HSC physics tuition
HSC physics classes are designed around the goal of optimising your marks in your assessment tasks during year 12, trial exam, as well as the final HSC exam.
- a strong conceptual understanding of physics in both the HSC and year 11 courses
- excellent “working scientifically” skills
- substantial experience in correctly interpreting and responding to extended response questions as well as multiple choice and short answer questions in the style of the HSC physics exam.
NESA mandates that “Knowledge and Understanding” components of the syllabus constitute 40% of students’ assessment marks, while “Working scientifically skills” constitute 60% (NESA assessment and reporting requirements, Stage 6 Physics).
For this reason HSC classes at Fathoming Physics classes integrate required working scientifically skills and the practical experiences specified by the syllabus into lessons, along with theory.
Each lesson begins with an hour of revision and consolidation using past paper questions. Each question set is designed to cover material from the week before, two weeks before, a month and a term before. This utilises an approach known as spaced practice with interleaving, which has been established as a highly effective appoach to learning.
The second hour of the lesson is dedicated to learning new material, with practical experiences interspersed with theory as appropriate for the Module being taught.
Practice testing is another effective learning strategy that is utilised via a multiple choice test and two extended response questions designed to be done under exam conditions. This is set as homework to optimise the use of class time. Students submit these during the week for marking and written feedback from Tammy.
Term 3: Module 5 (Advanced mechanics) + year 11 revision
HSC classes begin in term 3 (year 11 classes transition to year 12 classes at this time). This module contains three topics:
- Projectile motion. We cover the theory as well as the syllabus mandated prac work.
- Uniform circular motion. Students can find this theory challenging – we measure centripetal acceleration for an accelerometer on a record player as a context for calculations in this lesson to assist students make sense of centripetal force.
- Orbital motion. Newton’s law of universal gravitation, Kepler’s laws and the energy (potential and kinetic) of objects in orbit.
In this video a current carrying conductor in a magnetic field experiences a force to the left.
Term 4: Module 6 (Electromagnetism)
This module contains two big new ideas:
- Charges moving in a magnetic field experience a force
- Changing magnetic fields generate electric fields
Inquiry questions 1 and 2 are covered in the last three weeks of term 3. These focus on the behaviour of charges in magnetic and electric fields, and the forces experienced by current carrying conductors in B fields, along with the force acting between two current carrying conductors.
The second big idea, that changing magnetic fields produce an electric field, is the focus of the thid and forth inquiry questions of the module, which are covered in term 4.
These inquiry questions cover Faraday’s law of Induction, Lenz’s law, Transformers, DC Motors, AC and DC generators and AC induction motors. Practicals and hands-on demos are incorporated into each lesson in this Module.
Module 6 is completed in week 7 of term 4. There is no tuition in weeks 8-10 of term 4 as I am overseas with the Australian team at the International Junior Science Olympiad (in Romania in 2024).
A demonstration that a changing magnetic flux produces an induced current in a closed loop.
Term 1: Module 7 (The Nature of Light)
This module examines how physicists’ understanding of the nature of light has evolved from the time of Maxwell to our current understanding of light as exhibiting both wave and particle-like behaviour.
At this point in the course it is necessary for students to practice writing extended responses in earnest. There are many sections of this module (for example the Newton-Huygen’s debate or historical and contempory measuremtns of the speed of light) where students need to prepare long responses. We approach this by practising these during the revision and consolution time during lessons, then setting them as exam questions which students submit for feedback each week.
This module also contains substantial new theoretical content (double-slit interference and diffraction, polarisation and Malus’s law, Black body radiation and the Photoelectric effect as well as special relativity). In a number of cases there is practical work associated with this theory. This term we conduct and analyse the following experiments:
- Measuring the speed of light
- Double-slit interference
- Malus’ law (polarisation)
- Photoelectric effect
- A qualitative reproduction of the Michelson-Morely experiment.
Term 2: Module 8 (From the Universe to the Atom)
This module covers the big bang, stellar evolution and spectra (the section of spectra from IQ1 in Mod 7 is taught in this section of Mod 8 for efficiency).
It also covers the discovery of the electron, the nucleus, the quantum nature of the atom, nuclear physics and the standard model and particle accelerators.
Students continue to spend the first half of each lesson practising writing responses to extended response exam questions and receiving feedback on the work during class, and outside of class (on the “mini exams” set for homework).
Term 3: Revision for trials and the HSC
This term we cycle through revision of all the content in the HSC course. In each lesson students complete past exam questions from across the course, with feedback on their responses.
Students continue to complete mini exams for homework and recieve written feedback to help identify areas for improvement and trial strategies for reducing their unforced error rate on multiple choice and calculation questions.
We make extensive use of information from the senior markers of past HSC exams, along with exemplar responses from past high achieving students to make optimal use of the time students have before their exams.