BoS Stage 6 Physics Syllabus


Preliminary Course (Year 11)

8.0 Objectives and Outcomes

To be added


8.1 Physics Skills

To be added


8.2 The World Communicates

To be added


8.3 Electricity in the Home

To be added


8.4 Moving About

To be added


8.5 The Cosmic Engine

To be added


HSC Course (Year 12)

9.0 Objectives and Outcomes

To be added


9.1 Physics Skills

To be added


9.2 Space

Scientists have drawn on advances in areas such as aeronautics, material science, robotics, electronics, medicine and energy production to develop viable spacecraft. Perhaps the most dangerous parts of any space mission are the launch, re-entry and landing. A huge force is required to propel the rocket a sufficient distance from the Earth so that it is able to either escape the Earth’s gravitational pull or maintain an orbit. Following a successful mission, re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere provides further challenges to scientists if astronauts are to return to Earth safely.

Rapid advances in technologies over the past fifty years have allowed the exploration of not only the Moon, but the Solar System and, to an increasing extent, the Universe. Space exploration is becoming more viable. Information from research undertaken in space programs has impacted on society through the development of devices such as personal computers, advanced medical equipment and communication satellites, and has enabled the accurate mapping of natural resources. Space research and exploration increases our understanding of the Earth’s own environment, the Solar System and the Universe.

This module increases students’ understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the implications of physics for society and the environment.

9.2.A - Gravity

1. The Earth has a gravitational field that exerts a force on objects both on it and around it

Students learn to:

  • define weight as the force on an object due to a gravitational field

  • explain that a change in gravitational potential energy is related to work done

  • define gravitational potential energy as the work done to move an object from a very large distance away to a point in a gravitational field:

GPE

Students:

  • perform an investigation and gather information to determine a value for acceleration due to gravity using pendulum motion or computer-assisted technology and identify reason for possible variations from the value 9.8 ms-2

  • gather secondary information to predict the value of acceleration due to gravity on other planets

  • analyse information using the expression:

    Weight

    to determine the weight force for a body on Earth and for the same body on other planets
 
3. The Solar System is held together by gravity

Students learn to:

  • describe a gravitational field in the region surrounding a massive object in terms of its effects on other masses in it

  • define Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation:

    Gravitational Force

  • discuss the importance of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation in understanding and calculating the motion of satellites

  • identify that a slingshot effect can be provided by planets for space probes

 

Students:

  • present information and use available evidence to discuss the factors affecting the strength of the gravitational force

  • solve problems and analyse information using:

    Gravitational Force


9.2.B - Projectiles
9.2.C - Launches
9.2.D - Orbits

2. Many factors have to be taken into account to achieve a successful rocket launch, maintain a stable orbit and return to Earth

Students learn to:

  • describe the trajectory of an object undergoing projectile motion within the Earth's gravitational field in terms of horizontal and vertical components

  • describe Galileo's analysis of projectile motion

  • explain the concept of escape velocity in terms of the:

    - gravitational constant
    - mass and radius of the planet

  • outline Newton's concept of escape velocity

  • identify why the term 'g forces' is used to explain the forces acting on an astronaut during launch

  • discuss the effect of the Earth's orbital motion and its rotational motion on the launch of a rocket

  • analyse the changing acceleration of a rocket during launch in terms of the:

    - Law of Conservation of Momentum
    - forces experienced by astronauts

  • analyse the forces involved in uniform circular motion for a range of objects, including satellites orbiting the Earth

  • compare qualitatively low Earth and geo-stationary orbits

  • define the term orbital velocity and the quantitative and qualitative relationship between orbital velocity, the gravitational constant, mass of the central body, mass of the satellite and the radius of the orbit using Kepler's Law of Periods

  • account for the orbital decay of satellites in low Earth orbit

  • discuss issues associated with safe re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and landing on the Earth's surface

  • identify that there is an optimum angle for safe re-entry for a manned spacecraft into the Earth's atmosphere and the consequences of failing to achieve this angle

 

Students:

  • solve problems and analyse information to calculate the actual velocity of a projectile from its horizontal and vertical components using:

    Equations of Motion

  • perform a first-hand investigation, gather information and analyse data to calculate initial and final velocity, maximum height reached, range and time of flight of a projectile for a range of situations by using simulations, data loggers and computer analysis

  • identify data sources, gather, analyse and present information on the contribution of one of the following to the development of space exploration: Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, Esnault-Pelterie, O'Neill or von Braun

  • solve problems and analyse information to calculate the centripetal force acting on a satellite undergoing uniform circular motion about the Earth using:

