Curriculum – Physics

Curriculum – Physics

Physics

The Curriculum

Curriculum Intent

At SHSG our students journey through a rigorous and challenging physics curriculum that will enable them to uncover and explore the most fundamental laws governing our universe. We meet the ambitions of the National Curriculum, but go beyond this, challenging our students in the context of a high-performing grammar school.

In physics lessons, students will learn about matter and energy and will examine their behaviours in contexts such as electricity, magnetism, and waves. As our students progress through their studies, they will develop a deeper appreciation for how physics permeates their life, gaining an awareness of energy resources, the mechanics of everyday interactions and the underlying nature of matter in the world around them. In their studies they will utilise and refine both critical thinking and high-level numerical skills that will prepare them for whichever future aspirations they so choose. The super-curricular opportunities afforded to our students, including a robotics club and trip to CERN, allow them to delve into the applications of physics beyond the classroom. Our students will learn to rationally approach and investigate new hypotheses and develop a thorough grasp of logical processing and scientific method, which will set them apart as exceptional innovators and problem-solvers. The skills they gain in studying physics at SHSG will give them the conviction to approach life boldly, confident in their ability to coherently and effectively tackle any problem that they might encounter.

What does it feel like to be a student in the Physics Department?

Studying Physics at Southend High School for Girls will inspire you to become insightful, enquiring citizens of the world with highly sought-after skills. During lessons, you will be encouraged to dig deep, to examine the origin of the physical laws which govern our Universe, and to apply these laws to a variety of real-life contexts; to accomplish this, you will utilise your mathematical skills, apply your own knowledge of the real world and your imagination to both visualise and fully understand the behaviour of matter and energy. You will collaborate with other students to investigate physical laws in practice, forming hypotheses, then developing and refining your practical and analytical skills in our Physics laboratories.

Students at SHSG are not passengers in their own learning. You will take the driving seat, working towards success with our specialist teachers and with specialist equipment in our fully equipped Physics laboratories. Peer mentoring is encouraged, as well as providing teacher support between lessons at our weekly lunchtime Physics Open House.  We have carefully selected and embedded the use of monitored online platforms which are proven to support student progress, including Kerboodle, Tassomai and Isaac Physics. We have long-standing links with companies offering work experience and the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) who offer industrial placements and university-based taster courses. Numerous opportunities for trips and activities beyond the classroom are available each year, including competing in the national Physics Olympiad competitions, engineering lectures, Robotics Club, and our flagship trip to the largest science experiment in the world: CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. There are also opportunities for leadership roles within our Science Captain team, to work together to promote Physics across the wider school community, as well as arranging competitions and Science Week activities.

Students who study Physics at SHSG build a secure foundation on which to successfully progress to a variety of post-18 pathways. In recent years, we have prepared students to study a variety of degrees, including Physics at the University of Oxford, as well as a variety of Engineering pathways, Physics with Quantum Technologies, Computer Science and Architecture.

We are extremely proud of our alumni and work closely with them, expecting our current students to aspire to the same success. Through investigative practical work, our students leave having gained an insight into the evidence-based ethos which underpins the wider scientific quest to improve our understanding of the universe in which we live. It is our sincere hope that our Physics students continue on as life-long learners, making positive contributions with their hard-earned skills and knowledge.

Journey

Physics Curriculum

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the National Curriculum for Physics. The SHSG Physics curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to a cultural capital in Physics that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

Our  subject curriculum is carefully organised to take our students from their end of primary school point to the higher outcomes at the end of Year 9

The Physics curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, performances, presentations

Year 7 – 9

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from Year 6 Physics ready to study in Year 7 if applicable

During their Upper KS2 studies as per the National Curriculum, students should have studied topics including: working scientifically, properties and changes of materials, Earth and space, forces, light and electricity. All of this knowledge is revisited and drawn upon at KS3

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 7 – 9 if applicable?

  • Calculations being taught conceptually, with less reliance on algebraic skills to give students time to catch up on maths skills
  • Access to KS3 Kerboodle online textbook and resources
  • Access to KS3 Exampro to provide support questions
  • Introduction of diagnostic tests to access prior knowledge
  • A greater focus on practical skills, to catch up with what was disrupted by the Pandemic.
  • New introduction to science and physics topic, to highlight equipment and safety in the lab
  • Changed the content order of forces, energy and waves in order to build in time for spaced practice to embed knowledge.

