Year 11 classes

  • Year 11 classes do not assume any prior knowedge of physics. The assumed mathematical knowledge is fluency in algebraic manipulation, quadratic equations, right-angled trigonometry and the ability to graph and interpret graphs of linear and quadratic functions.
  • Students in year 9 and 10 who are interested in learning physics and have the necessary mathematical background are welcome to enrol in this class. 
  • Fathoming Physics year 11 class cover the NSW year 11 physics syllabus, including both the theory (called “Knowledge and Understanding” in the NSW syllabus) and required practical experiences and skills (called “Working Scientifically” in the NSW syllabus).
  • New year 11 classses begin each year in term 4.
  • A 2 day intensive in the Easter holidays covers inquiry questions 1-4 of module 3 (waves and optics).
  • The entire year 11 course is finished by the end of term 2. Term 3 classes revise year 11 in preparation for year 11 yearly exams, as well as covering the first module of year 12 (Advanced mechanics).

Newtons 3rd law: Forces come in pairs…!

Term 4: Module 1 (Kinematics)

In Module 1, we focus on observing, measuring and describing motion precisely, using vectors, graphs, motion diagrams and equations.

Working scientifically skills are integrated into each lesson. Students use a range of measurement technologies (ticker timers, motion sensors, motion carts and data loggers, video analysis and phone accelerometers) to measure position, velocity and acceleration, and connect these measurements to qualitative and quantitative graphical and mathematical representations of motion (equations of motion).

Module 1 also covers relative motion in both one- and two-dimensions.

Term 1: Module 2 (Dynamics)

Module 2 provides a critical conceptual foundation for all later study of physics. Mastering this material is essential for students wishing to achieve a band 6 in physics in the HSC.

In this module our goal is to make sense of Newton’s laws, and connect them to the kinematics we learnt in Module 1, the work-energy theorem and impulse and momentum, along with conservation of energy and conservation of momentum. Students use the physics they learn to make qualitative and quantitative calculations relating to measurements of a range of real phenomena. This provides powerful opportunities for students to continually test and consolidate their conceptual understanding, as well as continue to build their “working scientifically” skills.

The phenomena used as as context during this module include:

  • direct measurements of force and acceleration with vernier sensor carts
  • measurement of the forces acting as a person jumps using a force plate
  • the coefficient of friction between surfaces and rolling resistance
  • changes in momentum of a hand during a karate board break, the energy required to break a karate board
  • the changes in momentum of sensor carts undergoing elastic and inelastic collisions.


Easter holiday 2 day intensive: Module 3 (Waves and Optics)

Over two days in the Easter holidays we cover the first three Inquiry questions of Module 3, on waves and optics. 

Students continue to build their working scientifically skills along with their conceptual understanding as we measure:

  • the speed of water waves in a wave tank by graphing the wavelength of the wave as a function of frequency
  • the resonant frequency of a wineglass using the free Phyphox app on their phone
  • characterise sound waves using Phyphox and measure the Doppler shift of a moving sound source using Audacity.
  • the speed of waves on a string and the speed of sound in propane in a Ruben’s flame tube using their understanding of resonance
  • the refractive index of perspex (a common prac task at school)

Other hand-on experiences include observing and making sense of images formed by a camera obscura and by concave and convex mirrors and lenses – in each case connecting their observations to the theory they are learning to ensure students develop a robust understanding of the material in the module.

An (upside-down) view of Epping train station created with a lab-sized camera obscura.

Standing waves in a wave tank

Standing waves in a Ruben’s flame tube

Measuring the period of sound waves produced by a tuning fork.

Term 2: Module 3 (Thermodynamics)

The last section of module 3 (Thermodynamics) includes measurements of the specific heat capacity, latent heat, and covers heat transfer due to conduction, convection and radiation.

Hands on activities include the use of an infrared camera to visualise radiative heat transfer, and measurements of the heat capacity of a metal, and the latent heat of fusion of water.


A photo of a jug and metal block in the infrared with an infrared camera. 

Term 2: Module 4 (Electricity and Magnetism)

In term 2 we cover electical circuits and magnetic fields. Students use electroscopes in the lesson on electrostatics, conduct an experiment to characterise a non-ohmic device and use real circuits to test the predictions of their calculations in the later parts of the module.

Term 3: Year 11 Revision and Module 5 (Advanced Mechanics)

In term 3 we continue to consolidate the entire year 11 course in preparation for year 11 yearly exams at the end of term 3, as well as covering the first HSC module (Advanced Mechanics). 


94B Baker St. Carlingford 2118





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.