Categories: A. Vcaa b. Physics Exams

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Current Items from Previous “Vicphysics News”

Updated March 2016

Check below for full details on each of the following items.



B. Physics Exams

C. Professional Development

D. Resources and Events for Teachers

E. Events for Students

F. General Information

A1. Physics in the National Curriculum: a Discussion paper

A2. Want to be a VCE Exam Marker?

A3. Popularity of Detailed Studies in 2013

A4. 50 years of Year 12 Physics: A personal perspective on course design and assessment by Dr Syd Boydell

A5 Video of VCE Physics Implementation Workshop in 2015

Physics Exams

B1. VCAA Examination Results Service. “How did my students go on Q’n 5 of the June paper?”

B2. Responses, critiques and solutions

B3. Distribution of Letter Grades and Grade Points in the Exams

B4. Revision strategies, Advice for students and Course summaries
Professional Development

C1. Free access to “Physics Education”, one of the best physics teacher journals

C2. Postcode list of teachers, schools and Detailed Studies

C3. Conference Proceedings: STAV/Vicphysics Physics Teachers Conferences

C4 Material from the Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service

C5. How do you advise students doing Unit 2 without Unit 1 or Units 3 &4 without Units 1 & 2?

C6. Socio-economic background and doing Physics: The UK experience

Resources and Events for Teachers

(Note some items have been deleted as the links are no longer available)

D1. Nuclear Energy website established by Physics Dept, University of Melbourne

D2. “Physics Review” a UK magazine for students available in Australia

D3. Astrophysics resources at CSIRO (also see Nos 26 and 43 below)

D5. Producing colour with sticky tape and 2 Polaroid filters: A Conference follow up

D7. AIP Monthly Meetings

D8. Mythbusters: Science on TV

D12. Web resources from the Harry Messel International Science School

D14. Lunar Olympics: A NASA initiative!

D15. Results of Pirelli Relativity Challenge: The international multimedia competition

D16. “Do we need Nuclear Power” A Physics Forum

D17. More Astrophysics Resources

D18. Science Updates from the ABC

D22. UK Website to help new Physics Teachers

D23. Victorian Space Science Education Centre

D24. Teaching Medical Physics: An archived resource

D30. Physics on

D32. Nova: Science in the News: Thinking ahead – fusion energy for the 21st century?

D35. Scientists in Schools Scheme

D36. Physics for our Future: video broadcasts on the internet

D37. Latest NOVA: Science in the News Site: Quantum computers, why would you want one?

D38. “Why is it so?” Sumner Miller videos now on the ABC website

D39. Video of the Double Slit Experiment with Electrons

D40. Astronomy material from WA

D41. Multimedia resources for Mechanics from University of New South Wales

D42. Multimedia Resources for the Sciences from WGBH Education Foundation

D43. A Moon Clock Resource

D44. Using Dark Matter to teaching Circular Motion and Gravitation (movie and resources)

D45. The Naked Scientists

D46. PULSE: PULsar Student Exploration online at Parkes

D47. The Seven Wonders of Science and Technology

D48. “ScienceAlert” An Australian Science news website

D49. “Alternative Energy” resource that also aids Africa: “Letting Chibobo Shine”

D50. Student Misconceptions in Physics: Some Useful Resources

D51. Fermi Questions

D52. The Melbourne Solar System Trail

D53. Nova: Science in the News: “The quest to make hydrogen the fuel of the future”

D54. Large Hadron Collider website.

D55. How fast could have Usain Bolt run?

D56. Atmospheric Optics: Website on rainbows, haloes, glories, coronas and much more.

D57. What is that old equipment in the back cupboard used for? “Instruments for Natural Philosophy”

D58. Institute of Physics (IOP) “Physics Education”: Free downloads of selected articles.

D61. Astounding Astrophotographs

D62. Galaxy Zoo, where you can help astronomers explore the Universe

D63. Colin Hopkins’ CDROM material.

