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A physics qualification is a great starting point for a career in scientific research, as well as in a range of careers in the medical, business, finance, IT and engineering sectors.
Physics is the study of matter and energy and how they interact. It deals with scales from the sub-atomic particles to galaxies and the cosmos and everything in-between. Courses delivered in the Physics department have the aim of developing pupils’ problem-solving and analytical-thinking skills to produce adaptable and versatile young learners.
There are 4 teachers in the Physics and Engineering Science department along with excellent technician support. Pupils are taught in 5 labs all of which are very well-equipped meaning practical work is hands-on for pupils rather than teacher demonstration. One lab, including a dark room, is assigned for use by Advanced Higher pupils allowing them space and specialized equipment – such as a Michelson interferometer, a wind tunnel, and Milikan’s Oil Drop apparatus – to perform their investigative research.
Staff in the Physics department support delivery of science in the Junior School, sharing expertise with Junior School staff to provide challenging and stimulating lessons which complement the Junior School course. Pupils learn in Physics labs giving them opportunities to work with specialized equipment before they move into the Senior School.
The F1 and F2 course introduces pupils to vital skills such as taking measurements, planning investigations, and working with equations in the contexts of Forces, Electrical Circuits, Heat, Light and Sound. The F1 and F2 course includes practical work in almost every lesson. In F3 and F4, pupils study towards the National 5 Physics qualification, building on their practical and problem-solving skills in the contexts of Waves, Radiations, Electricity, Energy, Dynamics and Space. In F5 and F6, pupils enjoy being challenged by the depth of content. They develop investigative skills through Researching Physics units and through an individual project at Advanced Higher. At all levels, pupils have opportunities to make effective use of ICT, including the interfacing of experiments through their iPads.
Providing an environment in which all pupils can achieve their potential is the goal of all staff in the Physics department. Pupils are encouraged to contribute, to ask questions and to ask for support when they need it so that they can keep moving forward in their journey towards excellence. We are proud of the many individual and collective achievements of our pupils. In recent years, our pupils have been recognised for achieving top marks in Scotland for Advanced Higher Physics. They are encouraged to participate in events including The Scottish Space School, in which pupils undertake project work with pupils from other schools on space themed problems (like designing a washing machine for the ISS), which they then present to NASA astronauts. Our pupils have also participated in and won national competitions including Institute of Physics Poster competition and Physics Essay competitions. It is rewarding for Physics staff to see so many of our pupils go on to study Physics and Engineering and to hear of their successes beyond school.
Pupils being awarded prize for winning Institute of Physics Poster competition – their poster was of 'The Journey of a Photon'.