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Physics guide
First assessment 2016
Physics guide
First assessment 2016
Diploma Programme
Physics guide
Published February 2014
Published on behalf of the International Baccalaureate Organization, a not-for-profit
educational foundation of 15 Route des Morillons, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Geneva,
Switzerland by the
International Baccalaureate Organization (UK) Ltd
Peterson House, Malthouse Avenue, Cardiff Gate
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United Kingdom
Website: www.ibo.org
© International Baccalaureate Organization 2014
The International Baccalaureate Organization (known as the IB) offers four high-quality
and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools, aiming
to create a better, more peaceful world. This publication is one of a range of materials
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4076
IB mission statement
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who
help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop
challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong
learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
Contents
Introduction1
Purpose of this document
1
The Diploma Programme
2
Nature of science
6
Nature of physics
12
Aims
17
Assessment objectives
18
Syllabus19
Syllabus outline
19
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
20
Syllabus content
25
Assessment130
Assessment in the Diploma Programme
130
Assessment outline—SL
132
Assessment outline—HL
133
External assessment
134
Internal assessment
136
Appendices154
Glossary of command terms
154
Bibliography
157
Physics guide
ix
Introduction
Purpose of this document
This publication is intended to guide the planning, teaching and assessment of the subject in schools.
Subject teachers are the primary audience, although it is expected that teachers will use the guide to inform
students and parents about the subject.
This guide can be found on the subject page of the online curriculum centre (OCC) at http://occ.ibo.org, a
password-protected IB website designed to support IB teachers. It can also be purchased from the IB store
at http://store.ibo.org.
Additional resources
Additional publications such as teacher support materials, subject reports, internal assessment guidance
and grade descriptors can also be found on the OCC. Past examination papers as well as markschemes can
be purchased from the IB store.
Teachers are encouraged to check the OCC for additional resources created or used by other teachers. Teachers
can provide details of useful resources, for example: websites, books, videos, journals or teaching ideas.
Acknowledgment
The IB wishes to thank the educators and associated schools for generously contributing time and resources
to the production of this guide.
First assessment 2016
Physics guide
1
Introduction
The Diploma Programme
The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19
age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and
inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to
develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect
and evaluate a range of points of view.
The Diploma Programme model
The course is presented as six academic areas enclosing a central core (see figure 1). It encourages the
concurrent study of a broad range of academic areas. Students study: two modern languages (or a modern
language and a classical language); a humanities or social science subject; an experimental science;
mathematics; one of the creative arts. It is this comprehensive range of subjects that makes the Diploma
Programme a demanding course of study designed to prepare students effectively for university entrance.
In each of the academic areas students have flexibility in making their choices, which means they can
choose subjects that particularly interest them and that they may wish to study further at university.
Figure 1
Diploma Programme model
2
Physics guide
The Diploma Programme
Choosing the right combination
Students are required to choose one subject from each of the six academic areas, although they can, instead
of an arts subject, choose two subjects from another area. Normally, three subjects (and not more than
four) are taken at higher level (HL), and the others are taken at standard level (SL). The IB recommends 240
teaching hours for HL subjects and 150 hours for SL. Subjects at HL are studied in greater depth and breadth
than at SL.
At both levels, many skills are developed, especially those of critical thinking and analysis. At the end of
the course, students’ abilities are measured by means of external assessment. Many subjects contain some
element of coursework assessed by teachers.
The core of the Diploma Programme Model
All Diploma Programme students participate in the three course elements that make up the core of
the model. Theory of knowledge (TOK) is a course that is fundamentally about critical thinking and inquiry
into the process of knowing rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. The TOK course
examines the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging
students to analyse knowledge claims and explore questions about the construction of knowledge. The
task of TOK is to emphasize connections between areas of shared knowledge and link them to personal
knowledge in such a way that an individual becomes more aware of his or her own perspectives and how
they might differ from others.
Creativity, action, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. The emphasis in CAS is on helping
students to develop their own identities, in accordance with the ethical principles embodied in the IB
mission statement and the IB learner profile. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their
academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. The three strands of CAS are Creativity (arts, and
other experiences that involve creative thinking), Action (physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle)
and Service (an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student). Possibly more
than any other component in the Diploma Programme, CAS contributes to the IB’s mission to create a better
and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
The extended essay, including the world studies extended essay, offers the opportunity for IB students to
investigate a topic of special interest, in the form of a 4,000-word piece of independent research. The area of
research undertaken is chosen from one of the students’ Diploma Programme subjects, or in the case of the
interdisciplinary world studies essay, two subjects, and acquaints them with the independent research and
writing skills expected at university. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in
which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject
or subjects chosen. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery
and creativity. As an authentic learning experience it provides students with an opportunity to engage in
personal research on a topic of choice, under the guidance of a supervisor.
Approaches to teaching and approaches to learning
Approaches to teaching and learning across the Diploma Programme refers to deliberate strategies,
skills and attitudes which permeate the teaching and learning environment. These approaches and
tools, intrinsically linked with the learner profile attributes, enhance student learning and assist student
preparation for the Diploma Programme assessment and beyond. The aims of approaches to teaching and
learning in the Diploma Programme are to:
Physics guide
3
The Diploma Programme
•
empower teachers as teachers of learners as well as teachers of content
•
empower teachers to create clearer strategies for facilitating learning experiences in which students
are more meaningfully engaged in structured inquiry and greater critical and creative thinking
•
promote both the aims of individual subjects (making them more than course aspirations) and linking
previously isolated knowledge (concurrency of learning)
•
encourage students to develop an explicit variety of skills that will equip them to continue to be
actively engaged in learning after they leave school, and to help them not only obtain university
admission through better grades but also prepare for success during tertiary education and beyond
•
enhance further the coherence and relevance of the students’ Diploma Programme experience
•
allow schools to identify the distinctive nature of an IB Diploma Programme education, with its blend
of idealism and practicality.
The five approaches to learning (developing thinking skills, social skills, communication skills, selfmanagement skills and research skills) along with the six approaches to teaching (teaching that is inquirybased, conceptually focused, contextualized, collaborative, differentiated and informed by assessment)
encompass the key values and principles that underpin IB pedagogy.
The IB mission statement and the IB learner profile
The Diploma Programme aims to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need
to fulfill the aims of the IB, as expressed in the organization’s mission statement and the learner profile.
Teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme represent the reality in daily practice of the organization’s
educational philosophy.
Academic honesty
Academic honesty in the Diploma Programme is a set of values and behaviours informed by the attributes
of the learner profile. In teaching, learning and assessment, academic honesty serves to promote personal
integrity, engender respect for the integrity of others and their work, and ensure that all students have an
equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire during their studies.
All coursework—including work submitted for assessment—is to be authentic, based on the student’s
individual and original ideas with the ideas and work of others fully acknowledged. Assessment tasks that
require teachers to provide guidance to students or that require students to work collaboratively must be
completed in full compliance with the detailed guidelines provided by the IB for the relevant subjects.
For further information on academic honesty in the IB and the Diploma Programme, please consult the IB
publications Academic honesty, The Diploma Programme: From principles into practice and General regulations:
Diploma Programme. Specific information regarding academic honesty as it pertains to external and internal
assessment components of this Diploma Programme subject can be found in this guide.
Acknowledging the ideas or work of another person
Coordinators and teachers are reminded that candidates must acknowledge all sources used in work
submitted for assessment. The following is intended as a clarification of this requirement.
Diploma Programme candidates submit work for assessment in a variety of media that may include audiovisual material, text, graphs, images and/or data published in print or electronic sources. If a candidate uses
the work or ideas of another person, the candidate must acknowledge the source using a standard style of
4
Physics guide
The Diploma Programme
referencing in a consistent manner. A candidate’s failure to acknowledge a source will be investigated by the
IB as a potential breach of regulations that may result in a penalty imposed by the IB final award committee.
The IB does not prescribe which style(s) of referencing or in-text citation should be used by candidates; this
is left to the discretion of appropriate faculty/staff in the candidate’s school. The wide range of subjects,
three response languages and the diversity of referencing styles make it impractical and restrictive to insist
on particular styles. In practice, certain styles may prove most commonly used, but schools are free to
choose a style that is appropriate for the subject concerned and the language in which candidates’ work is
written. Regardless of the reference style adopted by the school for a given subject, it is expected that the
minimum information given includes: name of author, date of publication, title of source, and page numbers
as applicable.
Candidates are expected to use a standard style and use it consistently so that credit is given to all sources
used, including sources that have been paraphrased or summarized. When writing, candidates must clearly
distinguish between their words and those of others by the use of quotation marks (or other method, such
as indentation) followed by an appropriate citation that denotes an entry in the bibliography. If an electronic
source is cited, the date of access must be indicated. Candidates are not expected to show faultless expertise
in referencing, but are expected to demonstrate that all sources have been acknowledged. Candidates must
be advised that audio-visual material, text, graphs, images and/or data published in print or in electronic
sources that is not their own must also attribute the source. Again, an appropriate style of referencing/
citation must be used.
Learning diversity and learning support
requirements
Schools must ensure that equal access arrangements and reasonable adjustments are provided to
candidates with learning support requirements that are in line with the IB documents Candidates with
assessment access requirements and Learning diversity within the International Baccalaureate programmes/
Special educational needs within the International Baccalaureate programmes.
Physics guide
5
Introduction
Nature of science
The Nature of science (NOS) is an overarching theme in the biology, chemistry and physics courses. This
section, titled “Nature of science”, is in the biology, chemistry and physics guides to support teachers in
their understanding of what is meant by the nature of science. The “Nature of science” section of the guide
provides a comprehensive account of the nature of science in the 21st century. It will not be possible to cover
in this document all the themes in detail in the three science courses, either for teaching or assessment.
It has a paragraph structure (1.1, 1.2, etc) to link the significant points made to the syllabus (landscape
pages) references on the NOS. The NOS parts in the subject-specific sections of the guide are examples of a
particular understanding. The NOS statement(s) above every sub-topic outline how one or more of the NOS
themes can be exemplified through the understandings, applications and skills in that sub-topic. These are
not a repeat of the NOS statements found below but an elaboration of them in a specific context. See the
section on “Format of the syllabus”.
Technology
Although this section is about the nature of science, the interpretation of the word technology is
important, and the role of technology emerging from and contributing to science needs to be clarified.
In today’s world, the words science and technology are often used interchangeably; however, historically
this is not the case. Technology emerged before science, and materials were used to produce useful and
decorative artefacts long before there was an understanding of why materials had different properties
that could be used for different purposes. In the modern world the reverse is the case: an understanding
of the underlying science is the basis for technological developments. These new technologies in their
turn drive developments in science.
Despite their mutual dependence they are based on different values: science on evidence, rationality and
the quest for deeper understanding; technology on the practical, the appropriate and the useful with an
increasingly important emphasis on sustainability.
1. What is science and what is the scientific
endeavour?
1.1.
The underlying assumption of science is that the universe has an independent, external reality
accessible to human senses and amenable to human reason.
1.2.
Pure science aims to come to a common understanding of this external universe; applied science
and engineering develop technologies that result in new processes and products. However, the
boundaries between these fields are fuzzy.
1.3.
Scientists use a wide variety of methodologies which, taken together, make up the process of science.
There is no single “scientific method”. Scientists have used, and do use, different methods at different
times to build up their knowledge and ideas, but they have a common understanding about what
makes them all scientifically valid.
1.4.
This is an exciting and challenging adventure involving much creativity and imagination as well
as exacting and detailed thinking and application. Scientists also have to be ready for unplanned,
surprising, accidental discoveries. The history of science shows this is a very common occurrence.
1.5.
Many scientific discoveries have involved flashes of intuition and many have come from speculation
or simple curiosity about particular phenomena.
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Nature of science
1.6.
Scientists have a common terminology and a common reasoning process, which involves using
deductive and inductive logic through analogies and generalizations. They share mathematics,
the language of science, as a powerful tool. Indeed, some scientific explanations only exist in
mathematical form.
1.7.
Scientists must adopt a skeptical attitude to claims. This does not mean that they disbelieve everything,
but rather that they suspend judgment until they have a good reason to believe a claim to be true or
false. Such reasons are based on evidence and argument.
1.8.
The importance of evidence is a fundamental common understanding. Evidence can be obtained by
observation or experiment. It can be gathered by human senses, primarily sight, but much modern
science is carried out using instrumentation and sensors that can gather information remotely and
automatically in areas that are too small, or too far away, or otherwise beyond human sense perception.
Improved instrumentation and new technology have often been the drivers for new discoveries.
Observations followed by analysis and deduction led to the Big Bang theory of the origin of the
universe and to the theory of evolution by natural selection. In these cases, no controlled experiments
were possible. Disciplines such as geology and astronomy rely strongly on collecting data in the field,
but all disciplines use observation to collect evidence to some extent. Experimentation in a controlled
environment, generally in laboratories, is the other way of obtaining evidence in the form of data, and
there are many conventions and understandings as to how this is to be achieved.
1.9.
This evidence is used to develop theories, generalize from data to form laws and propose hypotheses.
These theories and hypotheses are used to make predictions that can be tested. In this way theories
can be supported or opposed and can be modified or replaced by new theories.
1.10. Models, some simple, some very complex, based on theoretical understanding, are developed to
explain processes that may not be observable. Computer-based mathematical models are used to
make testable predictions, which can be especially useful when experimentation is not possible.
Models tested against experiments or data from observations may prove inadequate, in which case
they may be modified or replaced by new models.
1.11. The outcomes of experiments, the insights provided by modelling and observations of the natural
world may be used as further evidence for a claim.
1.12. The growth in computing power has made modelling much more powerful. Models, usually
mathematical, are now used to derive new understandings when no experiments are possible (and
sometimes when they are). This dynamic modelling of complex situations involving large amounts of
data, a large number of variables and complex and lengthy calculations is only possible as a result of
increased computing power. Modelling of the Earth’s climate, for example, is used to predict or make
a range of projections of future climatic conditions. A range of different models has been developed
in this field and results from different models have been compared to see which models are most
accurate. Models can sometimes be tested by using data from the past and used to see if they can
predict the present situation. If a model passes this test, we gain confidence in its accuracy.
1.13. Both the ideas and the processes of science can only occur in a human context. Science is carried out
by a community of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and traditions, and this has clearly
influenced the way science has proceeded at different times. It is important to understand, however,
that to do science is to be involved in a community of inquiry with certain common principles,
methodologies, understandings and processes.
2. The understanding of science
2.1.
Theories, laws and hypotheses are concepts used by scientists. Though these concepts are connected,
there is no progression from one to the other. These words have a special meaning in science and it is
important to distinguish these from their everyday use.
2.2.
Theories are themselves integrated, comprehensive models of how the universe, or parts of it, work.
A theory can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Predictions can be made from the
theories and these can be tested in experiments or by careful observations. Examples are the germ
theory of disease or atomic theory.
2.3.
Theories generally accommodate the assumptions and premises of other theories, creating a consistent
understanding across a range of phenomena and disciplines. Occasionally, however, a new theory
will radically change how essential concepts are understood or framed, impacting other theories and
causing what is sometimes called a “paradigm shift” in science. One of the most famous paradigm
shifts in science occurred when our idea of time changed from an absolute frame of reference to
an observer-dependent frame of reference within Einstein’s theory of relativity. Darwin’s theory of
evolution by natural selection also changed our understanding of life on Earth.
Physics guide
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Nature of science
2.4.
Laws are descriptive, normative statements derived from observations of regular patterns of behaviour.
They are generally mathematical in form and can be used to calculate outcomes and to make predictions.
Like theories and hypotheses, laws cannot be proven. Scientific laws may have exceptions and may
be modified or rejected based on new evidence. Laws do not necessarily explain a phenomenon. For
example, Newton’s law of universal gravitation tells us that the force between two masses is inversely
proportional to the square of the distance between them, and allows us to calculate the force between
masses at any distance apart, but it does not explain why masses attract each other. Also, note that the
term law has been used in different ways in science, and whether a particular idea is called a law may
be partly a result of the discipline and time period at which it was developed.
2.5.
Scientists sometimes form hypotheses—explanatory statements about the world that could be true or
false, and which often suggest a causal relationship or a correlation between factors. Hypotheses can be
tested by both experiments and observations of the natural world and can be supported or opposed.
2.6.
To be scientific, an idea (for example, a theory or hypothesis) must focus on the natural world and
natural explanations and must be testable. Scientists strive to develop hypotheses and theories that
are compatible with accepted principles and that simplify and unify existing ideas.
2.7.
The principle of Occam’s razor is used as a guide to developing a theory. The theory should be as
simple as possible while maximizing explanatory power.
2.8.
The ideas of correlation and cause are very important in science. A correlation is a statistical link or
association between one variable and another. A correlation can be positive or negative and a correlation
coefficient can be calculated that will have a value between +1, 0 and −1. A strong correlation (positive
or negative) between one factor and another suggests some sort of causal relationship between
the two factors but more evidence is usually required before scientists accept the idea of a causal
relationship. To establish a causal relationship, ie one factor causing another, scientists need to have a
plausible scientific mechanism linking the factors. This strengthens the case that one causes the other,
for example smoking and lung cancer. This mechanism can be tested in experiments.
2.9.
The ideal situation is to investigate the relationship between one factor and another while controlling all
other factors in an experimental setting; however, this is often impossible and scientists, especially in biology
and medicine, use sampling, cohort studies and case control studies to strengthen their understanding of
causation when experiments (such as double-blind tests and clinical trials) are not possible. Epidemiology
in the field of medicine involves the statistical analysis of data to discover possible correlations when little
established scientific knowledge is available or the circumstances are too difficult to control entirely. Here,
as in other fields, mathematical analysis of probability also plays a role.
3. The objectivity of science
3.1.
Data is the lifeblood of scientists and may be qualitative or quantitative. It can be obtained purely from
observations or from specifically designed experiments, remotely using electronic sensors or by direct
measurement. The best data for making accurate and precise descriptions and predictions is often
quantitative and amenable to mathematical analysis. Scientists analyse data and look for patterns,
trends and discrepancies, attempting to discover relationships and establish causal links. This is not
always possible, so identifying and classifying observations and artefacts (eg types of galaxies or
fossils) is still an important aspect of scientific work.
3.2.
Taking repeated measurements and large numbers of readings can improve reliability in data
collection. Data can be presented in a variety of formats such as linear and logarithmic graphs that
can be analysed for, say, direct or inverse proportion or for power relationships.
3.3.
Scientists need to be aware of random errors and systematic errors, and use techniques such as error
bars and lines of best fit on graphs to portray the data as realistically and honestly as possible. There is
a need to consider whether outlying data points should be discarded or not.
3.4.
Scientists need to understand the difference between errors and uncertainties, accuracy and precision,
and need to understand and use the mathematical ideas of average, mean, mode, median, etc.
Statistical methods such as standard deviation and chi-squared tests are often used. It is important
to be able to assess how accurate a result is. A key part of the training and skill of scientists is in being
able to decide which technique is appropriate in different circumstances.
3.5.
It is also very important for scientists to be aware of the cognitive biases that may impact experimental
design and interpretation. The confirmation bias, for example, is a well-documented cognitive bias
that urges us to find reasons to reject data that is unexpected or does not conform to our expectations
or desires, and to perhaps too readily accept data that agrees with these expectations or desires. The
processes and methodologies of science are largely designed to account for these biases. However,
care must always be taken to avoid succumbing to them.
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Physics guide
Nature of science
3.6.
Although scientists cannot ever be certain that a result or finding is correct, we know that some scientific
results are very close to certainty. Scientists often speak of “levels of confidence” when discussing
outcomes. The discovery of the existence of a Higgs boson is such an example of a “level of confidence”.
This particle may never be directly observable, but to establish its “existence” particle physicists had
to pass the self-imposed definition of what can be regarded as a discovery—the 5-sigma “level of
certainty”—or about a 0.00003% chance that the effect is not real based on experimental evidence.
3.7.
In recent decades, the growth in computing power, sensor technology and networks has allowed
scientists to collect large amounts of data. Streams of data are downloaded continuously from many
sources such as remote sensing satellites and space probes and large amounts of data are generated
in gene sequencing machines. Experiments in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider regularly produce
23 petabytes of data per second, which is equivalent to 13.3 years of high definition TV content per second.
3.8.
Research involves analysing large amounts of this data, stored in databases, looking for patterns and
unique events. This has to be done using software that is generally written by the scientists involved.
The data and the software may not be published with the scientific results but would be made
generally available to other researchers.
4. The human face of science
4.1.
Science is highly collaborative and the scientific community is composed of people working in science,
engineering and technology. It is common to work in teams from many disciplines so that different
areas of expertise and specializations can contribute to a common goal that is beyond one scientific
field. It is also the case that how a problem is framed in the paradigm of one discipline might limit
possible solutions, so framing problems using a variety of perspectives, in which new solutions are
possible, can be extremely useful.
4.2.
Teamwork of this sort takes place with the common understanding that science should be openminded and independent of religion, culture, politics, nationality, age and gender. Science involves
the free global interchange of information and ideas. Of course, individual scientists are human and
may have biases and prejudices, but the institutions, practices and methodologies of science help
keep the scientific endeavour as a whole unbiased.
4.3.
As well as collaborating on the exchange of results, scientists work on a daily basis in collaborative groups
on a small and large scale within and between disciplines, laboratories, organizations and countries,
facilitated even more by virtual communication. Examples of large-scale collaboration include:
––
The Manhattan project, the aim of which was to build and test an atomic bomb. It eventually
employed more than 130,000 people and resulted in the creation of multiple production and
research sites that operated in secret, culminating in the dropping of two atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
––
The Human Genome Project (HGP), which was an international scientific research project set
up to map the human genome. The $3-billion project beginning in 1990 produced a draft
of the genome in 2000. The sequence of the DNA is stored in databases available to anyone on
the internet.
––
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), organized under the auspices of
the United Nations, is officially composed of about 2,500 scientists. They produce reports
summarizing the work of many more scientists from all around the world.
––
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, an international organization set up
in 1954, is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. The laboratory, situated in Geneva,
employs about 2,400 people and shares results with 10,000 scientists and engineers covering
over 100 nationalities from 600 or more universities and research facilities.
All the above examples are controversial to some degree and have aroused emotions among
scientists and the public.
4.4.
Scientists spend a considerable amount of time reading the published results of other scientists. They
publish their own results in scientific journals after a process called peer review. This is when the work
of a scientist or, more usually, a team of scientists is anonymously and independently reviewed by
several scientists working in the same field who decide if the research methodologies are sound and
if the work represents a new contribution to knowledge in that field. They also attend conferences
Physics guide
9
Nature of science
to make presentations and display posters of their work. Publication of peer-reviewed journals on
the internet has increased the efficiency with which the scientific literature can be searched and
accessed. There are a large number of national and international organizations for scientists working
in specialized areas within subjects.
4.5.
Scientists often work in areas, or produce findings, that have significant ethical and political implications.
These areas include cloning, genetic engineering of food and organisms, stem cell and reproductive
technologies, nuclear power, weapons development (nuclear, chemical and biological), transplantation
of tissue and organs and in areas that involve testing on animals (see IB animal experimentation policy).
There are also questions involving intellectual property rights and the free exchange of information
that may impact significantly on a society. Science is undertaken in universities, commercial companies,
government organizations, defence agencies and international organizations. Questions of patents
and intellectual property rights arise when work is done in a protected environment.
4.6.
The integrity and honest representation of data is paramount in science—results should not be fixed
or manipulated or doctored. To help ensure academic honesty and guard against plagiarism, all
sources are quoted and appropriate acknowledgment made of help or support. Peer review and the
scrutiny and skepticism of the scientific community also help achieve these goals.
4.7.
All science has to be funded and the source of the funding is crucial in decisions regarding the type
of research to be conducted. Funding from governments and charitable foundations is sometimes
for pure research with no obvious direct benefit to anyone, whereas funding from private companies
is often for applied research to produce a particular product or technology. Political and economic
factors often determine the nature and extent of the funding. Scientists often have to spend time
applying for research grants and have to make a case for what they want to research.
4.8.
Science has been used to solve many problems and improve humankind’s lot, but it has also been used
in morally questionable ways and in ways that inadvertently caused problems. Advances in sanitation,
clean water supplies and hygiene led to significant decreases in death rates but without compensating
decreases in birth rates, this led to huge population increases with all the problems of resources,
energy and food supplies that entails. Ethical discussions, risk–benefit analyses, risk assessment and
the precautionary principle are all parts of the scientific way of addressing the common good.
5. Scientific literacy and the public understanding
of science
5.1.
An understanding of the nature of science is vital when society needs to make decisions involving
scientific findings and issues. How does the public judge? It may not be possible to make judgments
based on the public’s direct understanding of a science, but important questions can be asked about
whether scientific processes were followed and scientists have a role in answering such questions.
5.2.
As experts in their particular fields, scientists are well placed to explain to the public their issues and
findings. Outside their specializations, they may be no more qualified than ordinary citizens to advise
others on scientific issues, although their understanding of the processes of science can help them to
make personal decisions and to educate the public as to whether claims are scientifically credible.
5.3.
As well as comprising knowledge of how scientists work and think, scientific literacy involves being
aware of faulty reasoning. There are many cognitive biases/fallacies of reasoning to which people
are susceptible (including scientists) and these need to be corrected whenever possible. Examples
of these are the confirmation bias, hasty generalizations, post hoc ergo propter hoc (false cause), the
straw man fallacy, redefinition (moving the goal posts), the appeal to tradition, false authority and the
accumulation of anecdotes being regarded as evidence.
5.4.
When such biases and fallacies are not properly managed or corrected, or when the processes and
checks and balances of science are ignored or misapplied, the result is pseudoscience. Pseudoscience
is the term applied to those beliefs and practices that claim to be scientific but do not meet or follow
the standards of proper scientific methodologies, ie they lack supporting evidence or a theoretical
framework, are not always testable and hence falsifiable, are expressed in a non-rigorous or unclear
manner and often fail to be supported by scientific testing.
5.5.
Another key issue is the use of appropriate terminology. Words that scientists agree on as being
scientific terms will often have a different meaning in everyday life and scientific discourse with
the public needs to take this into account. For example, a theory in everyday use means a hunch or
speculation, but in science an accepted theory is a scientific idea that has produced predictions that
have been thoroughly tested in many different ways. An aerosol is just a spray can to the general
public, but in science it is a suspension of solid or liquid particles in a gas.
10
Physics guide
Nature of science
5.6.
Whatever the field of science—whether it is in pure research, applied research or in engineering new
technology—there is boundless scope for creative and imaginative thinking. Science has achieved a
great deal but there are many, many unanswered questions to challenge future scientists.
The flow chart below is part of an interactive flow chart showing the scientific process of inquiry in
practice. The interactive version can be found at “How science works: The flowchart.” Understanding
Science. University of California Museum of Paleontology. 1 February 2013 <http://undsci.berkeley.
edu/article/scienceflowchart>.