D64. Age News Story on Fluorine 18 as a tracer in PET Scans

D67. Nova: Science in the News “Hunting for dark energy with the WiggleZ”

D68. Prof Rachel Webster talks on 400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes : audio file

D70. Photonics Simulator for Year 10 Science

D71. Richard Feynman Lectures now available on the web

D72. Entries in the Vicphysics Physics Video Clip Contest

D73. Shining a light on the usefulness of physics

D75. DVD: Engineering Connections

D76. Bite-size videos about science

D77. Slow Motion Animation, ‘Slowmation’, for Lower Secondary and Upper Primary

D78. Latest NOVA: Science in the News Site: Rocking on with hot rocks: geothermal energy

D79. NOVA: Science in the News Site: Excuse me! The problem with methane gas

D80. Alice & Bob in Wonderland (from the Perimeter Institute)

D81. Quantum to Cosmos Festival Video on Demand (from the Perimeter Institute)

D82. ‘Clim’ City: A simulation game on climate change

D84. Latest Nova: Rebuilding humans using bionics. Nova: Science in the News

D85. ‘Geothermal Energy from Uranium Deposits’ and other physics podcasts from University of Melbourne

D88. ‘Physics for an Advanced World’: A resource to promote physics

D89. Women in Astronomy See also D115

D90. Paper planes

D91. Some More Fermi Questions

D92. Physics Crosswords

D93. Youtube videos on Ionising Radiation

D94. Physics Lyrics to Popular Songs - Check the website

D95. Historical articles from ‘Nature’

D96. Galaxiki: A fictional galaxy that anyone can edit

D97. Bionic Eye

D98. Nuclear Information Project

D99 Internet Resources for Physics and Astronomy Education: See also D107

D101. One of the greatest public lectures in the history of science.

D102. Richard Feynman: BBC Interviews online

D103. Honeywell Nobel Interactive Video: Physics Lectures on the Internet

D104. Scale of the Universe Animation: A 'must show' to students

D105. More Physics on YouTube: Rapper, radioactivity, Bill Nye, etc

D106. Resource on Graphene: An Institute of Physics publication

D108. Orders of Magnitude - Listings in Wikipedia

D109. Web Resources for Astronomy & Particle Physics and Quantum Physics

D110. Japanese Tsunami and FukuShima Reactor: Web Resources

D111. Video analysis software

D112. Neuroscience: Implications for education and lifelong learning. A Royal Society publication

D113. Demonstration Videos for Physics Teachers

D114. Misconceptions: Resources

D115. Girls and Physics

D117. GeoGebra: A free software package

D118. Astronomy Resources including "How I killed Pluto and why it had it coming"

D119. Big History Project:

D121. Perimeter Institute: Resources for Science and Physics Teaching

D122. Up Close: Physics Podcasts from the University of Melbourne

D123. CSIRO publication: Climate Change: Science and Solutions for Australia

D124. The Language of Measurement: A resource for investigations

D125. VCE Physics Podcasts: A Teacher Initiative

D126. BBC Radio Reith Lectures now on line featuring Oppenheimer, Rees, Lovell, Bertrand Russell and Melvyn Bragg programs on science

D127. How many balloons would lift a house? Short articles for teachers and students

D128. New NOVA Feature: Piezoelectric Sensors and Self Monitoring Planes

D129. 'A robot that flies like a bird' video - TED: Riveting Talks by Remarkable People

D130. Innovative Physics CD: Update on transfer to the Vicphysics website

D131. Nobel Prize in Physics to Prof Brian Schmidt, ANU - Resources

D132. Rutherford's big discovery – 100 years later (a 10 min video)

D133. Respect the Science: A new Initiative by Australian Scientists

D134. Faster than light Neutrinos

D135. Newton's first paper on a new theory of light and colour - online at the Royal Society archive

D136. Strandbeests

D137. What do physicists actually do? Why do they do it? And what is their work for? Four short films

D138. Understanding Uncertainty: Making sense of chance, risk, luck, uncertainty and probability

D139. Nuffield Physics Teachers' Handbook and other resources

D140. Exploring Physics Apps

D141. Extra Applets and Web Resources

D142. Focus on Optics and Lasers: A Physics World Publication - Free Download

D143. The Royal Society: Online picture library

D144. The Weather of Who We Are: An ABC Ockham's Razor podcast

D145. Universe Sandbox: Interactive Astronomy Software for Everyone

D146. Australia and SKA

D147. Black Holes booklet - free download from Institute of Physics (UK) also another on exoplanets

D148. More on the Higgs Boson

D149. Physics Questions without Numbers: A Resource

D150. One Minute Physics: Video animations from New Scientist

D151. Light Field Camera: 'Shoot now, focus later'.

