Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
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The video of the VCAA presentation on the changes to the study design for 2020 by Maria James, the Science Curriculum Manager, is now available. Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020 sometime during the school holidays.  Details are being finalised and will be announced in the next newsletter.

There are also some more resources to help with online teaching and learning, in particular the 'Physics Teaching Podcast', which should be worth checking several times a year for new podcasts.


The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 10th June by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O'Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
  1.  Video of VCAA presentation
  2. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  •   The Physics Teaching Podcast
  •   Google Jamboard
  •   SparkVue
        3. International Day of Light: Activities and Resources
        4.  Accessing Physics Education Research: PERbites
        5.
Events for Students and General Public
  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 - 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition - Revamped for online
        6. Physics News from the Web 
  • 60th anniversary of the invention of the laser
  • The blue solution: Developments in laser technology
  • Lidar tracks mosquito behaviour by monitoring wingbeats
       
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1.  Video of VCAA Presentation
VCAA held a webinar last week on the changes to the Physics Study Design to operate for the remainder of 2020.  The video is now available here. There is an introduction by the VCAA Curriculum Manager before Maria James covers the changes to the Study Design and addresses the questions that were submitted prior to the webinar.

Teachers should check out the study design either on the VCAA website or on our Vicphysics website, where there are additional resources.  Vicphysics has produced a summary of the changes to the study design that will apply in 2020.  We have also compiled a spreadsheet of the past paper questions from the November exam papers and the NH exam papers for the years 2017 - 2019 that students can skip when using these papers for revision. Core sections of exam papers prior to 2017 can be used unchanged.  The summary and the spreadsheet are on our 'online learning' webpage.

Vicphysics has prepared a teaching schedule for Unit 4, based on exams starting in early December and a delayed start to teaching Unit 4 to give more time to consolidate Unit 3 and also hold mid year exams.

Vicphysics was going to organise a Q&A session for teachers with Maria James, but we have decided that a more substantial webinar in the school holidays will be more productive.  The event will run for at least a half day. Details of the date, time and the program will be in the next newsletter.


2.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
These resources plus all those listed in previous newsletters are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  • The Physics Teaching Podcast is a UK website with a new podcast each week.  Many of them in March and April 2020 were about remote learning and 'Lockdown lessons'. The website goes back to Oct 2018, so there is a lot to choose from.  Some are about the UK Curriculum and use unfamiliar acronyms, but many are relevant to other jurisdictions.  Each title has a paragraph description and the running times vary from 15 - 30 minutes.  There is no search function.
  • Google Jamboard.  A number of teachers has found this 'whiteboard' app very useful and versatile when conducting online classes.  A teacher writes 'I am going to create boards for groups of students to work in collaboratively and share the links via google classroom. Students can draw and write equations using their touchpad. There is also an iPad app. Once complete they can save their work as a PDF and submit as a group assignment. I can also go into their boards and watch them work in real-time. The sharing settings work the same as other google docs/sheets/slides and changes are saved to your drive. Could be useful for teachers who don't have access to other whiteboard services.'
  • SparkVue is a versatile data analysis tool by Pasco for use on mobile phones that has been popular for several years and has been continuously enhanced in capability.

The Online Learning webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

 Return to top

 
3.  International Day of Light: Activities and Resources
The International Day of Light was Saturday, 16th May.   Quite a lot of educational material has been brought together.  The resources page  has four sets of activities i) Light and Astronomy, where you can select activities by age, duration, type of task, etc.  ii) A 165 page Light lab manual of activities,  iii) 100 activities on light and photonics and iv) several hands-on activities.  The Light lab manual has 40 activities with instructions and worksheets.
4. Accessing Physics Education Research: PERbites
PERbites is a website that aims to make physics education research meaningful and accessible to all.  There are many research summaries and a couple selected readings.
Summaries include:
  • Online vs live demonstrations, does it make a difference?, (March 4, 2020)
  • Students like Active Learning less, but learn more, (Nov 14, 2019)
  • Making pulsar science accessible to students, (Oct 1, 2019)
  • Virtual labs vs Physical labs, does it matter? (April 24, 2019)
  • Transitioning between tables, equations and graphs in physics and maths (Aug 29, 2018)
5. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 - 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is 'The Big Ideas saving the Planet'.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher's resources and Writing tips.

b) Big Science Competition - Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a '50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall'.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.
 
6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
 a) And then there was light : 60th Anniversary of the invention of the laser
The laser’s early years were full of scientific creativity, public-relations spin and intense rivalry. The article
describes how a then little-known scientist, Ted Maiman, became the first person to design and build a working laser – and how the competitiveness of that period persists to this day. The article is a good context for energy level transitions.
b) The blue solution: Developments in laser technology

Powerful blue lasers are producing the high-quality copper welds needed to make batteries for electric vehicles
c) Lidar tracks mosquito behaviour by monitoring wingbeats

Lidar technology has been used to monitor how mosquito activity varies throughout the day in a natural African landscape.  The characteristic wingbeat frequencies of mosquitoes varies between male and female mosquitoes and between different species. Determining the sex of an insect is important because only female mosquitoes bite.
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