Figure 2
Pathways to scientific discovery
Physics guide
11
Introduction
Nature of physics
“Physics is a tortured assembly of contrary qualities: of scepticism and
rationality, of freedom and revolution, of passion and aesthetics, and of soaring
imagination and trained common sense.”
Leon M Lederman (Nobel Prize for Physics, 1988)
Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from
the very smallest particles—currently accepted as quarks, which may be truly fundamental—to the vast
distances between galaxies.
Classical physics, built upon the great pillars of Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism and
thermodynamics, went a long way in deepening our understanding of the universe. From Newtonian
mechanics came the idea of predictability in which the universe is deterministic and knowable. This led
to Laplace’s boast that by knowing the initial conditions—the position and velocity of every particle
in the universe—he could, in principle, predict the future with absolute certainty. Maxwell’s theory of
electromagnetism described the behaviour of electric charge and unified light and electricity, while
thermodynamics described the relation between energy transferred due to temperature difference and
work and described how all natural processes increase disorder in the universe.
However, experimental discoveries dating from the end of the 19th century eventually led to the demise
of the classical picture of the universe as being knowable and predictable. Newtonian mechanics failed
when applied to the atom and has been superseded by quantum mechanics and general relativity.
Maxwell’s theory could not explain the interaction of radiation with matter and was replaced by quantum
electrodynamics (QED). More recently, developments in chaos theory, in which it is now realized that small
changes in the initial conditions of a system can lead to completely unpredictable outcomes, have led to a
fundamental rethinking in thermodynamics.
While chaos theory shows that Laplace’s boast is hollow, quantum mechanics and QED show that the initial
conditions that Laplace required are impossible to establish. Nothing is certain and everything is decided by
probability. But there is still much that is unknown and there will undoubtedly be further paradigm shifts as
our understanding deepens.
Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of physics, certain
aspects have remained unchanged. Observations remain essential to the very core of physics, sometimes
requiring a leap of imagination to decide what to look for. Models are developed to try to understand
observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations. Theories
are not always directly derived from observations but often need to be created. These acts of creation can
be compared to those in great art, literature and music, but differ in one aspect that is unique to science:
the predictions of these theories or ideas must be tested by careful experimentation. Without these tests,
a theory cannot be quantified. A general or concise statement about how nature behaves, if found to be
experimentally valid over a wide range of observed phenomena, is called a law or a principle.
The scientific processes carried out by the most eminent scientists in the past are the same ones followed by
working physicists today and, crucially, are also accessible to students in schools. Early in the development of
science, physicists were both theoreticians and experimenters (natural philosophers). The body of scientific
knowledge has grown in size and complexity, and the tools and skills of theoretical and experimental
physicists have become so specialized that it is difficult (if not impossible) to be highly proficient in both
12
Physics guide
Nature of physics
areas. While students should be aware of this, they should also know that the free and rapid interplay
of theoretical ideas and experimental results in the public scientific literature maintains the crucial links
between these fields.
At the school level both theory and experiments should be undertaken by all students. They should
complement one another naturally, as they do in the wider scientific community. The Diploma Programme
physics course allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques and increase their
abilities in the use of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop
interpersonal and digital communication skills which are essential in modern scientific endeavour and are
important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right.
Alongside the growth in our understanding of the natural world, perhaps the more obvious and relevant
result of physics to most of our students is our ability to change the world. This is the technological side of
physics, in which physical principles have been applied to construct and alter the material world to suit our
needs, and have had a profound influence on the daily lives of all human beings. This raises the issue of the
impact of physics on society, the moral and ethical dilemmas, and the social, economic and environmental
implications of the work of physicists. These concerns have become more prominent as our power over the
environment has grown, particularly among young people, for whom the importance of the responsibility
of physicists for their own actions is self-evident.
Physics is therefore, above all, a human activity, and students need to be aware of the context in which
physicists work. Illuminating its historical development places the knowledge and the process of physics
in a context of dynamic change, in contrast to the static context in which physics has sometimes been
presented. This can give students insights into the human side of physics: the individuals; their personalities,
times and social milieux; their challenges, disappointments and triumphs.
The Diploma Programme physics course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, through
selection of an option, allows teachers some flexibility to tailor the course to meet the needs of their
students. The course is available at both SL and HL, and therefore accommodates students who wish to
study physics as their major subject in higher education and those who do not.
Teaching approach
There are a variety of approaches to the teaching of physics. By its very nature, physics lends itself to an
experimental approach, and it is expected that this will be reflected throughout the course. The order
in which the syllabus is arranged is not the order in which it should be taught, and it is up to individual
teachers to decide on an arrangement that suits their circumstances. Sections of the option material may be
taught within the core or the additional higher level (AHL) material if desired, or the option material can be
taught as a separate unit.
Science and the international dimension
Science itself is an international endeavour—the exchange of information and ideas across national
boundaries has been essential to the progress of science. This exchange is not a new phenomenon but it
has accelerated in recent times with the development of information and communication technologies.
Indeed, the idea that science is a Western invention is a myth—many of the foundations of modern-day
science were laid many centuries ago by Arabic, Indian and Chinese civilizations, among others. Teachers
are encouraged to emphasize this contribution in their teaching of various topics, perhaps through the
use of timeline websites. The scientific method in its widest sense, with its emphasis on peer review,
open-mindedness and freedom of thought, transcends politics, religion, gender and nationality. Where
appropriate within certain topics, the syllabus details sections in the group 4 guides contain links illustrating
the international aspects of science.
Physics guide
13
Nature of physics
On an organizational level, many international bodies now exist to promote science. United Nations bodies such
as UNESCO, UNEP and WMO, where science plays a prominent part, are well known, but in addition there are
hundreds of international bodies representing every branch of science. The facilities for large-scale research in,
for example, particle physics and the Human Genome Project are expensive, and only joint ventures involving
funding from many countries allow this to take place. The data from such research is shared by scientists
worldwide. Group 4 teachers and students are encouraged to access the extensive websites and databases of
these international scientific organizations to enhance their appreciation of the international dimension.
Increasingly there is a recognition that many scientific problems are international in nature and this has led to a
global approach to research in many areas. The reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are
a prime example of this. On a practical level, the group 4 project (which all science students must undertake)
mirrors the work of real scientists by encouraging collaboration between schools across the regions.
The power of scientific knowledge to transform societies is unparalleled. It has the potential to produce
great universal benefits, or to reinforce inequalities and cause harm to people and the environment. In line
with the IB mission statement, group 4 students need to be aware of the moral responsibility of scientists to
ensure that scientific knowledge and data are available to all countries on an equitable basis and that they
have the scientific capacity to use this for developing sustainable societies.
Students’ attention should be drawn to sections of the syllabus with links to international-mindedness.
Examples of issues relating to international-mindedness are given within sub-topics in the syllabus content.
Teachers could also use resources found on the Global Engage website (http://globalengage. ibo.org).
Distinction between SL and HL
Group 4 students at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) undertake a common core syllabus, a common
internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the option studied. They are
presented with a syllabus that encourages the development of certain skills, attributes and attitudes, as
described in the “Assessment objectives” section of the guide.
While the skills and activities of group 4 science subjects are common to students at both SL and HL,
students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the additional higher level (AHL)
material and in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.
Prior learning
Past experience shows that students will be able to study a group 4 science subject at SL successfully with
no background in, or previous knowledge of, science. Their approach to learning, characterized by the IB
learner profile attributes, will be significant here.
However, for most students considering the study of a group 4 subject at HL, while there is no intention to
restrict access to group 4 subjects, some previous exposure to formal science education would be necessary.
Specific topic details are not specified but students who have undertaken the IB Middle Years Programme
(MYP) or studied an equivalent national science qualification or a school-based science course would be
well prepared for an HL subject.
Links to the Middle Years Programme
Students who have undertaken the MYP science, design and mathematics courses will be well prepared for
group 4 subjects. The alignment between MYP science and Diploma Programme group 4 courses allows
for a smooth transition for students between programmes. The concurrent planning of the new group 4
courses and MYP: Next Chapter (both launched in 2014) has helped develop a closer alignment.
14
Physics guide
Nature of physics
Scientific inquiry is central to teaching and learning science in the MYP. It enables students to develop a
way of thinking and a set of skills and processes that, while allowing them to acquire and use knowledge,
equip them with the capabilities to tackle, with confidence, the internal assessment component of group 4
subjects. The vision of MYP sciences is to contribute to the development of students as 21st-century learners.
A holistic sciences programme allows students to develop and utilize a mixture of cognitive abilities, social
skills, personal motivation, conceptual knowledge and problem-solving competencies within an inquirybased learning environment (Rhoton 2010). Inquiry aims to support students’ understanding by providing
them with opportunities to independently and collaboratively investigate relevant issues through both
research and experimentation. This forms a firm base of scientific understanding with deep conceptual
roots for students entering group 4 courses.
In the MYP, teachers make decisions about student achievement using their professional judgment, guided
by criteria that are public, precise and known in advance, ensuring that assessment is transparent. The IB
describes this approach as “criterion-related”—a philosophy of assessment that is neither “norm-referenced”
(where students must be compared to each other and to an expected distribution of achievement) nor
“criterion-referenced” (where students must master all strands of specific criteria at lower achievement
levels before they can be considered to have achieved the next level). It is important to emphasize that
the single most important aim of MYP assessment (consistent with the PYP and DP) is to support curricular
goals and encourage appropriate student learning. Assessments are based upon evaluating course aims
and objectives and, therefore, effective teaching to the course requirements also ensures effective teaching
for formal assessment requirements. Students need to understand what the assessment expectations,
standards and practices are and these should all be introduced early and naturally in teaching, as well as
in class and homework activities. Experience with criterion-related assessment greatly assists students
entering group 4 courses with understanding internal assessment requirements.
MYP science is a concept-driven curriculum, aimed at helping the learner construct meaning through
improved critical thinking and the transfer of knowledge. At the top level are key concepts which are broad,
organizing, powerful ideas that have relevance within the science course but also transcend it, having
relevance in other subject groups. These key concepts facilitate both disciplinary and interdisciplinary
learning as well as making connections with other subjects. While the key concepts provide breadth, the
related concepts in MYP science add depth to the programme. The related concept can be considered
to be the big idea of the unit which brings focus and depth and leads students towards the conceptual
understanding.
Across the MYP there are 16 key concepts with the three highlighted below the focus for MYP science.
The key concepts across the MYP curriculum
Aesthetics
Change
Communication
Communities
Connections
Creativity
Culture
Development
Form
Global interactions
Identity
Logic
Perspective
Relationships
Systems
Time, place and space
MYP students may in addition undertake an optional onscreen concept-based assessment as further
preparation for Diploma Programme science courses.
Physics guide
15
Nature of physics
Science and theory of knowledge
The theory of knowledge (TOK) course (first assessment 2015) engages students in reflection on the nature
of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know. The course identifies eight ways of knowing:
reason, emotion, language, sense perception, intuition, imagination, faith and memory. Students explore
these means of producing knowledge within the context of various areas of knowledge: the natural sciences,
the social sciences, the arts, ethics, history, mathematics, religious knowledge systems and indigenous
knowledge systems. The course also requires students to make comparisons between the different areas of
knowledge, reflecting on how knowledge is arrived at in the various disciplines, what the disciplines have in
common, and the differences between them.
TOK lessons can support students in their study of science, just as the study of science can support
students in their TOK course. TOK provides a space for students to engage in stimulating wider discussions
about questions such as what it means for a discipline to be a science, or whether there should be ethical
constraints on the pursuit of scientific knowledge. It also provides an opportunity for students to reflect on
the methodologies of science, and how these compare to the methodologies of other areas of knowledge.
It is now widely accepted that there is no one scientific method, in the strict Popperian sense. Instead, the
sciences utilize a variety of approaches in order to produce explanations for the behaviour of the natural
world. The different scientific disciplines share a common focus on utilizing inductive and deductive
reasoning, on the importance of evidence, and so on. Students are encouraged to compare and contrast
these methods with the methods found in, for example, the arts or in history.
In this way there are rich opportunities for students to make links between their science and TOK courses.
One way in which science teachers can help students to make these links to TOK is by drawing students’
attention to knowledge questions that arise from their subject content. Knowledge questions are openended questions about knowledge such as:
•
How do we distinguish science from pseudoscience?
•
When performing experiments, what is the relationship between a scientist’s expectation and their
perception?
•
How does scientific knowledge progress?
•
What is the role of imagination and intuition in the sciences?
•
What are the similarities and differences in methods in the natural sciences and the human sciences?
Examples of relevant knowledge questions are provided throughout this guide within the sub-topics in
the syllabus content. Teachers can also find suggestions of interesting knowledge questions for discussion
in the “Areas of knowledge” and “Knowledge frameworks” sections of the TOK guide. Students should be
encouraged to raise and discuss such knowledge questions in both their science and TOK classes.
16
Physics guide
Introduction
Aims
Group 4 aims
Through studying biology, chemistry or physics, students should become aware of how scientists work and
communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the
emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes these subjects.
The aims enable students, through the overarching theme of the Nature of science, to:
1.
appreciate scientific study and creativity within a global context through stimulating and challenging
opportunities
2.
acquire a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
3.
apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology
4.
develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize scientific information
5.
develop a critical awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and
communication during scientific activities
6.
develop experimental and investigative scientific skills including the use of current technologies
7. develop and apply 21st-century communication skills in the study of science
8.
become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and technology
9.
develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of science and technology
10. d
evelop an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and their influence on
other areas of knowledge.
Physics guide
17
Introduction
Assessment objectives
The assessment objectives for biology, chemistry and physics reflect those parts of the aims that will be
formally assessed either internally or externally. These assessments will centre upon the nature of science. It
is the intention of these courses that students are able to fullfill the following assessment objectives:
1.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
a.
facts, concepts and terminology
b.
methodologies and techniques
c.
communicating scientific information.
2.Apply:
3.
4.
18
a.
facts, concepts and terminology
b.
methodologies and techniques
c.
methods of communicating scientific information.
Formulate, analyse and evaluate:
a.
hypotheses, research questions and predictions
b.
methodologies and techniques
c.
primary and secondary data
d.
scientific explanations.
Demonstrate the appropriate research, experimental, and personal skills necessary to carry out
insightful and ethical investigations.
Physics guide
Syllabus
Syllabus outline
Syllabus component
Recommended
teaching hours
SL
Core
HL
95
1.
Measurements and uncertainties
5
2.
Mechanics
22
3.
Thermal physics
11
4.
Waves
15
5.
Electricity and magnetism
15
6.
Circular motion and gravitation
5
7.
Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
14
8.
Energy production
8
Additional higher level (AHL)
9.
60
Wave phenomena
17
10.Fields
11
11.
Electromagnetic induction
16
12.
Quantum and nuclear physics
16
Option
15
25
A.
Relativity
15
25
B.
Engineering physics
15
25
C.
Imaging
15
25
D.
Astrophysics
15
25
40
60
Practical activities
20
40
Individual investigation (internal assessment – IA)
10
10
Group 4 project
10
10
Total teaching hours
150
240
Practical scheme of work
The recommended teaching time is 240 hours to complete HL courses and 150 hours to complete SL courses
as stated in the document General regulations: Diploma Programme for students and their legal guardians
(page 4, article 8.2).
Physics guide
19
Syllabus
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
Format of the syllabus
The format of the syllabus section of the group 4 guides is the same for each subject. This new structure
gives prominence and focus to the teaching and learning aspects.
Topics or options
Topics are numbered and options are indicated by a letter. For example, “Topic 8: Energy production”, or
“Option D: Astrophysics”.
Sub-topics
Sub-topics are numbered as follows, “6.1 – Circular motion”. Further information and guidance about
possible teaching times are contained in the teacher support material.
Each sub-topic begins with an essential idea. The essential idea is an enduring interpretation that is
considered part of the public understanding of science. This is followed by a section on the “Nature of
science”. This gives specific examples in context illustrating some aspects of the nature of science. These are
linked directly to specific references in the “Nature of science” section of the guide to support teachers in
their understanding of the general theme to be addressed.
Under the overarching “Nature of science” theme there are two columns. The first column lists
“Understandings”, which are the main general ideas to be taught. There follows an “Applications and
skills” section that outlines the specific applications and skills to be developed from the understandings. A
“Guidance” section gives information about the limits and constraints and the depth of treatment required
for teachers and examiners. The contents of the “Nature of science” section above the two columns and
contents of the first column are all legitimate items for assessment. In addition, some assessment of
international-mindedness in science, from the content of the second column, will be assessed as in the
previous course.
The second column gives suggestion to teachers about relevant references to international-mindedness.
It also gives examples of TOK knowledge questions (see Theory of knowledge guide published 2013) that
can be used to focus students’ thoughts on the preparation of the TOK prescribed essay title. The links
section may link the sub-topic to other parts of the subject syllabus, to other Diploma Programme subject
guides or to real-world applications. Finally, the “Aims” section refers to how specific group 4 aims are
being addressed in the sub-topic.
20
Physics guide
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
Format of the guide
Topic 1: <Title>
Essential idea: This lists the essential idea for each sub-topic.
1.1 Sub-topic
Nature of science: Relates the sub-topic to the overarching theme of NOS.
Understandings:
International-mindedness:
•
•
This section will provide specifics of the
content requirements for each sub-topic.
Ideas that teachers can easily integrate into
the delivery of their lessons.
Applications and skills:
Theory of knowledge:
•
•
The content of this section gives details
of how students are to apply the
understandings. For example, these
applications could involve demonstrating
mathematical calculations or practical skills.
Guidance:
•
This section will provide specifics and give
constraints to the requirements for the
understandings and applications and skills.
Examples of TOK knowledge questions.
Utilization:
•
Links to other topics within the Physics guide,
to a variety of real-world applications and to
other Diploma Programme courses.
Aims:
•
Links to the group 4 subject aims.
Data booklet reference:
•
This section will include links to specific
sections in the data booklet.
Group 4 experimental skills
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Confucius
Integral to the experience of students in any of the group 4 courses is their experience in the classroom
laboratory or in the field. Practical activities allow students to interact directly with natural phenomena
and secondary data sources. These experiences provide the students with the opportunity to design
investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate
and communicate their findings. Experiments can be used to introduce a topic, investigate a phenomenon
or allow students to consider and examine questions and curiosities.
Physics guide
21
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
By providing students with the opportunity for hands-on experimentation, they are carrying out some of
the same processes that scientists undertake. Experimentation allows students to experience the nature of
scientific thought and investigation. All scientific theories and laws begin with observations.
It is important that students are involved in an inquiry-based practical programme that allows for the
development of scientific inquiry. It is not enough for students just to be able to follow directions and to
simply replicate a given experimental procedure; they must be provided with the opportunities for genuine
inquiry. Developing scientific inquiry skills will give students the ability to construct an explanation based
on reliable evidence and logical reasoning. Once developed, these higher order thinking skills will enable
students to be lifelong learners and scientifically literate.
A school’s practical scheme of work should allow students to experience the full breadth and depth of
the course including the option. This practical scheme of work must also prepare students to undertake
the independent investigation that is required for the internal assessment. The development of students’
manipulative skills should involve them being able to follow instructions accurately and demonstrate the
safe, competent and methodical use of a range of techniques and equipment.
The “Applications and skills” section of the syllabus lists specific lab skills, techniques and experiments that
students must experience at some point during their study of the group 4 course. Other recommended lab
skills, techniques and experiments are listed in the “Aims” section of the syllabus outline.
Aim 6 of the group 4 subjects directly relates to the development of experimental and investigative skills.
Mathematical requirements
All Diploma Programme physics students should be able to:
•
perform the basic arithmetic functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
•
carry out calculations involving means, decimals, fractions, percentages, ratios, approximations and
reciprocals
•
carry out manipulations with trigonometric functions
•
carry out manipulations with logarithmic and exponential functions (HL only)
•
use standard notation (for example, 3.6 × 106)
•
use direct and inverse proportion
•
solve simple algebraic equations
•
solve linear simultaneous equations
•
plot graphs (with suitable scales and axes) including two variables that show linear and non-linear
relationships
•
interpret graphs, including the significance of gradients, changes in gradients, intercepts and areas
•
draw lines (either curves or linear) of best fit on a scatter plot graph
•
on a best-fit linear graph, construct linear lines of maximum and minimum gradients with relative
accuracy (by eye) taking into account all uncertainty bars
•
interpret data presented in various forms (for example, bar charts, histograms and pie charts)
•
represent arithmetic mean using x-bar notation (for example, x)
•
express uncertainties to one or two significant figures, with justification.
22
Physics guide
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
Data booklet
The data booklet must be viewed as an integral part of the physics programme and should be used
throughout the delivery of the course and not just reserved for use during the external assessments. The
data booklet contains useful equations, constants, data, structural formulae and tables of information.
Explicit links have been provided in the “Syllabus outline” section of the subject guide that provide direct
references to information in the data booklet which will allow students to become familiar with its use and
contents. It is suggested that the data booklet be used for all in-class study and school-based assessments.
For both SL and HL external assessments, clean copies of the data booklet must be made available to both
SL and HL candidates for all papers.
Use of information communication technology
The use of information communication technology (ICT) is encouraged throughout all aspects of the course
in relation to both the practical programme and day-to-day classroom activities. Teachers should make use
of the ICT pages of the teacher support materials (TSM).
Planning your course
The syllabus as provided in the subject guide is not intended to be a teaching order. Instead it provides
detail of what must be covered by the end of the course. A school should develop a scheme of work that best
works for its students. For example, the scheme of work could be developed to match available resources,
to take into account student prior learning and experience, or in conjunction with other local requirements.
HL teachers may choose to teach the core and AHL topics at the same time or teach them in a spiral fashion,
by teaching the core topics in year one of the course and revisiting the core topics through the delivery of
the AHL topics in year two of the course. The option topic could be taught as a stand-alone topic or could be
integrated into the teaching of the core and/or AHL topics.
However the course is planned, adequate time must be provided for examination revision. Time must also
be given for students to reflect on their learning experience and their growth as learners.
Physics guide
23
Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics
The IB learner profile
The physics course contributes to the development of the IB learner profile. By following the course,
students will have addressed the attributes of the IB learner profile. For example, the requirements of the
internal assessment provide opportunities for students to develop every aspect of the profile. For each
attribute of the learner profile, a number of references from the group 4 courses are given below.
Learner profile
attribute
Biology, chemistry and physics
Inquirers
Aims 2 and 6
Practical work and internal assessment
Knowledgeable
Aims 1 and 10, international-mindedness links
Practical work and internal assessment
Thinkers
Aims 3 and 4, theory of knowledge links
Practical work and internal assessment
Communicators
Aims 5 and 7, external assessment
Practical work and internal assessment, the group 4 project
Principled
Aims 8 and 9
Practical work and internal assessment, ethical behaviour/practice (Ethical practice
poster, Animal experimentation policy), academic honesty
Open-minded
Aims 8 and 9, international-mindedness links
Practical work and internal assessment, the group 4 project
Caring
Aims 8 and 9
Practical work and internal assessment, the group 4 project, ethical behaviour/
practice (Ethical practice poster, Animal experimentation policy)
Risk-takers
Aims 1 and 6
Practical work and internal assessment, the group 4 project
Balanced
Aims 8 and 10
Practical work and internal assessment, the group 4 project and field work
Reflective
Aims 5 and 9
Practical work and internal assessment analysis, and group 4 project
24
Physics guide
Syllabus
Syllabus content
Recommended teaching hours
Core
Topic 1: Measurements and uncertainties
95 hours
5
1.1 – Measurements in physics
1.2 – Uncertainties and errors
1.3 – Vectors and scalars
Topic 2: Mechanics
22
2.1 – Motion
2.2 – Forces
2.3 – Work, energy and power 2.4 – Momentum and impulse
Topic 3: Thermal physics
11
3.1 – Thermal concepts
3.2 – Modelling a gas
Topic 4: Waves
15
4.1 – Oscillations
4.2 – Travelling waves
4.3 – Wave characteristics
4.4 – Wave behaviour
4.5 – Standing waves
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
15
5.1 – Electric fields
5.2 – Heating effect of electric currents
5.3 – Electric cells
5.4 – Magnetic effects of electric currents
Physics guide
25
Syllabus content
Topic 6: Circular motion and gravitation
5
6.1 – Circular motion
6.2 – Newton’s law of gravitation
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
14
7.1 – Discrete energy and radioactivity
7.2 – Nuclear reactions
7.3 – The structure of matter
Topic 8: Energy production
8
8.1 – Energy sources
8.2 – Thermal energy transfer
Additional higher level (AHL)
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
60 hours
17
9.1 – Simple harmonic motion
9.2 – Single-slit diffraction
9.3 – Interference
9.4 – Resolution
9.5 – Doppler effect
Topic 10: Fields
11
10.1 – Describing fields
10.2 – Fields at work
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
16
11.1 – Electromagnetic induction
11.2 – Power generation and transmission
11.3 – Capacitance
Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics
16
12.1 – The interaction of matter with radiation
12.2 – Nuclear physics
26
Physics guide
Syllabus content
Options
15 hours (SL)/25 hours (HL)
A: Relativity
Core topics
A.1 – The beginnings of relativity
A.2 – Lorentz transformations
A.3 – Spacetime diagrams
Additional higher level topics
A.4 – Relativistic mechanics (HL only)
A.5 – General relativity (HL only)
B: Engineering physics
Core topics
B.1 – Rigid bodies and rotational dynamics
B.2 – Thermodynamics
Additional higher level topics
B.3 – Fluids and fluid dynamics (HL only)
B.4 – Forced vibrations and resonance (HL only)
Option C: Imaging
Core topics
C.1 – Introduction to imaging
C.2 – Imaging instrumentation
C.3 – Fibre optics
Additional higher level topics
C.4 – Medical imaging (HL only)
Option D: Astrophysics
Core topics
D.1 – Stellar quantities
D.2 – Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution
D.3 – Cosmology
Additional higher level topics
D.4 – Stellar processes (HL only)
D.5 – Further cosmology (HL only)
Physics guide
27
28
Physics guide
5 hours
•
Fundamental and derived SI units
Scientific notation and metric multipliers
Significant figures
Orders of magnitude
Estimation
•
•
•
•
•
•
What has influenced the common language used in science? To what extent
does having a common standard approach to measurement facilitate the
sharing of knowledge in physics?