    Centripetal Force

  • solve problems and analyse information using:

    Kepler's Third Law


9.2.E - Relativity

4. Current and emerging understanding about time and space has been dependent upon earlier models of the transmission of light

Students learn to:

  • outline the features of the aether model for the transmission of light

  • describe and evaluate the Michelson-Morley attempt to measure the relative velocity of the Earth through the aether

  • discuss the role of the Michelson-Morley experiments in making determinations about competing theories

  • outline the nature of inertial frames of reference

  • discuss the principle of relativity

  • describe the significance of Einstein's assumption of the constancy of the speed of light

  • identify that if c is constant then space and time become relative • discuss the concept that length standards are defined in terms of time in contrast to the original metre standard

  • explain qualitatively and quantitatively the consequence of special relativity in relation to:

    - the relativity of simultaneity
    - the equivalence between mass and energy
    - length contraction
    - time dilation
    - mass dilation

  • discuss the implications of mass increase, time dilation and length contraction for space travel

Students:

  • gather and process information to interpret the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment

  • perform an investigation to help distinguish between non-inertial and inertial frames of reference

  • analyse and interpret some of Einstein's thought experiments involving mirrors and trains and discuss the relationship between thought and reality

  • analyse information to discuss the relationship between theory and the evidence supporting it, using Einstein's predictions based on relativity that were made many years before evidence was available to support it

  • solve problems and analyse information using:

    Einstein's Equation

    Length Contraction

    Time Dilation

    Mass Dilation

 


9.3 Motors and Generators

Modern industrialised society is geared to using electricity. Electricity has characteristics that have made it uniquely appropriate for powering a highly technological society. There are many energy sources that can be readily converted into electricity. In Australia, most power plants burn a fuel, such as coal, or use the energy of falling water to generate electricity on a large scale. Electricity is also relatively easy to distribute. Electricity authorities use high-voltage transmission lines and transformers to distribute electricity to homes and industries around each state. Voltages can be as high as 5 x 105 volts from power stations but by the time this reaches homes, the electricity has been transformed to 240 volts. While it is relatively economical to generate electric power at a steady rate, there are both financial and environmental issues that should be considered when assessing the long-term impact of supplying commercial and household power.

The design of a motor for an electrical appliance requires consideration of whether it will run at a set speed, how much power it must supply, whether it will be powered by AC or DC and what reliability is required. The essentials of an electric motor are the supply of electrical energy to a coil in a magnetic field causing it to rotate.

The generation of electrical power requires relative motion between a magnetic field and a conductor. In a generator, mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy while the opposite occurs in an electric motor.

The electricity produced by most generators is in the form of alternating current. In general AC generators, motors and other electrical equipment are simpler, cheaper and more reliable than their DC counterparts. AC electricity can be easily transformed into higher or lower voltages making it more versatile than DC electricity.

This module increases students' understanding of the applications and uses of physics and the implications of physics for society and the environment.

9.3.A Forces on Conductors
9.3.B - Motors

1. Motors use the effect of corces on current-carrying conductors in magnetic fields

Students learn to:

  • discuss the effect on the magnitude of the force on a current-carrying conductor of variations in:

    - the strength of the magnetic field in which it is located
    - the magnitude of the current in the conductor
    - the length of the conductor in the external magnetic field
    - the angle between the direction of the external magnetic field and the direction of the length of the conductor

  • describe qualitatively and quantitatively the force between long parallel current-carrying conductors:

  • define torque as the turning moment of a force using:

  • identify that the motor effect is due to the force acting on a current-carrying conductor in a magnetic field

  • describe the forces experienced by a current-carrying loop in a magnetic field and describe the net result of the forces

  • describe the main features of a DC electric motor and the role of each feature

  • identify that the required magnetic fields in DC motors can be produced either by current-carrying coils or permanent magnets

Students:

  • solve problems using:

  • perform a first-hand investigation to demonstrate the motor effect

  • solve problems and analyse information about the force on current-carrying conductors in magnetic fields using:


  • solve problems and analyse information about simple motors using:

  • identify data sources, gather and process information to qualitatively describe the application of the motor effect in:

    - the galvanometer
    - the loudspeaker

 

9.3.C - Electromagnetic Induction

2. The relative motion between a conductor and magnetic field is used to generate and electrical voltage.

Students learn to:

  • outline Michael Faraday's discovery of the generation of an electric current by a moving magnet

  • define magnetic field strength B as magnetic flux density

  • describe the concept of magnetic flux in terms of magnetic flux density and surface area

