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Physics Department

STAFF:

Mr I Cairnie (Principal Teacher)

Mr S Arnott

Ms C Byrne

 

 

What is Physics?

Physicists are always asking questions about the Universe we live in, about matter and energy and how they relate, about forces, electricity, gravity and everything that makes our world what it is.

Every question that we answer in Physics leads to more questions that demand answers.  From the structure of sub-atomic particles to the study of the galaxies, as we grow in our knowledge, understanding and abilities in Physics, we can apply what we are learning to solve some of the biggest questions facing the human race.  How can we find all the energy we need without damaging our planet? How can we use new materials to make products safer, better and more useful? How can we diagnose and treat illnesses and injury?  How can a car be safer?  Or a tennis racquet more effective?  Or a loudspeaker give better quality sound?  Where did our world come from – and is there anyone else in the vast emptiness of space?

Pupils who study Physics will follow Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Experiences and Outcomes, leading to SQA qualifications in Physics.

Staff

Mr Iain Cairnie (Principal Teacher), Mr Stuart Arnott and Ms Carolyne Byrne.  Mr Alex Cochrane (Technician) plays a key role in supporting the department by preparing practical equipment.

Location

Iona-1, Iona-2 and Iona-3 classrooms on the ground floor, between the main entrance and the Music wing.  These are large, well equipped laboratories with a full range of the equipment needed to study Physics from S1 to S6.

         

Courses

S1 CfE level  3, taught by all Science teachers

S2 CfE level 3, taught by all Science teachers

S3 – CfE level 3 & 4, taught by Physics teachers

S4 – National 3, 4 & 5 Physics and National 4 and 5 Practical Electronics

S5 – National 3, 4 & 5 Physics, Higher Physics and National 5 Practical Electronics

S6 – National 3, 4 & 5 Physics, Higher Physics, Advanced Higher Physics and National 5 Practical Electronics.

Course Details

S1 Science - 6 topics: Environmental Science, Building Blocks, Electricity, Cells & Reproduction, Rocks and Waves

S2 Science – 6 topics: Chemical Changes, Body Systems, Forces, Chemical Reactions, Plants and Heat.

S3 Physics – Forces and Motion, Electricity and Electronics, Radiations and Space. Each of these 3 topics will be assessed by an End of Unit test and by one other piece of written work (practical investigation or research project).

National 3 & 4 Physics – Electricity & Energy, Waves & Radiation and Dynamics & Space. Each unit is internally assessed by an End of Unit Test. A candidate must pass each of the unit test and successfully complete an Added Value Unit.

National 5 Physics – Electricity & Energy, Waves & Radiation and Dynamics & Space. Each unit is internally assessed by an End of Unit Test. A candidate must pass each of the unit test to be entered for the exam. The final grade is made of two elements: 20% is from a research assessment task and 80% from the final exam.

National 4 & 5 Practical Electronics – Electronics is vital to everyday life in our society. This course provides skills and a basic understanding of electronics and its impact. It provides a solid foundation for those considering further study, or a career, in Electrical Engineering and related disciplines. The course also provides a valuable complementary practical experience for those studying Engineering Science, Physics or other pure science courses.

Higher - Electricity, Our Dynamic Universe and Particles & Waves.  Assessment is by an internally assessed test for each unit plus an assignment which forms part of the final mark.  An external SQA exam is sat at the end of the course.

Advanced Higher – Rotational Motion & Astrophysics, Quanta and Waves, and Electromagnetism.  Assessment is by an internally assessed test (NAB) for each unit plus a practical investigation which forms part of the final mark.  An external SQA exam is sat at the end of the course. This is the new version of the Advanced Higher that will be starting from July 2015.

 

Progression

These flexible courses have been carefully designed so that pupils can progress from one level to another according to their ability and requirements.  Possible routes are shown below:

 

S3

S4

S5

S6

S3 CfE

National-3

National-4

National-5

S3 CfE

National-4

National-5

Higher

S3 CfE

National-5

Higher

Advanced Higher

 

Supported study

All physics pupils are encouraged to make use of Supported Study outside timetabled classes.  Details are published on the department notice board.

Homework

Every course in the Physics department requires pupils to complete homework exercises.  These will help to consolidate knowledge and practise the skills pupils have been learning.  Homework is an essential part of the Physics courses.

Careers

SQA qualifications in Physics are highly regarded by employers, colleges and universities for a wide range of careers.  A Physics qualification shows that you can organise your learning, can work in a disciplined manner, are good at solving problems and have good practical skills.

Careers which require Physics include all types of Engineering: Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Electronic, Chemical, Software and Structural to name but a few.  Research scientists, Astronomers and Product Designers all need a good understanding of Physics principles.  Studying Physics can lead to many other interesting and challenging careers – the Armed Services, Emergency Services, Charities and Civil Service to name but a few.

Of course you could aim for the coolest job of all, and be a Physics teacher!