3. Online Revision courses from Quantum Victoria
1. Vicphysics Networking Event
The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network invites physics teachers and others interested in physics education to gather in an informal setting for a series of dinners with a guest speaker. The guest speakers will address diverse topics touching on curriculum, pedagogy and the discipline itself. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in discussion and network with colleagues over dinner.
The first occasion will be on Wednesday, 9th June at the Auburn Hotel at 85 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn starting at 6:00pm.
The speaker will be Dr Victoria Millar from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.
Topic: What is the role of physics education and how does that determine the elements of a physics curriculum?
This is particularly opportune as VCAA moves into the consultation phase later this year for the study design to be implemented in 2023.
Dr Millar is a senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Education and has been at the University since 2011. Prior to that she taught Physics in schools in Victoria. Her research interests are in physics and science education, particularly science participation, curriculum and interdisciplinarity.
The cost is $435 ($30 for Vicphysics subscribers) and covers a main course and drinks.
For more details and to book click here.
Return to top
2. Teachers' Websites and Call to share ideas
The last newsletter featured an item on teachers who have set up their own websites and made their work available online for other teachers. The item listed their names.
The list of their websites is on the Vicphysics website, which is in the Teachers section under 'General Resources', then 'Useful Websites and Youtube videos'.
Another has been added to the list, a website by Yuriy Verkhatsky.
ACTION: It has been suggested that it would be useful to set up a discussion group of people interested in or active in producing their own videos. Some questions to consider are: i) how are you doing it?, ii) what software are you using?, iii) what audio set up? and iv) do your students submit video?
There has been some interest, so a Zoom meeting will be set up shortly. If you like to participate, please contact Vicphysics .
Return to top
Quantum Victoria has developed a series of VCE Physics Online Modules and Online Revision Courses which are aligned to the VCAA Study Design and are available for schools to use as a resource with their students.
The Modules and the Courses are interactive to engage students as they work through the content. These can be accessed at school or at home.
The Modules provide an overview of the content in each AOS in a particular Unit. Teachers can use each Module as an additional resource with their students during their teaching. The Unit 3 Modules are available now.
The Revision Courses assist teachers in identifying the strengths and areas for improvement in student learning. They also provide the classroom teacher with individual student and class data generated by the pre and post tests, allowing the teacher to view how well their students progressed through the course content, including how many attempts the students made to answer each question and if the students utilised the 'hint' function.
The Unit 3 Modules and Revision courses are available now.
Information on the Online Modules and the Online Revision Courses and how to register your class groups is available here. There is no cost.
For more details of the Quantum Victoria offerings click here . For queries about the resources email here.
The Unit 1 Revision Course will be available by May 28th and Units 2 and 4 Revision Courses will be available by the 6th of September. These Online resources have been developed to support teachers as they prepare their students for the upcoming exams.
4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
The Vicphysics Teachers' Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.
There are two schools seeking a physics teacher:
The webpage details the Loreto position and has a link to the Government careers website for information about the Cohuna position.
- Loreto Mandeville Hall (closes 13th May)
- Cohuna Secondary College (closes 17th May)
The webpage is updated every weekend. The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and lodge a payment for this service.
5. Vicphysics Subscriptions
The free introductory offer has lapsed. To now access the Teachers resources section of the website a paid subscription is required. Details are at the bottom of the home page.
7. Events for Teachers a) VCE lectures, 4:30pm, Wednesdays, University of Melbourne
This series of lectures are held on Wednesdays about once a fortnight at a new time of 4:30pm and because of COVID students need to register to attend and they can also register to access the lectures on-line. For details of the full program check here.
i) Protecting Astronauts from Ionising Radiation on the Mission to Mars, 4:30pm, Wednesday, 12th May
Speaker: Prof Susanna Guatelli (University of Wollongong and 2021 AIP Women in Physics Lecturer)
Abstract: Human missions to Mars have been identified as a main goal of human exploration by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group. The roadmap to the human exploration of Mars started with the International Space Station mission about twenty years ago and is envisaged to continue with a human outpost on the Moon and finally with a mission to Mars within the next twenty years.
