The Department Ethos
Up to the end of Year 9, we aim to teach pupils the fundamental basics that apply to physics. Pupils are introduced to a broad spectrum of ideas and topics, many of which form an essential foundation to the GCSE course they later follow.
These first few years are an opportunity for them to see how Physics differs from the other two sciences and to learn about and investigate the ideas behind the many everyday realities they encounter.
Throughout the three years, they witness many exciting demonstrations and undertake a multitude of experiments that allow them to gain an understanding of the physical ideas through their own experience and involvement.
Content followed by pupils through Years 7–9
Each year group looks at the basic topics of electricity, waves, forces and energy in increasing depth and detail. In addition, each year group focuses on a particular issue, idea or personality within science.
Year 7: Starting with the basics, pupils learn about the SI system of units and the importance of measurements. They are then introduced to the nature of Force and its effects, through mobiles, tug-of-wars and bridges. They also begin studying the elementary nature of electricity and magnetism before moving onto light as an introduction to waves.
Year 8: During this year, forces are revisited, but this time as pressure, where they look at water pressure and atmospheric pressure in detail. By the end of the year, forces lead into energy and doing work. In addition they also learn about electrical circuits.
During both these years, the department also embeds into its teaching lessons that encourage pupils to develop new skills and ways of thinking that we firmly believe enable them to be more independent learners and to develop better skills of analysis and evaluation. These lessons incorporate the strategy of social construction, metacognition and peer feedback on what they have learnt and how they have learnt it.
Year 9: The big research topic in this year is all about energy resources and helps to draw the two topics of electricity and energy together. Pupils produce posters and give presentations on a variety of alternative ways of producing electricity.
In Year 9, we begin to start the initial topics on their GCSE course. These comprise the basic foundational topics and ideas that underpin many of the higher concepts that pupils encounter during Years 10 and 11. All work covered in Year 9 is essential but will be revisited again in both Year 10 and Year 11.
Each year, in addition to the above, pupils learn a different aspect of astronomy. To begin with, we study the Earth in space and explain the changing view of the heavens. In Year 8, we centre on man’s exploration of space through the Apollo and Voyager missions.
Pupils in their early formative years of study in the subject of Physics can look forward to learning how it all works and why nature is the way it is. In the department we aim to keep the subject up to date and to help the pupils learn effectively using such methods as independent study, personal research, group work, presentations and posters, as well as traditional experiments.