Theory of knowledge:
Scientific collaboration is able to be truly global without the restrictions
of national borders or language due to the agreed standards for data
representation
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Certainty: Although scientists are perceived as working towards finding “exact” answers, the unavoidable uncertainty in any measurement always exists. (3.6)
Improvement in instrumentation: An improvement in apparatus and instrumentation, such as using the transition of cesium-133 atoms for atomic clocks, has led to more
refined definitions of standard units. (1.8)
Common terminology: Since the 18th century, scientists have sought to establish common systems of measurements to facilitate international collaboration across science
disciplines and ensure replication and comparability of experimental findings. (1.6)
Nature of science:
1.1 – Measurements in physics
Essential idea: Since 1948, the Système International d’Unités (SI) has been used as the preferred language of science and technology across the globe and reflects current
best measurement practice.
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
Core
Physics guide
Students studying more than one group 4 subject will be able to use these
skills across all subjects
See Mathematical studies SL sub-topics 1.2–1.4
•
•
Using scientific notation and metric multipliers
Quoting and comparing ratios, values and approximations to the nearest order
of magnitude
Estimating quantities to an appropriate number of significant figures
•
•
•
Students will not need to know the definition of SI units except where
explicitly stated in the relevant topics in this guide
Candela is not a required SI unit for this course
Guidance on any use of non-SI units such as eV, MeV c-2, ly and pc will be
provided in the relevant topics in this guide
Further guidance on how scientific notation and significant figures are used in
examinations can be found in the Teacher support material
•
•
•
•
•
Metric (SI) multipliers can be found on page 5 of the physics data booklet
Data booklet reference:
SI unit usage and information can be found at the website of Bureau
International des Poids et Mesures
•
Guidance:
This topic is able to be integrated into any topic taught at the start of the
course and is important to all topics
•
Using SI units in the correct format for all required measurements, final answers
to calculations and presentation of raw and processed data
•
Aim 2 and 3: this is an essential area of knowledge that allows scientists to
collaborate across the globe
Aim 4 and 5: a common approach to expressing results of analysis,
evaluation and synthesis of scientific information enables greater sharing
and collaboration
•
•
Aims:
Utilization:
Applications and skills:
1.1 – Measurements in physics
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
29
30
Absolute, fractional and percentage uncertainties
Error bars
Uncertainty of gradient and intercepts
•
•
•
Explaining how random and systematic errors can be identified and reduced
Collecting data that include absolute and/or fractional uncertainties
and stating these as an uncertainty range (expressed as: best estimate ±
uncertainty range)
Propagating uncertainties through calculations involving addition,
subtraction, multiplication, division and raising to a power
Determining the uncertainty in gradients and intercepts
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Random and systematic errors
•
•
Students studying more than one group 4 subject will be able to use these
skills across all subjects
Utilization:
“One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the
material world. One achievement of physics in the twentieth century has been
to prove that this aim is unattainable.” – Jacob Bronowski. Can scientists ever
be truly certain of their discoveries?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Feynman, Richard P. 1998. The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist. Reading, Massachusetts, USA. Perseus. P 13.
Uncertainties: “All scientific knowledge is uncertain… if you have made up your mind already, you might not solve it. When the scientist tells you he does not know the
answer, he is an ignorant man. When he tells you he has a hunch about how it is going to work, he is uncertain about it. When he is pretty sure of how it is going to work,
and he tells you, ‘This is the way it’s going to work, I’ll bet,’ he still is in some doubt. And it is of paramount importance, in order to make progress, that we recognize this
ignorance and this doubt. Because we have the doubt, we then propose looking in new directions for new ideas.” (3.4)
Nature of science:
1.2 – Uncertainties and errors
Essential idea: Scientists aim towards designing experiments that can give a “true value” from their measurements, but due to the limited precision in measuring devices,
they often quote their results with some form of uncertainty.
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
Physics guide
Physics guide
Further guidance on how uncertainties, error bars and lines of best fit are used
in examinations can be found in the Teacher support material
•
•
•
•
ab
c
then
∆y
∆a
= n
y
a
If y = a n
then ∆y = ∆a + ∆b + ∆c
y
a
b
c
If y =
then ∆y = ∆a + ∆b
If y = a ± b
Data booklet reference:
Analysis of uncertainties will not be expected for trigonometric or logarithmic
functions in examinations
•
Guidance:
1.2 – Uncertainties and errors
Aim 4: it is important that students see scientific errors and uncertainties not
only as the range of possible answers but as an integral part of the scientific
process
Aim 9: the process of using uncertainties in classical physics can be compared
to the view of uncertainties in modern (and particularly quantum) physics
•
•
Aims:
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
31
32
•
Vector and scalar quantities
Combination and resolution of vectors
•
•
•
Resolution of vectors will be limited to two perpendicular directions
Problems will be limited to addition and subtraction of vectors and the
multiplication and division of vectors by scalars
•
•
•
•
Guidance:
Vectors (see Mathematics HL sub-topic 4.1; Mathematics SL sub-topic 4.1)
Force and field strength (see Physics sub-topics 2.2, 5.1, 6.1 and 10.1)
Navigation and surveying (see Geography SL/HL syllabus: Geographic skills)
Utilization:
Solving vector problems graphically and algebraically
•
What is the nature of certainty and proof in mathematics?
•
Applications and skills:
Theory of knowledge:
Vector notation forms the basis of mapping across the globe
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Models: First mentioned explicitly in a scientific paper in 1846, scalars and vectors reflected the work of scientists and mathematicians across the globe for over 300 years
on representing measurements in three-dimensional space. (1.10)
Nature of science:
1.3 – Vectors and scalars
Essential idea: Some quantities have direction and magnitude, others have magnitude only, and this understanding is the key to correct manipulation of quantities. This subtopic will have broad applications across multiple fields within physics and other sciences.
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
Physics guide
Physics guide
Core
•
•
AV
Av = A sin θ
AH = A cos θ
θ
AH
A
Data booklet reference:
1.3 – Vectors and scalars
•
Aim 2 and 3: this is a fundamental aspect of scientific language that allows for
spatial representation and manipulation of abstract concepts
Aims:
Topic 1: Measurement and uncertainties
33
34
Physics guide
22 hours
Speed and velocity
Acceleration
Graphs describing motion
Equations of motion for uniform acceleration
Projectile motion
Fluid resistance and terminal speed
•
•
•
•
•
•
Determining instantaneous and average values for velocity, speed and
acceleration
Solving problems using equations of motion for uniform acceleration
Sketching and interpreting motion graphs
Determining the acceleration of free-fall experimentally
Analysing projectile motion, including the resolution of vertical and horizontal
components of acceleration, velocity and displacement
Qualitatively describing the effect of fluid resistance on falling objects or
projectiles, including reaching terminal speed
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Distance and displacement
•
The independence of horizontal and vertical motion in projectile motion
seems to be counter-intuitive. How do scientists work around their intuitions?
How do scientists make use of their intuitions?
Diving, parachuting and similar activities where fluid resistance affects motion
The accurate use of ballistics requires careful analysis
Biomechanics (see Sports, exercise and health science SL sub-topic 4.3)
Quadratic functions (see Mathematics HL sub-topic 2.6; Mathematics SL
sub-topic 2.4; Mathematical studies SL sub-topic 6.3)
The kinematic equations are treated in calculus form in Mathematics HL
sub-topic 6.6 and Mathematics SL sub-topic 6.6
•
•
•
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
International cooperation is needed for tracking shipping, land-based
transport, aircraft and objects in space
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Observations: The ideas of motion are fundamental to many areas of physics, providing a link to the consideration of forces and their implication. The kinematic equations
for uniform acceleration were developed through careful observations of the natural world. (1.8)
Nature of science:
2.1 – Motion
Essential idea: Motion may be described and analysed by the use of graphs and equations.
Topic 2: Mechanics
Core
Physics guide
Aim 6: experiments, including use of data logging, could include (but are
not limited to): determination of g, estimating speed using travel timetables,
analysing projectile motion, and investigating motion through a fluid
Aim 7: technology has allowed for more accurate and precise measurements
of motion, including video analysis of real-life projectiles and modelling/
simulations of terminal velocity
•
•
Projectile motion will only involve problems using a constant value of g close
to the surface of the Earth
The equation of the path of a projectile will not be required
•
•
•
s=
2
( v + u )t
v 2 = u2 + 2as
•
•
v = u + at
1
s = ut + at 2
2
•
Data booklet reference:
Aim 2: much of the development of classical physics has been built on the
advances in kinematics
•
Calculations will be restricted to those neglecting air resistance
Aims:
•
Guidance:
2.1 – Motion
Topic 2: Mechanics
35
36
Using Newton’s second law quantitatively and qualitatively
Identifying force pairs in the context of Newton’s third law
Solving problems involving forces and determining resultant force
Describing solid friction (static and dynamic) by coefficients of friction
•
•
•
•
Biomechanics (see Sports, exercise and health science SL sub-topic 4.3)
•
Describing the consequences of Newton’s first law for translational
equilibrium
Applications and skills:
•
Solid friction
•
Sketching and interpreting free-body diagrams
•
Newton’s laws of motion
•
•
Construction (considering ancient and modern approaches to safety,
longevity and consideration of local weather and geological influences)
•
Translational equilibrium
•
Representing forces as vectors
Application of friction in circular motion (see Physics sub-topic 6.1)
•
Free-body diagrams
•
•
Motion of charged particles in fields (see Physics sub-topics 5.4, 6.1, 11.1, 12.2)
•
Objects as point particles
•
Utilization:
Classical physics believed that the whole of the future of the universe could
be predicted from knowledge of the present state. To what extent can
knowledge of the present give us knowledge of the future?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Intuition: The tale of the falling apple describes simply one of the many flashes of intuition that went into the publication of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in
1687. (1.5)
Using mathematics: Isaac Newton provided the basis for much of our understanding of forces and motion by formalizing the previous work of scientists through the
application of mathematics by inventing calculus to assist with this. (2.4)
Nature of science:
2.2 – Forces
Essential idea: Classical physics requires a force to change a state of motion, as suggested by Newton in his laws of motion.
Topic 2: Mechanics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Free-body diagrams should show scaled vector lengths acting from the point
of application
Examples and questions will be limited to constant mass
mg should be identified as weight
Calculations relating to the determination of resultant forces will be restricted
to one- and two-dimensional situations
•
•
•
•
F = ma
Ff ≤ µ s R
Ff ≤ µ d R
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Students should label forces using commonly accepted names or symbols (for
example: weight or force of gravity or mg)
•
Guidance:
2.2 – Forces
Aims 2 and 3: Newton’s work is often described by the quote from a letter he
wrote to his rival, Robert Hooke, 11 years before the publication of Philosophiæ
Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which states: “What Descartes did was a good
step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of
thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further it is by
standing on the shoulders of Giants.” It should be remembered that this quote is
also inspired, this time by writers who had been using versions of it for at least
500 years before Newton’s time.
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): verification of
Newton’s second law; investigating forces in equilibrium; determination of the
effects of friction
•
•
Aims:
Topic 2: Mechanics
37
38
Gravitational potential energy
Elastic potential energy
Work done as energy transfer
Power as rate of energy transfer
Principle of conservation of energy
Efficiency
•
•
•
•
•
•
Sketching and interpreting force–distance graphs
Determining work done including cases where a resistive force acts
Solving problems involving power
Quantitatively describing efficiency in energy transfers
•
•
•
•
Cases where the line of action of the force and the displacement are not
parallel should be considered
Examples should include force–distance graphs for variable forces
•
•
Guidance:
Discussing the conservation of total energy within energy transformations
•
Applications and skills:
•
Kinetic energy
•
Energy is also covered in other group 4 subjects (for example, see: Biology
topics 2, 4 and 8; Chemistry topics 5, 15, and C; Sports, exercise and health
science topics 3, A.2, C.3 and D.3; Environmental systems and societies topics
1, 2, and 3)
Energy conversions are essential for electrical energy generation (see Physics
topic 5 and sub-topic 8.1)
Energy changes occurring in simple harmonic motion (see Physics sub-topics
4.1 and 9.1)
•
•
•
Utilization:
To what extent is scientific knowledge based on fundamental concepts such
as energy? What happens to scientific knowledge when our understanding of
such fundamental concepts changes or evolves?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Theories: Many phenomena can be fundamentally understood through application of the theory of conservation of energy. Over time, scientists have utilized this theory
both to explain natural phenomena and, more importantly, to predict the outcome of previously unknown interactions. The concept of energy has evolved as a result of
recognition of the relationship between mass and energy. (2.2)
Nature of science:
2.3 – Work, energy and power
Essential idea: The fundamental concept of energy lays the basis upon which much of science is built.
Topic 2: Mechanics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Efficiency =
•
useful work out useful power out
=
total work in
total power in
power = Fv
•
Aim 8: by linking this sub-topic with topic 8, students should be aware of
the importance of efficiency and its impact of conserving the fuel used for
energy production
•
1
EK = mv 2
2
1
E P = k ∆x 2
2
∆EP = mg∆h
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): relationship of
kinetic and gravitational potential energy for a falling mass; power and
efficiency of mechanical objects; comparison of different situations involving
elastic potential energy
•
Aims:
W = Fs cos θ
•
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
2.3 – Work, energy and power
Topic 2: Mechanics
39
40
•
Newton’s second law expressed in terms of rate of change of momentum
Impulse and force–time graphs
Conservation of linear momentum
Elastic collisions, inelastic collisions and explosions
•
•
•
•
•
Applying conservation of momentum in simple isolated systems including (but
not limited to) collisions, explosions, or water jets
Using Newton’s second law quantitatively and qualitatively in cases where
mass is not constant
Sketching and interpreting force–time graphs
Determining impulse in various contexts including (but not limited to) car
safety and sports
Qualitatively and quantitatively comparing situations involving elastic
collisions, inelastic collisions and explosions
•
•
•
•
•
•
Particle theory and collisions (see Physics sub-topic 3.1)
Martial arts
Jet engines and rockets
Utilization:
Do conservation laws restrict or enable further development in physics?
Applications and skills:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Automobile passive safety standards have been adopted across the globe
based on research conducted in many countries
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
The concept of momentum and the principle of momentum conservation can be used to analyse and predict the outcome of a wide range of physical interactions, from
macroscopic motion to microscopic collisions. (1.9)
Nature of science:
2.4 – Momentum and impulse
Essential idea: Conservation of momentum is an example of a law that is never violated.
Topic 2: Mechanics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Calculations relating to collisions and explosions will be restricted to onedimensional situations
A comparison between energy involved in inelastic collisions (in which kinetic
energy is not conserved) and the conservation of (total) energy should be made
•
•
Impulse = F ∆t = ∆p
•
•
•
p = mv
∆p
F=
∆t
p2
EK =
2m
•
Data booklet reference:
Solving simultaneous equations involving conservation of momentum and
energy in collisions will not be required
only when mass
•
∆p
∆t
Students should be aware that F = ma is equivalent of F =
is constant
•
Guidance:
2.4 – Momentum and impulse
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): analysis of
collisions with respect to energy transfer; impulse investigations to
determine velocity, force, time, or mass; determination of amount of
transformed energy in inelastic collisions
Aim 7: technology has allowed for more accurate and precise measurements
of force and momentum, including video analysis of real-life collisions and
modelling/simulations of molecular collisions
•
Aim 3: conservation laws in science disciplines have played a major role in
outlining the limits within which scientific theories are developed
•
•
Aims:
Topic 2: Mechanics
41
42
Physics guide
11 hours
•
Molecular theory of solids, liquids and gases
Temperature and absolute temperature
Internal energy
Specific heat capacity
Phase change
Specific latent heat
•
•
•
•
•
•
Using Kelvin and Celsius temperature scales and converting between them
Applying the calorimetric techniques of specific heat capacity or specific
latent heat experimentally
Describing phase change in terms of molecular behaviour
Sketching and interpreting phase change graphs
Calculating energy changes involving specific heat capacity and specific latent
heat of fusion and vaporization
•
•
•
•
•
Particulate nature of matter (see Chemistry sub-topic 1.3) and measuring energy
changes (see Chemistry sub-topic 5.1)
Water (see Biology sub-topic 2.2)
•
Higher level students, especially those studying option B, can be shown links
to thermodynamics (see Physics topic 9 and option sub-topic B.4)
•
•
•
Describing temperature change in terms of internal energy
•
Pressure gauges, barometers and manometers are a good way to present
aspects of this sub-topic
Utilization:
Observation through sense perception plays a key role in making
measurements. Does sense perception play different roles in different areas
of knowledge?
Applications and skills:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The topic of thermal physics is a good example of the use of international
systems of measurement that allow scientists to collaborate effectively
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Evidence through experimentation: Scientists from the 17th and 18th centuries were working without the knowledge of atomic structure and sometimes developed
theories that were later found to be incorrect, such as phlogiston and perpetual motion capabilities. Our current understanding relies on statistical mechanics providing a
basis for our use and understanding of energy transfer in science. (1.8)
Nature of science:
3.1 – Thermal concepts
Essential idea: Thermal physics deftly demonstrates the links between the macroscopic measurements essential to many scientific models with the microscopic properties
that underlie these models.
Topic 3: Thermal physics
Core
Physics guide
Phase change graphs may have axes of temperature versus time or
temperature versus energy
The effects of cooling should be understood qualitatively but cooling
correction calculations are not required
•
•
Q = mc ∆T
Q = mL
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Internal energy is taken to be the total intermolecular potential energy + the
total random kinetic energy of the molecules
•
Guidance:
3.1 – Thermal concepts
•
•
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): transfer of energy
due to temperature difference; calorimetric investigations; energy involved in
phase changes
Aim 3: an understanding of thermal concepts is a fundamental aspect of
many areas of science
Aims:
Topic 3: Thermal physics
43
44
Equation of state for an ideal gas
Kinetic model of an ideal gas
Mole, molar mass and the Avogadro constant
Differences between real and ideal gases
•
•
•
•
Sketching and interpreting changes of state of an ideal gas on pressure–
volume, pressure–temperature and volume–temperature diagrams
Investigating at least one gas law experimentally
•
•
Students should understand that a real gas approximates to an ideal gas at
conditions of low pressure, moderate temperature and low density
Gas laws are limited to constant volume, constant temperature, constant
pressure and the ideal gas law
•
•
Students should be aware of the assumptions that underpin the molecular
kinetic theory of ideal gases
•
Guidance:
Solving problems using the equation of state for an ideal gas and gas laws
•
Applications and skills:
•
Pressure
•
Consideration of thermodynamic processes is essential to many areas of
chemistry (see Chemistry sub-topic 1.3)
Respiration processes (see Biology sub-topic D.6)
•
•
Aim 3: this is a good topic to make comparisons between empirical and
theoretical thinking in science
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): verification of gas
laws; calculation of the Avogadro constant; virtual investigation of gas law
parameters not possible within a school laboratory setting
•
•
Aims:
Transport of gases in liquid form or at high pressures/densities is common
practice across the globe. Behaviour of real gases under extreme conditions
needs to be carefully considered in these situations.
•
Utilization:
When does modelling of “ideal” situations become “good enough” to count as
knowledge?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Collaboration: Scientists in the 19th century made valuable progress on the modern theories that form the basis of thermodynamics, making important links with other
sciences, especially chemistry. The scientific method was in evidence with contrasting but complementary statements of some laws derived by different scientists.
Empirical and theoretical thinking both have their place in science and this is evident in the comparison between the unattainable ideal gas and real gases. (4.1)
Nature of science:
3.2 – Modelling a gas
Essential idea: The properties of ideal gases allow scientists to make predictions of the behaviour of real gases.
Topic 3: Thermal physics
Physics guide
Physics guide
n=
pV = nRT
3
3 R
E K = kBT =
T
2
2 NA
•
•
•
N
NA
Data booklet reference:
F
p=
•
A
3.2 – Modelling a gas
Topic 3: Thermal physics
45
46
Physics guide
15 hours
Time period, frequency, amplitude, displacement and phase difference
Conditions for simple harmonic motion
•
•
Qualitatively describing the energy changes taking place during one cycle of
an oscillation
Sketching and interpreting graphs of simple harmonic motion examples
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Simple harmonic oscillations
•
•
The harmonic oscillator is a paradigm for modelling where a simple equation
is used to describe a complex phenomenon. How do scientists know when a
simple model is not detailed enough for their requirements?
Theory of knowledge:
Oscillations are used to define the time systems on which nations agree so
that the world can be kept in synchronization. This impacts most areas of our
lives including the provision of electricity, travel and location-determining
devices and all microelectronics.
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Models: Oscillations play a great part in our lives, from the tides to the motion of the swinging pendulum that once governed our perception of time. General principles
govern this area of physics, from water waves in the deep ocean or the oscillations of a car suspension system. This introduction to the topic reminds us that not all
oscillations are isochronous. However, the simple harmonic oscillator is of great importance to physicists because all periodic oscillations can be described through the
mathematics of simple harmonic motion. (1.10)
Nature of science:
4.1 – Oscillations
Essential idea: A study of oscillations underpins many areas of physics with simple harmonic motion (shm), a fundamental oscillation that appears in various
natural phenomena.
Topic 4: Waves
Core
Physics guide
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): mass on a spring;
simple pendulum; motion on a curved air track
Aim 7: IT skills can be used to model the simple harmonic motion defining
equation; this gives valuable insight into the meaning of the equation itself
•
•
Aims:
Simple harmonic motion is frequently found in the context of mechanics (see
Physics topic 2)
Many systems can approximate simple harmonic motion: mass on a spring,
fluid in U-tube, models of icebergs oscillating vertically in the ocean, and
motion of a sphere rolling in a concave mirror
•
Students are expected to understand the significance of the negative sign in
the relationship: a ∝ − x
•
•
Isochronous oscillations can be used to measure time
•
Graphs describing simple harmonic motion should include displacement–
time, velocity–time, acceleration–time and acceleration–displacement
•
Data booklet reference:
1
•
T=
f
Utilization:
Guidance:
4.1 – Oscillations
Topic 4: Waves
47
48
Wavelength, frequency, period and wave speed
Transverse and longitudinal waves
The nature of electromagnetic waves
The nature of sound waves
•
•
•
•
Sketching and interpreting displacement–distance graphs and displacement–
time graphs for transverse and longitudinal waves
Solving problems involving wave speed, frequency and wavelength
Investigating the speed of sound experimentally
•
•
•
Students should be aware of the order of magnitude of the wavelengths of
radio, microwave, infra-red, visible, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma rays
•
•
c = fλ
Data booklet reference:
Students will be expected to derive c = f λ
•
Guidance:
Explaining the motion of particles of a medium when a wave passes through it
for both transverse and longitudinal cases
•
Applications and skills:
•
Travelling waves
•
Scientists often transfer their perception of tangible and visible concepts to
explain similar non-visible concepts, such as in wave theory. How do scientists
explain concepts that have no tangible or visible quality?
Emission spectra are analysed by comparison to the electromagnetic wave
spectrum (see Chemistry topic 2 and Physics sub-topic 12.1)
Sight (see Biology sub-topic A.2)
•
•
Aim 2: there is a common body of knowledge and techniques involved in
wave theory that is applicable across many areas of physics
Aim 4: there are opportunities for the analysis of data to arrive at some of the
models in this section from first principles
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): speed of waves in
different media; detection of electromagnetic waves from various sources;
use of echo methods (or similar) for determining wave speed, wavelength,
distance, or medium elasticity and/or density
•
•
•
Aims:
Communication using both sound (locally) and electromagnetic waves (near
and far) involve wave theory
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Electromagnetic waves are used extensively for national and international
communication
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Patterns, trends and discrepancies: Scientists have discovered common features of wave motion through careful observations of the natural world, looking for patterns,
trends and discrepancies and asking further questions based on these findings. (3.1)
Nature of science:
4.2 – Travelling waves
Essential idea: There are many forms of waves available to be studied. A common characteristic of all travelling waves is that they carry energy, but generally the medium
through which they travel will not be permanently disturbed.
Topic 4: Waves
Physics guide
Physics guide
How much detail does a model need to contain to accurately represent
reality?
•
Amplitude and intensity
Superposition
Polarization
•
•
•
Solving problems involving amplitude, intensity and the inverse square law
Sketching and interpreting the superposition of pulses and waves
Describing methods of polarization
Sketching and interpreting diagrams illustrating polarized, reflected and
transmitted beams
Solving problems involving Malus’s law
•
•
•
•
•
Methods of polarization will be restricted to the use of polarizing filters and
reflection from a non-metallic plane surface
•
I ∝ A2
I ∝ x −2
I = I0 cos 2 θ
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Students will be expected to calculate the resultant of two waves or pulses
both graphically and algebraically
•
Guidance:
Sketching and interpreting diagrams involving wavefronts and rays
•
A number of modern technologies, such as LCD displays, rely on polarization
for their operation
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): observation of
polarization under different conditions, including the use of microwaves;
superposition of waves; representation of wave types using physical models
(eg slinky demonstrations)
Aim 7: use of computer modelling enables students to observe wave motion
in three dimensions as well as being able to more accurately adjust wave
characteristics in superposition demonstrations
•
Aim 3: these universal behaviours of waves are applied in later sections of the
course in more advanced topics, allowing students to generalize the various
types of waves
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Wavefronts and rays are visualizations that help our understanding of
reality, characteristic of modelling in the physical sciences. How does the
methodology used in the natural sciences differ from the methodology used
in the human sciences?
•
Wavefronts and rays
•
Applications and skills:
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Imagination: It is speculated that polarization had been utilized by the Vikings through their use of Iceland Spar over 1300 years ago for navigation (prior to the
introduction of the magnetic compass). Scientists across Europe in the 17th–19th centuries continued to contribute to wave theory by building on the theories and models
proposed as our understanding developed. (1.4)
Nature of science:
4.3 – Wave characteristics
Essential idea: All waves can be described by the same sets of mathematical ideas. Detailed knowledge of one area leads to the possibility of prediction in another.
Topic 4: Waves
49
50
Snell’s law, critical angle and total internal reflection
Diffraction through a single-slit and around objects
Interference patterns
Double-slit interference
Path difference
•
•
•
•
•
Sketching and interpreting incident, reflected and transmitted waves at
boundaries between media
Solving problems involving reflection at a plane interface
Solving problems involving Snell’s law, critical angle and total internal
reflection
Determining refractive index experimentally
Qualitatively describing the diffraction pattern formed when plane waves are
incident normally on a single-slit
Quantitatively describing double-slit interference intensity patterns
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Reflection and refraction
•
Huygens and Newton proposed two competing theories of the behaviour
of light. How does the scientific community decide between competing
theories?
A satellite footprint on Earth is governed by the diffraction at the dish on the
satellite
Applications of the refraction and reflection of light range from the simple
plane mirror through the medical endoscope and beyond. Many of these
applications have enabled us to improve and extend our sense of vision
The simple idea of the cancellation of two coherent light rays reflecting from
two surfaces leads to data storage in compact discs and their successors
The physical explanation of the rainbow involves refraction and total internal
reflection. The bright and dark bands inside the rainbow, supernumeraries,
can be explained only by the wave nature of light and diffraction
•
•
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Characteristic wave behaviour has been used in many cultures throughout
human history, often tying closely to myths and legends that formed the basis
for early scientific studies
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Competing theories: The conflicting work of Huygens and Newton on their theories of light and the related debate between Fresnel, Arago and Poisson are
demonstrations of two theories that were valid yet flawed and incomplete. This is an historical example of the progress of science that led to the acceptance of the duality
of the nature of light. (1.9)
Nature of science:
4.4 – Wave behaviour
Essential idea: Waves interact with media and each other in a number of ways that can be unexpected and useful.
