Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
Dear *|FNAME|*,

The 2019 Physics Teachers' Conference was held last Friday. Some of the presenters and the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, have already provided their workshop material. Videos of the two addresses are also available.

Andrew mentioned at the conference that his report on the 2018 Physics Exam is now on the VCAA website. See the link and related information below.

If you can spare a few minutes to do an on-line evaluation of the workshops, etc that you attended, it willbe really helpful in providing valuable feedback for the presenters.

Also, if you were at the conference and haven't received this newsletter before, you have just been added to its mailing list.  So you will have missed the two earlier newsletters sent out this term.  They can be accessed here.

Chief Assessor's Forum: Andrew could only focus on a small batch of exam questions at the conference.  You can hear the full analysis of how students performed on the whole exam paper at the Forum on Tuesday, 12th March, but you need to book.

And check the update on the Physics Days at Luna Park.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Thursday, 7th March at Melbourne Girls' College starting at 5:00pm. Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O'Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)
Table of Contents
  1. Proceedings of the 2019 Physics Teachers' Conference
  2. On-line Conference Evaluation
  3. Chief Assessor's Forum: Tuesday, 12th March, University High School and Live streamed
  4. Report on the 2018 VCE Physics Exam
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers
        7. Physics News from the Web
          a) The Search for Silicon's Successor
           b) Solar Windows: Seeing through the glass, darkly
          c) It's all smoots and garns: Unusual physical units
1. Proceedings of the 2019 Physics Teachers' Conference
The conference webpage on our website now has files from:
  • the Chief Assessor's presentation, with
  • An Excel file of the Letter grade cutoffs of all exams up to 2017.  2018 data will be out later this Term.
  • the rolling opening Powerpoint of events for teachers and students
as well as the following workshops:
  • A1 & B1 VCE Physics beyond the current mess, Neil Champion
  • A5 & C5 Shining light on Diffraction, Interference and Image Resolution, Dr Barbara McKinnon, Kew High School
  • A8 Uncertain Uncertainties, Theo Hughes, Monash University
  • B3 & C3 Using Log-books and Rubrics in scaffolding inquiry, Dino Cevolatti & Stuart Bird, Castlemaine Secondary School
  • B7 Designing SACs and assessments that aren't tests, Jane Coyle, St Columba's College
  • B11 and C11 Constructing DC Motors from the kit and Ideas on EPI Projects used, Gracie Saxena and Joshua Le, Manor Lakes P12 College
  • C1 Literacy from a physics education perspective, Neil Champion
  • C6 Minkowski Diagrams, Theo Hughes, Monash University
Material from other workshops will be uploaded as they become available.

Videos* of the two addresses are now available:
  • Opening address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of telescopes by Dr Laura Wolz from University of Melbourne.  The first 21 mins is Vicphysics' rolling powerpoint and introductions.
  • Chief Assessor's address: Responding to short answer questions by Andrew Hansen, Ringwood Secondary College. The first 12 mins is Vicphysics' rolling powerpoint and introduction.
     * The videos are the slide presentations with accompanying audio.

2. On-Line Conference Evaluation
If you did not get the chance to drop evaluation slips in one of the boxes at the conference on Friday, you can still provide feedback on-line through this surveymonkey link.

Your comments are of value to conference organisers and presenters alike.

3. Tuesday, 12th March: Chief Assessor's Forum on the 2018 VCE Physics Exam, 5:00pm, University High School

Vicphysics and the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, would again like to provide teachers with the opportunity to hear about the full exam with an extended opportunity to ask questions and a chance to speak with Andrew.

The Chief Assessor's Forum is a question by question coverage of the students' responses to last year's Physics exam.  The event will also be streamed live.
The forum will start at 5:00pm, with a meal break at 6:30pm, commencing again at 7:15pm.  Dinner will be provided.
Cost: $60 to attend the event, including the meal. $30 to view online.
Venue: The Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences at University High School in Story St, Parkville.
Booking: You will need to book through Trybooking, check our website for details.

