Experimental Sciences: Physics

Physics SL

Some of the theories included in Physics SL can be traced back 2,500 years; others around 300 years ago due to the elaboration of mathematical theories and to the refinement of instruments of observation. Some others were expressed during the first half of the last century.

Physics SL is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. At Stratford Hall, both theory and experiments are investigated and practiced by students. The program allows students to develop traditional practical skills and techniques, and to increase facility in the use of mathematics – the language of physics. It is also aimed at realizing the unparalleled power of scientific knowledge and the global responsibility of scientists to transform and develop sustainable societies.

Grade 11: Five Topics

Grade 12: Three Topics and One Option

Measurements and Uncertainties

Mechanics (Topic 2)

Thermal Physics (Topic 3)

Waves (Topic 4)

Electricity and Magnetism (Topic 5)

Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics
(Topic 7)

Energy Productions (Topic 8)

Astrophysics (Option D)

Objectives and Practices
Physics SL comprises two portions: theory and practical work. The course focuses on developing students’ skills in problem solving, critical thinking, investigation design, data analysis, and collaboration, as well as information and communication technology skills. The development of theoretical understanding and of the analysis of data based on questions and problem solving follows each major topic covered. In addition to learning the physical theories, students explore the historical development of physical principals and how these principles have been applied to design and construct materials; they reflect on the impact these materials have had on the daily lives of human beings around the world. Students complete 40 hours of practical work, which consists of a series of laboratory investigations and formal lab reports. The practical work aims to develop students’ data analysis skills while complementing the theory portion of the course.

Students will be formatively and summatively assessed, using Stratford Hall’s Approaches to Learning rubric, the course rubrics, the IB rubrics for Internal Assessment, and using the Group 4 grade descriptors on a scale of 1-7. Students’ final mark out of 7 is based on their achievement on three externally assessed exams (80%) written at the end of their second year, and on an internally assessed investigation (20%) completed in the middle of their second year.

External Assessment

Internal Assessment

Paper 1: (45-minute multiple choice exam) 20%

Paper 2: (75-minute short exam) 40%

Paper 3: (1-hour short exam) 20%

An independent investigation designed, conducted and analyzed by each student (10 hours approx.) – 20% of final mark.