as a Scientist. Pupils learn how Science and Scientific understanding is relevant to today’s society.
Starting the GCSE course in year 9 provides pupils with a greater range of practical experiences and time to study aspects of the course in more depth, thus providing them with a better grounding for future study.
Key Stage 4 – GCSE
At GCSE, the Science Department offers either Science and Additional Science or Triple Science. All Science areas are taught by subject specialists in mixed ability groupings and the GCSE teaching starts in Year 9.
Science and Additional Science
The course aims to develop pupils’ interest and enthusiasm for science, develop a critical approach to scientific evidence and methods and to acquire a knowledge and understanding of Physics and how science works, also focusing on its essential role in society. There are a variety of teaching methods used to enable pupils to acquire scientific skills and knowledge and the understanding necessary to progress to advanced level, if desired. Pupils are expected to utilise all resources to supplement their studies.
A copy of the Science and Additional Science syllabi can be downloaded from the AQA website. Pupils study Science A which is assessed in written examinations in Physics, Chemistry and Biology at the end of year 10 and by a controlled assessment in one of the Sciences. Assessment for the Additional Science paper follows the same format in year 11. In the controlled assessment (Investigative Skills Assessment) pupils plan and carry out an investigation into one of the topics studied. Following research, the pupils complete part one of the ISA, explaining their plan and answering questions on How Science works ideas. Pupils carry out the plan under supervision and collect data which is presented in table and graph form. A second written assessment tests their ability to analyse and evaluate their own experiment and to use their knowledge of scientific method to analyse and evaluate data from other sources.
Pupils complete the Science and Additional Science Units, but they also complete a third unit which includes more challenging areas of study. Within these topics, pupils also carry out more in-depth practical work.
A copy of the Physics Triple science syllabus is available from the AQA website. Pupils complete three examinations – one on each unit studied- at the end of year 11. In addition they complete one controlled assessment. This is in the form of an ISA (Investigative Skills Assessment). Following research on one of the topics studied, the pupils complete the written part one of the ISA, explaining their plan and answering questions on How Science works ideas. Pupils carry out the plan under supervision and collect data which is presented in table and graph form. A second written assessment tests their ability to analyse and evaluate their own experiment and to use their knowledge of scientific method to analyse and evaluate data from other sources.
Key Stage 5 – A Levels
At AGGS we hope that pupils will have been inspired by their study of GCSE Physics to understand the essential role of Physics in underpinning all Science. Together we will explore the full breadth that Physics offers from appreciating the role of the tiniest fundamental particles to explaining the motion of planets and stars. We will learn how to design the electrical and mechanical systems which we encounter everyday and how understanding wave phenomena has facilitated communication on an unprecedented scale in the modern world. By appropriate selection of Option, Pupils can learn more about the Universe or the role of Physics in Medical Science.
At AGGS we study the AQA Physics Syllabus which can be downloaded from their website.
Students currently study three Units at AS and a further three Units at A2.
They sit two written examinations on Unit One and Unit Two at the end of the year and an Externally Marked Practical Assessment ( EMPA) which includes carrying out experiments and a written paper in May for Unit Three.
The EMPA tests the practical skills developed in studying the first two units and their ability to analyse and evaluate the data collected practically. Key How Science Works ideas such as estimating uncertainty, describing relationships shown in graphs and evaluating how closely data supports theory are tested in the context of the topics studied.
Unit One: Particle Physics and Quantum Phenomena and Electricity
Unit Two: Mechnaics and Waves
Unit Three: EMPA
Unit Four: Electric and Gravitational Fields, Capacitance, Electromagnetism, Simple Harmonic Motion, Circular Motion
Unit Five: Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and Gases and one of two optional subjects – either Astrophysics or Medical Physics.
Unit Six: EMPA.