D152. POSTnotes: Briefing Notes on Science and Technology Issues: British Parliamentary Office

D153. Some Physics Humour from The Guardian Newspaper and other sources

D154. Scientific Valentines - A flickr site of amusing valentine posters with a scientific edge

D155. Beginning Teaching: some useful hints

D156. Free iPad book on Heat Energy for Years 8 - 12 and Free Physics resources from TES

D157. App for Unit 3 Electromagnetism

D158. A Boy and his Atom: The World's Smallest Movie

D159. Astronomy Resources from the UK National Schools' Observatory

D160. The Life of Psi - Philosophical interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

D161. Physics App - Spectrogram for Sounds

D162. UK Astronomy Resources

D163. 'fizzicseducation' - School visits, kids parties, video science club

D164. Achieving order from chaos: A cute video

D165. Accelerators and Beams: Tools of Discovery and Innovation: A free 36 page download

D166. Higgs Boson and the Future of Physics

D167. SPT: Supporting Physics Teaching - A UK Online Resource from the Institute of Physics

D168. Nova: Science in the News - 'Agriculture in the face of climate change' (Aust Academy of Science)

D169. BBC Radio and Melvyn Bragg: Science interviews

D170. NASA Astronomy Resources developed by Australian researchers

D171. Physics of Cancer: a free download from the IOP's Physics World

D172. How can a bike go at a constant speed? A talkphysics discussion

D173. Benchmarks on equipping science in schools - the UK experience

D174. 'Project Physics' - The highly regarded text book is now available on line

D175. Physics Applets on Compadre - New Edition

D178. Blog: An astrophysicist's-eye view of societal issues relating to energy production, climate change, and economic growth

D179. A smartphone app to hunt for the Higgs Boson

D180. Revision strategies, Advice for students and Course summaries

D181. Some engaging Videos (Singing wine glasses and Meissner Effect)

D182. Do instructional videos really improve student learning? Dr Derek Muller at The Perimeter Institute

D183. Oscilloscope apps and software CROs

D184. ANSTO's 60th anniversary celebrations: An e-book and an Apple app

D185. Digital Cameras with High Speed Video option

D186. A new topic at NOVA: Science in the News - Higgs Boson

D187. Freely Accessible Remote Laboratory for students - FARLabs

D188. Video Tutorials for Teachers

D189. Sally Ride Science: A website compilation of STEM resources (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

D190. Fish Tank Cloud Chamber - Instructions with video

D191. Using LEGO to teach Nuclear Physics

D192. Bohemian Rhapsody and String Theory - An engaging video.

D193. Video of a Rotating Moon from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

D194. The Science of Medical Imaging: Three articles in 'The Conversation'

D195. Lessons from Finnish Education

D196. Blogs by Physics Teachers

D197. Science of the Olympics

D198. Making Physics Toys from Recycled materials: Arvind Gupta:

D199. Exoplanets: a teaching and learning resource guide

D200. A Catalogue of Astronomy Apps for Phones and Tablets

D201. Physics Manual for Lab Techs

D202. Physics: A Force for Future Security - an article in The Conversation - a SHE activity?

D203. Physics, Skating and Ice

D204. A Human Loop the Loop. A slot car can, can a human?

D205. 'Science' in the Classroom: A Resource from the Journal 'Science'

D206. AstroEDU An online science activity database

D207. Earth Exploration Toolbook A Geoscience web resource for schools

D208 Benjamin Franklin and Electrostatics

D209 Demonstration webpage on Canadian Physics Teachers' Website

D210 Turn your iPhone into a personal spectroscope.

