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Course Planning

VCE Course Planning Documents for 2016 - 2021

In 2016 The new study design will begin. Units 1 and 2 will start in 2016, while Units 3 and 4 will start in 2017. The document can be downloaded from the VCAA website. There were implementation briefings held in 2015. The powerpoint and a video of the presentation by Michael Rosenbrock can be seen here.

This website already has webpages for the two new Areas of Study in Unit 1, Thermodynamics: How can thermal effects be explained? and What is matter and how is it formed?. The content on the current webpages for Electricity and Motion should suffice. The webpage Investigations and Practical Activities has useful information on EPI's including lists of topics and templates for an electronic poster.

These course planning resources for Units 1 and 2 have been developed so far.

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Microsoft Word

A Sample Course Plan for Units 1 & 2

162 kB

A course plan for Units 1 and 2 with the dot points from the study design grouped in a teaching sequence with an indication of the time to cover each group of dot points. Each group has suggested activities. The plan includes details on managing a few options at once as well as suggestions for running the practical investigation.

Microsoft Word

Managing Multiple Options

92.2 kB

This list of ideas was generated at the networking meeting held in October 2015. It addresses questions such as i) How many options should I run and what is a good minimum number of students per option, ii) formats for learning, iii) Practical Activities Issues and iv) Assessment issues

Microsoft Word

Commentary to support the PowerPoint on Course Planning Issues

200 kB

This Word file can be used with the PowerPoint on looking at Issues in Planning a Course for 2016. It has the text for each slide and alongside it, the commentary that was made. The word 'click' is inserted to indicate the next advance.

Microsoft Powerpoint

A PowerPoint on Issues in Course Planning for 2016

3.44 MB

A Powerpoint on the issues to consider when planning a course for Units 1 & 2 of new VCE Physics Study Design for 2016. It was prepared by Dan O'Keeffe for teacher briefings in July 2016. A Word file of the commentary from those briefings that accompanied the PowerPoint is also available.

Microsoft Word

Practical Activities for Units 1 to 4

202 kB

The 8 page document is a table of practical activities for each Area of Study.

Planning for Units 3 & 4 in 2017

There are links between the three Areas of Study in Unit 3, which leads to the question 'In which order do you teach them?'. At a Unit 3 Course Planning workshop at the 2016 Physics Teachers' Conference, three presenters each outlined how they would plan their course for 2017. All three came up with the same order, that is, start with Area of Study 3 'How fast can things go?' on Motion, but leaving Relativity to the end of the semester. Then do Area of Study 1 'How do things move without contact?' on fields, but starting with the gravitational field, followed by electric, then magnetic fields, which leads on to Area of Study 2 'How are fields use to move electrical energy?' on electromagnetism with the Relativity section of Area of Study 3 linking electromagnetism to motion.

In Unit 4 the two Areas of Study on Light have a natural sequence. While the Area of Study on Experimental Investigations is likely to be done last, but it could be done at any time of the year.

This week by week course planning document has been prepared from this perspective.

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Microsoft Word

Course Planning for 2017

45.1 kB

A week by week plan of content, practical activities and assessment tasks for Units 3 & 4 in 2017 with the teaching order of Motion, Fields, Electromagnetism and Relativity for Unit 3

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Operation of a Device for Fields Area of Study

49.2 kB

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Operation of a Device for Electrical Energy Area of Study

40.4 kB

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Explanation of a Phenomenon for Fields Area of Study

49.2 kB

Microsoft Word

Practical Activities for Units 1 to 4

202 kB

The 8 page document is a table of practical activities for each Area of Study.

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Data Analysis for Motion Area of Study

46.6 kB

An assessment task that is an extension of the analysis of three experiments: centripetal acceleration, potential energy in a spring, and kinetic energy and momentum in a collision.

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Annotations of Practical Activities for Motion Area of Study

228 kB

This is a six page document that considers what is meant by 'Annotations ...' and gives an example of how an assessment task might be designed for the Motion Area of Study.

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Solution to a scientific or technological problem

81.9 kB

This is a three page document of worksheets covering a) the Fields Area of Study for problems i) separation of particles, ii) reduction of friction, b) the Electrical energy AoS for problems iii) harnessing the earth's magnetic field in space, iv) optimising magnetic field design, v) harnessing biolelectric fields and c) the Motion AoS for problems vi) road engineering and vii) controlling distant probes.

