Students explore how physics explains phenomena at various scales. They examine some of the fundamental ideas and models used by physicists in an attempt to understand and explain the world. Students consider thermal concepts by investigating heat, probe common analogies used to explain electricity and consider the origins and formation of matter. Students use thermodynamic principles to explain phenomena related to changes in thermal energy. They apply thermal laws when investigating energy transfers within and between systems, and assess the impact of human use of energy on the environment. Students examine the motion of electrons and explain how it can be manipulated and utilised. They explore current scientifically accepted theories that explain how matter and energy have changed since the origins of the Universe. Students undertake quantitative investigations involving at least one independent, continuous variable.

- Thermodynamics

- Electric circuits

- Matter

- Apply thermodynamic principles to analyse, interpret and explain changes in thermal energy in selected contexts, and describe the environmental impact of human activities with reference to thermal effects and climate science concepts.

- Investigate and apply a basic DC circuit model to simple battery-operated devices and household electrical systems, apply mathematical models to analyse circuits, and describe the safe and effective use of electricity by individuals and the community.

- Explain the origins of atoms, the nature of subatomic particles and how energy can be produced by atoms.

Students explore the power of experiments in developing models and theories. They investigate a variety of phenomena by making their own observations and generating questions, which in turn lead to experiments. Students make direct observations of physics phenomena and examine the ways in which phenomena that may not be directly observable can be explored through indirect observations. In the core component of this unit students investigate the ways in which forces are involved both in moving objects and in keeping objects stationary. Students choose one of twelve options related to astrobiology, astrophysics, bioelectricity, biomechanics, electronics, flight, medical physics, nuclear energy, nuclear physics, optics, sound and sports science. The option enables students to pursue an area of interest by investigating a selected question. Students design and undertake investigations involving at least one independent, continuous variable. A student- designed practical investigation relates to content drawn from Area of Study 1 and/or Area of Study 2 and is undertaken in Area of Study 3.

- Motion

- Focus study

- Practical investigation

- Investigate, analyse and mathematically model the motion of particles and bodies.

- Twelve options are available for selection in Area of Study. Each option is based on a different observation of the physical world. One option is to be selected by the student.

- Design and undertake an investigation of a physics question related to the scientific inquiry processes of data collection and analysis, and draw conclusions based on evidence from collected data.

Students explore the importance of energy in explaining and describing the physical world. They examine the production of electricity and its delivery to homes. Students consider the field model as a construct that has enabled an understanding of why objects move when they are not apparently in contact with other objects. Applications of concepts related to fields include the transmission of electricity over large distances and the design and operation of particle accelerators. They explore the interactions, effects and applications of gravitational, electric and magnetic fields. Students use Newton’s laws to investigate motion in one and two dimensions, and are introduced to Einstein’s theories to explain the motion of very fast objects. They consider how developing technologies can challenge existing explanations of the physical world, requiring a review of conceptual models and theories. Students design and undertake investigations involving at least two continuous independent variables.

- How do things move without contact?

- How are fields used to move electrical energy?

- How fast can things go?

- Analyse gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, and use these to explain the operation of motors and particle accelerators and the orbits of satellites.

- Analyse and evaluate an electricity generation and distribution system.

- Investigate motion and related energy transformations experimentally, analyse motion using Newton’s laws of motion in one and two dimensions, and explain the motion of objects moving at very large speeds using Einstein’s theory of special relativity.

In this unit, students explore the use of wave and particle theories to model the properties of light and matter. They examine how the concept of the wave is used to explain the nature of light and explore its limitations in describing light behaviour. Students further investigate light by using a particle model to explain its behaviour. A wave model is also used to explain the behaviour of matter which enables students to consider the relationship between light and matter. Students learn to think beyond the concepts experienced in everyday life to study the physical world from a new perspective. Students design and undertake investigations involving at least two continuous independent variables.

- How can waves explain the behaviour of light?

- How are light and matter similar?

- Practical investigation

- Apply wave concepts to analyse, interpret and explain the behaviour of light.

- Provide evidence for the nature of light and matter, and analyse the data from experiments that supports this evidence.

- Design and undertake a practical investigation related to waves or fields or motion, and present methodologies, findings and conclusions in a scientific poster.

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