Topic 4: Waves
Physics guide
Physics guide
Students will not be expected to derive the double-slit equation
Students should have the opportunity to observe diffraction and interference
patterns arising from more than one type of wave
•
•
•
Constructive interference: path difference = nλ
Destructive interference: path difference =  n + 1  λ

2
•
λD
d
s=
•
•
n1 sin θ 2 v2
=
=
n2 sin θ1 v1
Data booklet reference:
Quantitative descriptions of refractive index are limited to light rays passing
between two or more transparent media. If more than two media, only
parallel interfaces will be considered
•
Guidance:
4.4 – Wave behaviour
Aim 1: the historical aspects of this topic are still relevant science and provide
valuable insight into the work of earlier scientists
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): determination of
refractive index and application of Snell’s law; determining conditions under
which total internal reflection may occur; examination of diffraction patterns
through apertures and around obstacles; investigation of the double-slit
experiment
Aim 8: the increasing use of digital data and its storage density has
implications on individual privacy through the permanence of a digital
footprint
•
•
•
Aims:
Topic 4: Waves
51
52
Boundary conditions
Nodes and antinodes
•
•
Distinguishing between standing and travelling waves
Observing, sketching and interpreting standing wave patterns in strings
and pipes
Solving problems involving the frequency of a harmonic, length of the
standing wave and the speed of the wave
•
•
•
Students will be expected to consider the formation of standing waves from
the superposition of no more than two waves
Boundary conditions for strings are: two fixed boundaries; fixed and free
boundary; two free boundaries
•
•
Guidance:
Describing the nature and formation of standing waves in terms of
superposition
•
Applications and skills:
•
The nature of standing waves
•
There are close links between standing waves in strings and Schrodinger’s
theory for the probability amplitude of electrons in the atom. Application to
superstring theory requires standing wave patterns in 11 dimensions. What is
the role of reason and imagination in enabling scientists to visualize scenarios
that are beyond our physical capabilities?
•
Students studying music should be encouraged to bring their own
experiences of this art form to the physics classroom
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The art of music, which has its scientific basis in these ideas, is universal to
all cultures, past and present. Many musical instruments rely heavily on the
generation and manipulation of standing waves
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Common reasoning process: From the time of Pythagoras onwards the connections between the formation of standing waves on strings and in pipes have been modelled
mathematically and linked to the observations of the oscillating systems. In the case of sound in air and light, the system can be visualized in order to recognize the
underlying processes occurring in the standing waves. (1.6)
Nature of science:
4.5 – Standing waves
Essential idea: When travelling waves meet they can superpose to form standing waves in which energy may not be transferred.
Topic 4: Waves
Physics guide
Boundary conditions for pipes are: two closed boundaries; closed and open
boundary; two open boundaries
For standing waves in air, explanations will not be required in terms of
pressure nodes and pressure antinodes
The lowest frequency mode of a standing wave is known as the first harmonic
The terms fundamental and overtone will not be used in examination
questions
•
•
•
•
4.5 – Standing waves
Physics guide
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): observation of
standing wave patterns in physical objects (eg slinky springs); prediction
of harmonic locations in an air tube in water; determining the frequency of
tuning forks; observing or measuring vibrating violin/guitar strings
Aim 8: the international dimension of the application of standing waves is
important in music
•
Aim 3: students are able to both physically observe and qualitatively measure
the locations of nodes and antinodes, following the investigative techniques
of early scientists and musicians
•
•
Aims:
Topic 4: Waves
53
54
Physics guide
15 hours
Electric field
Coulomb’s law
Electric current
Direct current (dc)
Potential difference
•
•
•
•
•
Identifying two forms of charge and the direction of the forces between them
Solving problems involving electric fields and Coulomb’s law
Calculating work done in an electric field in both joules and electronvolts
Identifying sign and nature of charge carriers in a metal
Identifying drift speed of charge carriers
Solving problems using the drift speed equation
Solving problems involving current, potential difference and charge
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Charge
•
Early scientists identified positive charges as the charge carriers in
metals; however, the discovery of the electron led to the introduction of
“conventional” current direction. Was this a suitable solution to a major shift
in thinking? What role do paradigm shifts play in the progression of scientific
knowledge?
The comparison between the treatment of electric fields and gravitational
fields (see Physics topic 10)
Impact on the environment from electricity generation (see Physics topic 8
and Chemistry option sub-topic C2)
•
•
Transferring energy from one place to another (see Chemistry option C and
Physics topic 11)
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Electricity and its benefits have an unparalleled power to transform society
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Modelling: Electrical theory demonstrates the scientific thought involved in the development of a microscopic model (behaviour of charge carriers) from macroscopic
observation. The historical development and refinement of these scientific ideas when the microscopic properties were unknown and unobservable is testament to the
deep thinking shown by the scientists of the time. (1.10)
Nature of science:
5.1 – Electric fields
Essential idea: When charges move an electric current is created.
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
Core
Physics guide
Students will be expected to apply Coulomb’s law for a range of permittivity
values
∆q
∆t
qq
F = k 12 2
r
I = nAvq
•
F
q
E=
k=
1
4πε 0
W
V=
q
I=
•
•
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
5.1 – Electric fields
•
•
•
•
Aim 7: use of computer simulations would enable students to measure
microscopic interactions that are typically very difficult in a school laboratory
situation
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): demonstrations
showing the effect of an electric field (eg. using semolina); simulations
involving the placement of one or more point charges and determining the
resultant field
Aim 3: advances in electrical theory have brought immense change to all
societies
Aim 2: electrical theory lies at the heart of much modern science and
engineering
Aims:
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
55
56
Kirchhoff’s circuit laws
Heating effect of current and its consequences
V
Resistance expressed as R =
I
Ohm’s law
Resistivity
Power dissipation
•
•
•
•
Describing practical uses of potential divider circuits, including the advantages
of a potential divider over a series resistor in controlling a simple circuit
Investigating one or more of the factors that affect resistance experimentally
•
Investigating combinations of resistors in parallel and series circuits
•
Describing ideal and non-ideal ammeters and voltmeters
Solving problems involving potential difference, current, charge, Kirchhoff’s
circuit laws, power, resistance and resistivity
•
•
Identifying ohmic and non-ohmic conductors through a consideration of the
V/I characteristic graph
•
•
Drawing and interpreting circuit diagrams
•
Applications and skills:
•
•
•
Circuit diagrams
•
Sense perception in early electrical investigations was key to classifying
the effect of various power sources; however, this is fraught with possible
irreversible consequences for the scientists involved. Can we still ethically and
safely use sense perception in science research?
Although there are nearly limitless ways that we use electrical circuits, heating
and lighting are two of the most widespread
Sensitive devices can employ detectors capable of measuring small variations
in potential difference and/or current, requiring carefully planned circuits and
high precision components
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
A set of universal symbols is needed so that physicists in different cultures can
readily communicate ideas in science and engineering
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Peer review: Although Ohm and Barlow published their findings on the nature of electric current around the same time, little credence was given to Ohm. Barlow’s incorrect
law was not initially criticized or investigated further. This is a reflection of the nature of academia of the time, with physics in Germany being largely non-mathematical and
Barlow held in high respect in England. It indicates the need for the publication and peer review of research findings in recognized scientific journals. (4.4)
Nature of science:
5.2 – Heating effect of electric currents
Essential idea: One of the earliest uses for electricity was to produce light and heat. This technology continues to have a major impact on the lives of people around
the world.
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
Physics guide
Physics guide
The use of non-ideal voltmeters is confined to voltmeters with a constant but
finite resistance
The use of non-ideal ammeters is confined to ammeters with a constant but
non-zero resistance
Application of Kirchhoff’s circuit laws will be limited to circuits with a
maximum number of two source-carrying loops
•
•
•
V2
R
ρ=
Refer to electrical symbols on page 4 of the physics data booklet
•
RA
L
1
1 1
= +
+
Rtotal R1 R2
Rtotal = R1 + R2 + P= VI= I 2R =
V
I
∑I = 0 (junction)
•
R=
∑V = 0 (loop)
•
Kirchoff’s circuit laws:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Data book reference:
The filament lamp should be described as a non-ohmic device; a metal wire at
a constant temperature is an ohmic device
•
Guidance:
5.2 – Heating effect of electric currents
Aim 2: electrical theory and its approach to macro and micro effects
characterizes much of the physical approach taken in the analysis of the
universe
Aim 3: electrical techniques, both practical and theoretical, provide a
relatively simple opportunity for students to develop a feeling for the
arguments of physics
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): use of a hot-wire
ammeter as an historically important device; comparison of resistivity of a
variety of conductors such as a wire at constant temperature, a filament lamp,
or a graphite pencil; determination of thickness of a pencil mark on paper;
investigation of ohmic and non-ohmic conductor characteristics; using a
resistive wire wound and taped around the reservoir of a thermometer to
relate wire resistance to current in the wire and temperature of wire
Aim 7: there are many software and online options for constructing simple
and complex circuits quickly to investigate the effect of using different
components within a circuit
•
•
•
•
Aims:
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
57
58
Internal resistance
Secondary cells
Terminal potential difference
Electromotive force (emf)
•
•
•
•
Describing the discharge characteristic of a simple cell (variation of terminal
potential difference with time)
Identifying the direction of current flow required to recharge a cell
Determining internal resistance experimentally
Solving problems involving emf, internal resistance and other electrical
quantities
•
•
•
•
Students should recognize that the terminal potential difference of a typical
practical electric cell loses its initial value quickly, has a stable and constant
value for most of its lifetime, followed by a rapid decrease to zero as the cell
discharges completely
Physics guide
•
ε = I(R + r )
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
Investigating practical electric cells (both primary and secondary)
•
Applications and skills:
•
Cells
•
Battery storage is seen as useful to society despite the potential
environmental issues surrounding their disposal. Should scientists be held
morally responsible for the long-term consequences of their inventions and
discoveries?
The chemistry of electric cells (see Chemistry sub-topics 9.2 and C.6)
•
•
•
Aim 10: improvements in cell technology has been through collaboration
with chemists
Aim 8: although cell technology can supply electricity without direct
contribution from national grid systems (and the inherent carbon output
issues), safe disposal of batteries and the chemicals they use can introduce
land and water pollution problems
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): investigation of
simple electrolytic cells using various materials for the cathode, anode and
electrolyte; software-based investigations of electrical cell design; comparison
of the life expectancy of various batteries
Aims:
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Battery storage is important to society for use in areas such as portable
devices, transportation options and back-up power supplies for medical
facilities
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Long-term risks: Scientists need to balance the research into electric cells that can store energy with greater energy density to provide longer device lifetimes with the
long-term risks associated with the disposal of the chemicals involved when batteries are discarded. (4.8)
Nature of science:
5.3 – Electric cells
Essential idea: Electric cells allow us to store energy in a chemical form.
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
Physics guide
Magnetic force
•
Determining the direction of force on a current-carrying conductor in a
magnetic field
Sketching and interpreting magnetic field patterns
Determining the direction of the magnetic field based on current direction
Solving problems involving magnetic forces, fields, current and charges
•
•
•
•
Magnetic field patterns will be restricted to long straight conductors,
solenoids, and bar magnets
F = qvB sin θ
F = BIL sin θ
•
•
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
Determining the direction of force on a charge moving in a magnetic field
•
Applications and skills:
•
Magnetic fields
•
Field patterns provide a visualization of a complex phenomenon, essential to
an understanding of this topic. Why might it be useful to regard knowledge
in a similar way, using the metaphor of knowledge as a map – a simplified
representation of reality?
Particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN rely on a variety
of precise magnets for aligning the particle beams
Modern medical scanners rely heavily on the strong, uniform magnetic fields
produced by devices that utilize superconductors
Only comparatively recently has the magnetic compass been superseded by
different technologies after hundreds of years of our dependence on it
Aims 2 and 9: visualizations frequently provide us with insights into the
action of magnetic fields; however, the visualizations themselves have their
own limitations
Aim 7: computer-based simulations enable the visualization of
electromagnetic fields in three-dimensional space
•
•
Aims:
•
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The investigation of magnetism is one of the oldest studies by man and was
used extensively by voyagers in the Mediterranean and beyond thousands of
years ago
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Models and visualization: Magnetic field lines provide a powerful visualization of a magnetic field. Historically, the field lines helped scientists and engineers to understand
a link that begins with the influence of one moving charge on another and leads onto relativity. (1.10)
Nature of science:
5.4 – Magnetic effects of electric currents
Essential idea: The effect scientists call magnetism arises when one charge moves in the vicinity of another moving charge.
Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism
59
60
Physics guide
Centripetal force
Centripetal acceleration
•
•
Solving problems involving centripetal force, centripetal acceleration, period,
frequency, angular displacement, linear speed and angular velocity
Qualitatively and quantitatively describing examples of circular motion
including cases of vertical and horizontal circular motion
•
•
Banking will be considered qualitatively only
Data booklet reference:
ν = ωr
•
v 2 4π 2 r
a=
= 2
•
r
T
mv 2
F=
= mω 2 r
•
r
•
Guidance:
Identifying the forces providing the centripetal forces such as tension, friction,
gravitational, electrical, or magnetic
•
Applications and skills:
•
Period, frequency, angular displacement and angular velocity
•
Playground and amusement park rides often use the principles of circular
motion in their design
•
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): mass on a string;
observation and quantification of loop-the-loop experiences; friction of a
mass on a turntable
Aim 7: technology has allowed for more accurate and precise measurements
of circular motion, including data loggers for force measurements and video
analysis of objects moving in circular motion
•
•
Aims:
Mass spectrometry (see Chemistry sub-topics 2.1 and 11.3)
Motion of charged particles in magnetic fields (see Physics sub-topic 5.4)
•
•
Utilization:
Foucault’s pendulum gives a simple observable proof of the rotation of the
earth, which is largely unobservable. How can we have knowledge of things
that are unobservable?
Theory of knowledge:
•
5 hours
International collaboration is needed in establishing effective rocket launch
sites to benefit space programs
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Observable universe: Observations and subsequent deductions led to the realization that the force must act radially inwards in all cases of circular motion. (1.1)
Nature of science:
6.1 – Circular motion
Essential idea: A force applied perpendicular to its displacement can result in circular motion.
Topic 6: Circular motion and gravitation
Core
Physics guide
Gravitational field strength
•
Applying Newton’s law of gravitation to the motion of an object in circular
orbit around a point mass
Solving problems involving gravitational force, gravitational field strength,
orbital speed and orbital period
Determining the resultant gravitational field strength due to two bodies
•
•
•
Gravitational field strength at a point is the force per unit mass experienced by
a small point mass at that point
Calculations of the resultant gravitational field strength due to two bodies will
be restricted to points along the straight line joining the bodies
•
•
61
•
•
•
Mm
r2
g=
F
m
M
g=G 2
r
F =G
Data booklet reference:
Newton’s law of gravitation should be extended to spherical masses of
uniform density by assuming that their mass is concentrated at their centre
•
Guidance:
Describing the relationship between gravitational force and centripetal force
•
Applications and skills:
•
Newton’s law of gravitation
•
Comparison to Coulomb’s law (see Physics sub-topic 5.1)
•
•
Aim 4: the theory of gravitation when combined and synthesized with the
rest of the laws of mechanics allows detailed predictions about the future
position and motion of planets
Aims:
The law of gravitation is essential in describing the motion of satellites,
planets, moons and entire galaxies
•
Utilization:
The laws of mechanics along with the law of gravitation create the
deterministic nature of classical physics. Are classical physics and modern
physics compatible? Do other areas of knowledge also have a similar division
between classical and modern in their historical development?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Laws: Newton’s law of gravitation and the laws of mechanics are the foundation for deterministic classical physics. These can be used to make predictions but do not explain why
the observed phenomena exist. (2.4)
Nature of science:
6.2 – Newton’s law of gravitation
Essential idea: The Newtonian idea of gravitational force acting between two spherical bodies and the laws of mechanics create a model that can be used to calculate the
motion of planets.
Topic 6: Circular motion and gravitation
62
Physics guide
14 hours
•
Discrete energy and discrete energy levels
Transitions between energy levels
Radioactive decay
Fundamental forces and their properties
Alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays
Half-life
Absorption characteristics of decay particles
Isotopes
Background radiation
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The role of luck/serendipity in successful scientific discovery is almost
inevitably accompanied by a scientifically curious mind that will pursue the
outcome of the “lucky” event. To what extent might scientific discoveries that
have been described as being the result of luck actually be better described as
being the result of reason or intuition?
Theory of knowledge:
The geopolitics of the past 60+ years have been greatly influenced by the
existence of nuclear weapons
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Accidental discovery: Radioactivity was discovered by accident when Becquerel developed photographic film that had accidentally been exposed to radiation from
radioactive rocks. The marks on the photographic film seen by Becquerel probably would not lead to anything further for most people. What Becquerel did was to
correlate the presence of the marks with the presence of the radioactive rocks and investigate the situation further. (1.4)
Nature of science:
7.1 – Discrete energy and radioactivity
Essential idea: In the microscopic world energy is discrete.
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
Core
Physics guide
How to deal with the radioactive output of nuclear decay is important in the
debate over nuclear power stations (see Physics sub-topic 8.1)
Carbon dating is used in providing evidence for evolution (see Biology subtopic 5.1)
Exponential functions (see Mathematical studies SL sub-topic 6.4; Mathematics
HL sub-topic 2.4)
•
•
•
Solving problems involving atomic spectra, including calculating the
wavelength of photons emitted during atomic transitions
Completing decay equations for alpha and beta decay
Determining the half-life of a nuclide from a decay curve
Investigating half-life experimentally (or by simulation)
•
•
•
•
Students will be expected to include the neutrino and antineutrino in beta
decay equations
•
hc
E
•
λ=
E = hf
•
Data booklet reference:
Students will be required to solve problems on radioactive decay involving
only integral numbers of half-lives
•
Aim 8: the use of radioactive materials poses environmental dangers that
must be addressed at all stages of research
Aim 9: the use of radioactive materials requires the development of safe
experimental practices and methods for handling radioactive materials
•
•
Aims:
Knowledge of radioactivity, radioactive substances and the radioactive decay
law are crucial in modern nuclear medicine
•
Describing the emission and absorption spectrum of common gases
•
Guidance:
Utilization:
Applications and skills:
7.1 – Discrete energy and radioactivity
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
63
64
Mass defect and nuclear binding energy
Nuclear fission and nuclear fusion
•
•
Solving problems involving mass defect and binding energy
Solving problems involving the energy released in radioactive decay, nuclear
fission and nuclear fusion
Sketching and interpreting the general shape of the curve of average binding
energy per nucleon against nucleon number
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
The unified atomic mass unit
•
Our understanding of the energetics of the nucleus has led to ways to
produce electricity from nuclei but also to the development of very
destructive weapons
The chemistry of nuclear reactions (see Chemistry option sub-topics C.3
and C.7)
•
•
Utilization:
The acceptance that mass and energy are equivalent was a major paradigm
shift in physics. How have other paradigm shifts changed the direction of
science? Have there been similar paradigm shifts in other areas of knowledge?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Patterns, trends and discrepancies: Graphs of binding energy per nucleon and of neutron number versus proton number reveal unmistakable patterns. This allows
scientists to make predictions of isotope characteristics based on these graphs. (3.1)
Nature of science:
7.2 – Nuclear reactions
Essential idea: Energy can be released in nuclear decays and reactions as a result of the relationship between mass and energy.
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Binding energy may be defined in terms of energy required to completely
separate the nucleons or the energy released when a nucleus is formed from
its nucleons
•
•
∆E = ∆m c 2
Data booklet reference:
Students must be able to calculate changes in terms of mass or binding
energy
•
Guidance:
7.2 – Nuclear reactions
Aim 5: some of the issues raised by the use of nuclear power transcend
national boundaries and require the collaboration of scientists from many
different nations
Aim 8: the development of nuclear power and nuclear weapons raises very
serious moral and ethical questions: who should be allowed to possess
nuclear power and nuclear weapons and who should make these decisions?
There also serious environmental issues associated with the nuclear waste of
nuclear power plants.
•
•
Aims:
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
65
66
Hadrons, baryons and mesons
The conservation laws of charge, baryon number, lepton number and
strangeness
The nature and range of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and
electromagnetic force
Exchange particles
Feynman diagrams
Confinement
The Higgs boson
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applying conservation laws in particle reactions
Describing protons and neutrons in terms of quarks
Comparing the interaction strengths of the fundamental forces, including
gravity
Describing the mediation of the fundamental forces through exchange
particles
•
•
•
Describing the Rutherford-Geiger-Marsden experiment that led to the
discovery of the nucleus
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Quarks, leptons and their antiparticles
•
Does the belief in the existence of fundamental particles mean that it is
justifiable to see physics as being more important than other areas of
knowledge?
An understanding of particle physics is needed to determine the final fate of
the universe (see Physics option sub-topics D.3 and D.4)
Aim 1: the research that deals with the fundamental structure of matter is
international in nature and is a challenging and stimulating adventure for
those who take part
Aim 4: particle physics involves the analysis and evaluation of very large
amounts of data
Aim 6: students could investigate the scattering angle of alpha particles as
a function of the aiming error, or the minimum distance of approach as a
function of the initial kinetic energy of the alpha particle
•
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Research into particle physics requires ever-increasing funding, leading to
debates in governments and international research organizations on the fair
allocation of precious financial resources
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Collaboration: It was much later that large-scale collaborative experimentation led to the discovery of the predicted fundamental particles. (4.3)
Predictions: Our present understanding of matter is called the Standard Model, consisting of six quarks and six leptons. Quarks were postulated on a completely
mathematical basis in order to explain patterns in properties of particles. (1.9)
Nature of science:
7.3 – The structure of matter
Essential idea: It is believed that all the matter around us is made up of fundamental particles called quarks and leptons. It is known that matter has a hierarchical structure
with quarks making up nucleons, nucleons making up nuclei, nuclei and electrons making up atoms and atoms making up molecules. In this hierarchical structure, the
smallest scale is seen for quarks and leptons (10 –18m).
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
Physics guide
Describing why free quarks are not observed
•
Physics guide
c
u
d
2
e
3
1
− e
3
b
t
1
3
1
3
Graviton
Par ticles mediating
Gravitational
All
υμ
υe
0
Particles experiencing
υτ
μ
e
–1
All leptons have a lepton
number of 1 and antileptons
have a lepton number of –1
τ
Leptons
Charge
All quarks have a strangeness number of
0 except the strange quark that has a strangeness
number of –1
s
Quarks
Charge
Baryon
number
A qualitative description of the standard model is required
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
Sketching and interpreting simple Feynman diagrams
•
7.3 – The structure of matter
Charged
γ
W+, W–, Z0
Electromagnetic
67
Gluons
Quarks, gluons
Strong
Aim 8: scientific and government organizations are asked if the funding for
particle physics research could be spent on other research or social needs
Quarks, leptons
Weak
•
Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
68
Physics guide
8 hours
Sankey diagrams
Primary energy sources
Electricity as a secondary and versatile form of energy
Renewable and non-renewable energy sources
•
•
•
•
Solving specific energy and energy density problems
Sketching and interpreting Sankey diagrams
Describing the basic features of fossil fuel power stations, nuclear power
stations, wind generators, pumped storage hydroelectric systems and solar
power cells
Solving problems relevant to energy transformations in the context of these
generating systems
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Specific energy and energy density of fuel sources
•
The use of nuclear energy inspires a range of emotional responses from
scientists and society. How can accurate scientific risk assessment be
undertaken in emotionally charged areas?
Generators for electrical production and engines for motion have
revolutionized the world (see Physics sub-topics 5.4 and 11.2)
The engineering behind alternative energy sources is influenced by different
areas of physics (see Physics sub-topics 3.2, 5.4 and B.2)
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The production of energy from fossil fuels has a clear impact on the world we
live in and therefore involves global thinking. The geographic concentrations
of fossil fuels have led to political conflict and economic inequalities. The
production of energy through alternative energy resources demands new
levels of international collaboration.
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Risks and problem-solving: Since early times mankind understood the vital role of harnessing energy and large-scale production of electricity has impacted all levels of
society. Processes where energy is transformed require holistic approaches that involve many areas of knowledge. Research and development of alternative energy sources
has lacked support in some countries for economic and political reasons. Scientists, however, have continued to collaborate and share new technologies that can reduce
our dependence on non-renewable energy sources. (4.8)
Nature of science:
8.1 – Energy sources
Essential idea: The constant need for new energy sources implies decisions that may have a serious effect on the environment. The finite quantity of fossil fuels and their
implication in global warming has led to the development of alternative sources of energy. This continues to be an area of rapidly changing technological innovation.
Topic 8: Energy production
Core
Physics guide
Describing the differences between photovoltaic cells and solar
heating panels
•
The description of the basic features of nuclear power stations must include
the use of control rods, moderators and heat exchangers
Derivation of the wind generator equation is not required but an awareness of
relevant assumptions and limitations is required
Students are expected to be aware of new and developing technologies
which may become important during the life of this guide
•
•
•
Power =
Power =
•
•
1
Aρν 3
2
energy
time
Data booklet reference:
Specific energy has units of J kg–1; energy density has units of J m–3
•
Guidance:
Discussing safety issues and risks associated with the production of
nuclear power
•
8.1 – Energy sources
Carbon recycling (see Biology sub-topic 4.3)
•
•
•
Aim 8: the production of energy has wide economic, environmental, moral
and ethical dimensions
Aim 4: the production of power involves many different scientific disciplines
and requires the evaluation and synthesis of scientific information
Aims:
Energy density (see Chemistry sub-topic C.1)
•
Topic 8: Energy production
69
70
Black-body radiation
Albedo and emissivity
The solar constant
The greenhouse effect
Energy balance in the Earth surface–atmosphere system
•
•
•
•
•
Sketching and interpreting graphs showing the variation of intensity with
wavelength for bodies emitting thermal radiation at different temperatures
Solving problems involving the Stefan–Boltzmann law and Wien’s
displacement law
Describing the effects of the Earth’s atmosphere on the mean surface
temperature
Solving problems involving albedo, emissivity, solar constant and the Earth’s
average temperature
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Conduction, convection and thermal radiation
•
•
The debate about global warming illustrates the difficulties that arise when
scientists cannot always agree on the interpretation of the data, especially
as the solution would involve large-scale action through international
government cooperation. When scientists disagree, how do we decide
between competing theories?
