Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
Hi *|FNAME|*,
This is a Bumper Issue with a good number of in-depth items.
  • Conference follow up: Additional notes on the study design to address questions raised,
  • Compilations of exam questions by Colin Hopkins for use in revision,
  • Physics numbers,
  • Investigations using cheap and simple equipment,
  • Resources from Perimeter Institute.
The next PD event is the Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service on 11th April.

There are three schools seeking physics teachers.  Also note the story on Russian scientists condemning the Ukraine invasion.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics committee will be on Wednesday, 9th March online at 5:30pm.  If you wish to attend please email Vicphysics.

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

Table of Contents
       1.  Revised VCE Physics Study Design: Conference Follow up
       2. Past Papers Packaged by Colin Hopkins
       3. Participation in VCE Physics: Latest Figures
       4. Physics on the cheap: the secret to the best (undergraduate) science projects
       5.  Perimeter Institute resources that bridge Physics and Chemistry

       6. A Survey: Supporting Physics in Years 7 - 10 Science
       7. Vicphysics matters
  • Subscriptions
  • Tutor Listing Service
       8.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position? (3 positions)
       9. Events for Students
  • Physics Days at Luna Park, Tuesday 8th March to Friday, 11th March - Aerobatic Displays
  • Moon Camp Challenge
      10. Events for Teachers
  • Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service, Monday, 11th April at John Monash Science School
       11. Physics News from the Web 
  • Gravitational time dilation measured on millimetre scale in atomic clocks
  • How do you measure the mass of a neutrino?
  • Russian scientists condemn Ukraine invasion
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1. Revised VCE Physics Study Design: Conference follow up

At this year's Physics Teachers' Conference, Maria James spoke on the revised study design. If you did not register for the conference, you can still do so and get access to the videos of all presentations.

Following the conference Maria prepared this additional material to address the questions raised during her presentation.

  • Additional Notes on Revised Study Design : The three page article provides examples of assessment tasks and addresses questions raised about indicative grades, statistical moderation and SACs.
  • During this year Vicphysics will be preparing support material.  To begin with a short piece on the Connections between Assessments Tasks across the Study Design has been prepared.
These are on the Vicphysics website in two locations: one location on Course Planning for subscribers and a temporary location on News for non-subscribers.  Both of these can be accessed from the home page .

Return to top

2.  Past Papers Packaged by Colin Hopkins
Colin Hopkins OAM has been collecting Victorian physics exam papers for a number of decades. He also has a large number of exam papers from other states.
In recent years Colin has provided selected extracts from these papers for various physics topics and provided them to beginning physics teachers who requested his support.
He has now processed the full set of questions, allocating them to specific topics, for example Newton’s Laws and coding each question for the type of question as to whether it is multiple choice, calculation or an explanation question.
He is very kindly making this extensive resource available to Vicphysics subscribers. The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is very appreciative of Colin’s tireless efforts in supporting physics teachers and his generosity in providing this material. 
The questions for each topic are in a separate file in Word for easy cutting and pasting by teachers.
Each file includes:

  • An Introductory table (see example below) with columns for
    • Question number in order in this file
    • Source and Year,
    • Multiple choice with the question number in the actual paper, which is the link to the question,
    • Short Answer with the question number in the actual paper, which is the link to the question,
    • Concept or idea, e.g. Newton’s 3rd Law or connected bodies,
    • Number of marks,
    • The average score on the question as a percentage and
    • Type of question from Explanation, Calculation or Conceptual
  • The questions in number order
  • Solutions in number order in two column format.
No Paper Multiple Choice Short Answer Idea Marks % Type
1 2021   4 Newton’s 3rd law 2 NA Explanation
2 2021   8a Fnet = ma 3 NA Calculation
3 2021 NH   8a Inclined plane, draw forces 3 NA Concept
5 2020 9   Newton’s 3rd law 1 49% Explanation

Each Area of Study has its own webpage. Subscribers can click here to access the resources.  The 'Past Papers Packaged by Colin Hopkins' webpage is in the 'Teachers' section, under 'Revision and Exams'.

3.  Participation in VCE Physics: Latest Figures
Last week VCAA released the 2021 statistical information on Enrolments and Satisfactory Completion numbers for Units 1 to 4  .The number of males increased by about 400 and the number of females dropped by about 100.  The total numbers were the highest for six years. The graph below shows the trend in the participation in physics expressed as a percentage of the age cohort.  This measure removes any variation due to the birth rate and the retention rate to Year 12.

