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Support for Beginning Physics Teachers

In-Service and a Mentor Scheme

Vicphysics Teachers' Network is keen to assist new physics teachers whether they be:

  • First Year Outs,
  • Teachers taking Year 12 for the first time
  • Teachers returning to Physics teaching after many years’ absence, or
  • Teachers who have been asked by their school to take physics.

It usually offers two programs:

i) A a full day in-service program in the 1st Term holidays. The event is free and travel support is available for country participants.

In 2016 the program will be held on Tuesday, 29th March at Kew High School. You can register for the event by email to the VicPhys with subject “Registration: New Physics Teachers” and include in the email, not only your contact details, but your reason for applying as this will assist in the design of the program.  The Vicphysics Teachers' Network encourages applications for this event to also consider attending the Practical Activities Workshops on the day before at the same venue. Check details here.




Microsoft Word

In-Service for Beginning Physics Teachers

38.4 kB

The program for the In-Service

Microsoft Word

Map of the Venue

1000 kB

A map of the school overlaid with parking spaces, directions to lab for Registration and nearby toilets.

ii) The Mentor Scheme. Several retired physics teachers have offered their services to support new teachers. The Network will give them a stipend to meet with the teacher once during Terms 2, 3 and 4 and to be available for phone and email contact. Teachers wishing to participate in this scheme should send an expression of interest containing their contact details and a statement of why they want to be involved in the scheme. The expression of interest should be accompanied by a letter of support from the Science Coordinator or the School Principal. The documents should be either posted to the Vicphysics Mentor Scheme, PO Box 290, Flinders Lane, VIC 8009 or emailed as an attachment to VicPhys with subject “Booking: Mentor Scheme”.

Schools are welcome to fund additional support from the mentor.

Material prepared for the 2009 - 2015 In-Services




Microsoft Powerpoint

Resources and Practical Activities

183 kB

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

Microsoft Word

Possible EPI Topics

36.4 kB

A full page list of topics for Unit 3 Motion, Unit 4 Electric power and the Materials Detailed Study.

Microsoft Word

EPI Handbook for students

117 kB

A booklet for students on doing an extended practical investigation for the Motion Area of Study. An extensive list of topics is included, The booklet was prepared by Shane MacLean and Paul Cuthbert while at Kew High School


VCE Physics Exam Advice

4.45 MB

A Powerpoint presentation by one of the Assistant Chief Assessors, Andrew Hansen from Ringwood Secondary College, on i) the exam and how it is marked, ii) advice for teachers to assist students when doing the exam and iii) common errors that students make.

Microsoft Word

Practical activities over the decades

33.3 kB

A table of displaying how the types and descriptions of practical activities in Physics have changed over the last three decades.

Microsoft Word

Table of criteria for the EPI

53.8 kB

The criteria for the EPI from VCAA Physics Assessment Booklet have been arranged in a table format for ease of use. Each row contains related comments on a particular aspect e.g. 'Understanding' from each of the score ranges, e.g. 'Demonstrates an advanced understanding of the investigation' through to 'Demonstrates a limited understanding of ...'. The full text has been broken up, covering the categories of 'understanding', 'hypothesis', 'procedures', 'safety', 'improvements', 'data', 'records', 'presentation', 'estimates', 'analysis', 'communication', 'explanations'.each with a separate row.

Microsoft Word

Practical Actvities Categories Worksheet

36.9 kB

A worksheet to categorise and evaluate the types of practical activities that your students experience.

Microsoft Powerpoint

Exam and Revision Advice

1.32 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

Responses to Discussion Questions

28.2 kB

The program for the in-service included a discussion on question such as 'What was your biggest surprise in first teaching physics?' 'What have you enjoyed most in your teaching?', etc. These same questions were used in the 1987 Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service. These are their responses.

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

Units 3 and 4 Course Planning

86.5 kB

A week by week teaching program for Year 12 with dates for 2014 and with the content to be covered in each week as well as practical activities. There are different versions depending on which Detailed Study is chosen and in which topic the EPI is done.

Microsoft Word

TalkPhysics: Examples of the Discussions

36.4 kB

'TalkPhysics' is a UK website for physics teachers wishing to discuss teaching approaches, share a newly found resources or just seeking assistance. The responses are numerous and prompt, thought provoking and very helpful. This document is a typical example of such discussions. Teachers are encouraged to join, even if you are not based in the UK. See the link below for details.

Microsoft Word

TalkPhysics: Advice for the Beginning Teacher

38.9 kB

'TalkPhysics' is a UK website for physics teachers wishing to discuss teaching approaches, share a newly found resources or just seeking assistance. The responses are numerous and prompt, thought provoking and very helpful. One such question was on advice for beginning teachers. Teachers are encouraged to join, even if you are not based in the UK. See the link below for details.

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.

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.

Useful Websites for the Beginning Teacher

Material from the Physics Teachers' Conferences

The following are relevant files from the presentations at recent Physics Teachers' Conferences. They include a presentation by Colin Hopkins and presentstions by the chief assessors that will assist in preparing students for exams. Also check exam solutions and course planning.




Microsoft Powerpoint

Chief Assessors' Report of 2011 Exams

1.31 MB

Powerpoint by Geoff Davies and Bruce Walsh, chief assessors for Units 3 and 4 resp.


Chief Assessor's report on the 2013 Exam

791 kB

Powerpoint by Bruce Walsh, chief assessor for Units 3 and 4 exam.

Microsoft Excel

The Grade Points

30.7 kB

A spreadsheet of the grade points for the years 1999- 2014. The grade point is the raw score cut off for a particular grade. The cumulative percentage of candidates is also included alongside the raw score. The table also has the mean and standard deviation for each exam.

Microsoft Powerpoint

The Chief Assessor's Report on the June and November 2008 Exams

2.12 MB

by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor.

Microsoft Word

General Marking Principles

42 kB

by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor. Distributed at the 2011 Physics Teachers Conference.

Microsoft Powerpoint

The Chief Assessor's Report on the June and November 2010 Exams

1.63 MB

The PowerPoint presentation by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor.

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.


Powerful Learning Demonstrations: Audio

60 B

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