Mrs S Saunders
Mr J Ruse
Miss A Malengou

S3 Physics

This course provides a link between Science in S1 and S2 and the National Qualifications in S4. Pupils will be exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences. The units they will study are:-

  • Heat
  • Floatation and Density
  • Space
  • Electronics and Sound
  • Electricity and Energy

Throughout our units, pupils will be exposed to a range of activities that will allow them to develop their Scientific skills. Opportunities exist for the pupils to further develop generic skills such as creating a presentation, summarising information (literacy), using data to understand the Science behind something (numeracy).

Each unit has a range of homework activities and pupils are expected to complete these. They will be assessed regularly using both summative (end of unit) and formative (ongoing, within learning experiences) techniques.

Relevant information for pupils and parents will be posted on the website in the Resources section below.


What is Physics?

Physics in a very important Science - in Physics, we look at the world around us and try to explain how things work.

Physics is vital for our every day lives. All these jobs (and many more) require a Physics qualification: scientist, engineer, vet, doctor, dentist, nurse, architect, designer, mechanic, joiner, plumber, electrician, researcher.

Course Structure/Content

Both the National 4 and National 5 Physics courses comprise three units:

  • Electricity and Energy
  • Waves and Radiation
  • Dynamics and Space

The Physics studied in each unit is relevant to the advances being made in our modern day technological society.

Each unit is based around a 'knowledge and understanding' core. Students will have ample opportunity to develop their 'analytical thinking', 'investigative' and 'scientific enquiry' skills.

Course Assessment

The National 4 Physics course is assessed entirely within the school. Course work is closely monitored and verified by the SQA to ensure fairness across all presenting centres in Scotland.

The following aspects will be assessed internally at both National 4 and National 5 level:

l knowledge and understanding of Physics

l application of knowledge to unfamiliar problem solving situations

l experimentation to test hypotheses

l selecting information from relevant sources

l presentation of information in an appropriate format, e.g., data table, chart, bar/line graph

l processing information, e.g., by calculation

l predicting outcomes from available evidence

l justifying conclusions

l suggesting improvements to experimental conclusions and evaluations

l communicating findings in an appropriate format, e.g., PowerPoint presentation

The external assessment for the National 5 course will comprise two parts:

Part 1: Question paper worth 110 marks (80% of total mark). This will contain 20 'objective test' questions (20 marks) and a number of 'short' and 'extended answer' questions (90 marks). This paper will be marked externally by the SQA.Part 2: Assignment worth 20 marks (20% of total mark). This will involve an in-depth study of a relevant Physics topic chosen by the candidate. The majority of marks will be awarded for applying 'scientific enquiry' and 'analytical thinking' skills. The remaining marks will be for applying 'knowledge and understanding' related to the study topic.

Course Entry Requirements

The National 4 and National 5 Physics courses are not heavily based on calculations and Maths - much of the coursework involves student research, development of descriptive models and oral/written presentations. However, students who study Physics should be competent in Maths to a similar level.

² The National 4 Physics course requires pupils to develop mathematical skills equivalent to those taught in National 4 Maths.

² The National 5 Physics course requires pupils to develop mathematical skills equivalent to those taught in National 5 Maths.

Higher Physics

The Higher Physics course consists of 4 units. The units studied are:-

•Our Dynamic Universe - covering kinematics, dynamics and space time.

• Electricity - covering electricity, and electrical storage and transfer.

• Researching Physics - collecting and synthesising information from different sources, planning and undertaking a practical investigation followed by analysis of results and communication of information related to the findings.

• Particles and Waves - covers the key areas of matter particles and waves.

The course gives a balanced insight into various aspects of Physics and as well as developing subject knowledge, giving the pupils a chance to develop their skills in Physics, Science and more generally.
Please note that pupils will be using Mathematics and problem solving within the course and we recommend that those pupils studying Higher Physics should be studying or have passed Higher Maths.

As with all Physics courses, homework is given regularly and this may be a formal written exercise, essay practice or a research type task. These exercises will help develop knowledge and skills and prepare students for the examination.

Assessment will be conducted regularly, through check tests and end of unit assessments, but parents should be aware that in Higher there are larger assessments that need to be completed for students to pass the course. As in National 5 there is an Assignment which counts towards 20% of the pupils’ mark for the course. This is therefore, a very important assessment. Guidance and advice will be given throughout, but pupils are expected to engage with the work and keep up with any deadlines issued.

Higher students are eligible to study Advanced Higher Physics in S6. This will be conditional on the pass they have received in Higher Physics.