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Physics intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 7

Term 1

Topics

  • Introduction to Science and Physics
  • Forces: Speed & Gravity

Assessment

  • Sep: Baseline assessment
  • Mixed-marked topic based and diagnostic assessments
  • Dec: Cumulative assessment

Term 2

Topics

  • Energy: Energy Stores & Transfers
  • Waves: Sound & Light

Assessment

  • Mixed-marked topic based and diagnostic assessments

Term 3

Topics

  • Electromagnetism: Voltage, Resistance & Current
  • Energy: Energy Costs

Assessment

  • Key Stage 3 Exams (teacher marked)

Year 8

Term 1

Topics

  • Forces: Forces, Pressure and Moments
  • Electromagnetism: Circuit Review, Magnets & Electromagnets

Assessment

  • Mixed-marked topic based and diagnostic assessments
  • Dec: Cumulative assessment

Term 2

Topics

  • Energy: Work, Heating & Cooling
  • Waves: Light, Hearing & the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Assessment

  • Mixed-marked topic based and diagnostic assessments
  • March: Cumulative assessment

Term 3

Topics

  • Space: Solar System and Stars

Assessment

  • Key Stage 3 Exams (teacher marked)

Year 9

Term 1

Topics

  • Maths Skills for GCSE Physics
  • Waves: Wave Properties and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Assessment

  • Teacher marked GCSE question assessment
  • Mixed-marked topic diagnostic checkpoint assessments

Term 2

Topics

  • Forces: Displacement, Velocity & Acceleration
  • Energy, Power, Specific Heat Capacity and Efficiency

Assessment

  • Mixed-marked topic diagnostic checkpoint assessments
  • Teacher marked GCSE question assessment

Term 3

Topics

  • Electricity: Properties of Electric Circuits, Electrical Power and Energy Resources

Assessment

  • Key Stage 3 Exams (teacher marked)

Achieving mastery in Physics knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Year 7 curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics. They are either emerging, developing or proficient in this journey throughout Year 7.

To go beyond being proficient in what is expected of a Physics student in Year 7 and achieve mastery in Physics, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Students should relish the challenging nature of Physics and not be afraid of making mistakes, as students will recognise that making mistakes is an opportunity for learning. Good mistakes are therefore celebrated.

To achieve mastery students will regularly revisit prior learning so that knowledge can be built upon ensuring that knowledge is embedded in long term memory via this spaced repetition.

Recommended reading in Physics for Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

  • Sciencemag.org
  • Discovermagazine.com
  • Popsci.com
  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

  • TED Ed: The Physics of the Hardest Move in Ballet
  • TED Ed: Einstein’s Miracle Year
  • TED Ed: The Physics of Surfing
  • Fuse school
  • Revision monkey

Physics-specific language to master in Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

  • All required technical terminology can be found in the KS3 Glossary on the KS3 padlet

Recommended reading in Physics for Lower School (Years 7 – 9)

  • Sciencemag.org
  • Discovermagazine.com
  • Popsci.com
  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

At Southend High School for Girls we teach a curriculum that is ambitious and takes students on a learning journey beyond the National Curriculum for Physics. The SHSG Physics curriculum is what we believe will expose and challenge students to a cultural capital in Physics that is the best that has been thought and said in this subject.

Our subject curriculum is carefully organised to take our students from their end of primary school point to the higher outcomes at the end of Year 11

The Physics curriculum is planned and delivered using the intellectual framework of the classical education model, the Trivium:

  • Grammar (Knowledge and skills) knowledge, learning by heart, subject terminology, cultural capital
  • Dialectic (Enquiry and exploration) debate, question, challenge, analyse, evaluate
  • Rhetoric (Communication) essays, speeches, performances, presentations

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from lower school Physics ready to study in Year 10 if applicable

  • Lower school physics covers the following topics:
    • Forces: speed & gravity, contact forces & pressure, displacement, velocity & acceleration.
    • Waves: basic properties & sound, light & the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Energy: energy stores & transfers, energy costs & renewable energy, work, heating & power, power & efficiency.
    • Electricity: voltage, resistance & current, circuit properties.
    • Fields and Magnetism: magnets & electromagnets
    • Space Physics

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 10-11 if applicable?

  • Y10 will be revisiting Y9 Electricity content that was taught during lockdown periods/not finished for some classes.
  • Y11 will be revising and learning part of the Y10 waves content at the beginning of the Y11 waves as this was taught during a period of isolation/not finished for some classes.
  • Y10 and Y11 will be completing fortnightly ‘Throwback Homework’ that will facilitate their spaced practice, continued revision and exam technique.
  • A greater focus on practical skills, to catch up with what was disrupted by the Pandemic

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum/Specification, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum/Specification. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Physics intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 10

Term 1

Topics

  • Particle Model of Matter
  • Atomic Structure

Assessment

  • Self-marked cumulative assessment

Term 2

Topics

  • Electricity: Circuit Properties
  • Energy: Stores and Transfers

Assessment

  • PPE

Term 3

Topics

  • Waves: Properties and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Forces: Newton’s Laws

Assessment

  • Teacher-marked cumulative assessment

Year 11

Term 1

Topics

  • Forces: Applications of Forces
  • Waves: Exploration and Detection

Assessment

  • Teacher-marked cumulative assessment
  • PPE1

Term 2

Topics

  • Fields and Magnetism: Electromagnets and The Motor Effect
  • Space Physics

Assessment

  • PPE2

Term 3

Topics

  • Revision for GCSE exam

Assessment

  • GCSE examination

Achieving mastery in Physics knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Year 10 and 11 curricula

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics. They are either emerging, developing or proficient in this journey throughout Year 10 and 11.

