Physics gives learners an insight into the underlying nature of our world and its place in the universe. From the sources of the energy we use to the exploration of space, Physics covers a range of applications of the relationships that have been discovered through experiment and calculation, including those used in modern technology.
One of the attractions of the subject is the applied nature of its content. As a department we seek to reinforce this with experiments and practical application of the theories taught being a focus of our approach to the subject.
Physics is taught as a component of a multidisciplinary approach to science from T1 to S1 with pupils then having the option to specialise in Physics from S2. Physics is offered at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.
Against the national trend, there is a high take up of Physics at all levels, with a large percentage of pupils going on to study Physics related subjects at degree level. Due to the academic demand of the subject, engineering disciplines, medicine and science related degrees are common routes for many of our school leavers.
Physics - National 5
The National 5 Physics course enables learners to develop a deeper understanding of physics concepts and the ability to describe and interpret physical phenomena using mathematical skills. The purpose of the course is to develop learners’ interest and enthusiasm for physics in a range of contexts. The skills of scientific inquiry and investigation are developed throughout the course by investigating the applications of physics. This will enable learners to become scientifically literate citizens, able to review the science-based claims they will meet. An experimental and investigative approach is used to develop knowledge and understanding of physics concepts. They will develop scientific methods of research in which issues in physics are explored and conclusions drawn.
The course is divided into three units with six distinct topic sections:
Dynamics, Space & Cosmology, Electricity, Properties of matter, Waves, Radiation
Physics - Higher
The study of Physics at Higher can make an important contribution to your knowledge and understanding of the physical and natural world. The course provides a good basis for further study in Physics or related subjects, such as engineering, space and medical sciences.
The course content includes the following areas of physics:
Our dynamic Universe
motion — equations and graphs, forces, energy and power, collisions, explosions, and impulse, gravitation, special relativity, the expanding Universe
Particles and waves
forces on charged particles, the Standard Model, nuclear reactions, inverse square law, wave-particle duality, interference, spectra, refraction of light
monitoring and measuring AC, current, potential difference, power, and resistance, electrical sources and internal resistance, capacitors, semiconductors and p-n junctions
Physics - Advanced Higher
The study of Physics at this level can make a major contribution to your knowledge and understanding of the natural and physical environment. You will have the opportunity to develop the skills of independent study and thought that are essential in a wide range of subjects and occupations. Advanced Higher Physics is particularly relevant if you wish to progress to degree courses, whether in Physics, or in subjects of which Physics is a major component, such as medicine, engineering or medical science. The course also provides a sound basis for direct entry to physics-related employment.
Course content is split across four areas:
Rotational Motion and Astrophysics (Advanced Higher)
This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to rotational motion and astrophysics. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving angular motion. An astronomical perspective is developed through a study of gravitation, leading to work on general relativity and stellar physics.
Quanta and Waves (Advanced Higher)
This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to quanta and waves. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving quantum theory and waves. The Unit introduces non-classical physics and considers the origin and composition of cosmic radiation. Simple harmonic motion is introduced and work on wave theory is developed.
Electromagnetism (Advanced Higher)
This Unit develops knowledge and understanding and skills in physics related to electromagnetism. It provides opportunities to develop and apply concepts and principles in a wide variety of situations involving electromagnetism. The Unit develops knowledge and understanding of electric and magnetic fields and capacitors and inductors used in
d.c. and a.c. circuits.
Investigating Physics (Advanced Higher)
In this Unit, learners will develop key investigative skills. The Unit offers opportunities for independent learning set within the context of experimental physics. Learners will identify, research, plan and carry out a physics investigation of their choice.
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