95+Olympiad

This is a new course for 2024. I have designed this course to meet the needs of the increasing number of high-achieving students who are completing the year 11 physics course in year 9 or 10, whose goal is to obtain a mark of 95+ in HSC physics.

The aim of the 95+Olympiad course is to offer an alternative option for high achieving students that is more enjoyable and challenging as well as more likely to result in a higher HSC mark than simply completing the same HSC course twice.

The thinking underlying the course is that there are three components to performing at the highest level in HSC physics (as discussed in on the HSC course page):

  • developing the strongest possible conceptual understanding of the physics in the course,
  • mastering “working scientifically” skills, and
  • perfecting students’ interpretation and written responses to HSC exam questions.

The 95+Olympiad course will focus on developing a deep conceptual understanding of physics in the HSC syllabus (and beyond) on a schedule that suits students who are in year 11 at school.

Polishing written extended response exam answers and memorising fine details can then recieve students’ undivided attention in the second ‘HSC physics’ year, when they have already mastered the physics required to complete all conceptual, calculation based and working scientifically questions in the HSC.  

 

The “Olympiad” part of the course refers to the fact that students will:

  • complete extension questions on year 11 content at a level that will prepare students to sit the Australian Physics Olympiad exam in August (as well as ensuring that they are extremely well-prepared for their year 11 physics exams at school).
  • complete some additional topics (pressure and buoyancy, ideal gases, Bernoulli’s equation, Hooke’s law, simple harmonic motion and rotational motion and torque) that prepare students well for the Physics Olympiad exam in August. While these topics are not in the HSC Physics syllabus, they are (almost) all part of the mechanics section of the Ext 1 and Ext 2 Maths syllabus.
  • become more fluent and confident in using tools such as Newton’s laws, conservation of momentum and conservation of energy in novel and challenging contexts.
  • conduct more sophisticated experimental work than in the year 11 and HSC courses, at a level that will prepare students well for the August Olympiad exam, the Physics Olympiad Summer School, as well as for “working scientifically” assessments at school.
  • Students who wish to enter the US Physics Bowl competition in week 9 of term 1 can do so, with exam supervision provided.

The underlying physics content of the HSC physics syllabus is covered in the 95+Olympiad course, at a greater depth than I have time to teach it in the standard HSC course. 

It is important to note that this course teaches HSC physics and additional topics at a higher level than the HSC syllabus. If students do not wish to cover any additional content beyond the HSC syllabus then the HSC physics course will be the best choice.

Topics have been arranged so that it is possible for year 11 students to complete this more advanced course simultaneously with the year 11 physics course. It is recommended that younger students complete the year 11 course first.

It is anticipated that a new HSC class will run in 2025 specifically for students who have completed the 95+Olympiad course.

Overview of the course

The overview below simply lists topics covered. Practical work is embedded throughout the course and most lessons will involve some hands-on, demonstration or practical component. Students in the course will be assisted to develop their working scientifically skills to a level commensurate with that required for the Physics Olympiad Summer School, ensuring that their skills exceed those required for HSC physics.

Term 1 of the 95+Olympiad course contains extension material for mod 5. The physics content of modules 7 & 8 of the HSC (and extension material on these topics) are covered in terms 2, 3 & 4 of the 95+Olympiad course. 

Calculus based extension of Module 6 (Electromagnetism) is covered in the advanced Olympiad course (together with other calculus based extensions of material in the 95+Olympiad course).

Term 1

Time: Wed 5-7pm

Cost: $80/2hr

Focus: Year 11 extension and Physics Olympiad (and the mechanics sections of the Ext 1 and Ext 2 mathematics courses)

Overview of topics covered (along with past Physics Olympiad questions):

  • Projectile motion (numerical modelling & harder analytical analysis)
  • Motion under gravity, thrust and drag (numerical modeling and analytical analysis)
  • Circular motion and orbital motion (numerical modelling)
  • Pressure, buoyancy and ideal gases
  • Equation of continuity and Bernoulli
  • Hooke’s law and elastic potential energy
  • Simple Harmonic motion (numerical modelling and analytical)
  • SHM applied to the speed of mechanical waves in solids

Term 2

Time: Wed 5-7pm

Cost: $80/2hr

Focus: Physics Olympiad, Year 11 extension and HSC mod 7 (extension)

Overview of topics covered (along with past Physics Olympiad questions):

  • Centre of mass and conservation of momentum in systems of particles
  • Harder topics in mechanical waves: Doppler, supersonic speeds, Decibels
  • Wave model of light: Double slit interference, thin films and single slit diffraction
  • Quantum model of light: blackbody radiation and radiative heat transfer, photoelectric effect
  • Bohr’s model of the atom and spectra
  • Wave-particle model of light: Polarisation
  • Ray model of light (extension of year 11): image formation due to refraction at plane and spherical surfaces, the thin lens equations and more challenging past olympiad problems
  • Torque and static equilibrium, elasticity and deformation of solids
  • Experimental Uncertainty and Skills

Term 3

Time: Wed 5-6:30pm

Cost: $60/1.5hr

Focus: HSC extension (Mod 7 & 8)

Overview of topics covered:

  • Special relativity (HSC level + spacetime diagrams, relativisitic velocity addition, extended discussion of relativistic energy)
  • Nuclear physics (HSC level + more sophisticated calculations)
  • Hubble and the Big Bang
  • Stellar evolution and the Hertsprung Russell diagram
  • Measuring the speed of light and stellar spectra

Term 4

Time: Wed 5-7pm (including practicals) OR Wed 5-6pm (1st hour only)

Cost: $80/2hr (including practical work in second hour) OR $40 for 1st hour only

Focus: HSC extension and Prac (“working scientifically”) skill development

Note: Prac work relevant to the topic under study is still a feature of the first hour of the class. The second (optional) hour consists of a series of more substantial pracs suitable for students who wish to hone their practical skills to the level of the Physics Summer School. See the page on the Advanced Olympiad course for information on the pracs in the second hour.

Overview of topics covered:

  • Thomson’s discovery of the electron (HSC level + the Hall effect and other applications of crossed fields)
  • Millikan’s measurement of the charge of an electron (HSC level+Stokes law for drag)
  • Geiger and Marsden’s gold foil experiment + Rutherford’s model of the atom
  • DeBroglie and Matter waves
  • Schrodinger’s equation, Heisenburg uncertainty principle
  • Accelerators
  • The Standard Model of Matter

Address

94B Baker St. Carlingford 2118

Email

tammy@fathomingphysics.nsw.edu.au 

Phone

0473645857

FATHOMING PHYSICS

HSC physics and Physics Olympiad tutoring with Dr. Tammy Humphrey, a PhD qualified physics teacher with 15 years experience teaching gifted students. Classes include all practical work as well as all theoretical work required by the HSC physics syllabus.