1. Consultation Forum on the proposed Study Design
The draft of the proposed Physics Study Design has been released for consultation. Copies of the draft and a summary can be found on the VCAA website and on the Vicphysics website. There is also a questionnaire on the VCAA site. Consultation closes on 3rd August.
Vicphysics will be running an online forum on the proposed study design on Tuesday, 29th June, starting at 9:30am.
If you would like to participate, please email Vicphysics and the link will be sent to you closer to the day.
Structure of the Forum:
The forum will use breakout rooms throughout.
The program is:
10:00 Session 1: Options and key knowledge applications versus context and Socio-economic Area of Study. What is achieved by proposed changes? What is lost? Alternatives? Is a separate socio-economic area of study of value? (45 min)
11:00 Session 2: Key Knowledge Content and Key Skill changes: Moving Light as a Wave into Unit 2, Relativity as an area of study in Unit 4, changes to skills (45 min)
12:00 Session 3: Assessment: Increase in range of tasks for Units 1 & 2, reduction of range of tasks for Units 3 & 4, change in weighting (30 minutes). Groups focus on either Units 1 & 2 or Units 3 & 4.
1:30 Session 4: Key knowledge in all four Units - Critique and feedback . Appropriateness? Correctness? (45 min) Groups focus on either Units 1 & 2 or Units 3 & 4.
2:30 Session 5: Characteristics of Study, Cross-study skills, Terms used in Study - Critique and feedback . (45 min)
Each breakout room will have its own google doc to record its discussion, while each chat room will be saved by the chair of group.
Registered participants will be allocated to a particular break out room and they can choose which sessions throughout the day that they wish to contribute to. The google docs and chat room comments will be compiled and distributed to participants afterwards. Material to assist with discussion in each of the sessions is being finalised and will be sent to participants on Thursday.
We hope teachers will take advantage of this opportunity
2. Earth's Energy Imbalance has doubled in 14 years.
This story appeared in newspapers last week. The articles are based on a joint NASA / NOAA report . The graphics and the data from the report should be meaningful to physics students and should generate some calculation questions.
The research used CERES satellite data to measure the difference between the incoming solar radiation and the outgoing terrestrial radiation to give the 'Net Top of the Atmosphere' (Net TOA) radiation and expressed this imbalance in units of W/sqm.
They also measured the Planetary Heat Uptake by measuring the rate at which the oceans are heating up.
As the graphic shows there is good agreement between the two measures.
3. 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 for schools seeking a physics teacher:
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.
4. Vicphysics Subscriptions
- Mount Clear College (closes 29th June)
- Dromana Secondary College (closes 29th June)
- Wallan Secondary College (closes 24th June)
- East Doncaster Secondary College (closes 23rd June)
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.
a) Victorian Young Physicists' Tournament - Registrations close 23rd July
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:
b) 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.
6. Events for Teachers
Talk, Dinner and Catching up, 6:00pm, Weds, 25th August
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 has been re-scheduled to Wednesday, 25th August 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 with a revised 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 $35 ($30 for Vicphysics subscribers) and covers a main course and drinks.
For more details and to book click here.
7. Physics News from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
An interview with Prof Al-Khalili. professor of theoretical physics at the University of Surrey and an award-winning science communicator.
b) Free on-line lectures from PhysicsWorld's Quantum Week. Topics that might interest are: i) Building quantum processors and networks atom by atom, ii) A road map for the quantum internet among others.
c) Helgoland and the origins of quantum theory A podcast interview with Prof Carlo Rovelli about his latest book.
In June 1925 Werner Heisenberg retreated to Helgoland in the North Sea, a treeless island offering the 23-year-old German physicist a space to think, along with some respite from the extreme hay fever he was suffering. On that remote outpost, Heisenberg had an idea that would revolutionize physics and bring profound implications for philosophy and technology. This was an event that would kickstart quantum mechanics.
Helgoland is the title of the latest book by physicist and science writer Carlo Rovelli. It is essentially a journey through the origins of quantum physics, interwoven with narrative about Heisenberg, Dirac, Einstein and the other luminaries from the first quantum generation. Rovelli also discusses his own interpretations of the quantum world, and connects quantum theory with diverse ideas, from Buddhist thinking to the grand themes of the Russian revolution.
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