Physics

The physics course builds on students’ knowledge and skills developed in the science Stage 5 course and helps them develop a greater understanding of physics as a foundation for undertaking post-school studies in a wide range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. A knowledge and understanding of physics often provides the unifying link between interdisciplinary studies.

The Physics Stage 6 Syllabus involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts that include energy and force. Physics deals with the study of phenomena on scales of space and time – from nuclear particles and their interactions up to the size and age of the Universe. This allows students to better understand the physical world and how it works, appreciate the uniqueness of the universe, and participate in navigating and influencing the future.

The problem-solving nature of physics further develops students’ working scientifically skills by focusing on the exploration of models and the analysis of theories and laws, which promotes an understanding of the connectedness of seemingly dissimilar phenomena.

Students who study physics are encouraged to use observations to develop quantitative models of real-world problems and derive relationships between variables. They are required to engage in solving equations based on these models, make predictions, and analyse the interconnectedness of physical entities.

The study of physics provides the foundation knowledge and skills required to support participation in a range of careers. It is a discipline that utilises innovative and creative thinking to address new challenges, such as sustainability, energy efficiency and the creation of new materials.

The following websites may be useful in the teaching of physics.

CERN: Quantum physics and the standard model of atom

An interactive resource for physics students. Students:

  • explore the workings of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland
  • learn key terms and concepts around particle physics
  • complete tasks that complement the Physics syllabus
  • analyse real data collected by the CERN ATLAS detector
  • virtually liaise and meet with CERN scientists
  • extend their learning experiences by exposing them to working scientists and real-world applications of particle physics.

The resource can be coupled with masterclasses available on the DARTS Connections website. The Particle Physics Masterclass provides students with the opportunity to:

  • participate in a masterclass with working scientists at the forefront of their field
  • build their physics knowledge and understanding
  • experience real scientific work by analysing actual ATLAS data
  • improve their skills in scientific data analysis
  • understand the principles that allow scientists to draw conclusions and new insights from data
  • meet syllabus outcomes in a meaningful way through participating in a cutting-edge real world context.

The resource can be extended beyond the Physics Stage 6 Syllabus (2017) and may provide the basis for depth studies to be undertaken.

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) have support resources such as sample units and assessments for the Physics Stage 6 Syllabus (2017).

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