A human mission to Mars would expose astronauts to serious health hazards, including acute and late risks caused by exposure to cosmic radiation, eventually leading to cancer and death. The design of shielding solutions and of powerful and accurate radiation monitoring systems are subjects of research to facilitate the human exploration of the Solar System.
However, the testing of proposed novel technologies on Earth is limited as there is no facility capable of producing the cosmic radiation the astronauts would encounter in space.
So how do we make sure our astronauts will be safe? Professor Guatelli will be taking students through her research here on Earth.
Notes from previous lectures on topics including relativity, electricity and nuclear energy from recent years are also available at the website.
ii) The Biggest Explosions of the Universe, 4:30pm, Weds 26th May
Venue: Medley Theatre/online, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne
To register for audience tickets or to view the lecture online, click here. Registration is required
Speakers: Dr Hannah Middleton and Dr Nichole Barry
Join astrophysicists, Hannah Middleton and Nichole Barry, as they discuss Black Holes colliding and the greatest explosion we have ever known, the Big Bang! Find out about the basic physics used to measure and understand these out of this world events.
Venue: Medley Theatre/online, Redmond Barry Building, University of Melbourne
To register for audience tickets or to view the lecture online, click here Registration is required
b) Girls in STEM: Empowering Curiosity - Friday, 18th June
An event for girls in Years 9 to 10:
This event explore females in STEM careers with an emphasis on the importance of mathematics required for success. Students will hear from leading industry experts in a range of fields about their experiences working in a STEM focused career.
- An opportunity to be inspired by women who have forged impressive careers in STEAM industries.
- Engage in hands-on activities to stimulate interest and engagement in STEAM based careers.
Experts will share their stories; the journey they took, the contributions they have made, the impact of being a female, tips for success, and how to overcome obstacles along the way.
The importance of mathematics in VCE subject selection, university degrees and in STEM careers is addressed. An interactive panel discussion follows the individual presentations.
Students will then engage in two hands-on STEM based activities that require students to be curious and creative, delivered by our supporting partners. One activity includes a hands on engineering experience run by 'Engineers without Borders'.
Please note that morning tea is provided. Teachers and students will need to BYO lunch. (Subject to change according to COVID safe plans)
Venue: Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School
Cost: $35 /$25 per student. Max 20 students per school
To register: click here . For more information click here.
c) Victorian Young Physicists' Tournament - Registrations now open
VYPT is back this year with a number of changes. For those not familiar with VYPT. It is a competition for students in Years 10 and 11. During Terms 2 and 3, in teams of 3, the students experimentally investigate a common set of three topics, then on Sunday, 12th September in a series of one-on-one 30 minute contests with other teams, they describe their method, explain their findings, and question and challenge the presentations of others.
The topics for 2021 are:
These topics are engaging, accessible at different levels, don't require a lot of equipment and not restricted to the science classroom. They are an ideal challenge for keen students.
- Conical Piles Non-adhesive granular materials can be poured such that they form a cone-like pile. Investigate the parameters that affect the formation of the cone and the angle it makes with the ground.
- Saxon Bowl A bowl with a hole in its base will sink when placed in water. The Saxons used this device for timing purposes. Investigate the parameters that determine the time of sinking.
- Falling Tower: Identical discs are stacked one on top of another to form a freestanding tower. The bottom disc can be removed by applying a sudden horizontal force such that the rest of the tower will drop down onto the surface and the tower remains standing. Investigate the phenomenon and determine the conditions that allow the tower to remain standing.
The features of the competition are:
Prizes: There is a prize for every student, with major prizes for top place getters and a trophy for the winning team.
- it is team based,
- focused on experimental investigations and
- uses oral presentations.
Mentors: This year sees the involvement of university students, who will not only assist teachers on the judging panels, but will be available as mentors to the teams. Teachers will be able to request a mentor for each team when they register.
