Today will still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity's deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in. Stephen Hawking
The Physics Department at St Columba’s College prides itself on providing an education that allows all students to appreciate and enjoy Physics.
Lessons are primarily investigation-led, with all students participating in practical and ICT-based classes. This, together with a background in thorough theoretical skills and good scientific habits, leads the students confidently into further study.
At Key Stage 3, all students follow a two-year science course based on the National Curriculum. The course is taught in modules of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, so the students obtain a feel for each of the individual subjects. There is an emphasis on literacy, scientific method and independent research, which encourages students to explain, apply and evaluate concepts, rather than rote learning them.
This skills-based learning provides a platform from which to move on to the AQA GCSE specification in Form 3, giving three years to fully explore all the concepts and allow time for investigative skills to be developed. Students either study Triple Science (all three sciences, to give three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics) or Double Science (a mixture of all three sciences, to give two GCSEs in Science and Additional Science). Both options are comprised of 25% coursework. The topics covered include Energy, Forces and Making Things Move.
The Physics Department has a strong intake at AS with significant numbers going on to study Physics and Physics-related degrees at university, including Engineering and Architecture. As a highly sought-after A level with a reputation for academic rigour and logical thinking, Physics opens doors to many careers, from Engineering, Biomedical Sciences and Geophysics to Management Consultancy, Law and Accountancy.
At A level, the Department follows the OCR Physics A specification, which gives a good grounding in a wide variety of key Physics topics. At AS level, these include Physical Quantities and Units, Scalars and Vectors, Kinematics and Linear Motion, Electric Current, Resistance, DC Circuits, Waves, and Quantum Physics.
The topics studied at A2 level include Newton’s Laws and Momentum, Circular Motion and Oscillations, and Thermal Physics, Electric and Magnetic Fields, Capacitors and Exponential Decay, Nuclear Physics, Medical Imaging and Modelling the Universe.
All students are fully supported throughout their courses with regular lunchtime clinics and revision sessions in the run-up to exams. Additionally, the Department runs extra-curricular clubs for the Lego First League, Computer Programming, Crest Awards and, for A level students, the British Physics Olympiad and Experimental Project. As part of the philosophy that all students should be able to enjoy Physics, the Department runs annual trips to Science Alive! lectures in London and Thorpe Park to understand and enjoy the physics of rollercoasters!