Theory of knowledge:
The concern over the possible impact of climate change has resulted in an
abundance of international press coverage, many political discussions within
and between nations, and the consideration of people, corporations, and
the environment when deciding on future plans for our planet. IB graduates
should be aware of the science behind many of these scenarios.
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Simple and complex modelling: The kinetic theory of gases is a simple mathematical model that produces a good approximation of the behaviour of real gases. Scientists
are also attempting to model the Earth’s climate, which is a far more complex system. Advances in data availability and the ability to include more processes in the models
together with continued testing and scientific debate on the various models will improve the ability to predict climate change more accurately. (1.12)
Nature of science:
8.2 – Thermal energy transfer
Essential idea: For simplified modelling purposes the Earth can be treated as a black-body radiator and the atmosphere treated as a grey-body.
Topic 8: Energy production
Physics guide
Physics guide
Discussion of convection is limited to simple gas or liquid transfer via density
differences
The absorption of infrared radiation by greenhouse gases should be described
in terms of the molecular energy levels and the subsequent emission of
radiation in all directions
The greenhouse gases to be considered are CH4, H2O, CO2 and N2O. It is
sufficient for students to know that each has both natural and man-made
origins.
Earth’s albedo varies daily and is dependent on season (cloud formations)
and latitude. The global annual mean albedo will be taken to be 0.3 (30%)
for Earth.
•
•
•
•
λmax (metres) =
power
A
I=
albedo =
•
•
•
2.90 × 10 −3
T (kelvin)
total scattered power
total incident power
P = eσ AT 4
•
Data booklet reference:
Discussion of conduction is limited to intermolecular and electron collisions
•
The normal distribution curve is explored in Mathematical studies SL
sub-topic 4.1
Climate change (see Biology sub-topic 4.4 and Environmental systems and
societies topics 5 and 6)
Environmental chemistry (see Chemistry option topic C)
Aim 4: this topic gives students the opportunity to understand the wide
range of scientific analysis behind climate change issues
Aim 6: simulations of energy exchange in the Earth surface–atmosphere
system
Aim 8: while science has the ability to analyse and possibly help solve
climate change issues, students should be aware of the impact of science
on the initiation of conditions that allowed climate change due to human
contributions to occur. Students should also be aware of the way science can
be used to promote the interests of one side of the debate on climate change
(or, conversely, to hinder debate).
•
•
•
Aims:
•
•
•
•
Discussion of conduction and convection will be qualitative only
•
Climate models and the variation in detail/processes included
Utilization:
Guidance:
8.2 – Thermal energy transfer
Topic 8: Energy production
71
72
Physics guide
17 hours
Fourier analysis allows us to describe all periodic oscillations in terms of simple
harmonic oscillators. The mathematics of simple harmonic motion is crucial to
any areas of science and technology where oscillations occur
The interchange of energies in oscillation is important in electrical
phenomena
Quadratic functions (see Mathematics HL sub-topic 2.6; Mathematics SL subtopic 2.4; Mathematical studies SL sub-topic 6.3)
Trigonometric functions (see Mathematics SL sub-topic 3.4)
•
•
•
•
The defining equation of SHM
Energy changes
•
•
Describing the interchange of kinetic and potential energy during simple
harmonic motion
Solving problems involving energy transfer during simple harmonic motion,
both graphically and algebraically
•
•
•
Contexts for this sub-topic include the simple pendulum and a mass-spring
system
Guidance
Solving problems involving acceleration, velocity and displacement during
simple harmonic motion, both graphically and algebraically
•
Applications and skills:
Utilization:
Understandings:
Insights: The equation for simple harmonic motion (SHM) can be solved analytically and numerically. Physicists use such solutions to help them to visualize the behaviour
of the oscillator. The use of the equations is very powerful as any oscillation can be described in terms of a combination of harmonic oscillators. Numerical modelling of
oscillators is important in the design of electrical circuits. (1.11)
Nature of science:
9.1 – Simple harmonic motion
Essential idea: The solution of the harmonic oscillator can be framed around the variation of kinetic and potential energy in the system.
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
Additional higher level
Physics guide
− x2
)
Mass − spring: T = 2π
•
l
g
)
Pendulum: T = 2π
(
•
•
•
2
1
EK = mω 2 x 0 2 − x 2
2
1
E T = mω 2 x 0 2
2
0
m
k
v = ω x 0 cos ωt; v = − ω x 0 sin ωt
•
(x
x = x 0 sin ωt; x = x 0 cos ωt
•
v = ±ω
a = −ω 2 x
•
•
ω=
•
2π
T
Data booklet reference:
9.1 – Simple harmonic motion
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): investigation of
simple or torsional pendulums; measuring the vibrations of a tuning fork;
further extensions of the experiments conducted in sub-topic 4.1. By using the
force law, a student can, with iteration, determine the behaviour of an object
under simple harmonic motion. The iterative approach (numerical solution),
with given initial conditions, applies basic uniform acceleration equations in
successive small time increments. At each increment, final values become the
following initial conditions.
Aim 7: the observation of simple harmonic motion and the variables affected
can be easily followed in computer simulations
•
Aim 4: students can use this topic to develop their ability to synthesize
complex and diverse scientific information
•
•
Aims:
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
73
74
Determining the position of first interference minimum
Qualitatively describing single-slit diffraction patterns produced from white
light and from a range of monochromatic light frequencies
•
•
Only rectangular slits need to be considered
Diffraction around an object (rather than through a slit) does not need to be
considered in this sub-topic (see Physics sub-topic 4.4)
•
•
Guidance:
Describing the effect of slit width on the diffraction pattern
•
Applications and skills:
X-ray diffraction is an important tool of the crystallographer and the material
scientist
Aim 2: this topic provides a body of knowledge that characterizes the way
that science is subject to modification with time
Aim 6: experiments can be combined with those from sub-topics 4.4 and 9.3
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Are explanations in science different from explanations in other areas of
knowledge such as history?
•
•
The nature of single-slit diffraction
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Development of theories: When light passes through an aperture the summation of all parts of the wave leads to an intensity pattern that is far removed from the
geometrical shadow that simple theory predicts. (1.9)
Nature of science:
9.2 – Single-slit diffraction
Essential idea: Single-slit diffraction occurs when a wave is incident upon a slit of approximately the same size as the wavelength.
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
Physics guide
Physics guide
Calculations will be limited to a determination of the position of the first
minimum for single-slit interference patterns using the approximation
equation
•
Data booklet reference:
λ
θ=
•
b
Students will be expected to be aware of the approximate ratios of successive
intensity maxima for single-slit interference patterns
•
9.2 – Single-slit diffraction
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
75
76
Modulation of two-slit interference pattern by one-slit diffraction effect
Multiple slit and diffraction grating interference patterns
Thin film interference
•
•
•
Qualitatively describing two-slit interference patterns, including modulation
by one-slit diffraction effect
Investigating Young’s double-slit experimentally
Sketching and interpreting intensity graphs of double-slit interference
patterns
Solving problems involving the diffraction grating equation
Describing conditions necessary for constructive and destructive interference
from thin films, including phase change at interface and effect of refractive
index
Solving problems involving interference from thin films
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Young’s double-slit experiment
•
Thin films are used to produce anti-reflection coatings
•
Aim 4: two scientific concepts (diffraction and interference) come together in
this sub-topic, allowing students to analyse and synthesize a wider range of
scientific information
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): observing the use
of diffraction gratings in spectroscopes; analysis of thin soap films; sound
wave and microwave interference pattern analysis
Aim 9: the ray approach to the description of thin film interference is only
an approximation. Students should recognize the limitations of such a
visualization
•
•
•
Aims:
Compact discs are a commercial example of the use of diffraction gratings
•
Utilization:
Most two-slit interference descriptions can be made without reference to the
one-slit modulation effect. To what level can scientists ignore parts of a model
for simplicity and clarity?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Serendipity: The first laboratory production of thin films was accidental. (1.5)
Curiosity: Observed patterns of iridescence in animals, such as the shimmer of peacock feathers, led scientists to develop the theory of thin film interference. (1.5)
Nature of science:
9.3 – Interference
Essential idea: Interference patterns from multiple slits and thin films produce accurately repeatable patterns.
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
Physics guide
Physics guide
Diffraction grating patterns are restricted to those formed at normal incidence
The treatment of thin film interference is confined to parallel-sided films at
normal incidence
The constructive interference and destructive interference formulae listed
below and in the data booklet apply to specific cases of phase changes at
interfaces and are not generally true
•
•
•
nλ = d sin θ
1

Constructive interference: 2dn =  m +  λ

2
Destructive interference: 2dn = mλ
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Students should be introduced to interference patterns from a variety of
coherent sources such as (but not limited to) electromagnetic waves, sound
and simulated demonstrations
•
Guidance:
9.3 – Interference
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
77
78
•
The size of a diffracting aperture
The resolution of simple monochromatic two-source systems
•
•
Resolvance of diffraction gratings
•
Proof of the diffraction grating resolvance equation is not required
Data booklet reference:
λ
•
θ = 1.22
b
λ
•
R=
= mN
∆λ
•
Guidance:
•
Solving problems involving the Rayleigh criterion for light emitted by two
sources diffracted at a single slit
•
Storage media such as compact discs (and their variants) and CCD sensors rely
on resolution limits to store and reproduce media accurately
•
Aim 3: this sub-topic helps bridge the gap between wave theory and real-life
applications
Aim 8: the need for communication between national communities via
satellites raises the awareness of the social and economic implications of
technology
•
•
Aims:
An optical or other reception system must be able to resolve the intended
images. This has implications for satellite transmissions, radio astronomy and
many other applications in physics and technology (see Physics option C)
•
Utilization:
The resolution limits set by Dawes and Rayleigh are capable of being
surpassed by the construction of high quality telescopes. Are we capable of
breaking other limits of scientific knowledge with our advancing technology?
Theory of knowledge:
Applications and skills:
Satellite use for commercial and political purposes is dictated by the
resolution capabilities of the satellite
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Improved technology: The Rayleigh criterion is the limit of resolution. Continuing advancement in technology such as large diameter dishes or lenses or the use of smaller
wavelength lasers pushes the limits of what we can resolve. (1.8)
Nature of science:
9.4 – Resolution
Essential idea: Resolution places an absolute limit on the extent to which an optical or other system can separate images of objects.
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
Physics guide
Physics guide
Describing situations where the Doppler effect can be utilized
Solving problems involving the change in frequency or wavelength observed
due to the Doppler effect to determine the velocity of the source/observer
•
•
Situations to be discussed should include the use of Doppler effect in radars
and in medical physics, and its significance for the red-shift in the light spectra
of receding galaxies
•
•
∆f ∆λ v
=
≈
λ c
f
v ± u0 
Moving observer: f ′ = f 
 v 
•
•
 v 
Moving source: f ′ = f
 v ± u 
s
Data booklet reference:
For electromagnetic waves, the approximate equation should be used for all
calculations
•
Guidance:
Sketching and interpreting the Doppler effect when there is relative motion
between source and observer
•
Applications and skills:
How important is sense perception in explaining scientific ideas such as the
Doppler effect?
Astronomy relies on the analysis of the Doppler effect when dealing with fast
moving objects (see Physics option D)
Aim 7: computer simulations of the Doppler effect allow students to visualize
complex and mostly unobservable situations
Aim 6: spectral data and images of receding galaxies are available from
professional astronomical observatories for analysis
•
•
Aim 2: the Doppler effect needs to be considered in various applications of
technology that utilize wave theory
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Radar usage is affected by the Doppler effect and must be considered for
applications using this technology
•
•
The Doppler effect for sound waves and light waves
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Technology: Although originally based on physical observations of the pitch of fast moving sources of sound, the Doppler effect has an important role in many different
areas such as evidence for the expansion of the universe and generating images used in weather reports and in medicine. (5.5)
Nature of science:
9.5 – Doppler effect
Essential idea: The Doppler effect describes the phenomenon of wavelength/frequency shift when relative motion occurs.
Topic 9: Wave phenomena
79
80
Physics guide
11 hours
Electrostatic fields
Electric potential and gravitational potential
Field lines
Equipotential surfaces
•
•
•
•
Representing sources of mass and charge, lines of electric and gravitational
force, and field patterns using an appropriate symbolism
Mapping fields using potential
Describing the connection between equipotential surfaces and field lines
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Gravitational fields
•
Knowledge of vector analysis is useful for this sub-topic (see Physics
sub-topic 1.3)
•
Aim 9: models developed for electric and gravitational fields using lines of
forces allow predictions to be made but have limitations in terms of the finite
width of a line
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Although gravitational and electrostatic forces decrease with the square of
distance and will only become zero at infinite separation, from a practical
standpoint they become negligible at much smaller distances. How do
scientists decide when an effect is so small that it can be ignored?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Paradigm shift: The move from direct, observable actions being responsible for influence on an object to acceptance of a field’s “action at a distance” required a paradigm
shift in the world of science. (2.3)
Nature of science:
10.1 – Describing fields
Essential idea: Electric charges and masses each influence the space around them and that influence can be represented through the concept of fields.
Topic 10: Fields
Additional higher level
Physics guide
Gravitational fields are restricted to the radial fields around point or spherical
masses and the (assumed) uniform field close to the surface of massive
celestial bodies and planetary bodies
Students should recognize that no work is done in moving charge or mass on
an equipotential surface
•
•
W = q∆Ve
W = m∆Vg
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Electrostatic fields are restricted to the radial fields around point or spherical
charges, the field between two point charges and the uniform fields between
charged parallel plates
•
Guidance:
10.1 – Describing fields
Topic 10: Fields
81
82
Geostationary/polar satellites
The acceleration of charged particles in particle accelerators and in many
medical imaging devices depends on the presence of electric fields (see
Physics option sub-topic C.4)
•
•
Potential gradient
Potential difference
Escape speed
Orbital motion, orbital speed and orbital energy
Forces and inverse-square law behaviour
•
•
•
•
•
Determining the potential energy of a point mass and the potential energy of
a point charge
Solving problems involving potential energy
Determining the potential inside a charged sphere
Solving problems involving the speed required for an object to go into orbit
around a planet and for an object to escape the gravitational field of a planet
Solving problems involving orbital energy of charged particles in circular
orbital motion and masses in circular orbital motion
Solving problems involving forces on charges and masses in radial and
uniform fields
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Aim 4: the theories of gravitation and electrostatic interactions allows for a
great synthesis in the description of a large number of phenomena
Aim 2: Newton’s law of gravitation and Coulomb’s law form part of the
structure known as “classical physics”. This body of knowledge has provided
the methods and tools of analysis up to the advent of the theory of relativity
and the quantum theory
Aims:
The global positioning system depends on complete understanding of
satellite motion
•
Potential and potential energy
•
Applications and skills:
Utilization:
Understandings:
Communication of scientific explanations: The ability to apply field theory to the unobservable (charges) and the massively scaled (motion of satellites) required scientists
to develop new ways to investigate, analyse and report findings to a general public used to scientific discoveries based on tangible and discernible evidence. (5.1)
Nature of science:
10.2 – Fields at work
Essential idea: Similar approaches can be taken in analysing electrical and gravitational potential problems.
Topic 10: Fields
Physics guide
Physics guide
Students should assume that the electric field everywhere between parallel
plates is uniform with edge effects occurring beyond the limits of the plates.
•
2GM
r
Vesc =
Vorbit =
•
•
GM
r
m1m2
r2
FG = G
GMm
r
∆r
∆Vg
GM
r
EP = mVg = −
g=−
Vg = −
FE = k
q1q2
r2
kq1q2
r
∆Ve
∆r
EP = qVe =
E=−
kq
r
Students should recognize that lines of force can be two-dimensional
representations of three-dimensional fields
•
Ve =
Both uniform and radial fields need to be considered
•
Data booklet reference:
Orbital motion of a satellite around a planet is restricted to a consideration of
circular orbits (links to 6.1 and 6.2)
•
Guidance:
10.2 – Fields at work
Topic 10: Fields
83
84
Physics guide
16 hours
Magnetic flux and magnetic flux linkage
Faraday’s law of induction
Lenz’s law
•
•
•
Describing the production of an induced emf by a changing magnetic flux
and within a uniform magnetic field
Solving problems involving magnetic flux, magnetic flux linkage and
Faraday’s law
Explaining Lenz’s law through the conservation of energy
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Electromotive force (emf)
•
Applications of electromagnetic induction can be found in many places
including transformers, electromagnetic braking, geophones used in
seismology, and metal detectors
•
Aim 2: the simple principles of electromagnetic induction are a powerful
aspect of the physicist’s or technologist’s armoury when designing systems
that transfer energy from one form to another
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Terminology used in electromagnetic field theory is extensive and can
confuse people who are not directly involved. What effect can lack of clarity in
terminology have on communicating scientific concepts to the public?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Experimentation: In 1831 Michael Faraday, using primitive equipment, observed a minute pulse of current in one coil of wire only when the current in a second coil of wire
was switched on or off but nothing while a constant current was established. Faraday’s observation of these small transient currents led him to perform experiments that
led to his law of electromagnetic induction. (1.8)
Nature of science:
11.1 – Electromagnetic induction
Essential idea: The majority of electricity generated throughout the world is generated by machines that were designed to operate using the principles of electromagnetic
induction.
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
Additional higher level
Physics guide
Qualitative treatments only will be expected for fixed coils in a changing
magnetic field and ac generators
•
ε = −N
ε = Bv ε = Bv N
•
•
∆Φ
∆t
Φ = BA cos θ
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Quantitative treatments will be expected for straight conductors moving at
right angles to magnetic fields and rectangular coils moving in and out of
fields and rotating in fields
•
Guidance:
11.1 – Electromagnetic induction
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
85
86
Average power and root mean square (rms) values of current and voltage
Transformers
Diode bridges
Half-wave and full-wave rectification
•
•
•
•
Solving problems involving the average power in an ac circuit
Solving problems involving step-up and step-down transformers
Describing the use of transformers in ac electrical power distribution
Investigating a diode bridge rectification circuit experimentally
Qualitatively describing the effect of adding a capacitor to a diode bridge
rectification circuit
•
•
•
•
•
Calculations will be restricted to ideal transformers but students should be aware
of some of the reasons why real transformers are not ideal (for example: flux
leakage, joule heating, eddy current heating, magnetic hysteresis)
Proof of the relationship between the peak and rms values will not be
expected
•
•
Guidance:
Explaining the operation of a basic ac generator, including the effect of
changing the generator frequency
•
Applications and skills:
•
Alternating current (ac) generators
•
There is continued debate of the effect of electromagnetic waves on
the health of humans, especially children. Is it justifiable to make use of
scientific advances even if we do not know what their long-term
consequences may be?
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): construction of a
basic ac generator; investigation of variation of input and output coils on a
transformer; observing Wheatstone and Wien bridge circuits
Aim 7: construction and observation of the adjustments made in very large
electricity distribution systems are best carried out using computer-modelling
software and websites
Aim 9: power transmission is modelled using perfectly efficient systems
but no such system truly exists. Although the model is imperfect, it renders
the maximum power transmission. Recognition of, and accounting for, the
differences between the “perfect” system and the practical system is one of
the main functions of professional scientists
•
•
•
Aims:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The ability to maintain a reliable power grid has been the aim of all
governments since the widespread use of electricity started
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Bias: In the late 19th century Edison was a proponent of direct current electrical energy transmission while Westinghouse and Tesla favoured alternating current
transmission. The so called “battle of currents” had a significant impact on today’s society. (3.5)
Nature of science:
11.2 – Power generation and transmission
Essential idea: Generation and transmission of alternating current (ac) electricity has transformed the world.
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
Physics guide
Physics guide
•
•
•
1
P = I0V0
2
ε p Np Is
=
=
ε s Ns Ip
Pmax = I0V0
Data booklet reference:
I
Irms = 0
•
2
V0
•
Vrms =
2
V
V
•
R = 0 = rms
I0 Irms
11.2 – Power generation and transmission
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
87
88
Dielectric materials
Capacitors in series and parallel
Resistor-capacitor (RC) series circuits
Time constant
•
•
•
•
Describing the effect of different dielectric materials on capacitance
Solving problems involving parallel-plate capacitors
Investigating combinations of capacitors in series or parallel circuits
Determining the energy stored in a charged capacitor
Describing the nature of the exponential discharge of a capacitor
Solving problems involving the discharge of a capacitor through a fixed
resistor
Solving problems involving the time constant of an RC circuit for charge,
voltage and current
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Capacitance
•
The charge and discharge of capacitors obeys rules that have parallels in other
branches of physics including radioactivity (see Physics sub-topic 7.1)
Aim 3: the treatment of exponential growth and decay by graphical and
algebraic methods offers both the visual and rigorous approach so often
characteristic of science and technology
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): investigating basic
RC circuits; using a capacitor in a bridge circuit; examining other types of
capacitors; verifying time constant
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Lightning is a phenomenon that has fascinated physicists from Pliny through
Newton to Franklin. The charged clouds form one plate of a capacitor with
other clouds or Earth forming the second plate. The frequency of lightning
strikes varies globally, being particularly prevalent in equatorial regions. The
impact of lightning strikes is significant, with many humans and animals being
killed annually and huge financial costs to industry from damage to buildings,
communication and power transmission systems, and delays or the need to
reroute air transport.
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Relationships: Examples of exponential growth and decay pervade the whole of science. It is a clear example of the way that scientists use mathematics to model reality.
This topic can be used to create links between physics topics but also to uses in chemistry, biology, medicine and economics. (3.1)
Nature of science:
11.3 – Capacitance
Essential idea: Capacitors can be used to store electrical energy for later use.
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
Physics guide
Physics guide
Problems involving the discharge of capacitors through fixed resistors need to
be treated both graphically and algebraically
Problems involving the charging of a capacitor will only be treated graphically
Derivation of the charge, voltage and current equations as a function of time
is not required
•
•
•
V = V0 e
•
−
t
τ
I = I0 e
•
−
q = q0 e
•
t
τ
t
τ
τ = RC
•
−
1
E = CV 2
2
•
1 1
+ +
C1 C2
C =ε
A
d
=
•
C series
1
Cparallel = C1 + C 2 + •
•
C=
•
q
V
Data booklet reference:
Only single parallel-plate capacitors providing a uniform electric field, in series
with a load, need to be considered (edge effect will be neglected)
•
Guidance:
11.3 – Capacitance
Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction
89
90
Physics guide
16 hours
•
Photons
The photoelectric effect
Matter waves
Pair production and pair annihilation
Quantization of angular momentum in the Bohr model for hydrogen
The wave function
The uncertainty principle for energy and time and position and momentum
Tunnelling, potential barrier and factors affecting tunnelling probability
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The electron microscope and the tunnelling electron microscope rely on the
findings from studies in quantum physics
Probability is treated in a mathematical sense in Mathematical studies SL subtopics 3.6–3.7
•
•
Utilization:
The duality of matter and tunnelling are cases where the laws of classical
physics are violated. To what extent have advances in technology enabled
paradigm shifts in science?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Paradigm shift: The acceptance of the wave–particle duality paradox for light and particles required scientists in many fields to view research from new perspectives. (2.3)
Observations: Much of the work towards a quantum theory of atoms was guided by the need to explain the observed patterns in atomic spectra. The first quantum model
of matter is the Bohr model for hydrogen. (1.8)
Nature of science:
12.1 – The interaction of matter with radiation
Essential idea: The microscopic quantum world offers a range of phenomena, the interpretation and explanation of which require new ideas and concepts not found in the
classical world.
Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics
Additional higher level
Physics guide
Solving photoelectric problems both graphically and algebraically
Discussing experimental evidence for matter waves, including an experiment
in which the wave nature of electrons is evident
Stating order of magnitude estimates from the uncertainty principle
•
•
•
Tunnelling to be treated qualitatively using the idea of continuity of wave
functions
•
•
•
•
•
∆x ∆p ≥
h
4π
h
∆E ∆t ≥
4π
2
P( r ) = Ψ ∆V
E=−
13.6
eV
n2
nh
mvr =
2π
Emax = hf − Φ
•
•
E = hf
•
Data booklet reference:
The order of magnitude estimates from the uncertainty principle may include
(but is not limited to) estimates of the energy of the ground state of an atom,
the impossibility of an electron existing within a nucleus, and the lifetime of
an electron in an excited energy state
•
Guidance:
Discussing the photoelectric effect experiment and explaining which features
of the experiment cannot be explained by the classical wave theory of light
•
Applications and skills:
12.1 – The interaction of matter with radiation
Aim 1: study of quantum phenomena introduces students to an exciting new
world that is not experienced at the macroscopic level. The study of tunneling
is a novel phenomenon not observed in macroscopic physics.
Aim 6: the photoelectric effect can be investigated using LEDs
Aim 9: the Bohr model is very successful with hydrogen but not of any use for
other elements
•
•
•
Aims:
Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics
91
92
Nuclear energy levels
The neutrino
The law of radioactive decay and the decay constant
•
•
•
Describing a scattering experiment including location of minimum intensity
for the diffracted particles based on their de Broglie wavelength
Explaining deviations from Rutherford scattering in high energy experiments
Describing experimental evidence for nuclear energy levels
Solving problems involving the radioactive decay law for arbitrary time
intervals
Explaining the methods for measuring short and long half-lives
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Rutherford scattering and nuclear radius
•
Knowledge of radioactivity, radioactive substances and the radioactive decay
law are crucial in modern nuclear medicine (see Physics option sub-topic C.4)
•
Aim 2: detection of the neutrino demonstrates the continuing growing body
of knowledge scientists are gathering in this area of study
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Much of the knowledge about subatomic particles is based on the models one
uses to interpret the data from experiments. How can we be sure that we are
discovering an “independent truth” not influenced by our models? Is there
such a thing as a single truth?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Modern computing power: Finally, the analysis of the data gathered in modern particle detectors in particle accelerator experiments would be impossible without modern
computing power. (1.8)
Advances in instrumentation: New ways of detecting subatomic particles due to advances in electronic technology were also crucial.
Theoretical advances and inspiration: Progress in atomic, nuclear and particle physics often came from theoretical advances and strokes of inspiration.
Nature of science:
12.2 – Nuclear physics
Essential idea: The idea of discreteness that we met in the atomic world continues to exist in the nuclear world as well.
Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics
Physics guide
Physics guide
The small angle approximation is usually not appropriate to use to determine
the location of the minimum intensity
•
•
•
•
•
sin θ ≈
λ
D
A = λ N0 e − λt
N = N0 e − λt
Data booklet reference:
R = R0 A1/3
Students should be aware that nuclear densities are approximately the same
for all nuclei and that the only macroscopic objects with the same density as
nuclei are neutron stars
•
Guidance:
12.2 – Nuclear physics
Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics
93
94
Physics guide
15 hours
Galilean relativity and Newton’s postulates concerning time and space
Maxwell and the constancy of the speed of light
Forces on a charge or current
•
•
•
Using the Galilean transformation equations
Determining whether a force on a charge or current is electric or magnetic in a
given frame of reference
Determining the nature of the fields observed by different observers
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Reference frames
•
•
Aim 3: this sub-topic is the cornerstone of developments that followed in
relativity and modern physics
Aims:
When scientists claim a new direction in thinking requires a paradigm shift in
how we observe the universe, how do we ensure their claims are valid?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Paradigm shift: The fundamental fact that the speed of light is constant for all inertial observers has far-reaching consequences about our understanding of space and time.
Ideas about space and time that went unchallenged for more than 2,000 years were shown to be false. The extension of the principle of relativity to accelerated frames of
reference leads to the revolutionary idea of general relativity that the mass and energy that spacetime contains determines the geometry of spacetime. (2.3)
Nature of science:
A.1 – The beginnings of relativity
Essential idea: Einstein’s study of electromagnetism revealed inconsistencies between the theory of Maxwell and Newton‘s mechanics. He recognized that both theories
could not be reconciled and so choosing to trust Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism he was forced to change long-cherished ideas about space and time in mechanics.
Core topics
Option A: Relativity
Physics guide
Qualitative treatment of electric and magnetic fields as measured by
observers in relative motion. Examples will include a charge moving in a
magnetic field or two charged particles moving with parallel velocities.
Students will be asked to analyse these motions from the point of view of
observers at rest with respect to the particles and observers at rest with
respect to the magnetic field.
•
x ′ = x − vt
u′ = u − v
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Maxwell’s equations do not need to be described
•
Guidance:
A.1 – The beginnings of relativity
Core topics
95
96
Clock synchronization
The Lorentz transformations
Velocity addition
Invariant quantities (spacetime interval, proper time, proper length and
rest mass)
Time dilation
Length contraction
The muon decay experiment
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Using the Lorentz transformation equations to show that if two events are
simultaneous for one observer but happen at different points in space, then
the events are not simultaneous for an observer in a different reference frame
Solving problems involving velocity addition
Deriving the time dilation and length contraction equations using the Lorentz
equations
•
•
Using the Lorentz transformation equations to determine the position and
time coordinates of various events
•
•
Using the Lorentz transformations to describe how different measurements
of space and time by two observers can be converted into the measurements
observed in either frame of reference
•
Applications and skills:
•
The two postulates of special relativity
•
Aim 2: the Lorentz transformation formulae provide a consistent body of
knowledge that can be used to compare the description of motion by one
observer to the description of another observer in relative motion to
the first
Aim 3: these formulae can be applied to a varied set of conditions and
situations
Aim 9: the introduction of relativity pushed the limits of Galilean thoughts on
space and motion
•
•
•
Aims:
Once a very esoteric part of physics, relativity ideas about space and time are
needed in order to produce accurate global positioning systems (GPS)
Utilization:
Understandings:
Pure science: Einstein based his theory of relativity on two postulates and deduced the rest by mathematical analysis. The first postulate integrates all of the laws of physics
including the laws of electromagnetism, not only Newton’s laws of mechanics. (1.2)
Nature of science:
A.2 – Lorentz transformations
Essential idea: Observers in relative uniform motion disagree on the numerical values of space and time coordinates for events, but agree with the numerical value of
the speed of light in a vacuum. The Lorentz transformation equations relate the values in one reference frame to those in another. These equations replace the Galilean
transformation equations that fail for speeds close to that of light.
Core topics
Physics guide
Solving problems involving the muon decay experiment
•
Physics guide
Derivation of the Lorentz transformation equations will not be examined
Muon decay experiments can be used as evidence for both time dilation and
length contraction
•
•
∆t = γ∆t 0
L0
γ
L=
( ct ′ ) 2 − ( x ′ )2 = ( ct )2 − ( x )2
•
•
•
v ∆x 

 ∆t − 2 
c 

u′ =
u−v
uv
1− 2
c
 vx 
t ′ = γ  t − 2  ; ∆t ′ = γ
c 

x ′ = γ ( x − vt ); ∆x ′ = γ ( ∆x − v ∆t )
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
1
γ =
•
v2
1− 2
c
Problems will be limited to one dimension
•
Guidance:
Solving problems involving time dilation and length contraction
•
A.2 – Lorentz transformations
Core topics
97
98
Worldlines
The twin paradox
•
•
Representing events on a spacetime diagram as points
Representing the positions of a moving particle on a spacetime diagram by a
curve (the worldline)
Representing more than one inertial reference frame on the same spacetime
diagram
Determining the angle between a worldline for specific speed and the time
axis on a spacetime diagram
Solving problems on simultaneity and kinematics using spacetime diagrams
Representing time dilation and length contraction on spacetime diagrams
Describing the twin paradox
Resolving of the twin paradox through spacetime diagrams
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Spacetime diagrams
•
•
Aim 4: spacetime diagrams allow one to analyse problems in relativity
more reliably
Aims:
Can paradoxes be solved by reason alone, or do they require the utilization of
other ways of knowing?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Visualization of models: The visualization of the description of events in terms of spacetime diagrams is an enormous advance in understanding the concept of spacetime. (1.10)
Nature of science:
A.3 – Spacetime diagrams
Essential idea: Spacetime diagrams are a very clear and illustrative way to show graphically how different observers in relative motion to each other have measurements that
differ from each other.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Quantitative questions involving spacetime diagrams will be limited to
constant velocity
Spacetime diagrams can have t or ct on the vertical axis
Examination questions may use units in which c = 1
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
υ
•
θ = tan−1  
c
Examination questions will refer to spacetime diagrams; these are also known
as Minkowski diagrams
•
Guidance:
A.3 – Spacetime diagrams
Core topics
99
100
Physics guide
10 hours
Relativistic momentum
Particle acceleration
Electric charge as an invariant quantity
Photons
MeV c–2 as the unit of mass and MeV c–1 as the unit of momentum
•
•
•
•
•
Describing the laws of conservation of momentum and conservation of
energy within special relativity
Determining the potential difference necessary to accelerate a particle to a
given speed or energy
Solving problems involving relativistic energy and momentum conservation
in collisions and particle decays
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Total energy and rest energy
•
The laws of relativistic mechanics are routinely used in order to manage the
operation of nuclear power plants, particle accelerators and particle detectors
Aim 4: relativistic mechanics synthesizes knowledge on the behaviour of
matter at speeds close to the speed of light
Aim 9: the theory of relativity imposes one severe limitation: nothing can
exceed the speed of light
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
In what ways do laws in the natural sciences differ from laws in economics?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Paradigm shift: Einstein realized that the law of conservation of momentum could not be maintained as a law of physics. He therefore deduced that in order for momentum
to be conserved under all conditions, the definition of momentum had to change and along with it the definitions of other mechanics quantities such as kinetic energy and
total energy of a particle. This was a major paradigm shift. (2.3)
Nature of science:
A.4 – Relativistic mechanics
Essential idea: The relativity of space and time requires new definitions for energy and momentum in order to preserve the conserved nature of these laws.
Additional higher level option topics
Option A: Relativity
Physics guide
The symbol m0 refers to the invariant rest mass of a particle
The concept of a relativistic mass that varies with speed will not be used
Problems will be limited to one dimension
•
•
•
E = γ m0 c 2
E0 = m0 c 2
EK = (γ − 1)m0 c 2
p = γ m0υ
E 2 = p 2 c 2 + m0 2 c 4
qV = ∆EK
•
•
•
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Applications will involve relativistic decays such as calculating the
o
wavelengths of photons in the decay of a moving pion [π → 2γ ]
•
Guidance:
A.4 – Relativistic mechanics
Additional higher level option topics
101
102
The bending of light
Gravitational redshift and the Pound–Rebka–Snider experiment
Schwarzschild black holes
Event horizons
Time dilation near a black hole
Applications of general relativity to the universe as a whole
•
•
•
•
•
•
Using the equivalence principle to deduce and explain light bending near massive
objects
Using the equivalence principle to deduce and explain gravitational time
dilation
Calculating gravitational frequency shifts
Describing an experiment in which gravitational redshift is observed
and measured
Calculating the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole
Applying the formula for gravitational time dilation near the event horizon of a
black hole
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
The equivalence principle
•
The development of the general theory of relativity has been used to explain
the very large-scale behaviour of the universe as a whole with far-reaching
implications about the future development and fate of the universe
•
Aim 2: the general theory of relativity is a great synthesis of ideas that are required
to describe the large-scale structure of the universe
Aim 9: it must be appreciated that the magnificent Newtonian structure had
serious limitations when it came to the description of very detailed aspects of
planetary motion
•
•
Aims:
For the global positioning system to be so accurate, general relativity must be
taken into account in calculating the details of the satellite’s orbit
•
Utilization:
Although Einstein self-described the cosmological constant as his “greatest
blunder”, the 2011 Nobel Prize was won by scientists who had proved it to be
valid through their studies on dark energy. What other examples are there of
initially doubted claims being proven correct later in history?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Creative and critical thinking: Einstein’s great achievement, the general theory of relativity, is based on intuition, creative thinking and imagination, namely to connect the
geometry of spacetime (through its curvature) to the mass and energy content of spacetime. For years it was thought that nothing could escape a black hole and this is
true but only for classical black holes. When quantum theory is taken into account a black hole radiates like a black body. This unexpected result revealed other equally
unexpected connections between black holes and thermodynamics. (1.4)
Nature of science:
A.5 – General relativity
Essential idea: General relativity is applied to bring together fundamental concepts of mass, space and time in order to describe the fate of the universe.
Additional higher level option topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Students should recognize the equivalence principle in terms of accelerating
reference frames and freely falling frames
Rs =
∆t =
•
1−
RS
r
2GM
c2
∆t 0
∆f g∆h
= 2
f
c
•
•
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
A.5 – General relativity
Additional higher level option topics
103
104
Physics guide
15 hours
Moment of inertia
Rotational and translational equilibrium
Angular acceleration
Equations of rotational motion for uniform angular acceleration
Newton’s second law applied to angular motion
Conservation of angular momentum
•
•
•
•
•
•
Calculating torque for single forces and couples
Solving problems involving moment of inertia, torque and angular acceleration
Solving problems in which objects are in both rotational and translational
equilibrium
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Torque
•
Structural design and civil engineering rely on the knowledge of how objects
can move in all situations
•
Aim 7: technology has allowed for computer simulations that accurately model
the complicated outcomes of actions on bodies
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Models are always valid within a context and they are modified, expanded
or replaced when that context is altered or considered differently. Are there
examples of unchanging models in the natural sciences or in any other areas
of knowledge?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Modelling: The use of models has different purposes and has allowed scientists to identify, simplify and analyse a problem within a given context to tackle it successfully.
The extension of the point particle model to actually consider the dimensions of an object led to many groundbreaking developments in engineering. (1.2)
Nature of science:
B.1 – Rigid bodies and rotational dynamics
Essential idea: The basic laws of mechanics have an extension when equivalent principles are applied to rotation. Actual objects have dimensions and they require
the expansion of the point particle model to consider the possibility of different points on an object having different states of motion and/or different velocities.
Core topics
Option B: Engineering physics
Physics guide
Sketching and interpreting graphs of rotational motion
Solving problems involving rolling without slipping
•
•
The equation for the moment of inertia of a specific shape will be provided
when necessary
Graphs will be limited to angular displacement–time, angular velocity–time
and torque–time
•
•
Γ = Fr sin θ
I = Σmr 2
Γ = Iα
ω = 2π f
ω f = ω i + αt
ω f2 = ω i2 + 2α θ
1
θ = ω it + α t 2
2
L = Iω
1
EK rot = Iω 2
2
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Analysis will be limited to basic geometric shapes
•
Guidance:
Solving problems using rotational quantities analogous to linear quantities
•
B.1 – Rigid bodies and rotational dynamics
Core topics
105
106
The second law of thermodynamics
Entropy
Cyclic processes and pV diagrams
Isovolumetric, isobaric, isothermal and adiabatic processes
Carnot cycle
Thermal efficiency
•
•
•
•
•
•
Explaining sign convention used when stating the first law of thermodynamics a
•
Solving problems involving the first law of thermodynamics
Describing the second law of thermodynamics in Clausius form, Kelvin form
and as a consequence of entropy
•
•
Q = ∆U + W
Describing the first law of thermodynamics as a statement of conservation of
energy
•
Applications and skills:
•
The first law of thermodynamics
•
The possibility of the heat death of the universe is based on ever-increasing
entropy
Chemistry of entropy (see Chemistry sub-topic 15.2)
•
•
Aim 5: development of the second law demonstrates the collaboration involved
in scientific pursuits
Aim 10: the relationships and similarities between scientific disciplines are
particularly apparent here
•
•
Aims:
This work leads directly to the concept of the heat engines that play such a
large role in modern society
•
Utilization:
The development of this topic was the subject of intense debate between
scientists of many countries in the 19th century
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Variety of perspectives: With three alternative and equivalent statements of the second law of thermodynamics, this area of physics demonstrates the collaboration and
testing involved in confirming abstract notions such as this. (4.1)
Nature of science:
B.2 – Thermodynamics
Essential idea: The first law of thermodynamics relates the change in internal energy of a system to the energy transferred and the work done. The entropy of the universe
tends to a maximum.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Solving problems involving entropy changes
Sketching and interpreting cyclic processes
Solving problems for adiabatic processes for monatomic gases using
5
pV 3 = constant
Solving problems involving thermal efficiency
•
•
•
•
Only graphical analysis will be required for determination of work done on a
pV diagram when pressure is not constant
•
W = p∆V
•
η=
ηCarnot = 1 −
•
•
Tcold
Thot
useful work done
energy input
pV 3 = constant (for monatomic gases)
5
3
U = nRT
2
∆Q
∆S =
T
Q = ∆U + W
•
•
•
•
Data booklet reference:
If cycles other than the Carnot cycle are used quantitatively, full details will be
provided
•
Guidance:
Describing examples of processes in terms of entropy change
•
B.2 – Thermodynamics
Core topics
107
108
Physics guide
10 hours
Buoyancy and Archimedes’ principle
Pascal’s principle
Hydrostatic equilibrium
The ideal fluid
Streamlines
The continuity equation
The Bernoulli equation and the Bernoulli effect
Stokes’ law and viscosity
Laminar and turbulent flow and the Reynolds number
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Determining buoyancy forces using Archimedes’ principle
Solving problems involving pressure, density and Pascal’s principle
Solving problems using the Bernoulli equation and the continuity equation
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Density and pressure
•
The mythology behind the anecdote of Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment of
discovery demonstrates one of the many ways scientific knowledge has been
transmitted throughout the ages. What role can mythology and anecdotes
play in passing on scientific knowledge? What role might they play in passing
on scientific knowledge within indigenous knowledge systems?
Aerodynamic design of aircraft and vehicles
Fluid mechanics is essential in understanding blood flow in arteries
Biomechanics (see Sports, exercise and health science SL sub-topic 4.3)
•
•
Hydroelectric power stations
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Water sources for dams and irrigation rely on the knowledge of fluid flow.
These resources can cross national boundaries leading to sharing of water or
disputes over ownership and use.
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Human understandings: Understanding and modelling fluid flow has been important in many technological developments such as designs of turbines, aerodynamics of
cars and aircraft, and measurement of blood flow. (1.1)
Nature of science:
B.3 – Fluids and fluid dynamics
Essential idea: Fluids cannot be modelled as point particles. Their distinguishable response to compression from solids creates a set of characteristics that require an indepth study.
Additional higher level option topics
Option B: Engineering physics
Physics guide
Describing the frictional drag force exerted on small spherical objects in
laminar fluid flow
Solving problems involving Stokes’ law
Determining the Reynolds number in simple situations
•
•
•
Applications of the Bernoulli equation will involve (but not be limited to) flow
out of a container, determining the speed of a plane (pitot tubes), and venturi
tubes
Proof of the Bernoulli equation will not be required for examination purposes
Laminar and turbulent flow will only be considered in simple situations
Values of R < 103 will be taken to represent conditions for laminar flow
•
•
•
•
P = P0 + ρ f gd
Av = constant
1 2
ρv + ρ gz + p = constant
2
FD = 6πηrv
vr ρ
η
•
•
•
•
•
R=
B = ρf Vf g
•
Data booklet reference:
Ideal fluids will be taken to mean fluids that are incompressible and nonviscous and have steady flows
•
Guidance:
Explaining situations involving the Bernoulli effect
•
B.3 – Fluids and fluid dynamics
•
•
Aim 7: the complexity of fluid dynamics makes it an ideal topic to be visualized
through computer software
Aim 2: fluid dynamics is an essential part of any university physics or engineering
course
Aims:
Additional higher level option topics
109
110
Q factor and damping
Periodic stimulus and the driving frequency
Resonance
•
•
•
•
Qualitatively and quantitatively describing examples of under-, over- and criticallydamped oscillations
Applications and skills:
•
Natural frequency of vibration
•
•
Science and technology meet head-on when the real behaviour of damped
oscillating systems is modelled
Utilization:
Communication through radio and television signals is based on resonance of
the broadcast signals
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Risk assessment: The ideas of resonance and forced oscillation have application in many areas of engineering ranging from electrical oscillation to the safe design of civil
structures. In large-scale civil structures, modelling all possible effects is essential before construction. (4.8)
Nature of science:
B.4 – Forced vibrations and resonance
Essential idea: In the real world, damping occurs in oscillators and has implications that need to be considered.
Additional higher level option topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Describing the phase relationship between driving frequency and forced
oscillations
Solving problems involving Q factor
Describing the useful and destructive effects of resonance
•
•
•
Only amplitude resonance is required
Q = 2π
Q = 2π × resonant frequency ×
•
•
energy stored
power loss
energy stored
energy dissipated per cycle
Data booklet reference:
•
Guidance:
Graphically describing the variation of the amplitude of vibration with driving
frequency of an object close to its natural frequency of vibration
•
B.4 – Forced vibrations and resonance
•
•
Aim 7: to investigate the use of resonance in electrical circuits, atoms/molecules,
or with radio/television communications is best achieved through software
modelling examples
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): observation of sand on
a vibrating surface of varying frequencies; investigation of the effect of increasing
damping on an oscillating system, such as a tuning fork; observing the use of a
driving frequency on forced oscillations
Aims:
Additional higher level option topics
111
112
Physics guide
15 hours
Converging and diverging lenses
Converging and diverging mirrors
Ray diagrams
Real and virtual images
Linear and angular magnification
Spherical and chromatic aberrations
•
•
•
•
•
•
Describing how a curved transparent interface modifies the shape of an
incident wavefront
Identifying the principal axis, focal point and focal length of a simple
converging or diverging lens on a scaled diagram
Solving problems involving not more than two lenses by constructing scaled
ray diagrams
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Thin lenses
•
Could sign convention, using the symbols of positive and negative,
emotionally influence scientists?
Eyeglasses and contact lenses
•
Aim 3: the theories of optics, originating with human curiosity of our own
senses, continue to be of great value in leading to new and useful technology
Aim 6: experiments could include (but are not limited to): magnification
determination using an optical bench; investigating real and virtual images
formed by lenses; observing aberrations
•
•
Aims:
Microscopes and telescopes
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
Optics is an ancient study encompassing development made in the early
Greco-Roman and medieval Islamic worlds
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Deductive logic: The use of virtual images is essential for our analysis of lenses and mirrors. (1.6)
Nature of science:
C.1 – Introduction to imaging
Essential idea: The progress of a wave can be modelled via the ray or the wavefront. The change in wave speed when moving between media changes the shape of the wave.
Core topics
Option C: Imaging
Physics guide
Solving problems involving the thin lens equation, linear magnification and
angular magnification
Explaining spherical and chromatic aberrations and describing ways to reduce
their effects on images
•
•
Curved mirrors are limited to spherical and parabolic converging mirrors and
spherical diverging mirrors
Only thin lenses are to be considered in this topic
The lens-maker’s formula is not required
Sign convention used in examinations will be based on real being positive
(the “real-is-positive” convention)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
1 1 1
= +
f v u
1
P=
f
h
v
m= i =−
ho
u
θi
M=
θo
D
D
Mnear point = + 1 ; Minfinity =
f
f
Data booklet reference:
Students should treat the passage of light through lenses from the standpoint
of both rays and wavefronts
•
Guidance:
Solving problems involving not more than two curved mirrors by constructing
scaled ray diagrams
•
C.1 – Introduction to imaging
Core topics
113
114
Simple optical astronomical refracting telescopes
Simple optical astronomical reflecting telescopes
Single-dish radio telescopes
Radio interferometry telescopes
Satellite-borne telescopes
•
•
•
•
•
Investigating the optical compound microscope experimentally
•
Constructing or completing ray diagrams of simple optical astronomical
refracting telescopes at normal adjustment
Solving problems involving the angular magnification and resolution of
optical compound microscopes
•
•
Constructing and interpreting ray diagrams of optical compound microscopes
at normal adjustment
•
Applications and skills:
•
Optical compound microscopes
•
However advanced the technology, microscopes and telescopes always
involve sense perception. Can technology be used effectively to extend or
correct our senses?
Cell observation (see Biology sub-topic 1.2)
The information that the astronomical telescopes gather continues to allow us
to improve our understanding of the universe
Resolution is covered for other sources in Physics sub-topic 9.4
•
•
•
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
The use of the radio interferometry telescope crosses cultures with
collaboration between scientists from many countries to produce arrays of
interferometers that span the continents
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Improved instrumentation: The optical telescope has been in use for over 500 years. It has enabled humankind to observe and hypothesize about the universe. More
recently, radio telescopes have been developed to investigate the electromagnetic radiation beyond the visible region. Telescopes (both visual and radio) are now placed
away from the Earth’s surface to avoid the image degradation caused by the atmosphere, while corrective optics are used to enhance images collected at the Earth’s
surface. Many satellites have been launched with sensors capable of recording vast amounts of data in the infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray and other electromagnetic spectrum
ranges. (1.8)
Nature of science:
C.2 – Imaging instrumentation
Essential idea: Optical microscopes and telescopes utilize similar physical properties of lenses and mirrors. Analysis of the universe is performed both optically and by using
radio telescopes to investigate different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Investigating the performance of a simple optical astronomical refracting
telescope experimentally
Describing the comparative performance of Earth-based telescopes and
satellite-borne telescopes
•
•
Radio interferometer telescopes should be approximated as a dish of diameter
equal to the maximum separation of the antennae
Radio interferometry telescopes refer to array telescopes
•
•
•
M=
fo
fe
Data booklet reference:
Simple optical astronomical reflecting telescope design is limited to
Newtonian and Cassegrain mounting
•
Guidance:
Solving problems involving the angular magnification of simple optical
astronomical telescopes
•
C.2 – Imaging instrumentation
Aim 5: research astronomy and astrophysics is an example of the need
for collaboration between teams of scientists from different countries and
continents
Aim 6: local amateur or professional astronomical organizations can be useful
for arranging demonstrations of the night sky
•
Aim 3: images from microscopes and telescopes both in the school laboratory
and obtained via the internet enable students to apply their knowledge of
these techniques
•
•
Aims:
Core topics
115
116
Step-index fibres and graded-index fibres
Total internal reflection and critical angle
Waveguide and material dispersion in optic fibres
Attenuation and the decibel (dB) scale
•
•
•
•
Solving problems involving total internal reflection and critical angle in the
context of fibre optics
Describing how waveguide and material dispersion can lead to attenuation and
how this can be accounted for
Solving problems involving attenuation
Describing the advantages of fibre optics over twisted pair and coaxial cables
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Structure of optic fibres
•
Will a communication limit be reached as we cannot move information faster
than the speed of light?
Aim 1: this is a global technology that embraces and drives increases in
communication speeds
Aim 9: the dispersion effects illustrate the inherent limitations that can be
part of a technology
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
The under-sea optic fibres are a vital part of the communication between
continents
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Applied science: Advances in communication links using fibre optics have led to a global network of optical fibres that has transformed global communications by voice,
video and data. (1.2)
Nature of science:
C.3 – Fibre optics
Essential idea: Total internal reflection allows light or infrared radiation to travel along a transparent fibre. However, the performance of a fibre can be degraded by
dispersion and attenuation effects.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
attenuation = 10 log
•
1
sin c
n=
•
I
I0
The term waveguide dispersion will be used in examinations. Waveguide
dispersion is sometimes known as modal dispersion.
•
Data booklet reference:
Quantitative descriptions of attenuation are required and include attenuation
per unit length
•
Guidance:
C.3 – Fibre optics
Core topics
117
118
Physics guide
10 hours
Organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières provide valuable medical skills
in parts of the world where medical help is required
•
Generation and detection of ultrasound in medical contexts
Medical imaging techniques (magnetic resonance imaging) involving nuclear
magnetic resonance (NMR)
•
•
Explaining features of X-ray imaging, including attenuation coefficient, half-value
thickness, linear/mass absorption coefficients and techniques for improvements
of sharpness and contrast
Solving X-ray attenuation problems
Solving problems involving ultrasound acoustic impedance, speed of ultrasound
through tissue and air and relative intensity levels
•
•
•
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David
Thoreau. To what extent do you agree with this comment on the impact of
factors such as expectation on perception?
•
Scanning the human brain (see Biology sub-topic A.4)
Utilization:
•
Theory of knowledge:
There is constant dialogue between research clinicians in different countries
to communicate new methods and treatments for the good of patients
everywhere
•
Detection and recording of X-ray images in medical contexts
•
Applications and skills:
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Risk analysis: The doctor’s role is to minimize patient risk in medical diagnosis and procedures based on an assessment of the overall benefit to the patient. Arguments
involving probability are used in considering the attenuation of radiation transmitted through the body. (4.8)
Nature of science:
C.4 – Medical imaging
Essential idea: The body can be imaged using radiation generated from both outside and inside. Imaging has enabled medical practitioners to improve diagnosis with fewer
invasive procedures.
Additional higher level option topics
Option C: Imaging
Physics guide
Explaining the use of gradient fields in NMR
Explaining the origin of the relaxation of proton spin and consequent emission of
signal in NMR
Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasound and NMR scanning
methods, including a simple assessment of risk in these medical procedures
•
•
•
Students will be expected to compute final beam intensity after passage through
multiple layers of tissue. Only parallel plane interfaces will be treated.
•
µ x 1 = ln2
•
Z = ρc
2
I = I0 e − µ x
•
Data booklet reference:
I
•
LI = 10 log 1
I0
•
Guidance:
Explaining features of medical ultrasound techniques, including choice of
frequency, use of gel and the difference between A and B scans
•
C.4 – Medical imaging
•
•
•
Aim 10: medicine and physics meet in the hi-tech world of scanning and
treatment. Modern doctors rely on technology that arises from developments
in the physical sciences.
