Using ICT in Physics A Level

During the course you will experience and use a considerable amount of ICT. It will form a natural part of the course and the development of your skills in this area will be of considerable importance when you study in University and when you enter the world of work. If you have not got a computer at home please let your teacher know and the school will make every effort to see that you are not disadvantaged because of this - but they need to know to be able to help!

Make good use of the facilities at your school. If you are unsure of any procedure ask for help. The computer is a wonderful helpmate for your studies. You should be happy and comfortable with its use and to appreciate how it can save time and improve the quality of your work in science.

I put learning material and model solutions to problems onto the WWW via this site. Cyberphysics is a reference site - it contains a lot of background information as well as work that should be known from KS3 and KS4. There are a lot of useful links and 'fun' revision exercises like 9-Lives (a form of hangman that helps you get familiar with terminology and its correct spelling and usage) and crosswords..

Interactive spreadsheets (click-link in Useful Extras dropdown menu) are available for you to practise your calculation skills. These allow students to set themselves questions and have the spreadsheet work out what the answer should be. You can then get valuable practice at manipulating equations and using your calculator. Practice is important - you need to be quick and confident with calculations!

Interactive syllabuses are available at A level too - make use of them!

Use of ICT in studying Particle Physics

Notes I wrote for my students for the particle section of this can be found here.

You will have to extract them into a document and print them out for your use. Ensure you choose a suitably sized font for this.

Particle physics is a fast moving and exciting area of research. There is a lot of information on the WWW about the latest particle research.

You should do background reading on the topics you study - this should involve looking at suitable sites. Back when I taught it I often asked students to prepare and deliver a PowerPoint presentation on a topic during this module. Maybe your teacher will too.... but regardless, it is useful to surf the web and find out what area of research is being done at a range on Universities.... you may wish to apply to them and they will be impressed at the interview stage if you have shown an interest in the work they are doing.

There are Interactive Excel Spreadsheets for the photon equation, wave-particle duality and the electron volt. Theer are also may electricity based spreadsheets: Ohm's Law, resistivity, power dissipation, EMF and r, resistors in series and parallel, lost volts and potential division. Check it out!

The program 'croc clips' in Crocodile Physics is a computer model of electricity that I used a lot - I thought it was great. It enable you to make and test virtual circuits - wiring in measuring instruments that include modeling of physical properties such as internal resistance. If you have access to it do use it - it could form part of your independent study time program. It enables you to safely experiment with electrical circuits without the need for supervision. You can access this program from home if you are a student. Click here to find out more.

Use of ICT in Mechanics Modules

The program 'Crocodile Physics' includes a computer model of mechanics forces and collisions. It enables you to make and test collision systems- modeling includes physical properties such as friction coefficients. This will be used in lessons and should also form part of your independent study time program. It enables you to safely experiment without the need for supervision. You can access this program from home.

Datalogging of experiments will most probably be used in this course.

Java Applets can be used to illustrate physical principles

Practical Assessment

Practical assessment will be ongoing thorughout the course. You will be assessed in each practical as to how confidently and competently you choose, set up and use various items of equipment. The overall assessment of your skills will be transferred into a grade that will count towards your final assessment.

You should be making considerable use of Excel Spreadsheets in the Practical component of your course. The spreadsheet can be a useful tool to analyse results quickly and efficiently. It enables you to spot anomalies easily during the result taking session, doing away with the need to plot a rough graph (saving considerable time and effort). I taught my students to design a spreadsheet for this purpose and to enhance the skills for presentation of such sheets that you learned lower down the school.

Datalogging of experiments will be used in this course... many questions are set using datalogging acquired data....