  • describe generated potential difference as the rate of change of magnetic flux through a circuit

  • account for Lenz's Law in terms of conservation of energy and relate it to the production of back emf in motors

  • explain that, in electric motors, back emf opposes the supply emf

  • explain the production of eddy currents in terms of Lenz's Law

Students:

  • perform an investigation to model the generation of an electric current by moving a magnet in a coil or a coil near a magnet

  • plan, choose equipment or resources for, and perform a first-hand investigation to predict and verify the effect on a generated electric current when:

    - the distance between the coil and magnet is varied
    - the strength of the magnet is varied
    - the relative motion between the coil and the magnet is varied

  • gather, analyse and present information to explain how induction is used in cooktops in electric ranges

  • gather secondary information to identify how eddy currents have been utilised in electromagnetic braking

 

5. Motors are used in industries and the home usually to convert electrical energy into more useful forms of energy

Students learn to:

  • describe the main features of an AC electric motor

Students:

  • perform an investigation to demonstrate the principle of an AC induction motor

  • gather, process and analyse information to identify some of the energy transfers and transformations involving the conversion of electrical energy into more useful forms in the home and industry

 

9.3.C - Electricity Supply

3. Generators are used to provide large scale power production

Students learn to:

  • describe the main components of a generator

  • compare the structure and function of a generator to an electric motor

  • describe the differences between AC and DC generators

  • discuss the energy losses that occur as energy is fed through transmission lines from the generator to the consumer

  • assess the effects of the development of AC generators on society and the environment

Students:

  • plan, choose equipment or resources for, and perform a first-hand investigation to demonstrate the production of an alternating current

  • gather secondary information to discuss advantages/disadvantages of AC and DC generators and relate these to their use

  • analyse secondary information on the competition between Westinghouse and Edison to supply electricity to cities

  • gather and analyse information to identify how transmission lines are:

    - insulated from supporting structures
    - protected from lightning strikes

 

4. Transformers allow generated voltage to be either increased or decreased before it is used

Students learn to:

  • describe the purpose of transformers in electrical circuits

  • compare step-up and step-down transformers

  • identify the relationship between the ratio of the number of turns in the primary and secondary coils and the ratio of primary to secondary voltage

  • explain why voltage transformations are related to conservation of energy

  • explain the role of transformers in electricity sub-stations

  • discuss why some electrical appliances in the home that are connected to the mains domestic power supply use a transformer

  • discuss the impact of the development of transformers on society

Students:

  • perform an investigation to model the structure of a transformer to demonstrate how secondary voltage is produced

  • solve problems and analyse information about transformers using:

  • gather, analyse and use available evidence to discuss how difficulties of heating caused by eddy currents in transformers may be overcome

  • gather and analyse secondary information to discuss the need for transformers in the transfer of electrical energy from a power station to its point of use

 


9.4 From Ideas to Implementation

By the beginning of the twentieth century, many of the pieces of the physics puzzle seemed to be falling into place. The wave model of light had successfully explained interference and diffraction, and wavelengths at the extremes of the visible spectrum had been estimated. The invention of a pump that would evacuate tubes to 0.0001 atmospheres allowed the investigation of cathode rays. X-rays would soon be confirmed as electromagnetic radiation and patterns in the Periodic Table appeared to be nearly complete. The nature of cathode rays was resolved with the measurement of the charge on the electron soon to follow. There was a small number of experimental observations still unexplained but this, apparently complete, understanding of the world of the atom was about to be challenged.

The exploration of the atom was well and truly inward bound by this time and, as access to greater amounts of energy became available, the journey of physics moved further and further into the study of subatomic particles. Careful observation, analysis, imagination and creativity throughout the early part of the twentieth century developed a more complete picture of the nature of electromagnetic radiation and matter. The journey taken into the world of the atom has not remained isolated in laboratories. The phenomena discovered by physicists have, with increasing speed, been channelled into technologies, such as computers, to which society has ever-increasing access. These technologies have, in turn, often assisted physicists in their search for further knowledge and understanding of natural phenomena at the sub-atomic level.

This module increases students' understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the applications and uses of physics, the implications of physics for society and the environment, and the current issues, research and developments in physics.