4.  Report of the 2018 VCE Physics Exam
The VCAA website now has the report of last year's exam.  For the section A multiple choice questions, the report supplies the percentage of students who chose each alternative as well as brief working.  For each of the section B questions, the report gives the percentage of students who were awarded 0 marks, 1 mark, etc. The comment section has brief working and any common errors.  There is no overall summative report.
The Vicphysics website has detailed solutions to assist students when using the paper as revision.  The solutions include a suggested marking scheme as well as additional revision questions that can be asked using the information in the stem of some of the exam questions.
5.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) Friday, 22nd February, Things that go bump in the night: fast radio bursts and the search for life beyond Earth, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Dr Daniel C Price, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Abstract: Thanks to new, more powerful technology, astronomers can search the skies faster and with more resolution than ever before.  In this public lecture, I will talk about two exciting fields in astronomy: the Search for Extraterrestrial  Intelligence (SETI), and Fast Radio Bursts. The SETI field has been reinvigorated by the 10-year, $100M Breakthrough Listen initiative to search for intelligent life beyond Earth. As a project scientist for Breakthrough Listen, I will introduce the program and detail how we are using new technology to run the most comprehensive search for intelligent life beyond Earth ever undertaken. I will also discuss a mysterious phenomenon known as fast radio bursts: incredibly bright but short-lived signals from distant galaxies, which escaped detection until recently. Could these signals be due to intelligent aliens, or is there an astrophysical explanation? I will give an overview of how a telescope upgrade will help us answer this question, and how Swinburne astronomers will play a leading role. Finally, I will discuss what evidence would convince us that there is indeed life beyond Earth, or that the Universe is ours alone to enjoy.
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here. Closes when maximum capacity reached.

b)  Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 5th March to Friday, 8th March, 2019
This year there will be an extra ride on offer: the Speedy Beetle located behind the Ferris Wheel.  It is a mini roller coaster that moves in a figure 8 with sharp rises and falls and a quick banked turn..
Bookings are now open .  Tuesday and Friday are filling fast, but there is plenty of room on Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be no aerobatic display this year, principally due to Roulette commitments with the Avalon Air Show.
Worksheets are available here.
Schools can also book a Pasco data logger for a half day by accessing the Ciderhouse website here.

Synchrotron Tours: The Australian Synchrotron is offering post excursion tours of the Synchrotron on each of the four days. The capacity of each tour is 25 and the times vary because of bookings earlier in the afternoon.
Tues, 5th March - 4:30pm (Full), Weds, 6th March - 5:30pm, Thurs, 7th March - 5:00pm, Fri, 8th March - 3:15pm.
To book, please email ANSTO.  Note: The Synchrotron is giving preference to regional schools.

c) Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2019
This year there will be two extra country breakfasts, in Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The dates, venues, speakers and topics are:
  • 22nd March, Ballarat Speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka, Monash University, Topic: Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics.
  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
  • Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.
For more details including flyers and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage

d) Friday, 29th March:
Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole  6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.

6.     Events for Teachers
a) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School

Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School.  The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants. 
 The event is for:

  • Teachers beginning their teaching career,
  • Teachers returning to physics teaching and
  • Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class
 The program will include:
  • Information on course planning, resources, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year's participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
  • Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.

To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has  information about last year's program.

7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletins of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
 a) The Search for Silicon's Successor

Jon Major assesses how the materials used to make solar photovoltaic cells have evolved from first-generation silicon up through thin films, perovskites and (maybe) beyond.

b) Solar Windows: Seeing through the glass, darkly
Windows that transform solar energy into electricity without plunging the rooms behind them into semi-darkness might sound too good to be true, but new techniques could yet make solar windows a common element in future urban architecture.
Back in 2010 Oxford PV was a small start-up with a big dream: it wanted to pioneer the market in solar windows. The idea of integrating sources of renewable energy directly into the buildings they power promised to transform the electrical grid – perhaps even realizing the goal of making cities carbon neutral on a relatively short timescale – and the company’s founders seemed well placed to turn it into reality. One of them, physicist Henry Snaith, had developed a dye-sensitized solar photovoltaic (PV) cell in his laboratory at the UK’s University of Oxford that was thin enough to be semi-transparent, while maintaining relatively high efficiencies. Using this material to make electricity-generating windows seemed like a logical next step.

c) It's all smoots and garns: Unusual physical units
SI units are a scientist’s best friend, but there are also some unusual scales of measurement available: The stories behind some of the world’s more weird and wonderful units

How much beauty does it take to launch a ship? How much does a male physicist’s beard grow in a second? And what is the optimal length of a lecture? These may not seem like typical phenomena you need to measure, but they’ve nonetheless inspired creative souls to forge new units of measurement.

They are just some of the weird scales that exist in the shadows of the formal SI units and their spin-offs. With the recent redefinition of our beloved kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole, now is the perfect moment to acknowledge those other units that escape the close scrutiny applied to scientific inquiry.


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