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Year 10 Physics

Physics gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us and allows us to making informed decisions about many complex issues that affect us all every day from global warming to which fuel to choose for the future.  Although it is taught with a practical bias we do cover a huge range of subject matter over the three-year course. Mathematical understanding and the ability to manipulate equations is essential for this subject.


Physics is taught in a new bespoke physics laboratory and is of course taught by subject specialists who have enthusiasm for the subject matter.

Autumn Term

Recall that our Solar System consists of the Sun (our star), eight planets and their natural satellites (such as our Moon); dwarf planets; asteroids and comets
Describe how ideas about the structure of the Solar System have changed over time
Explain for circular orbits how the force of gravity can lead to changing velocity of a planet but unchanged speed
Compare the Steady State and Big Bang theories
Explain why the red-shift of galaxies provides evidence for the Universe expanding
Describe the evolution of stars of similar mass to the Sun
Describe the evolution of stars with a mass larger than the Sun 
Describe how methods of observing the Universe have changed over time including why some telescopes are located outside the Earth’s atmosphere
Forces doing work
Draw and interpret diagrams to represent energy transfers
Describe how to measure the work done by a force and understand that energy transferred (joule, J) is equal to work done (joule, J) work done (joule, J) = force (newton, N) × distance moved in the direction of the force (metre, m)
∆GPE = m× g ×∆h 
kinetic energy (joule, J) = 2 1 × mass (kilogram, kg) × (speed)2 ((metre/second)2, (m/s)2)
Define power as the rate at which energy is transferred and use examples to explain this definition power (watt, W) = work done (joule, J) ÷ time taken (second, s) calculate efficiency

Spring Term

Forces and their effects
Describe, with examples, how objects can interact
Use vector diagrams to illustrate resolution of forces, a net force, and equilibrium situations
Recall and use the principle of moments in situations where rotational forces are in equilibrium
Explain how levers and gears transmit the rotational effects of forces 
Explain ways of reducing unwanted energy transfer through lubrication
Electricity and circuits
Draw and use electric circuit diagrams representing them with the conventions of positive and negative terminals, and the symbols that represent cells, including batteries, switches, voltmeters, ammeters, resistors, variable resistors, lamps, motors, diodes, thermistors, LDRs and LEDs
Describe the differences between series and parallel circuits
Explain that potential difference (voltage) is the energy transferred per unit charge passed and hence that the volt is a joule per coulomb
E = Q×V
Explain that an electric current as the rate of flow of charge and the current in metals is a flow of electrons
Q = I ×t
V = I × R
Explain why, if two resistors are in series, the net resistance is increased, whereas with two in parallel the net resistance is decreased
Calculate the currents, potential differences and resistances in series circuits
Explain how current varies with potential difference
E = I ×V ×t
Explain how the power transfer in any circuit device is related to the potential difference across it and the current in it
P = I ×V
P = I2 × R 
Explain the difference between direct and alternating voltage
Explain the function of an earth wire and of fuses or circuit breakers in ensuring safety
Explain the dangers of providing any connection between the live wire and earth

Summer Term

Static electricity
Explain how an insulator can be charged by friction, through the transfer of electrons
Explain common electrostatic phenomena
Explain how earthing removes excess charge by movement of electrons
Describe some of the dangers of sparking in everyday situations, including fuelling cars, and explain the use of earthing to prevent dangerous build-up of charge
Describe the shape and direction of the electric field around a point charge and between parallel plates and relate the strength of the field to the concentration of lines
Magnetism and the motor effect
Explain the difference between permanent and induced magnets
Describe the use of plotting compasses to show the shape and direction of the field of a magnet and the Earth’s magnetic field
Recall that the strength of the field depends on the size of the current and the distance from the long straight conductor
Explain that magnetic forces are due to interactions between magnetic fields
Recall and use Fleming’s left-hand rule to represent the relative directions of the force, the current and the magnetic field for cases where they are mutually perpendicular
F = B× I ×l