9.4.A - Cathode Rays

1. Increased undertsandings of cathode rays led to the development of television

Students learn to:

  • explain why the apparent inconsistent behaviour of cathode rays caused debate as to whether they were charged particles or electromagnetic waves

  • explain that cathode ray tubes allowed the manipulation of a stream of charged particles

  • identify that moving charged particles in a magnetic field experience a force

  • identify that charged plates produce an electric field

  • describe quantitatively the force acting on a charge moving through a magnetic field
    F=BVqsinθ

  • discuss qualitatively the electric field strength due to a point charge, positive and negative charges and oppositely charged parallel plates

  • describe quantitatively the electric field due to oppositely charged parallel plates

  • outline Thomson's experiment to measure the charge/mass ratio of an electron

  • outline the role of:
    – electrodes in the electron gun
    – the deflection plates or coils
    – the fluorescent screen in the cathode ray tube of conventional TV displays and oscilloscopes

 

Students:

  • perform an investigation and gather first-hand information to observe the occurrence of different striation patterns for different pressures in discharge tubes

  • perform an investigation to demonstrate and identify properties of cathode rays using discharge tubes:
    – containing a maltese cross
    – containing electric plates
    – with a fluorescent display screen
    – containing a glass wheel
    – analyse the information gathered to determine the sign of the charge on cathode rays

  • solve problem and analyse information using:

    F=Bvqsinθ and E=V/d

9.4.B - Photoelectric Effect

2. The reconcept-ualisation of the model of light led to an understanding of the photoelectric effect and black body radiation

Students learn to:

  • describe Hertz's observation of the effect of a radio wave on a receiver and the photoelectric effect he produced but failed to investigate

  • outline qualitatively Hertz's experiments in measuring the speed of radio waves and how they relate to light waves

  • identify Planck's hypothesis that radiation emitted and absorbed by the walls of a black body cavity is quantised

  • identify Einstein's contribution to quantum theory and its relation to black body radiation

  • explain the particle model of light in terms of photons with particular energy and frequency

  • identify the relationships between photon energy, frequency, speed of light and wavelength:

    E=hf and c=fλ

 

Students:

  • perform an investigation to demonstrate the production and reception of radio waves

  • identify data sources, gather, process and analyse information and use available evidence to assess Einstein's contribution to quantum theory and its relation to black body radiation

  • identify data sources, gather, process and present information to summarise the use of the photoelectric effect in photocells

  • solve problems and analyse information using:

    E=hf and c=fλ

  • process information to discuss Einstein's and Planck's differing views about whether science research is removed from social and political forces

9.4.C - Semiconductors

3. Limitations of past technologies and increased research into the structure of the atom resulted in the invention of transistors

Students learn to:

  • identify that some electrons in solids are shared between atoms and move freely

  • describe the difference between conductors, insulators and semiconductors in terms of band structures and relative electrical resistance

  • identify absences of electrons in a nearly full band as holes, and recognise that both electrons and holes help to carry current

  • compare qualitatively the relative number of free electrons that can drift from atom to atom in conductors, semiconductors and insulators

  • identify that the use of germanium in early transistors is related to lack of ability to produce other materials of suitable purity

  • describe how 'doping' a semiconductor can change its electrical properties

  • identify differences in p and n-type semiconductors in terms of the relative number of negative charge carriers and positive holes

  • describe differences between solid state and thermionic devices and discuss why solid state devices replaced thermionic devices

 

Students:

  • perform an investigation to model the behaviour of semiconductors, including the creation of a hole or positive charge on the atom that has lost the electron and the movement of electrons and holes in opposite directions when an electric field is applied across the semiconductor

  • gather, process and present secondary information to discuss how shortcomings in available communication technology lead to an increased knowledge of the properties of materials with particular reference to the invention of the transistor

  • identify data sources, gather, process, analyse information and use available evidence to assess the impact of the invention of transistors on society with particular reference to their use in microchips and microprocessors

  • identify data sources, gather, process and present information to summarise the effect of light on semiconductors in solar cells

9.4.D - Superconductors

4. Investigations into the electrical properties of particular metals at different temperatures led to the identification of superconductivity and the exploration of possible applications

Students learn to:

  • outline the methods used by the Braggs to determine crystal structure

  • identify that metals possess a crystal lattice structure

  • describe conduction in metals as a free movement of electrons unimpeded by the lattice

  • identify that resistance in metals is increased by the presence of impurities and scattering of electrons by lattice vibrations

  • describe the occurrence in superconductors below their critical temperature of a population of electron pairs unaffected by electrical resistance

  • discuss the BCS theory

  • discuss the advantages of using superconductors and identify limitations to their use

 

Students:

  • process information to identify some of the metals, metal alloys and compounds that have been identified as exhibiting the property of superconductivity and their critical temperatures

  • perform an investigation to demonstrate magnetic levitation

  • analyse information to explain why a magnet is able to hover above a superconducting material that has reached the temperature at which it is superconducting

  • gather and process information to describe how superconductors and the effects of magnetic fields have been applied to develop a maglev train

  • process information to discuss possible applications of superconductivity and the effects of those applications on computers, generators and motors and transmission of electricity through power grids

 

 


9.8 From Quanta to Quarks

In the early part of the twentieth century, many experimental and theoretical problems remained unresolved. Attempts to explain the behaviour of matter on the atomic level with the laws of classical physics were not successful. Phenomena such as black-body radiation, the photoelectric effect and the emission of sharp spectral lines by atoms in a gas discharge tube could not be understood within the framework of classical physics.