Venue: University of Melbourne
Registration: This year there is a fee: $20 per team for a Vicphysics subscriber, $40 per team for a non-subscriber. Registrations are now open and will close on 23rd July, see links to 'Teachers' below.
Note: One teacher for every two teams needs to be nominated, who will be a member of the judging panels on the day.
Travel Subsidy will be available for regional schools.
Live-Streaming: Vicphysics has received funding from Inspiring Victoria to enable one of the contests in each round to be streamed. The registration form includes a section on approval to be part of the live streaming.
For further details, there are four relevant webpages on the Vicphysics website:
d) The Exciton Solar Cell Challenge
- For general information,
- For teachers to register teams, along with advice on planning, including a promotional flyer and a link to the video of Physics Teachers' Conference workshop with a discussion among a panel of teachers who have participated before.
- For students, with guide questions, hints and links to useful resources.
- For University students, interested in being judges and mentors.
The special features of the Exciton Solar Cell Challenge are:
The website has sections about key dates, information for teachers, digital copy of resources and a registration link. The kits sent to the schools has the two more difficult to acquire materials, the rest are common science equipment and chemicals.
- It is an experimental challenge for Year 7-10 students in teams of 2 - 3.
- Students construct their own Dye Sensitised Solar Cell (DSSC) using a dye they source.
- Kits are sent to schools and students complete the challenge with teacher support (20 free kits per school, extra kits are $20 each) and then send in evidence of experimentation.
- This challenge is best for extension groups and STEM clubs.
- Prizes and certificates are sent to students upon challenge completion.
- The challenge is running through Terms 2-4 this year with a very flexible timeline.
When you register you can request a researcher to present an introductory zoom lesson (30 mins) for the students.
a) Dinner with Prof Susanna Guatelli, the 2021 AIP Women in Physics lecturer, 6:30pm, 12th May
After her VCE talk, see above, Vicphysics Teachers' Network and the Physics Dept at Melbourne University will be taking Prof Guatelli to dinner nearby.
If you would like to catch up with colleagues face to face and also speak to Prof Guatelli, please email Vicphysics.
b) Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
This talk is held at 4:00am Melbourne time, however a ticket purchase gives you on demand access to the lecture and the Q&A session for 12 months.
- How Time Works with Sean Carroll, 6pm, 3rd June. Prof Carroll is a Research Professor at CalTech.
Individual tickets are £13 (early booking rate) and there is a 25% discount on the series ticket.
8. Physics News from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) Are antimatter stars firing bullets of antihelium at Earth?
Fourteen possible antimatter stars (“antistars”) have been flagged up by astronomers searching for the origin of puzzling amounts of antihelium nuclei detected coming from deep space by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) on the International Space Station.
Antihelium-4 was created for the first time in 2011, in particle collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. At the time, scientists stated that if antihelium-4 were detected coming from space, then it would definitely have to come from the fusion process inside an antistar.
b) Polymer-based insulator could help maintain Moore’s law
A polymer-based insulator that conducts heat well and has an ultralow dielectric constant – two properties seldom seen in the same structure – could help dissipate waste heat in computer chips. The new material would be particularly beneficial in next-generation integrated circuits with components smaller than 10 nm, which generate more heat per unit area than current technologies can easily manage.
Materials with a small dielectric constant, known as “low-k” dielectrics, are crucial for minimizing electrical crosstalk between transistors on computer chips. All known dielectrics have low thermal conductivities, however, which means they can’t efficiently dissipate waste heat. The problem worsens as chips become smaller because not only are there more heat-generating transistors in a given area, they are also closer together, which makes it more difficult for heat to escape.
c) Fighting flat-Earth theory
Physicists will find it shocking, but there are plenty of people around the world who genuinely believe the Earth is flat. This article explores why such views are increasingly taking hold and how the physics community should best respond.
"Flat-Earthers seem to have a very low standard of evidence for what they want to believe but an impossibly high standard of evidence for what they don’t want to believe."
Return to top