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Physics at Holy Trinity

Course description

We are all born with an urge to understand the world around us. This leads us to ask questions such as How does a mobile phone work? How does the sun keep on shining? What is dark matter? What are the ultimate constituents of matter? How did the Universe begin? If you find that the more answers you discover, the more questions you want to ask, then you are on the road to becoming a physicist and should be considering taking a Physics course.

Exploiting the excellent teacher/student ratio, the Physics department has a long record of academic success. A significant number of our students have gone on to study Physics at University and achieve first class degrees.

This specification is designed to encourage candidates to:

  • progress smoothly from previous GCSE studies in Physics, building on the approach of how Science works through new contexts
  • gain hands on practical skills and data analysis skills
  • develop a deeper appreciation of how Science works and its relevance beyond the laboratory
  • see how Physics links to other Sciences and how the subject underpins important technologies
  • use modern new resources tailored to the specification

AS Outline

The AS specification has 3 units:

  • Unit 1: Harmony and Structure in the Universe
  • Unit 2: Physics Keeps us Going
  • Unit 3: Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Physics

A2 Outline

The A2 specification has 3 units:

  • Unit 4: Physics Inside and Out
  • Unit 5: Energy Under the Microscope
  • Unit 6: Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Physics

Course content

Unit 1 PHYB1 - Harmony and Structure in the Universe

Module 1 - The World of Music

The context for this unit is communication. It takes as its themes modern techniques of communication, the nature of audio information and the methods by which it is coded, transmitted and received. The unit emphasises the importance of digital communication as a medium for the twenty-first century. The unit covers the questions: What is a musical sound? How can music be transmitted with faithful reproduction? Is digital better than analogue? How is stored music different?

Module 2 - From Quarks to Quasars

This unit is concerned with the scale encompassed by Physics from fundamental particles to the structure of the Universe. The unit identifies the common goal and some of the achievements of particle physicists, studying matter on a small scale and cosmologists working on the very much larger scale. The unit demonstrates how early views of matter have proved inaccurate or incomplete and provides a limited overview of our present understanding and looks at some unanswered questions.

Unit 2 PHYB2 - Physics Keeps us Going

Module 1 - Moving People, People Moving

Society functions on the ability to move people and goods efficiently reliably. Sporting and participating, or being a spectator of sporting activities is a feature of most peoples leisure time.

This module considers how knowledge and understanding of forces and motion underpins everyday activities such as transport, where reliability is important and activities such as record breaking in sport. How do we describe the motion of an athlete or a vehicle? What affects the maximum speed of an athlete or a vehicle? What determines the trajectory and range of a ball? What energy changes occur during the motion? How does Physics affect the design of vehicles and sports equipment? These and other questions will be tackled in this unit.

Module 2 - Energy and the Environment

All nations are faced with the problem of satisfying increasing energy demands and the effect this has on the fate of the planet and future generations. Where does our energy come from? What are the options for the future? What are the consequences of our use of energy? How do we use energy and why do we need so much? How can we use energy more efficiently? These questions will be tackled in this unit. Electrical energy is a particularly convenient form on which much of our practical technologies are based. The unit focuses on some of the rules associated with our use of electricity.

Unit 3 - Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Physics

Candidates carry out experimental and investigative activities in order to develop their practical skills. Experimental and investigative activities are set in contexts appropriate to, and reflect the demand of the AS content. These activities allow candidates to use their knowledge and understanding of Physics in planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating their work.

Unit 4 PHYB4 - Physics Inside and Out

Module 1 - Experiences Out of this World

This module is about how Physics is used to send probes and astronauts into space and the problems that need to be overcome in order to this this. It includes the ideas of free-fall and apparent weightlessness of capsules in orbital motion.

Module 2 - What Goes Around Comes Around

Theme parks continue to excite both young and old with the thrills of free-fall, looping the loop or simply spinning round and round. In this module, energy and momentum conservation are considered in relation to theme park rides.

Module 3 - Imaging the Invisible

This module is about how Physics is used to investigate things that cannot be seen directly with the eye. The first sections are a study of the techniques available to geophysicists and archaeologists in the search for new mineral resources and buried remains. In the final section the techniques available to doctors for imaging organs inside the body are studied.

Unit 5 PHYB5 - Energy Under the Microscope

Module 1 - Matter under the Microscope

How can macroscopic quantities such as temperature and pressure be explained by the molecular model of matter? The context for study in this module is the heat engine exemplified by steam and internal combustion engines.

Module 2 - Breaking Matter Down

How do physicists visualise the structure of matter? The context of this module is the tools used to produce high energy particles using electric and magnetic fields and how the properties of these particles are determined.