Between 1900 and 1930, a revolution took place and a new more generalised formulation called quantum mechanics was developed. This new approach was highly successful in explaining the behaviour of atoms, molecules and nuclei. As with relativity, quantum theory requires a modification of ideas about the physical world.

This module increases students' understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the current issues, research and developments in physics.

9.8.A - Bohr Model of the Atom

1. Problems with the Rutherford model of the atom led to the search for a model that would better explain the observed phenomena.

Students learn to:

  • discuss the structure of the Rutherford model of the atom, the existence of the nucleus and electron orbits

  • analyse the significance of the hydrogen spectrum in the development of Bohr's model of the atom

  • define Bohr's postulates

  • discuss Planck's contribution to the concept of quantised energy

  • describe how Bohr's postulates led to the development of a mathematical model to account for the existence of the hydrogen spectrum:


  • discuss the limitations of the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom

Students:

  • perform a first-hand investigation to observe the visible components of the hydrogen spectrum

  • process and present diagrammatic information to illustrate Bohr's explanation of the Balmer series

  • solve problems and analyse information using:


  • analyse secondary information to identify the difficulties with the Rutherford-Bohr model, including its inability to completely explain:

    - the spectra of larger atoms
    - the relative intensity of spectral lines
    - the existence of hyperfine spectral lines
    - the Zeeman effect

9.8.B - Quantum Physics

2. The limitations of classical physics gave birth to quantum physics

Students learn to:

  • describe the impact of de Broglie's proposal that any kind of particle has both wave and particle properties

  • define diffraction and identify that interference occurs between waves that have been diffracted

  • describe the confirmation of de Broglie's proposal by Davisson and Germer

  • explain the stability of the electron orbits in the Bohr atom using de Broglie’s hypothesis

Students:

  • solve problems and analyse information using:

  • gather, process, analyse and present information and use available evidence to assess the contributions made by Heisenberg and Pauli to the development of atomic theory

9.8.C - Radioactive Decay
9.8.D - Artificial Transmutations

3. The work of Chadwick and Fermi in producing artificial transmutations led to practical applications of nuclear physics

Students learn to:

  • define the components of the nucleus (protons and neutrons) as nucleons and contrast their properties

  • discuss the importance of conservation laws to Chadwick's discovery of the neutron

  • define the term transmutation

  • describe nuclear transmutations due to natural radioactivity

  • describe Fermi's initial experimental observation of nuclear fission

  • discuss Pauli's suggestion of the existence of neutrino and relate it to the need to account for the energy distribution of electrons emitted in β-decay

  • evaluate the relative contributions of electrostatic and gravitational forces between nucleons

  • account for the need for the strong nuclear force and describe its properties

  • explain the concept of a mass defect using Einstein's equivalence between mass and energy

  • describe Fermi's demonstration of a controlled nuclear chain reaction in 1942

  • compare requirements for controlled and uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions

Students:

  • perform a first-hand investigation or gather secondary information to observe radiation emitted from a nucleus using Wilson Cloud Chamber or similar detection device

  • solve problems and analyse information to calculate the mass defect and energy released in natural transmutation and fission reactions

 

9.8.C - Radioactive Decay
9.8.D - Artificial Transmutations
9.8.E - Particle Physics

4. An understanding of the nucleus has led to large science projects and many applications

Students learn to:

  • explain the basic principles of a fission reactor

  • describe some medical and industrial applications of radio-isotopes

  • describe how neutron scattering is used as a probe by referring to the properties of neutrons

  • identify ways by which physicists continue to develop their understanding of matter, using accelerators as a probe to investigate the structure of matter

  • discuss the key features and components of the standard model of matter, including quarks and leptons

Students:

  • gather, process and analyse information to assess the significance of the Manhattan Project to society

  • identify data sources, and gather, process, and analyse information to describe the use of:

    - a named isotope in medicine
    - a named isotope in agriculture
    - a named isotope in engineering