D211 Resources for Promoting Careers in Physics (US)

D212 Graphing challenge - Kinematics Game

D213 Red Bull Stratos Jump analysis

D214 A Brief History of Physics (animated) from the BBC Science Club

D215 FUNcube: Satellite for Students

D216. Science And Technology In Society: SATIS Materials for classroom use

D217. Physics Online Resources from TES (Times Educational Supplement)

D218. Electrolights: A blog explaining day to day physics

D219 Real World 21st Century Examples for Physics

D220 Astronomy Resources

D221 Web resources for Sound

D222 Conceptions of Energy: a new UK approach

D223. Resources from the Distance Education Centre - the old 'Correspondence School'.

D224. Ruhmkorff Coil and detecting ionising radiation

D225. Observing a real image: An impressive Youtube video from Exploratorium

D226. Stunning Images: The 2014 International Earth & Sky Photo Contest

D227. Smashing Physics: A Royal Institution Youtube talk by Jon Butterworth from CERN

D228. Information is Beautiful: A visualisation on nuclear exposure

D229. Amusement Park Physics: Some resources from the US and Europe

D230. Hundreds of Videos of Physics Demonstrations

D231. Datamouse: Making a two photogates from a mouse

D232. 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics: Resources

D233. 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry - Physics related, again!

D234. More Resources from the Distance Education Centre - the old 'Correspondence School'.

D235. Visualising Sound: A Youtube video

D236. Radioactivity Decay App - Free

D237. Teacher Developed Websites

D238. Pioneering Women of Physics: A Poster Resource

D239. Exoplanet Physics for Junior Science

D240. Making a Science Poster - Some Tips

D241. Project LITE: Light Inquiry Through Experiments: A Resource

D242. International Year of Light: Resources

D243. 100,000 Stars - A 3D visualisation

D244. 'Teaching High School Physics' A Kindle resource

D245. Unlocking your car with your brain - Youtube video from Sixty Symbols

D246. EPIs and Posters

D247. Future of Nuclear: The Conversation series of articles

D248. Slow motion analysis of experiments: Exploding balloons, deformed balls, strange reflections and breaking rods - A Physics Education article

D249. Extended Practical Investigations and Posters

D250. Star Wars VII trailer and using Tracker software

D251. Conceptual Understanding Procedures (CUPs) back on line

D252 General Relativity: Holiday reading and viewing

D253 Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse: Analysis of film and video footage

D254 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics: for the discovery ... that shows neutrinos have mass

D255 Juggling Giant Newton's Cradles: Youtube video

D256 Feynman Poetry on Atoms

D257 Seven Brief Lessons on Physics: A bestselling book by Carlo Rovelli, a theoretical physicist

D258 US Websites on teaching strategies and curriculum materials

D260 Nuclear Resources from ANSTO

D261 A Brief History of Everything by Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Youtube video

D262 Course Planning Resources for Units 1 & 2 in 2016

D264. Dare Devil Demo: Connected bodies and Circular motion

D265. Gravitational Waves detected

D266. Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory: Detecting Dark Matter School visits in 2017

D267. Physics Simulations from

D268. Exploring Light: Hands-on Activities and Strategies for Teachers: A free online course

D269. Gravitational waves: the Australian connection

D270. Space Tourism Posters from NASA

D271. The Nuclear blogosphere

Events for Students

E1. Physics Days at Luna Park

E2. Vicphysics Physics Photo Contest: up to $1000 in Prize money

E3. Vicphysics Physics Video Clip Contest

E4. Work Experience Opportunities at Parkes and Narrabri

E5. Gemini School Astronomy Contest

E7. Online Social Networks to assist Physics Students

E8. The Annual Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) Queensland

E9. Physics of Angry Birds - A Quantum Victoria program for Students doing Experimental Investigations

E10. Industry To Classroom: A Speakers for Schools project

E13. Quantum Victoria's "The Young Scientist & Engineer Series"

E14. Collision! - A multimedia competition on particle physics for students

E15. Science Breakfast for Girls: Thursday 15th August, 2013, Mentone Girls' Grammar School (This is an annual event)

E16 Videos from Victorian Young Physicists' Tournament
General Information

F1. Survey of Class Time on Physics from the Physics Teachers Conference

F2. Victorian Physics teachers are well qualified

F3. Retired Physics Teachers: Casual employment

F4. Physics Teacher Survey

F5. Does going to the Luna Park Physics Days impact on Physics enrolments?