Aim 8: the social impact of these scientific techniques for the benefit of
humankind cannot be over-emphasized
Aim 4: there are many opportunities for students to analyse and evaluate
scientific information
Aims:
Additional higher level topics
119
120
Physics guide
15 hours
The nature of stars
Astronomical distances
Stellar parallax and its limitations
Luminosity and apparent brightness
•
•
•
•
Solving problems involving luminosity, apparent brightness and distance
•
Using the astronomical unit (AU), light year (ly) and parsec (pc)
•
Describing the method to determine distance to stars through stellar parallax
Qualitatively describing the equilibrium between pressure and gravitation
in stars
•
•
Identifying objects in the universe
•
Applications and skills:
•
Objects in the universe
•
Similar parallax techniques can be used to accurately measure distances here
on Earth
Aim 1: creativity is required to analyse objects that are such vast distances
from us
Aim 6: local amateur or professional astronomical organizations can be useful
for arranging viewing evenings
Aim 9: as we are able to observe further into the universe, we reach the limits
of our current technology to make accurate measurements
•
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
The vast distances between stars and galaxies are difficult to comprehend or
imagine. Are other ways of knowing more useful than imagination for gaining
knowledge in astronomy?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Reality: The systematic measurement of distance and brightness of stars and galaxies has led to an understanding of the universe on a scale that is difficult to imagine and
comprehend. (1.1)
Nature of science:
D.1 – Stellar quantities
Essential idea: One of the most difficult problems in astronomy is coming to terms with the vast distances between stars and galaxies and devising accurate methods for
measuring them.
Core topics
Option D: Astrophysics
Physics guide
Students are expected to have an awareness of the vast changes in distance
scale from planetary systems through to super clusters of galaxies and the
universe as a whole
•
•
•
L = σ AT 4
L
b=
4π d 2
Data booklet reference:
1
•
d (parsec) =
p (arc–second)
For this course, objects in the universe include planets, comets, stars (single
and binary), planetary systems, constellations, stellar clusters (open and
globular), nebulae, galaxies, clusters of galaxies and super clusters of galaxies
•
Guidance:
D.1 – Stellar quantities
Core topics
121
122
Hertzsprung–Russell (HR) diagram
Mass–luminosity relation for main sequence stars
Cepheid variables
Stellar evolution on HR diagrams
Red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes
Chandrasekhar and Oppenheimer–Volkoff limits
•
•
•
•
•
•
Explaining how surface temperature may be obtained from a star’s spectrum
Explaining how the chemical composition of a star may be determined from
the star’s spectrum
Sketching and interpreting HR diagrams
Identifying the main regions of the HR diagram and describing the main
properties of stars in these regions
Applying the mass–luminosity relation
Describing the reason for the variation of Cepheid variables
Determining distance using data on Cepheid variables
Sketching and interpreting evolutionary paths of stars on an HR diagram
Describing the evolution of stars off the main sequence
Describing the role of mass in stellar evolution
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
Stellar spectra
•
An understanding of how similar stars to our Sun have aged and evolved
assists in our predictions of our fate on Earth
Aim 4: analysis of star spectra provides many opportunities for evaluation
and synthesis
Aim 6: software-based analysis is available for students to participate in
astrophysics research
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
The information revealed through spectra needs a trained mind to be
interpreted. What is the role of interpretation in gaining knowledge in the
natural sciences? How does this differ from the role of interpretation in other
areas of knowledge?
Theory of knowledge:
Understandings:
Evidence: The simple light spectra of a gas on Earth can be compared to the light spectra of distant stars. This has allowed us to determine the velocity, composition and
structure of stars and confirmed hypotheses about the expansion of the universe. (1.11)
Nature of science:
D.2 – Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution
Essential idea: A simple diagram that plots the luminosity versus the surface temperature of stars reveals unusually detailed patterns that help understand the inner workings
of stars. Stars follow well-defined patterns from the moment they are created out of collapsing interstellar gas, to their lives on the main sequence and to their eventual death.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
HR diagrams will be labelled with luminosity on the vertical axis and
temperature on the horizontal axis
Only one specific exponent (3.5) will be used in the mass–luminosity relation
References to electron and neutron degeneracy pressures need to be made
•
•
•
λmaxT = 2.9 × 10 −3 m K
L ∝ M 3.5
•
•
Data booklet reference:
Regions of the HR diagram are restricted to the main sequence, white dwarfs,
red giants, super giants and the instability strip (variable stars), as well as lines
of constant radius
•
Guidance:
D.2 – Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution
Core topics
123
124
Cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation
Hubble’s law
The accelerating universe and redshift (z)
The cosmic scale factor (R)
•
•
•
•
Describing both space and time as originating with the Big Bang
Describing the characteristics of the CMB radiation
Explaining how the CMB radiation is evidence for a Hot Big Bang
Solving problems involving z, R and Hubble’s law
Estimating the age of the universe by assuming a constant expansion rate
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
The Big Bang model
•
Doppler effect (see Physics sub-topic 9.5)
Aim 1: scientific explanation of black holes requires a heightened level
of creativity
Aim 9: our limit of understanding is guided by our ability to observe within
our universe
•
•
Aims:
•
Utilization:
Contributions from scientists from many nations made the analysis of the
cosmic microwave background radiation possible
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Occam’s Razor: The Big Bang model was purely speculative until it was confirmed by the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation. The model, while
correctly describing many aspects of the universe as we observe it today, still cannot explain what happened at time zero. (2.7)
Nature of science:
D.3 – Cosmology
Essential idea: The Hot Big Bang model is a theory that describes the origin and expansion of the universe and is supported by extensive experimental evidence.
Core topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
For CMB radiation a simple explanation in terms of the universe cooling down or
distances (and hence wavelengths) being stretched out is all that is required
A qualitative description of the role of type Ia supernovae as providing evidence
for an accelerating universe is required
•
•
v = H0 d
1
H0
•
•
T≈
z=
•
R
−1
R0
Data booklet reference:
∆λ v
z=
≈
•
λ0 c
CMB radiation will be considered to be isotropic with T ≈ 2.76K
•
Guidance:
D.3 – Cosmology
Core topics
125
126
Physics guide
10 hours
Nuclear fusion
Nucleosynthesis off the main sequence
Type Ia and II supernovae
•
•
•
Applying the Jeans criterion to star formation
Describing the different types of nuclear fusion reactions taking place off the main
sequence
Applying the mass–luminosity relation to compare lifetimes on the main
sequence relative to that of our Sun
Describing the formation of elements in stars that are heavier than iron including
the required increases in temperature
Qualitatively describe the s and r processes for neutron capture
Distinguishing between type Ia and II supernovae
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
The Jeans criterion
•
Understandings:
•
Aim 10: analysis of nucleosynthesis involves the work of chemists
Aims:
Observation and deduction: Observations of stellar spectra showed the existence of different elements in stars. Deductions from nuclear fusion theory were able to explain
this. (1.8)
Nature of science:
D.4 – Stellar processes
Essential idea: The laws of nuclear physics applied to nuclear fusion processes inside stars determine the production of all elements up to iron.
Additional higher level option topics
Option D: Astrophysics
Only an elementary application of the Jeans criterion is required, ie collapse of
an interstellar cloud may begin if M > Mj
Students should be aware of the use of type Ia supernovae as standard candles
•
•
Guidance:
D.4 – Stellar processes
Additional higher level topics
Physics guide
127
128
Rotation curves and the mass of galaxies
Dark matter
Fluctuations in the CMB
The cosmological origin of redshift
Critical density
Dark energy
•
•
•
•
•
•
Describing the cosmological principle and its role in models of the universe
Describing rotation curves as evidence for dark matter
Deriving rotational velocity from Newtonian gravitation
Describing and interpreting the observed anisotropies in the CMB
Deriving critical density from Newtonian gravitation
Sketching and interpreting graphs showing the variation of the cosmic scale factor
with time
Describing qualitatively the cosmic scale factor in models with and without
dark energy
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applications and skills:
•
The cosmological principle
•
Experimental facts show that the expansion of the universe is accelerating
yet no one understands why. Is this an example of something that we will
never know?
•
•
Aim 10: it is quite extraordinary that to settle the issue of the fate of the
universe, cosmology, the physics of the very large, required the help of
particle physics, the physics of the very small
Aim 2: unlike how it was just a few decades ago, the field of cosmology has
now developed so much that cosmology has become a very exact science on
the same level as the rest of physics
Aims:
•
Theory of knowledge:
This is a highly collaborative field of research involving scientists from all over
the world
International-mindedness:
Understandings:
Cognitive bias: According to everybody’s expectations the rate of expansion of the universe should be slowing down because of gravity. The detailed results from the
1998 (and subsequent) observations on distant supernovae showed that the opposite was in fact true. The accelerated expansion of the universe, whereas experimentally
verified, is still an unexplained phenomenon. (3.5)
Nature of science:
D.5 – Further cosmology
Essential idea: The modern field of cosmology uses advanced experimental and observational techniques to collect data with an unprecedented degree of precision and as
a result very surprising and detailed conclusions about the structure of the universe have been reached.
Additional higher level topics
Physics guide
Physics guide
Students are expected to demonstrate that the temperature of the universe varies
with the cosmic scale factor as T ∝ 1
•
4π G ρ
r
3
3H 2
8π G
v=
ρc =
•
•
R
Students must be familiar with the main results of COBE, WMAP and the Planck
space observatory
•
Data booklet reference:
Students are expected to be able to refer to rotation curves as evidence for dark
matter and must be aware of types of candidates for dark matter
•
Guidance:
D.5 – Further cosmology
Additional higher level topics
129
Assessment
Assessment in the Diploma Programme
General
Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. The most important aims of assessment in the
Diploma Programme are that it should support curricular goals and encourage appropriate student
learning. Both external and internal assessments are used in the Diploma Programme. IB examiners mark
work produced for external assessment, while work produced for internal assessment is marked by teachers
and externally moderated by the IB.
There are two types of assessment identified by the IB.
•
Formative assessment informs both teaching and learning. It is concerned with providing accurate
and helpful feedback to students and teachers on the kind of learning taking place and the nature of
students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to help develop students’ understanding and capabilities.
Formative assessment can also help to improve teaching quality, as it can provide information to
monitor progress towards meeting the course aims and objectives.
•
Summative assessment gives an overview of previous learning and is concerned with measuring
student achievement.
The Diploma Programme primarily focuses on summative assessment designed to record student
achievement at, or towards the end of, the course of study. However, many of the assessment instruments
can also be used formatively during the course of teaching and learning, and teachers are encouraged to
do this. A comprehensive assessment plan is viewed as being integral with teaching, learning and course
organization. For further information, see the IB Programme standards and practices document.
The approach to assessment used by the IB is criterion-related, not norm-referenced. This approach to
assessment judges students’ work by their performance in relation to identified levels of attainment, and
not in relation to the work of other students. For further information on assessment within the Diploma
Programme please refer to the publication Diploma Programme assessment: principles and practice.
To support teachers in the planning, delivery and assessment of the Diploma Programme courses, a variety
of resources can be found on the OCC or purchased from the IB store (http://store.ibo.org). Additional
publications such as specimen papers and markschemes, teacher support materials, subject reports and
grade descriptors can also be found on the OCC. Past examination papers as well as markschemes can be
purchased from the IB store.
Methods of assessment
The IB uses several methods to assess work produced by students.
Assessment criteria
Assessment criteria are used when the assessment task is open-ended. Each criterion concentrates on
a particular skill that students are expected to demonstrate. An assessment objective describes what
students should be able to do, and assessment criteria describe how well they should be able to do it. Using
assessment criteria allows discrimination between different answers and encourages a variety of responses.
Each criterion comprises a set of hierarchically ordered level descriptors. Each level descriptor is worth one
130
Physics guide
Assessment in the Diploma Programme
or more marks. Each criterion is applied independently using a best-fit model. The maximum marks for each
criterion may differ according to the criterion’s importance. The marks awarded for each criterion are added
together to give the total mark for the piece of work.
Markbands
Markbands are a comprehensive statement of expected performance against which responses are judged.
They represent a single holistic criterion divided into level descriptors. Each level descriptor corresponds
to a range of marks to differentiate student performance. A best-fit approach is used to ascertain which
particular mark to use from the possible range for each level descriptor.
Analytic markschemes
Analytic markschemes are prepared for those examination questions that expect a particular kind of
response and/or a given final answer from students. They give detailed instructions to examiners on how to
break down the total mark for each question for different parts of the response.
Marking notes
For some assessment components marked using assessment criteria, marking notes are provided. Marking
notes give guidance on how to apply assessment criteria to the particular requirements of a question.
Inclusive assessment arrangements
Inclusive assessment arrangements are available for candidates with assessment access requirements.
These arrangements enable candidates with diverse needs to access the examinations and demonstrate
their knowledge and understanding of the constructs being assessed.
The IB document Candidates with assessment access requirements provides details on all the inclusive
assessment arrangements available to candidates with learning support requirements. The IB document
Learning diversity within the International Baccalaureate programmes/Special educational needs within the
International Baccalaureate programmes outlines the position of the IB with regard to candidates with diverse
learning needs in the IB programmes. For candidates affected by adverse circumstances, the IB documents
General regulations: Diploma Programme and the Handbook of procedures for the Diploma Programme provide
details on special consideration.
Responsibilities of the school
The school is required to ensure that equal access arrangements and reasonable adjustments are provided
to candidates with special educational needs that are in line with the IB documents Candidates with
assessment access requirements and Learning diversity within the International Baccalaureate programmes/
Special educational needs within the International Baccalaureate programmes.
Physics guide
131
Assessment
Assessment outline—SL
First assessment 2016
Component
Overall
weighting
(%)
Approximate
weighting of
objectives (%)
Duration
(hours)
1+2
3
Paper 1
20
10
10
¾
Paper 2
40
20
20
1¼
Paper 3
20
10
10
1
Internal
assessment
20
132
Covers objectives
1, 2, 3 and 4
10
Physics guide
Assessment
Assessment outline—HL
First assessment 2016
Component
Overall weighting
(%)
Approximate
weighting of
objectives (%)
Duration
(hours)
1+2
3
Paper 1
20
10
10
1
Paper 2
36
18
18
2¼
Paper 3
24
12
12
1¼
Internal
assessment
20
Physics guide
Covers objectives
1, 2, 3 and 4
10
133
Assessment
External assessment
The method used to assess students is the use of detailed markschemes specific to each examination paper.
External assessment details—SL
Paper 1
Duration: 3/4 hour
Weighting: 20%
Marks: 30
•
30 multiple-choice questions on core, about 15 of which are common with HL.
•
The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is not permitted.
•
No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
Paper 2
Duration: 1¼ hours
Weighting: 40%
Marks: 50
•
Short-answer and extended-response questions on core material.
•
The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
Paper 3
Duration: 1 hour
Weighting: 20%
Marks: 35
•
This paper will have questions on core and SL option material.
•
Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.
•
Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.
•
The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
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External assessment details—HL
Paper 1
Duration: 1 hour
Weighting: 20%
Marks: 40
•
40 multiple-choice questions on core and AHL, about 15 of which are common with SL.
•
The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is not permitted.
•
No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
Paper 2
Duration: 2¼ hours
Weighting: 36%
Marks: 95
•
Short-answer and extended-response questions on the core and AHL material.
•
The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
Paper 3
Duration: 1¼ hours
Weighting: 24%
Marks: 45
•
This paper will have questions on core, AHL and option material.
•
Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.
•
Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.
•
The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
•
The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
•
A physics data booklet is provided.
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Assessment
Internal assessment
Purpose of internal assessment
Internal assessment is an integral part of the course and is compulsory for both SL and HL students. It
enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal
interests, without the time limitations and other constraints that are associated with written examinations.
The internal assessment should, as far as possible, be woven into normal classroom teaching and not be a
separate activity conducted after a course has been taught.
The internal assessment requirements at SL and at HL are the same. This internal assessment section of the
guide should be read in conjunction with the internal assessment section of the teacher support materials.
Guidance and authenticity
The work submitted for internal assessment must be the student’s own work. However, it is not the intention
that students should decide upon a title or topic and be left to work on the internal assessment component
without any further support from the teacher. The teacher should play an important role during both
the planning stage and the period when the student is working on the internally assessed work. It is the
responsibility of the teacher to ensure that students are familiar with:
•
the requirements of the type of work to be internally assessed
•
the IB animal experimentation policy
•
the assessment criteria—students must understand that the work submitted for assessment must
address these criteria effectively.
Teachers and students must discuss the internally assessed work. Students should be encouraged to initiate
discussions with the teacher to obtain advice and information, and students must not be penalized for
seeking guidance. As part of the learning process, teachers should read and give advice to students on one
draft of the work. The teacher should provide oral or written advice on how the work could be improved,
but not edit the draft. The next version handed to the teacher must be the final version for submission.
It is the responsibility of teachers to ensure that all students understand the basic meaning and significance
of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially authenticity and intellectual property. Teachers
must ensure that all student work for assessment is prepared according to the requirements and must
explain clearly to students that the internally assessed work must be entirely their own. Where collaboration
between students is permitted, it must be clear to all students what the difference is between collaboration
and collusion.
All work submitted to the IB for moderation or assessment must be authenticated by a teacher, and must not
include any known instances of suspected or confirmed academic misconduct. Each student must confirm
that the work is his or her authentic work and constitutes the final version of that work. Once a student has
officially submitted the final version of the work it cannot be retracted. The requirement to confirm the
authenticity of work applies to the work of all students, not just the sample work that will be submitted to
the IB for the purpose of moderation. For further details refer to the IB publications Academic honesty (2011),
The Diploma Programme: From principles into practice (2009) and the relevant articles in General regulations:
Diploma Programme (2012).
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Authenticity may be checked by discussion with the student on the content of the work, and scrutiny of one
or more of the following:
•
the student’s initial proposal
•
the first draft of the written work
•
the references cited
•
the style of writing compared with work known to be that of the student
•
the analysis of the work by a web-based plagiarism detection service such as http://www.turnitin.com.
The same piece of work cannot be submitted to meet the requirements of both the internal assessment and
the extended essay.
Group work
Each investigation is an individual piece of work based on different data collected or measurements
generated. Ideally, students should work on their own when collecting data. In some cases, data collected
or measurements made can be from a group experiment provided each student collected his or her own
data or made his or her own measurements. In physics, in some cases, group data or measurements may be
combined to provide enough for individual analysis. Even in this case, students should have collected and
recorded their own data and they should clearly indicate which data are theirs.
It should be made clear to students that all work connected with the investigation should be their own. It is
therefore helpful if teachers try to encourage in students a sense of responsibility for their own learning so
that they accept a degree of ownership and take pride in their own work.
Time allocation
Internal assessment is an integral part of the physics course, contributing 20% to the final assessment in
the SL and the HL courses. This weighting should be reflected in the time that is allocated to teaching the
knowledge, skills and understanding required to undertake the work, as well as the total time allocated to
carry out the work.
It is recommended that a total of approximately 10 hours of teaching time for both SL and HL should be
allocated to the work. This should include:
•
time for the teacher to explain to students the requirements of the internal assessment
•
class time for students to work on the internal assessment component and ask questions
•
time for consultation between the teacher and each student
•
time to review and monitor progress, and to check authenticity.
Safety requirements and recommendations
While teachers are responsible for following national or local guidelines, which may differ from country to
country, attention should be given to the guidelines below, which were developed for the International Council
of Associations for Science Education (ICASE) Safety Committee by The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI).
It is a basic responsibility of everyone involved to make safety and health an ongoing commitment. Any
advice given will acknowledge the need to respect the local context, the varying educational and cultural
traditions, the financial constraints and the legal systems of differing countries.
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The Laboratory Safety Institute’s Laboratory Safety Guidelines...
40 suggestions for a safer lab
Steps Requiring Minimal Expense
1.
Have a written health, safety and environmental affairs (HS&E) policy statement.
2.Organize a departmental HS&E committee of employees, management, faculty, staff and students
that will meet regularly to discuss HS&E issues.
3.
Develop an HS&E orientation for all new employees and students.
4.
Encourage employees and students to care about their health and safety and that of others.
5.Involve every employee and student in some aspect of the safety program and give each specific
responsibilities.
6.
Provide incentives to employees and students for safety performance.
7.Require all employees to read the appropriate safety manual. Require students to read the institution’s
laboratory safety rules. Have both groups sign a statement that they have done so, understand the
contents, and agree to follow the procedures and practices. Keep these statements on file in the
department office
8.Conduct periodic, unannounced laboratory inspections to identify and correct hazardous conditions
and unsafe practices. Involve students and employees in simulated OSHA inspections.
9.Make learning how to be safe an integral and important part of science education, your work, and
your life.
10. Schedule regular departmental safety meetings for all students and employees to discuss the results
of inspections and aspects of laboratory safety.
11.
When conducting experiments with hazards or potential hazards, ask yourself these questions:
––
What are the hazards?
––
What are the worst possible things that could go wrong?
––
How will I deal with them?
––
What are the prudent practices, protective facilities and equipment necessary to minimize the
risk of exposure to the hazards?
12. Require that all accidents (incidents) be reported, evaluated by the departmental safety committee,
and discussed at departmental safety meetings.
13. Require every pre-lab/pre-experiment discussion to include consideration of the health and safety
aspects.
14. Don’t allow experiments to run unattended unless they are failsafe.
15.
Forbid working alone in any laboratory and working without prior knowledge of a staff member.
16. Extend the safety program beyond the laboratory to the automobile and the home.
17.
Allow only minimum amounts of flammable liquids in each laboratory.
18. Forbid smoking, eating and drinking in the laboratory.
19.
Do not allow food to be stored in chemical refrigerators.
20. Develop plans and conduct drills for dealing with emergencies such as fire, explosion, poisoning,
chemical spill or vapour release, electric shock, bleeding and personal contamination.
21.
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Require good housekeeping practices in all work areas.
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22. Display the phone numbers of the fire department, police department, and local ambulance either on
or immediately next to every phone.
23. Store acids and bases separately. Store fuels and oxidizers separately.
24. Maintain a chemical inventory to avoid purchasing unnecessary quantities of chemicals.
25. Use warning signs to designate particular hazards.
26. Develop specific work practices for individual experiments, such as those that should be conducted
only in a ventilated hood or involve particularly hazardous materials. When possible most hazardous
experiments should be done in a hood.
Steps Requiring Moderate Expense
27.
Allocate a portion of the departmental budget to safety.
28. Require the use of appropriate eye protection at all times in laboratories and areas where chemicals
are transported.
29. Provide adequate supplies of personal protective equipment—safety glasses, goggles, face shields,
gloves, lab coats and bench top shields.
30. Provide fire extinguishers, safety showers, eye wash fountains, first aid kits, fire blankets and fume
hoods in each laboratory and test or check monthly.
31.
Provide guards on all vacuum pumps and secure all compressed gas cylinders.
32. Provide an appropriate supply of first aid equipment and instruction on its proper use.
33. Provide fireproof cabinets for storage of flammable chemicals.
34. Maintain a centrally located departmental safety library:
––
“Safety in School Science Labs”, Clair Wood, 1994, Kaufman & Associates, 101 Oak Street,
Wellesley, MA 02482
––
“The Laboratory Safety Pocket Guide”, 1996, Genium Publisher, One Genium Plaza,
Schnectady, NY
––
“Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories”, ACS, 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC
20036
––
“Manual of Safety and Health Hazards in The School Science Laboratory”, “Safety in the School
Science Laboratory”, “School Science Laboratories: A guide to Some Hazardous Substances”
Council of State Science Supervisors (now available only from LSI.)
––
“Handbook of Laboratory Safety”, 4th Edition, CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Boulevard NW, Boca
Raton, FL 33431
––
“Fire Protection Guide on Hazardous Materials”, National Fire Protection Association,
Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269
––
”Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Hazardous Chemicals”,
2nd Edition, 1995
––
“Biosafety in the Laboratory”, National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20418
––
“Learning By Accident”, Volumes 1–3, 1997–2000, The Laboratory Safety Institute, Natick,
MA 01760
(All are available from LSI.)
35. Remove all electrical connections from inside chemical refrigerators and require magnetic closures.
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36. Require grounded plugs on all electrical equipment and install ground fault interrupters (GFIs) where
appropriate.
37.
Label all chemicals to show the name of the material, the nature and degree of hazard, the appropriate
precautions, and the name of the person responsible for the container.
38. Develop a program for dating stored chemicals and for recertifying or discarding them after
predetermined maximum periods of storage.
39. Develop a system for the legal, safe and ecologically acceptable disposal of chemical wastes.
40. Provide secure, adequately spaced, well-ventilated storage of chemicals.
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Internal assessment
Using assessment criteria for internal assessment
For internal assessment, a number of assessment criteria have been identified. Each assessment criterion has
level descriptors describing specific achievement levels, together with an appropriate range of marks. The
level descriptors concentrate on positive achievement, although for the lower levels failure to achieve may
be included in the description.
Teachers must judge the internally assessed work at SL and at HL against the criteria using the level
descriptors.
•
Assessment criteria are the same for both SL and HL.
•
The aim is to find, for each criterion, the descriptor that conveys most accurately the level attained
by the student, using the best-fit model. A best-fit approach means that compensation should be
made when a piece of work matches different aspects of a criterion at different levels. The mark
awarded should be one that most fairly reflects the balance of achievement against the criterion. It is
not necessary for every single aspect of a level descriptor to be met for that mark to be awarded.
•
When assessing a student’s work, teachers should read the level descriptors for each criterion until
they reach a descriptor that most appropriately describes the level of the work being assessed. If a
piece of work seems to fall between two descriptors, both descriptors should be read again and the
one that more appropriately describes the student’s work should be chosen.
•
Where there are two or more marks available within a level, teachers should award the upper marks
if the student’s work demonstrates the qualities described to a great extent; the work may be close
to achieving marks in the level above. Teachers should award the lower marks if the student’s work
demonstrates the qualities described to a lesser extent; the work may be close to achieving marks in
the level below.
•
Only whole numbers should be recorded; partial marks (fractions and decimals) are not acceptable.
•
Teachers should not think in terms of a pass or fail boundary, but should concentrate on identifying
the appropriate descriptor for each assessment criterion.
•
The highest level descriptors do not imply faultless performance but should be achievable by a
student. Teachers should not hesitate to use the extremes if they are appropriate descriptions of the
work being assessed.
•
A student who attains a high achievement level in relation to one criterion will not necessarily
attain high achievement levels in relation to the other criteria. Similarly, a student who attains a low
achievement level for one criterion will not necessarily attain low achievement levels for the other
criteria. Teachers should not assume that the overall assessment of the students will produce any
particular distribution of marks.
•
It is recommended that the assessment criteria be made available to students.
