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Year 9 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

Key concepts of physics
Use SI units for quantities
Be able to convert between units
Use significant figures and standard form
Motion and forces
Understand vectors and scalars
Recall velocity is speed in a direction
Recall the equations for speed and acceleration 
Analyse velocity time graphs
Recall and use Newtons laws of motion
Calculate weight from mg
Understand the forces acting on objects undergoing centripetal force.
Understand that every action has an equal and opposite reaction
Describe momentum in elastic and inelastic collisions
Understand factors effecting stopping distances
Conservation of energy
Use equations to calculate GPE and KE
Interpret energy transfer diagrams
Conservation of energy
Calculate efficiency and understand how efficiency can be increased
Understand energy sources

Spring Term

Waves transfer energy without transferring matter
Understand the terms amplitude, wavelength, period, frequency, speed of a wave
Apply the wave speed equation
Calculate depth from time and velocity
Describe reflection, refraction and TIR
Recall that different substances may absorb, transmit, refract or reflect waves in ways that vary with wavelength
Understand audible sound frequencies and ultra and infra sound
Explain uses of ultrasound and infrasound, including sonar, foetal scanning and exploration of the Earth’s core
Light and the EM spectrum
Explain how colour of light is related to a differential absorption at surfaces b transmission of light through filters
Relate the power of a lens to its focal length and shape
Use ray diagrams to show the similarities and differences in the refraction of light by converging and diverging lenses
Recall that all electromagnetic waves are transverse, that they travel at the same speed in a vacuum
Describe the electromagnetic spectrum as continuous from radio waves to gamma rays and that the radiations within it can be grouped in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing frequency
Describe the harmful effects on people of excessive exposure to electromagnetic radiation
Describe some uses of electromagnetic radiation
Recall that radio waves can be produced by, or can themselves induce, oscillations in electrical circuits

Summer Term

Describe an atom as a positively charged nucleus, consisting of protons and neutrons, surrounded by negatively charged electrons
Describe the structure of nuclei of isotopes using the terms atomic (proton) number and mass (nucleon) number
Recall the relative masses and relative electric charges of protons, neutrons, electrons and positrons
Explain that electrons change orbit when there is absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation
Recall that alpha, β– (beta minus), β+ (positron), gamma rays and neutron radiation are emitted from unstable nuclei in a random process
Recall that alpha, β– (beta minus), β+ (positron) and gamma rays are ionising radiations
Explain what is meant by background radiation
Describe methods for measuring and detecting radioactivity limited to photographic film and a Geiger–Müller tube
Compare alpha, beta and gamma radiations in terms of their abilities to penetrate and ionise
Describe how and why the atomic model has changed over time including reference to the plum pudding model and Rutherford alpha particle scattering leading to the Bohr model
Explain the effects on the atomic (proton) number and mass (nucleon) number of radioactive decays (α, β, γ and neutron emission)
Explain that the half-life of a radioactive isotope is the time taken for half the undecayed nuclei to decay or the activity of a source to decay by half
Describe uses of radioactivity
Describe the dangers of ionising radiation in terms of tissue damage and possible mutations and relate this to the precautions needed
Describe the differences between contamination and irradiation effects and compare the hazards associated with these two
Explain some of the uses of radioactive substances in diagnosis of medical conditions, including PET scanners and tracers
Recall that nuclear reactions, including fission, fusion and radioactive decay, can be a source of energy
Describe nuclear fusion as the creation of larger nuclei resulting in a loss of mass from smaller nuclei, accompanied by a release of energy, and recognise fusion as the energy source for stars

Trigger Popup


We continue to invite parents to come and visit Thorpe House School whilst we operate a phased return for our pupils. Our Admissions team is available to answer any questions you may have about joining the school and the Headmaster would be delighted to give you a tour of the site. Please contact our Registrar on [email protected] to arrange a chat or visit.