IB Physics

Head of Department: Ms M Towns Course Contact for IB Physics Mr Dominic Webster (Head of Science Key Stage 5 and Physics Teacher)

Course Outline

The IB Diploma Programme Physics course exposes students to this most fundamental experimental science, which seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Students develop traditional practical skills and techniques and increase facility in the use of mathematics, the language of physics. They also develop interpersonal skills as well as information and communication technology skills, which are essential in modern scientific endeavours and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills in their own right. Students, moreover, study the impact of physics on society, the moral and ethical dilemmas, and the social, economic and environmental implications of the work of physicists. Throughout this challenging course, students become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. Further, students enjoy multiple opportunities for scientific study and creative inquiry within a global context. In addition, the course is designed to:

  • provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context that will stimulate and challenge students;
  • provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology;
  • enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology;
  • develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize scientific information;
  • engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities;
  • develop experimental and investigative scientific skills;
  • develop and apply the students’ information and communication technology skills in the study of science;
  • raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology;
  • develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with science and scientists;
  • encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.
Course Detail

Core: 80 hours of instruction on eight topics:

  • Physics and physical measurement
  • Mechanics
  • Thermal physics
  • Oscillations and waves
  • Electric currents
  • Fields and forces
  • Atomic and nuclear physics
  • Energy, power and climate change

Additional higher level: 55 hours of instruction on six topics:

  • Motion in fields
  • Thermal physics
  • Wave phenomena
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Quantum physics and nuclear physics
  • Digital technology.

Options: 45 hours of instruction on two additional topics:

  • Astrophysics
  • Communications
  • Electromagnetic waves
  • Relativity
  • Medical physics
  • Particle physics.

Practical work: 60 hours
Investigations: 50 hours
Group four project: 10 hours

Assessment

External: Weighting of final grade 76%
Paper 1:  Multiple choice
Paper 2:  Data analysis, short answer and extended response
Paper 3:  Short answer and extended response.
Internal:  Weighting of final grade 24%
Practical work  –  Computer simulations and data gathering exercises, such as data analysis exercises and general laboratory work.

Group 4 collaborative and interdisciplinary project.