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Physics A Level at Tollbar Academy

Course description

Physics B (Advancing Physics) takes a context-led approach. Learners study Physics
in a range of different contexts, conveying the excitement of contemporary Physics.
The course provides a distinctive structure within which candidates learn about
fundamental physical concepts and about Physics in everyday and technological
settings. Practical skills are embedded within the specification and learners are
expected to carry out practical work in preparation for a written examination that will
specifically test these skills.
AS contains four modules:
• Development of Practical Skills in Physics;
• Fundamental Data Analysis;
• Physics in Action;
• Understanding Processes.

Module 1 - Development of Practical Skills in Physics:
Physics is a practical subject and the development of practical skills is fundamental
to understanding the nature of Physics. This course gives learners many opportunities
to develop the fundamental skills needed to collect and analyse empirical data. Skills
in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating will be assessed in the written
Module 2 – Fundamental Data Analysis:
This module gives learners many opportunities to analyse data collected in practical
sessions or provided for them. Students will be exposed and trained in the techniques
of analysis and the handling of experimental uncertainties throughout the course.

Module 3 – Physics in Action:
This module is split into two sections:
This section is about waves, images, simple optics and electric circuits. The physics
of the imaging and signalling section is approached through how information is
gathered, processed, transmitted and presented. The sensing section covers the ideas
involved in understanding electrical circuits, especially charge, current, potential
difference, resistance, conductance and potential dividers.
Mechanical properties of materials:
This section is about materials and how their mechanical properties (and hence their
applications) are related to their structures. The physics may be put into context
through a study of materials in medicine and engineering. Human and cultural issues
arise in considering the impact of materials on technology and society.
There are many opportunities for gaining experimental experience and skills in these
sections of the course.

Module 4 – Understanding Processes:
This module is split into two sections:
Waves and Quantum Behaviour-
This module provides progression from the application-oriented work in Physics in
Action. Understanding Processes is organised around different ways of describing and
understanding processes of change: motion in space and time, wave motion, quantum
behaviour. It provides a sound foundation in the classical physics of mechanics and
waves and takes the story further, touching on the quantum probabilistic view.
Space, Time and Motion-
In addition, this module develops classical mechanics, including vectors. The
conservation of momentum, the kinematics of uniformly accelerated motion and the
dynamics of motion in two dimensions under a constant force are covered.
The A Level course contains the above four modules above as well as the following:
• Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe;
• Field and Particle Physics;
Module 5 – Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe:
This module is split into two sections:

Models and Rules -
This module builds upon the work covered earlier in the course. The first section uses
simple techniques to model radioactive decay, capacitor charging and discharging and
simple harmonic motion. In this framework, the formalism of the differential equation
is developed along with the concept of field. There are many opportunities for
practical work and empirical data can be compared and contrasted to the predictions
made by the simple mathematical models. The field model is developed through
consideration of gravitational fields.
The second section develops ideas about gravitational field strength and potential.
Space flight and astronomical data can provide a context and there are further
opportunities to consider the development of the modern view of the universe.
The third section covers a descriptive and mainly qualitative outline of the main
features of the observable universe consistent with the hot big bang model of its origin.
The ideas of the universality of the speed of light and the relativistic consequence of
time dilation are introduced.

This part of the module considers how kinetic theory explains the behaviour of matter
in probabilistic and mechanical terms. The beginnings of the basis of thermodynamic
thinking appear in the study of the Boltzmann Factor. The first section explains ideal
gas behaviour in terms of the kinetic theory. The second section introduces the
Boltzmann Factor as the link between energy and temperature. The important idea
that differences drive change is introduced here.
Module 6 – Field and Particle Physics:
This module is split into two sections:

This section develops the idea of field that has been met in the earlier module. The
first section treats the electromagnetic field in a practical context. The electric field, as
the interaction between charges at rest, links back to the mathematically analogous
model of the gravitational field. There are opportunities for discussing the social
impact of the widespread distribution and use of electrical power and its influence on
industrial societies. The second section covers interactions between charged particles
and ideas about electric field and potential.
Fundamental particles
The work here concerns the structure and binding of atoms and nuclei and the nature
of fundamental particles. The practical implications of radioactivity are considered,
introducing the idea of risk. The first section considers scattering experiments as
a source of evidence about the structure of atoms and nucleons. Ideas from earlier
in the module are used to consider particle paths in magnetic and electric fields in
the context of particle accelerators. Evidence for discrete energy levels leads on to a
crude model of the atom as a particle in a box. This section gives more opportunities
to discuss the development of models in physics and the international cooperation
needed to fund large experiments. The second section sees changes in nuclear
binding energy per nucleon as driving different types of decay. This leads to a
consideration of nuclear power generation. The biological effects of ionising radiation
are also considered, giving more opportunity to consider issues of ethics, decision
making and the risks and benefits of technology.

Entry requirements

To be accepted onto this A Level Physics course you will need at least 2 A grades in GCSE Science or an A grade in GCSE Physics.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Tollbar Academy directly.

Last updated date: 05 November 2014

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 Years