Module 3 - Energy from the Nucleus

How can matter/energy considerations lead to the generation of energy and how safe are the uses of nuclear materials? The context for this module is the peaceful use of both spontaneous and stimulated nuclear decay and a consideration of nuclear fusion. Throughout the module the benefits and risks of the use of radioactivity and nuclear energy are studied.

Unit 6 - Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Physics

Candidates carry out experimental and investigative activities in order to develop their practical skills. Experimental and investigative activities are set in contexts appropriate to, and reflect the demand of the A2 content. These activities allow candidates to use their knowledge and understanding of Physics in planning, carrying out, analysing and evaluating their work.

 

Entry requirements

Ideally at least two Bs in GCSE Science and Mathematics (other grade combinations will be considered).

Studying Mathematics at A Level alongside Physics will be a considerable advantage.

Assessment

AS Examinations

Unit 1 - PHYB1 - Harmony and Structure in the Universe

  • Written Examination - (70 marks/120 UMS), 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Section A: 5 - 8 short questions; Section B: 3 - 5 longer questions
  • Assessing the content in Unit 1: Module 1: The World of Music - Module 2: From Quarks to Quasars
  • 40% of the total AS marks
  • 20% of the total A Level marks

Unit 2 - PHYB2 - Physics Keeps us Going

  • Written Examination - (70 marks/120 UMS), 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Section A: 5 - 8 short questions; Section B: 3 - 5 longer questions
  • Assessing the content in Unit 2: Module 1: Moving People, People Moving - Module 2: Energy and theEnvironment
  • 40% of the total AS marks
  • 20% of the total A Level marks

Unit 3 - Investigative and practical skills in AS Physics either:

PHB3T

  • Centre Marked Route T - 50 marks
  • Practical Skills Assignment (PSA - 9 raw marks)
  • Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA - 41 raw marks)

or PHYB3X

  • Externally Marked Route X - 55 marks
  • Practical Skills Verification (PSV - teacher verification)
  • Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA - 55 raw marks)
  • 20% of the total AS marks
  • 10% of the total A Level marks available

A2 Examinations

Unit 4 - PHYB4 - Physics Inside and Out

  • Written Examination - (100 marks/120 UMS), 5 - 8 long questions, 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Assessing the content in Unit 4: Module 1: Experiences Out of this World - Module 2: What Goes Around Comes Around - Module 3: Imagine the Invisible
  • 20% of the total A Level marks

Unit 5 - PHYB5 - Energy Under the Microscope

  • Written Examination - (100 marks/120 UMS), 5 - 8 long questions, 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Assessing the content in Unit 5: Module 1: Matter under the Microscope - Module 2: Breaking Down Matter - Module 3: Energy from the Nucleaus
  • 20% of the total A Level Marks available

Unit 6 - Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Physics either

PHB6T

  • Centre Marked Route T - 50 marks
  • Practical Skills Assessment (PSA - 9 marks)
  • Investigative Skills Assessment (ISA - 41 marks)

or PHB6X

  • Externally Marked Route X - 55 marks
  • Practical Skills Verification (PSV - teacher verification)
  • Externally Marked Practical Assignment - (EMPA - 55 raw marks)
  • 10% of the total A Level marks

AS + A2 = A Level

Financial information

Text book and revision guide matched to the course - approximately 22.00 per year.

Future opportunities

Studying for a Physics A Level will provide you with benefits which last a lifetime and knowledge and skills which are valued by Universities and employers generally. Some of these benefits are harder to quantify than others, such as the pleasure that can come from being able to read about and understand the latest discoveries in Science, while others are more specific. Where these skills are useful in many contexts, they are called transferable skills They include, for example, a practical approach to problem solving, the ability to reason clearly and to communicate well.

The transferable skills you will develop include:

Analytical - Studying Physics will enhance your ability to think clearly, to pay attention to detail and to construct logical and reasoned arguments.

Problem Solving - The Mathematics and Physics modules you take will ask you to solve problems - lots of them! This includes not only academic problems but also practical problems. The more you practis e the better you will become. You will learn, for example, how to formulate problems precisely, how to identify the key questions when asking for help and how to use simple problems and limiting cases to guide your approach to more complicated problems.

Self-study - One of the most important skills an A Level develops is the ability to teach yourself. During your studies, you will gain experience of searching for and digesting information from a variety of sources.

Communication - Physics and Mathematics deal with complicated and surprising concepts and good communication is essential in both subjects. Throughout the course you will be interacting both in writing and orally. You will also develop the essential communication skills of listening and reading.

Organisational - Studying at A Level develops self discipline. You will have to organise your timetable to meet deadlines for a variety of activities including examinations and the submission of assessed work.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Holy Trinity directly.

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 Years
  • Number of planned places: 20

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