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Practical work and internal assessment
General introduction
The internal assessment requirements are the same for biology, chemistry and physics. The internal
assessment, worth 20% of the final assessment, consists of one scientific investigation. The individual
investigation should cover a topic that is commensurate with the level of the course of study.
Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB. The performance in
internal assessment at both SL and HL is marked against common assessment criteria, with a total mark out
of 24.
Note: Any investigation that is to be used to assess students should be specifically designed to
match the relevant assessment criteria.
The internal assessment task will be one scientific investigation taking about 10 hours and the writeup should be about 6 to 12 pages long. Investigations exceeding this length will be penalized in the
communications criterion as lacking in conciseness.
The practical investigation, with generic criteria, will allow a wide range of practical activities satisfying the
varying needs of biology, chemistry and physics. The investigation addresses many of the learner profile
attributes well. See section on “Approaches to the teaching and learning of physics” for further links.
The task produced should be complex and commensurate with the level of the course. It should require a
purposeful research question and the scientific rationale for it. The marked exemplar material in the teacher
support materials will demonstrate that the assessment will be rigorous and of the same standard as the
assessment in the previous courses.
Some of the possible tasks include:
•
a hands-on laboratory investigation
•
using a spreadsheet for analysis and modelling
•
extracting data from a database and analysing it graphically
•
producing a hybrid of spreadsheet/database work with a traditional hands-on investigation
•
using a simulation, provided it is interactive and open-ended
Some task may consist of relevant and appropriate qualitative work combined with quantitative work.
The tasks include the traditional hands-on practical investigations as in the previous course. The depth
of treatment required for hands-on practical investigations is unchanged from the previous internal
assessment and will be shown in detail in the teacher support materials. In addition, detailed assessment of
specific aspects of hands-on practical work will be assessed in the written papers as detailed in the relevant
topic(s) in the “Syllabus content” section of the guide.
The task will have the same assessment criteria for SL and HL. The five assessment criteria are personal
engagement, exploration, analysis, evaluation and communication.
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Internal assessment details
Internal assessment component
Duration: 10 hours
Weighting: 20%
•
Individual investigation
•
This investigation covers assessment objectives 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Internal assessment criteria
The new assessment model uses five criteria to assess the final report of the individual investigation with the
following raw marks and weightings assigned:
Personal
engagement
Exploration
Analysis
Evaluation
Communication
Total
2 (8%)
6 (25%)
6 (25%)
6 (25%)
4 (17%)
24 (100%)
Levels of performance are described using multiple indicators per level. In many cases the indicators
occur together in a specific level, but not always. Also, not all indicators are always present. This means
that a candidate can demonstrate performances that fit into different levels. To accommodate this, the
IB assessment models use markbands and advise examiners and teachers to use a best-fit approach in
deciding the appropriate mark for a particular criterion.
Teachers should read the guidance on using markbands shown above in the section called “Using
assessment criteria for internal assessment” before starting to mark. It is also essential to be fully acquainted
with the marking of the exemplars in the teacher support material. The precise meaning of the command
terms used in the criteria can be found in the glossary of the subject guides.
Personal engagement
This criterion assesses the extent to which the student engages with the exploration and makes it their own.
Personal engagement may be recognized in different attributes and skills. These could include addressing
personal interests or showing evidence of independent thinking, creativity or initiative in the designing,
implementation or presentation of the investigation.
Mark
Descriptor
0
The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1
The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is limited with little
independent thinking, initiative or creativity.
The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topic under
investigation does not demonstrate personal significance, interest or curiosity.
There is little evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or
presentation of the investigation.
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2
The evidence of personal engagement with the exploration is clear with significant
independent thinking, initiative or creativity.
The justification given for choosing the research question and/or the topic under
investigation demonstrates personal significance, interest or curiosity.
There is evidence of personal input and initiative in the designing, implementation or
presentation of the investigation.
Exploration
This criterion assesses the extent to which the student establishes the scientific context for the work, states
a clear and focused research question and uses concepts and techniques appropriate to the Diploma
Programme level. Where appropriate, this criterion also assesses awareness of safety, environmental, and
ethical considerations.
Mark
Descriptor
0
The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2
The topic of the investigation is identified and a research question of some relevance is stated
but it is not focused.
The background information provided for the investigation is superficial or of limited
relevance and does not aid the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is only appropriate to address the research question to
a very limited extent since it takes into consideration few of the significant factors that may
influence the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of limited awareness of the significant safety, ethical or
environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation*.
3–4
The topic of the investigation is identified and a relevant but not fully focused research
question is described.
The background information provided for the investigation is mainly appropriate and relevant
and aids the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is mainly appropriate to address the research question
but has limitations since it takes into consideration only some of the significant factors that
may influence the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of some awareness of the significant safety, ethical or
environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation*.
5–6
The topic of the investigation is identified and a relevant and fully focused research question is
clearly described.
The background information provided for the investigation is entirely appropriate and
relevant and enhances the understanding of the context of the investigation.
The methodology of the investigation is highly appropriate to address the research question
because it takes into consideration all, or nearly all, of the significant factors that may influence
the relevance, reliability and sufficiency of the collected data.
The report shows evidence of full awareness of the significant safety, ethical or environmental
issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation.*
* This indicator should only be applied when appropriate to the investigation. See exemplars in teacher
support material.
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Analysis
This criterion assesses the extent to which the student’s report provides evidence that the student has
selected, recorded, processed and interpreted the data in ways that are relevant to the research question
and can support a conclusion.
Mark
Descriptor
0
The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2
The report includes insufficient relevant raw data to support a valid conclusion to the
research question.
Some basic data processing is carried out but is either too inaccurate or too insufficient to
lead to a valid conclusion.
The report shows evidence of little consideration of the impact of measurement uncertainty
on the analysis.
The processed data is incorrectly or insufficiently interpreted so that the conclusion is invalid
or very incomplete.
3–4
The report includes relevant but incomplete quantitative and qualitative raw data that could
support a simple or partially valid conclusion to the research question.
Appropriate and sufficient data processing is carried out that could lead to a broadly valid
conclusion but there are significant inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the processing.
The report shows evidence of some consideration of the impact of measurement uncertainty
on the analysis.
The processed data is interpreted so that a broadly valid but incomplete or limited conclusion
to the research question can be deduced.
5–6
The report includes sufficient relevant quantitative and qualitative raw data that could
support a detailed and valid conclusion to the research question.
Appropriate and sufficient data processing is carried out with the accuracy required to
enable a conclusion to the research question to be drawn that is fully consistent with the
experimental data.
The report shows evidence of full and appropriate consideration of the impact of
measurement uncertainty on the analysis.
The processed data is correctly interpreted so that a completely valid and detailed conclusion
to the research question can be deduced.
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Evaluation
This criterion assesses the extent to which the student’s report provides evidence of evaluation of the
investigation and the results with regard to the research question and the accepted scientific context.
Mark
Descriptor
0
The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2
A conclusion is outlined which is not relevant to the research question or is not supported by
the data presented.
The conclusion makes superficial comparison to the accepted scientific context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources
of error, are outlined but are restricted to an account of the practical or procedural issues
faced.
The student has outlined very few realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and
extension of the investigation.
3–4
A conclusion is described which is relevant to the research question and supported by the
data presented.
A conclusion is described which makes some relevant comparison to the accepted scientific
context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources of
error, are described and provide evidence of some awareness of the methodological issues*
involved in establishing the conclusion.
The student has described some realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and
extension of the investigation.
5–6
A detailed conclusion is described and justified which is entirely relevant to the research
question and fully supported by the data presented.
A conclusion is correctly described and justified through relevant comparison to the
accepted scientific context.
Strengths and weaknesses of the investigation, such as limitations of the data and sources of
error, are discussed and provide evidence of a clear understanding of the methodological
issues* involved in establishing the conclusion.
The student has discussed realistic and relevant suggestions for the improvement and
extension of the investigation.
*See exemplars in teacher support material for clarification.
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Communication
This criterion assesses whether the investigation is presented and reported in a way that supports effective
communication of the focus, process and outcomes.
Mark
Descriptor
0
The student’s report does not reach a standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2
The presentation of the investigation is unclear, making it difficult to understand the
focus, process and outcomes.
The report is not well structured and is unclear: the necessary information on focus, process
and outcomes is missing or is presented in an incoherent or disorganized way.
The understanding of the focus, process and outcomes of the investigation is obscured by
the presence of inappropriate or irrelevant information.
There are many errors in the use of subject specific terminology and conventions*.
3–4
The presentation of the investigation is clear. Any errors do not hamper understanding
of the focus, process and outcomes.
The report is well structured and clear: the necessary information on focus, process and
outcomes is present and presented in a coherent way.
The report is relevant and concise thereby facilitating a ready understanding of the focus,
process and outcomes of the investigation.
The use of subject-specific terminology and conventions is appropriate and correct. Any
errors do not hamper understanding.
*For example, incorrect/missing labelling of graphs, tables, images; use of units, decimal places. For issues of
referencing and citations refer to the “Academic honesty” section.
Rationale for practical work
Although the requirements for IA are centred on the investigation, the different types of practical activities
that a student may engage in serve other purposes, including:
•
illustrating, teaching and reinforcing theoretical concepts
•
developing an appreciation of the essential hands-on nature of much scientific work
•
developing an appreciation of scientists’ use of secondary data from databases
•
developing an appreciation of scientists’ use of modelling
•
developing an appreciation of the benefits and limitations of scientific methodology.
Practical scheme of work
The practical scheme of work (PSOW) is the practical course planned by the teacher and acts as a summary
of all the investigative activities carried out by a student. Students at SL and HL in the same subject may
carry out some of the same investigations.
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Syllabus coverage
The range of practical work carried out should reflect the breadth and depth of the subject syllabus at each
level, but it is not necessary to carry out an investigation for every syllabus topic. However, all students must
participate in the group 4 project and the IA investigation.
Planning your practical scheme of work
Teachers are free to formulate their own practical schemes of work by choosing practical activities according
to the requirements outlined. Their choices should be based on:
•
subjects, levels and options taught
•
the needs of their students
•
available resources
•
teaching styles.
Each scheme must include some complex experiments that make greater conceptual demands on students.
A scheme made up entirely of simple experiments, such as ticking boxes or exercises involving filling in
tables, will not provide an adequate range of experience for students.
Teachers are encouraged to use the online curriculum centre (OCC) to share ideas about possible practical
activities by joining in the discussion forums and adding resources in the subject home pages.
Flexibility
The practical programme is flexible enough to allow a wide variety of practical activities to be carried out.
These could include:
•
short labs or projects extending over several weeks
•
computer simulations
•
using databases for secondary data
•
developing and using models
•
data-gathering exercises such as questionnaires, user trials and surveys
•
data-analysis exercises
•
fieldwork.
Practical work documentation
Details of the practical scheme of work are recorded on Form 4/PSOW provided in the Handbook of procedures
for the Diploma Programme. A copy of the class 4/PSOW form must be included with any sample set sent for
moderation.
Time allocation for practical work
The recommended teaching times for all Diploma Programme courses are 150 hours at SL and 240 hours
at HL. Students at SL are required to spend 40 hours, and students at HL 60 hours, on practical activities
(excluding time spent writing up work). These times include 10 hours for the group 4 project and 10 hours
for the internal assessment investigation. (Only 2–3 hours of investigative work can be carried out after the
deadline for submitting work to the moderator and still be counted in the total number of hours for the
practical scheme of work.)
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The group 4 project
The group 4 project is an interdisciplinary activity in which all Diploma Programme science students must
participate. The intention is that students from the different group 4 subjects analyse a common topic
or problem. The exercise should be a collaborative experience where the emphasis is on the processes
involved in, rather than the products of, such an activity.
In most cases students in a school would be involved in the investigation of the same topic. Where
there are large numbers of students, it is possible to divide them into several smaller groups containing
representatives from each of the science subjects. Each group may investigate the same topic or different
topics—that is, there may be several group 4 projects in the same school.
Students studying environmental systems and societies are not required to undertake the group 4 project.
Summary of the group 4 project
The group 4 project is a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects work together
on a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to
be shared in line with aim 10—that is, to “develop an understanding of the relationships between scientific
disciplines and their influence on other areas of knowledge”. The project can be practically or theoretically
based. Collaboration between schools in different regions is encouraged.
The group 4 project allows students to appreciate the environmental, social and ethical implications
of science and technology. It may also allow them to understand the limitations of scientific study, for
example, the shortage of appropriate data and/or the lack of resources. The emphasis is on interdisciplinary
cooperation and the processes involved in scientific investigation, rather than the products of such
investigation.
The choice of scientific or technological topic is open but the project should clearly address aims 7, 8 and 10
of the group 4 subject guides.
Ideally, the project should involve students collaborating with those from other group 4 subjects at all
stages. To this end, it is not necessary for the topic chosen to have clearly identifiable separate subject
components. However, for logistical reasons, some schools may prefer a separate subject “action” phase
(see the following “Project stages” section).
Project stages
The 10 hours allocated to the group 4 project, which are part of the teaching time set aside for developing
the practical scheme of work, can be divided into three stages: planning, action and evaluation.
Planning
This stage is crucial to the whole exercise and should last about two hours.
•
The planning stage could consist of a single session, or two or three shorter ones.
•
This stage must involve all group 4 students meeting to “brainstorm” and discuss the central topic,
sharing ideas and information.
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•
The topic can be chosen by the students themselves or selected by the teachers.
•
Where large numbers of students are involved, it may be advisable to have more than one mixed
subject group.
After selecting a topic or issue, the activities to be carried out must be clearly defined before moving
from the planning stage to the action and evaluation stages.
A possible strategy is that students define specific tasks for themselves, either individually or as members of
groups, and investigate various aspects of the chosen topic. At this stage, if the project is to be experimentally
based, apparatus should be specified so that there is no delay in carrying out the action stage. Contact with
other schools, if a joint venture has been agreed, is an important consideration at this time.
Action
This stage should last around six hours and may be carried out over one or two weeks in normal scheduled
class time. Alternatively, a whole day could be set aside if, for example, the project involves fieldwork.
•
Students should investigate the topic in mixed-subject groups or single-subject groups.
•
There should be collaboration during the action stage; findings of investigations should be shared
with other students within the mixed/single-subject group. During this stage, in any practically-based
activity, it is important to pay attention to safety, ethical and environmental considerations.
Note: Students studying two group 4 subjects are not required to do two separate action phases.
Evaluation
The emphasis during this stage, for which two hours are probably necessary, is on students sharing their
findings, both successes and failures, with other students. How this is achieved can be decided by the
teachers, the students or jointly.
•
One solution is to devote a morning, afternoon or evening to a symposium where all the students, as
individuals or as groups, give brief presentations.
•
Alternatively, the presentation could be more informal and take the form of a science fair where
students circulate around displays summarizing the activities of each group.
The symposium or science fair could also be attended by parents, members of the school board and the
press. This would be especially pertinent if some issue of local importance has been researched. Some of the
findings might influence the way the school interacts with its environment or local community.
Addressing aims 7 and 8
Aim 7: “develop and apply 21st century communication skills in the study of science.”
Aim 7 may be partly addressed at the planning stage by using electronic communication within and
between schools. It may be that technology (for example, data logging, spreadsheets, databases and so
on) will be used in the action phase and certainly in the presentation/evaluation stage (for example, use of
digital images, presentation software, websites, digital video and so on).
Aim 8: “become critically aware, as global citizens, of the ethical implications of using science and
technology.”
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Addressing the international dimension
There are also possibilities in the choice of topic to illustrate the international nature of the scientific
endeavour and the increasing cooperation required to tackle global issues involving science and technology.
An alternative way to bring an international dimension to the project is to collaborate with a school in
another region.
Types of project
While addressing aims 7, 8 and 10 the project must be based on science or its applications. The project may
have a hands-on practical action phase or one involving purely theoretical aspects. It could be undertaken
in a wide range of ways:
•
designing and carrying out a laboratory investigation or fieldwork
•
carrying out a comparative study (experimental or otherwise) in collaboration with another school
•
collating, manipulating and analysing data from other sources, such as scientific journals,
environmental organizations, science and technology industries and government reports
•
designing and using a model or simulation
•
contributing to a long-term project organized by the school.
Logistical strategies
The logistical organization of the group 4 project is often a challenge to schools. The following models
illustrate possible ways in which the project may be implemented.
Models A, B and C apply within a single school, and model D relates to a project involving collaboration
between schools.
Model A: mixed-subject groups and one topic
Schools may adopt mixed subject groups and choose one common topic. The number of groups will
depend on the number of students.
Model B: mixed-subject groups adopting more than one topic
Schools with large numbers of students may choose to do more than one topic.
Model C: single-subject groups
For logistical reasons some schools may opt for single subject groups, with one or more topics in the action
phase. This model is less desirable as it does not show the mixed subject collaboration in which many
scientists are involved.
Model D: collaboration with another school
The collaborative model is open to any school. To this end, the IB provides an electronic collaboration board
on the OCC where schools can post their project ideas and invite collaboration from other schools. This
could range from merely sharing evaluations for a common topic to a full-scale collaborative venture at all
stages.
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For schools with few Diploma Programme (course) students it is possible to work with non-Diploma
Programme or non-group 4 students or undertake the project once every two years. However, these schools
are encouraged to collaborate with another school. This strategy is also recommended for individual
students who may not have participated in the project, for example, through illness or because they have
transferred to a new school where the project has already taken place.
Timing
The 10 hours that the IB recommends be allocated to the project may be spread over a number of weeks.
The distribution of these hours needs to be taken into account when selecting the optimum time to carry
out the project. However, it is possible for a group to dedicate a period of time exclusively to project work if
all/most other schoolwork is suspended.
Year 1
In the first year, students’ experience and skills may be limited and it would be inadvisable to start the
project too soon in the course. However, doing the project in the final part of the first year may have the
advantage of reducing pressure on students later on. This strategy provides time for solving unexpected
problems.
Year 1–year 2
The planning stage could start, the topic could be decided upon, and provisional discussion in individual
subjects could take place at the end of the first year. Students could then use the vacation time to think
about how they are going to tackle the project and would be ready to start work early in the second year.
Year 2
Delaying the start of the project until some point in the second year, particularly if left too late, increases
pressure on students in many ways: the schedule for finishing the work is much tighter than for the other
options; the illness of any student or unexpected problems will present extra difficulties. Nevertheless,
this choice does mean students know one another and their teachers by this time, have probably become
accustomed to working in a team and will be more experienced in the relevant fields than in the first year.
Combined SL and HL
Where circumstances dictate that the project is only carried out every two years, HL beginners and more
experienced SL students can be combined.
Selecting a topic
Students may choose the topic or propose possible topics and the teacher then decides which one is the
most viable based on resources, staff availability and so on. Alternatively, the teacher selects the topic or
proposes several topics from which students make a choice.
Student selection
Students are likely to display more enthusiasm and feel a greater sense of ownership for a topic that they
have chosen themselves. A possible strategy for student selection of a topic, which also includes part of
the planning stage, is outlined here. At this point, subject teachers may provide advice on the viability of
proposed topics.
•
Identify possible topics by using a questionnaire or a survey of students.
•
Conduct an initial “brainstorming” session of potential topics or issues.
•
Discuss, briefly, two or three topics that seem interesting.
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The group 4 project
•
Select one topic by consensus.
•
Students make a list of potential investigations that could be carried out. All students then discuss
issues such as possible overlap and collaborative investigations.
A reflective statement written by each student on their involvement in the group 4 project must be included
on the cover sheet for each internal assessment investigation. See Handbook of procedures for the Diploma
Programme for more details.
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Appendices
Glossary of command terms
Command terms for physics
Students should be familiar with the following key terms and phrases used in examination questions, which
are to be understood as described below. Although these terms will be used frequently in examination
questions, other terms may be used to direct students to present an argument in a specific way.
These command terms indicate the depth of treatment required.
Assessment objective 1
Command term
Definition
Define
Give the precise meaning of a word, phrase, concept or physical quantity.
Draw
Represent by means of a labelled, accurate diagram or graph, using a pencil.
A ruler (straight edge) should be used for straight lines. Diagrams should be
drawn to scale. Graphs should have points correctly plotted (if appropriate)
and joined in a straight line or smooth curve.
Label
Add labels to a diagram.
List
Give a sequence of brief answers with no explanation.
Measure
Obtain a value for a quantity.
State
Give a specific name, value or other brief answer without explanation or
calculation.
Write down
Obtain the answer(s), usually by extracting information. Little or no
calculation is required. Working does not need to be shown.
Assessment objective 2
Command term
Definition
Annotate
Add brief notes to a diagram or graph.
Apply
Use an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem
or issue.
Calculate
Obtain a numerical answer showing the relevant stages in the working.
Describe
Give a detailed account.
Distinguish
Make clear the differences between two or more concepts or items.
Estimate
Obtain an approximate value.
Formulate
Express precisely and systematically the relevant concept(s) or argument(s).
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Glossary of command terms
Identify
Provide an answer from a number of possibilities.
Outline
Give a brief account or summary.
Plot
Mark the position of points on a diagram.
Assessment objective 3
Command term
Definition
Analyse
Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.
Comment
Give a judgment based on a given statement or result of a calculation.
Compare
Give an account of the similarities between two (or more) items or situations,
referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Compare
and contrast
Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more) items
or situations, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Construct
Display information in a diagrammatic or logical form.
Deduce
Reach a conclusion from the information given.
Demonstrate
Make clear by reasoning or evidence, illustrating with examples or practical
application.
Derive
Manipulate a mathematical relationship to give a new equation or
relationship.
Design
Produce a plan, simulation or model.
Determine
Obtain the only possible answer.
Discuss
Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments,
factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly
and supported by appropriate evidence.
Evaluate
Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations.
Explain
Give a detailed account including reasons or causes.
Hence
Use the preceding work to obtain the required result.
Hence or otherwise
It is suggested that the preceding work is used, but other methods could
also receive credit.
Justify
Give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion.
Predict
Give an expected result.
Show
Give the steps in a calculation or derivation.
Show that
Obtain the required result (possibly using information given) without the
formality of proof. “Show that” questions do not generally require the use of
a calculator.
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Glossary of command terms
Sketch
Represent by means of a diagram or graph (labelled as appropriate). The
sketch should give a general idea of the required shape or relationship, and
should include relevant features.
Solve
Obtain the answer(s) using algebraic and/or numerical and/or graphical
methods.
Suggest
Propose a solution, hypothesis or other possible answer.
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Appendices
Bibliography
This bibliography lists the principal works used to inform the curriculum review. It is not an exhaustive list
and does not include all the literature available: judicious selection was made in order to better advise and
guide teachers. This bibliography is not a list of recommended textbooks.
Rhoton, J. 2010. Science Education Leadership: Best Practices for the New Century. Arlington, Virginia, USA.
National Science Teachers Association Press.
Masood, E. 2009. Science & Islam: A History. London, UK. Icon Books.
Roberts, B. 2009. Educating for Global Citizenship: A Practical Guide for Schools. Cardiff, UK. International
Baccalaureate Organization.
Martin, J. 2006. The Meaning of the 21st Century: A vital blueprint for ensuring our future. London, UK. Eden
Project Books.
Gerzon, M. 2010. Global Citizens: How our vision of the world is outdated, and what we can do about it. London,
UK. Rider Books.
Haydon, G. 2006. Education, Philosophy & the Ethical Environment. Oxon/New York, USA. Routledge.
Anderson, LW et al. 2001. A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of
Educational Objectives. New York, USA. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
Hattie, J. 2009. Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Oxon/New York,
USA. Routledge.
Petty, G. 2009. Evidence-based Teaching: A practical approach. (2nd edition). Cheltenham, UK. Nelson Thornes
Ltd.
Andain, I and Murphy, G. 2008. Creating Lifelong Learners: Challenges for Education in the 21st Century.
Cardiff, UK. International Baccalaureate Organization.
Jewkes, J, Sawers, D and Stillerman, R. 1969. The Sources of Invention. (2nd edition). New York, USA. W.W.
Norton & Co.
Lawson, B. 2005. How Designers Think: The design process demystified. (4th edition). Oxford, UK. Architectural
Press.
Douglas, H. 2009. Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. University of
Pittsburgh Press.
Aikenhead, G and Michell, H. 2011. Bridging Cultures: Indigenous and Scientific Ways of Knowing Nature.
Toronto, Canada. Pearson Canada.
Winston, M and Edelbach, R. 2012. Society, Ethics, and Technology. (4th edition). Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Wadsworth CENGAGE Learning.
Brian Arthur, W. 2009. The Nature of Technology. London, UK. Penguin Books.
Headrick, D. 2009. Technology: A World History. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press.
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157
Bibliography
Popper, KR. 1980. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. (4th revised edition). London, UK. Hutchinson.
Trefil, J. 2008. Why Science?. New York/Arlington, USA. NSTA Press & Teachers College Press.
Kuhn, TS. 1996. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. (3rd edition). Chicago, Illinois, USA. The University of
Chicago Press.
Khine, MS, (ed.). 2012. Advances in Nature of Science Research: Concepts and Methodologies. Bahrain. Springer.
Spier, F. 2010. Big History and the Future of Humanity. Chichester, UK. Wiley-Blackwell.
Stokes Brown, C. 2007. Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present. New York, USA. The New Press.
Swain, H, (ed.). 2002. Big Questions in Sciences. London, UK. Vintage.
Roberts, RM. 1989. Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science. Chichester, UK. Wiley Science Editions.
Ehrlich, R. 2001. Nine crazy ideas in science. Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Princeton University Press.
Lloyd, C. 2012. What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to
the Present Day. London, UK. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Trefil, J and Hazen, RM. 2010. Sciences: An integrated Approach. (6th edition). Chichester, UK. Wiley.
ICASE. 2010. Innovation in Science & Technology Education: Research, Policy, Practice. Tartu, Estonia. ICASE/
UNESCO/University of Tartu.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1990. Science for all Americans online. Washington,
USA. http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/sfaatoc.htm.
The Geological Society of America. 2012. Nature of Science and the Scientific Method. Boulder, Colorado, USA.
http://www.geosociety.org/educate/naturescience.pdf.
Big History Project. 2011. Big History: An Introduction to Everything. http://www.bighistoryproject.com.
Nuffield Foundation. 2012. How science works. London, UK. http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practicalphysics/how-science-works
Understanding Science. 1 February 2013. http://www.understandingscience.org.
Collins, S, Osborne, J, Ratcliffe, M, Millar, R, and Duschl, R. 2012. What ‘ideas-about-science’ should be taught
in school science? A Delphi study of the ‘expert’ community. St Louis, Missouri, USA. National Association for
Research in Science Teaching (NARST).
TIMSS (The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). 1 February 2013. http://timssandpirls.bc.edu.
PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). 1 February 2013. http://www.oecd.org/pisa.
ROSE (The Relevance of Science Education). 1 February 2013. http://roseproject.no/.
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