Other graphs of interest are i) the percentage of students doing Unit 2 who do Unit 3 the following year and ii) the percentage of Year 10 students who do Unit 1 Physics the following year.  These graphs have higher values than those for Chemistry, except for the percentage of Year 10 girls choosing Unit 1 Chemistry which is about 20% compared to Physics 6%.

These graphs and those of other VCE Sciences and Maths subjects are discussed on the Vicphysics website here. 4. Physics on the Cheap: The secret to the best (undergraduate) science projects
This is the title of a recent article in Physics World and while the word 'undergraduate' is in the title, many of the suggestions are suitable to VCE physics. The article was initiated by a request from a physics student in Kenya.
The article lists several sources including:
There is also much useful advice in the article.
5. Perimeter Institute Resources that bridge Chemistry and Physics
Perimeter Institute has developed resources that would be of use for the  following topics:
6.A Survey: Supporting Physics in Years 7 – 10 Science
A team of researchers: Dr Victoria Millar and Dr Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach (the University of Melbourne), Dr Jared Carpendale (Massey University), Dr John Cripps-Clark (Deakin University) and Dr Bec Cooper (Monash University) are conducting a joint project about the teaching and learning of physics in Years 7-10 in Victoria.

They are inviting teachers to take part in the project.
They are seeking the views of practising science and physics teachers on the teaching of Year 7 – 10 physics topics. Additionally, they are exploring the role that physics teachers have on the design and support of physics-based units in these years.

If you are keen to be involved please complete this survey.

7. Vicphysics matters
  • Subscriptions: Vicphysics has changed its subscription model.  From now on, subscriptions will last for a year from the day payment is received. 
  • Tutor Listing Service: The website has a Tutor Listing Service.  There are now four tutors listed.  If you tutor and wish to add your name to the list, please check the website.
8.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 is three (3) schools seeking a physics teacher:
  • Upwey High School (closes 15th March)
  • Mornington Secondary College (closes 1st March)
  • Homestead Senior Secondary College (Point Cook) (closes 27th February)
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.
9. Events for Students
a) Physics Days at Luna Park: Tues 8th March to Fri, 11th March - Aerobatic Displays
This year Physics Days at Luna Park will be on the above dates.  You can  make a booking here

The cost will be $29.50 per student with teachers free.  Schools are invoiced after the event based on the  number of your students who pass through the turnstiles.

There will be aerobatic displays on both Thursday, 10th and Friday, 11th.   On each day the Display will be at 10:00am with the Physics Day at Luna Park starting at 10:30am and finishing at 2:30pm.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the days will start at 10:00am and finish at 2:00pm.

Details about worksheets including ones for the aerobatic display, costs, etc. are on our website.

b) Moon Camp Challenge
Moon Camp is an education project run in collaboration between European Space agency (ESA ) and the Airbus Foundation, in partnership with Autodesk. Students are challenged to design their own Moon settlement with the free 3D modelling tool, Tinkercad.  It features preparatory classroom activities that focus on learning by design and science experimentation.
There are three levels of challenge from beginner to advanced for students from upper primary to senior secondary, with at least two levels available to any student.
Students can compete in teams of up to 6.
Registrations opened last year and entries are due by 21st April, 2022.
10. Events for Teachers
a) Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service, Monday, 11th April at John Monash Science School
The Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service will be held during the Term 1 holidays on Monday, 11th April. 
The program will include practical activities demonstrated by experienced teachers, Sessions on teaching techniques and assessment strategies along with a presentation by the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen on preparing students for the VCE Physics exam.
Cost: $40 which includes lunch. ($20 for Vicphysics subscribers)
Information about the program and the link to register can be found here.
11.   Physics News 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) Gravitational time dilation measured on millimetre scale in atomic clocks
Two teams time dilation with atomic clocks.  One team observde tiny differences in how gravity affects atoms separated by less than 1 cm in height. One of the teams hopes that its practical technique could allow atomic clocks to be used more widely in applications such as geodesy and  gravitational wave detection. The second group is the first to demonstrate that time runs slower at the bottom of a millimetre-sized atomic ensemble than it does at the top – further confirming a prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
b) How do you measure the mass of the neutrino?
Interview with a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory whose experiments give a new upper limit to the mass of the neutrino.
c) Russian scientists condemn Ukraine invasion
Over 650 Russian scientists and science journalists have signed an open letter calling Russia’s war against Ukraine “unfair and senseless” and stating that there is no “rational justification” for the invasion.
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Our mailing address is:

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