To go beyond being proficient in what is expected of a Physics student in Year 7 and achieve mastery in Physics, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Students should relish the challenging nature of Physics and not be afraid of making mistakes, students will learn to recognise that making mistakes is an opportunity for learning. Good mistakes are therefore celebrated in physics as they lead us towards greater understanding.

Recommended reading in Physics for Middle School (Years 10 – 11)

  • Sciencemag.org
  • Discovermagazine.com
  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
  • New Scientist magazine (Subscription through school)
  • Scientific American
  • 17 Equations that Changed the World – Ian Stewart
  • Antimatter – Frank Close

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for Middle School (Years 10 – 11)

  • TED Talk: Have we reached the end of physics?
  • TED Talk: This telescope might show us the beginning of the universe
  • TED Talk: How we explore unanswered questions in physics
  • TED Ed: Turbulence: one of the great unsolved mysteries of physics
  • TED Ed: Why do hospitals have particle accelerators?
  • GCSE Physics Padlet
  • Physics and Maths Tutor
  • GCSE Physics Online

Physics-specific language to master in Middle School (Years 10 – 11)

  • Subject-specific key word lists can be found under the ‘glossaries’ section of the GCSE Physics Padlet

Pre-requisite or helpful knowledge from KS4 Physics ready to study in Year 12 if applicable

Grade 7 or above in GCSE Physics

Adjustments from the Pandemic for years 12 -13 if applicable?

  • Yr12
    • Targeted transition packs provided with activities to bridge the gap between Year 11 and 12.
  • Yr13
    • Videos of practical work were used. Students completed analysis from sample results, rather than their own.
    • Several Year 12 required practicals were re-scheduled for completion in the summer term, when rooming permitted.
    • The Y12 summer supercurricular essay and presentation activity was omitted to prioritise opportunities to catch up practical investigative work and review.
    • Use of monitored online assignments set by teachers, such as Isaac Physics for practice and review of key skills.
    • All lesson and revision resources saved to Teams for student access during/after the lesson.
    • Structured fortnightly revision programme in Year 12 whereby specific past paper question packs were set, completed and monitored.
    • Promotion of Isaac Physics summer schools and mentoring programmes.

The topics below have been chosen as they reflect the ambitions of the National Curriculum, and as a Grammar school, also challenge students beyond the National Curriculum. They have been carefully sequenced in this order to build a student’s learning journey to achieve the aims of our Physics intent. Along the way students are assessed and topics will be revisited in assessments to keep each stage of this learning journey alive.

Year 12

Term 1

Topics

  • Maths Skills for Physicists
  • Measurements and their errors
  • Electricity
  • Mechanics

Assessment

  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 2

Topics

  • Mechanics cont.
  • Electricity cont.
  • Materials
  • Waves

Assessment

  • RAG cumulative assessment
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.
  • Cumulative assessment

Term 3

Topics

  • Particles and Radiation

Assessment

  • PPE 
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Year 13

Term 1

Topics

  • Further Mechanics
  • Fields and their consequences

Assessment

  • UCAS Final Assessment RAG
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 2

Topics

  • Fields and their consequences cont.
  • Thermal Physics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Option: Engineering Physics

 Assessment

  • PPE
  • Topic-based diagnostic assessments
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Term 3

Topics

  • Nuclear Physics cont.
  • Option: Engineering Physics cont.

Assessment

  • FRAG and GR
  • Self-marking Isaac Physics assignments
  • SkillBuild self-marked exam question homework packs.

Achieving mastery in Physics knowing and remembering even more than what is expected in a grammar school Year 12 and 13 curriculum

Our assessment practice at SHSG reflects on how successful students have been in knowing, remembering and doing more through the above topics. They are either emerging, developing or proficient in this journey throughout Year 12 and 13.

To go beyond being proficient in what is expected of a Physics student in Year 11 and achieve mastery in Physics, students should read widely, engage in watching Ted Talks and recommended research, and learn key language and subject specific terminology.

Recommended reading in Physics for Upper School (Years 12 – 13)

  • How to teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel
  • Alice in Quantumland by Robert Gilmore
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
  • Why does E=mc2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
  • Just Six Numbers by Martin Rees
  • Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili
  • Black Holes, Wormholes and Time-Machines by Jim Al-Khalili
  • For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin
  • New Scientist magazine (school library has a subscription)

Useful websites, TED Talks and research for Upper School (Years 12 – 13)

  • The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast
  • Guardian’s Science Weekly
  • Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • The Particle Adventure
  • TED: Is Our Universe the Only Universe? by Brian Greene
  • TED: How we explore unanswered questions in Physics by James Beacham
  • TED: Search for planets beyond our Solar System by Sara Seager
  • TED: This telescope might show us the beginning of the Universe by Wendy Freedman
  • The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, BBC podcast

Physics-specific language to master in Upper School (Years 12 – 13)

  • The Particle Zoo
  • Quantum Physics key terminology