Microsoft Word

Assessment Task: Media analysis of contributions to an online discussion

40.4 kB

This assessment task explores the possibility of using online discussions on sites such as 'The Conversation' to analyse the contributions to discussions of science based issues. It has application to a number of Area of Study and Options.

Microsoft Word

Which SACs in 2017

290 kB

This 14 page document discusses the factors in deciding on assessment tasks for Unit 3, lists various combinations and includes the assessment tasks listed above.

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Data Analysis Assessment Task for Unit 3 Motion

1.03 MB

An assessment task of an oscillating mass on a spring prepared by Jane Coyle, Albert Park College. It can be done as an open book exercise. See also the file of answers with a marking scheme for the task.

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Answers to Data Analysis Assessment Task for Unit 3 Motion

1.05 MB

The answers with a marking scheme for the assessment task of an oscillating mass on a spring prepared by Jane Coyle, Albert Park College.

Note: The assessment tasks are drafts with questions incorporated to guide discussion at the Unit 3 Course Planning Days. Final versions wil be available in December. These drafts have been prepared by Milorad Cerovac, Jane Coyle, Neil Champion, Barbara McKinnon and Dan O'Keeffe.

Note: If you want to comment, make suggestions, etc, please use our Facebook account or our Twitter account.

Other resources on this website that are of value when designing your course are:

VCE Course Planning Documents for Units 3 and 4 for 2013 - 2016

Beginning in 2013 there was a significant change to the Unit 3 & 4 assessment procedures and to the Unit 3 & 4 content.

  • There is only one exam at the end of the year. This exam will assess the whole year's work. The exam will be a two and a half hour exam with 15 minutes reading time. Students can take in 4 A4 pages of notes.
  • Only one Detailed Study needs to be studied. The exam paper will contain questions for all six Detailed Studies. Students must do questions from only one Study.

Note: There are minor changes to only a few dot points, as well as the procedures for school assessed coursework. For example, the compulsory assessment tasks, the EPI and the Summary Report, can now be done on any of the topics across Units 3 & 4. Teachers should ensure that they are working from a 2013 version of the study design

Implications: Class time freed up

With one less Detailed Study and no mid year break for Unit 3 exams, up to 5 - 6 weeks of class time are now available for other purposes. This time can be used in one or more ways:

  • Additional revision time at the end of the year. With the exam covering the full year's work, that is five discrete topics, an extra two weeks of revision seems appropriate. However, to avoid a monotonous routine, some thought should be given to including a range of revision activities.
  • The Extended Practical Investigation (EPI) could be given an extra week, so that it is not only less rushed and but that students can have more responsibility for planning and more time for data analysis.
  • An informal mid year exam, done in class time, on the first three topics would be a useful assessment for student and teacher alike.
  • More class time for each topic, particularly for the early ones, to ensure a good grounding.

Implications: Which Detailed Study? and when do you do it?

Come the exam, student can choose any one of the six Detailed Studies, so it possible for a teacher to offer two or more Detailed Studies at the one time and simultaneously support the independent learning of the students in the class. However this would only be feasible in a very small class. Most teachers would either select the topic they most enjoy or offer their class a choice from two studies with the majority determining which one is done.

As each Detailed Study is nominally linked to the core Areas of Study in either Unit 3 or Unit 4. It may be best to keep to the natural sequence. Alternatively it could be argued that doing all four core Areas of Study first before the Detailed Study, gives the core content a chance to bed down before it is revisited later in revision.

For some Detailed Studies, their content overlaps or links with one or more core Area of Study so cohesively that the much of the Detailed Study can be covered along side the core Areas of Study, and so, saving time. Examples of this are:

  • 'Further Electronics' with 'Electronics and Photonics',
  • 'Synchrotron' with 'Electric Power',
  • 'Photonics' with 'Electronics and Photonics',

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Microsoft Word

Course Planning for 2015

58.4 kB

A week by week plan of content, practical activities and assessment tasks for four different scenarios: i) EPI in Motion and Materials DS (pages 1 - 3), ii) EPI in Motion and Sound DS (pages 4 - 6), iii) EPI in Motion and Synchrotron DS linked with Electric Power (pages 7 - 9)and iv) EPI in Materials DS (pages 10 - 12).