F6. Popularity of Detailed Studies

F7. Climate Change: Vicphysics Initiative

F8. Need an RSS Feed?

F9. Need to form a Moderation Group?

F10. How many Year 11 Physics students go on to do Physics in Year 12?

F11. Enrolments in Physics: Status and Strategy

F12. 2016 Physics Careers Survey: An Update

A1. Physics in the National Curriculum: a Discussion paper

Neil Champion wrte a paper titled “Multi-layered national curriculum design principles” that was published in the May/June, 2011 edition of ‘Australian physics’. The article has been put on our website at . If you wish to comment on the paper, please use the Forum section of the website.

Check for information about Physics in the Australian Curriculum.
A2. Want to be a VCE Exam Marker?

With Physics having a single end of year exam in 2013, there will be a need for more markers of the exam.

Marking exams is one of the most effective professional development activities, it gives you insights into how students answer questions and the types of errors they make, and you get paid for it! It can be time consuming and draining at times, but now that the marking is done online it is also quite efficient.
If you are interested, go to the VCAA website,, select 'Careers', then 'Sessional Employment'. You will then be directed to a separate website called 'Sessional Staff Management System (SSMS)' If you are applying for the first time, you will need to generate a user name and password and as part of the application process you will be asked to provide the following information: referee details, your qualification details, e-mail address, date of birth (for verification processes only) and Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration number (if applicable).

Once registered, you select the position you are seeking and complete the details. If accepted, you will be required to attend a full day Training Meeting held after the exam. Note: It is not acceptable to do online marking at school.

A3. Popularity of Detailed Studies in 2013

A section of the application form for this year's Physics Teachers' Conference asked teachers to give an indication of which Detailed Studies they might be doing this year.

Some people had not yet decided, but about 250 provided information. Of the Year 11 Detailed Studies the proportion for each was: Astronomy (20%), Astrophysics (33%), Nuclear Energy (51%), Flight (49%), Sustainable Energy (24%), Medical Physics (25%). Students do two Detailed Studies in Units 1 & 2.
For the Year 12 Detailed Studies, the proportions were: Einstein's Relativity (9%), Materials and their use in structures (49%), Further Electronics (7.5%), Synchrotron and its applications (9%), Photonics (1.5%), Sound (26%). Students now only do one Detailed Study in Units 3 & 4.
A4. 50 years of Year 12 Physics: A personal perspective on course design and assessment by Dr Syd Boydell

At the recent University of Melbourne Physics Day, Dr Syd Boydell gave a talk on how the Year 12 Physics course and its assessment have changed and not changed over the last 50 years. He also considered what we have lost and what we have gained.

Syd taught for many years at Scotch College, prepared resources such as Checkpoints and has been the Chief Examiner for VCE Physics for the last few years.
The 17 page (6.8MB) document from his talk is available at . Look down the page under 'Articles on research on aspects of Physics Education'.

A5 Video of VCE Physics Implementation Workshop

Last term VCAA held a series of Implementation Workshops around the state on the new VCE Physics Study Design to be implemented in 2016 and in 2017. A video of one of the workshop is now on line at along with videos of the other VCE Sciences.

The video runs for 2 hours and features Michael Rosenbrock of Wodonga Senior Secondary College and a member of the Review Panel. The video includes the powerpoint slides and video of Michael talking to the slides. The discussion at the end on the contributions of the poster, the log book and even the planning to the assessment of the Unit 4 Practical Investigation is particularly useful.
VCE Physics Study Design

B1. VCAA Examination Results Service. “How did my students go on Q’n 5 of the June paper?”

VCAA has established a service to enable teachers to find out how their students went on individual questions of their exams. The data the VCAA supplies for each question is your class mean, the school mean, the state mean, the maximum and the Marks for Question. Note: the maximum score is double the Marks for the question as some papers are double marked.

This information will be useful in evaluating the relative strengths and weaknesses of your students and the effectiveness of specific learning activities.

To access this information you need to approach the VASS Coordinator in your school to get the information from VASS. Once in VASS, select “School Administration”, then go to “School Statistics”, then choose “Extended Answer Questions” (this means any question that is not in a separate section of multiple choice questions a la Chemistry and Biology). Now select “Physics” and the data will be displayed...

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