The activities and resources listed below for previous course changes still have relevance as the content changes are minimal.

VCE Course Planning Documents for 2009 - 2012

VCE Physics Implementation Workshops: Activities and Powerpoint presentation

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Microsoft Word

Activity 1

39.9 kB

Activity 1 on verbs in the study design.

Microsoft Word

Activity 2

53.2 kB

Activity 2 on developing Key Skills in Investigations.

Microsoft Word

Activity 3

281 kB

Activity 3 on misconceptions in Physics.

Microsoft Word

Activity 4

48.1 kB

Activity 4 on Units 1 & 2 course plannning.

Microsoft Word

Activity 5

38.9 kB

Activity 5 on encouraging students to do Physics.

Microsoft Powerpoint

The PowerPoint presentation prepared by VCAA

2.73 MB

VCE Physics Implementation Workshops: Resources package

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Microsoft Word

Sample Course for Units 1 and 2

140 kB

A sample course for Units 1 and 2 has been prepared. It includes a possible time allocation for Areas of Study and indeed, for individual dot points, as well as possible activities. The sample course takes the approach of selecting Detailed Studies that relate to the context “Solutions for Climate Change” and finding links to the core Areas of Study.

Microsoft Word

Resources on 'Forces on Passengers' from VELS site

83.5 kB

This document describes the extensive range of information on students’ misconceptions in science available on the VELS website. A summary of one example is included that of ‘Forces on passengers’.

Microsoft Word

Conceptual Understanding Procedures for Physics

40.4 kB

Conceptual Understanding Procedures (CUPs) for Physics are an initiative of Monash University. They are a set of teaching procedures designed to aid the development of understanding of concepts that students find difficult. Check their website below.

Microsoft Word

Practical Activities

380 kB

A list of possible practical activities for all Areas of Study and nearly all the Detailed Studies. Possible topics for practical investigations for Units 1 - 3 are also included.

Microsoft Word

Suggestions of Activities to encourage students to consider doing Physics

27.1 kB

Activities suggested by participants at the VCE Physics Implementation Workshops.

Microsoft Word

60 Conceptual Questions

42.5 kB

Paul Hewitt, the well known US Physics text book writer has produced a set of conceptual questions that stimulate and challenge students and teachers. Most are relevant to our course.

Microsoft Word

Answers to 60 Conceptual Questions

60.4 kB

Answers to the 60 Conceptual questions prepared by Paul Hewitt.

Beginning Physics In-Services: Material

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Microsoft Powerpoint

Resources and Practical Activities

223 kB

A PowerPoint presentation on i) the different styles of practical activities with examples, as well as discussion of the factors to be considered in planning summary report on practical activities and the practical investigations and ii) the types of physics resources that are available to physics teachers in a range of formats from text to websites.

Microsoft Powerpoint

Exam and Revision Advice

1.1 MB

The PowerPoint presentation has examples of exam questions that students have found difficult with suggestions of strategies to overcome these as well as worked solutions using the strategies. Advice is also provided on revising during the semester and before the exam as well as specific exam strategies.

Microsoft Word

Teaching Electricity

65.5 kB

The document outlines one person's idea of how to introduce the concepts of electricity in Year 11 physics.

Relevant papers from recent Physics Teachers Conferences

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Microsoft Powerpoint

How to organise a Physics Camp

231 kB

by Paul Fielding, Richard Olsen from Billanook College and Carmel Fry and Paul Fitzgerald from Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School at the 2008 Physics Teachers Conference

Microsoft Word

Physics is a Branch of Philosophy

88.1 kB

presented by Martin Mahy from De La Salle College.

Microsoft Word

Powerful Learning Demonstrations

143 kB

A document of demonstrations by Colin Hopkins, Trafalgar High School and Rob Braidwood, Balwyn High School. Presented at the 2007 Physics Teachers Conference.

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Powerful Learning Demonstrations: Audio

60 B

Audio of presentation by Colin Hopkins and Rob Braidwood. 60mins.

Useful Websites