7 Physics

NCEA Level(s)

Course aims / learning outcomes

  • This is where you start your journey to learn how to think about complex problems. I know you think you've been doing that all your life, but you probably think when you go around a roundabout in a car you get pushed towards the outside of the roundabout. Well you don't. Your body attempts to go in a straight line until the car accelerates it inwards, and around the roundabout.

    The thing about Physics is that not only do you probably not yet know much about it, you 'know' things that are wrong, and it's my job to teach you how to think about it right by showing you what you 'know' is wrong.

  • That is what Physics will provide you; whether you go into Engineering, Economics, Medicine, Architeture, Politics or Law. There are few professions that will not benefit from an understanding of Physics processes.


Course content

  • Before doing this course you should probably have done Level 1 Mechanics, otherwise you'd probably want to talk to me, and check your rationale and skills. It is necessary to have a scientific or graphics calculator, a clear file, something to write on and something to write with. A ruler and protractor can be handy too and is required for the external exams.

    Anything more you want to know at present can be found on my website:


    We'll start by learning about nuclear physics - because it's easy. If you can count balls (protons and neutrons), you can do nuclear physics. This is a 3 credit internal normally done by a test, because that's the easiest way to do it.
    91172 Demonstrate understanding of atomic and nuclear physics - 3 credit internal - Literacy. This is normally supported by a trip to UC - where you'll do a range of experiements and learn about radioactivity and safety, by holding a Uranium fuel rod.

  • Then we'll get into the crux of the issue. Mechanics is what really teaches you how to think about how the world works. You'll learn about projectile motion, forces, work and energy including springs, torques and momenta and impulse. This is a six credit external.
    91171 Demonstrate understanding of mechanics - 6 credit external - Literacy and Numeracy

    We'll follow this up with an internal on the Physics of flight:
    This is a report in which you describe lift and explain how airplanes fly, climb and turn, and their forces with their components.
    91169 Demonstrate understanding of physics relevant to a selected context - 3 credit internal - Literacy. Hopefully as part of this there will be a field trip to Air NZ engineering. They hosted us last year and I'm hopeful they'll be nice enough to do so again.

  • Finally we'll learn some electricity basics. Ohm's law and circuits, Electric fields due to charges, motors and generators and magnetic fields
    91173 Demonstrate understanding of electricity and electromagnetism - 6 credit external - Literacy and Numeracy

    Total Credits - 18 credits


Assessment statement

  • The number of AS and US credits on offer and their level(s)
  • Where assessment programmes are flexible this section must explain this and state a realistic credit total. Eg:

A total of 32 Achievement Standard credits are offered within this course. This includes 24 credits at Level 1 with an additional 8 credits at level 2. Students will target some, but not all of the credits. Decisions will be made, in conversation with the learning advisor, dependent on student goals, their level of independence and attitude to learning.  A student who completes one internal assessment each term, and sits one external assessment can earn 16 - 20 credits. 

  • A statement about the nature of assessment in this subject area (eg, assignments, exams, assessment work done in class only or in class and at home, ongoing with evidence collected from multiple classwork and assessment events etc)



  • Assignments that take place over time will be produced in an online system such as Google Docs. Learning Advisors will monitor student work by accessing document history. A portion of work will need to be completed during class time under Learning Advisor supervision. 
  • Class tests will take place under supervised test conditions within class.
  • Students may be required to sign an authenticity statement, perform certain parts of assessment tasks under close supervision, or show through interview and the existence of notes and supporting material that the work submitted by the student is genuinely his/her own work.


Appeal Procedures

  • Students have the right to appeal the mark they have been awarded. If a student wishes to appeal a grade, they should initially talk to the subject learning advisor about the marking process immediately after the marked assessment task is shown to them. If still dissatisfied the student should make an appointment and discuss grades with the Principal’s Nominee who will check that the correct procedures have been followed as outlined in the school and subject policies taking into account any special circumstances.


Table of Assessments

AS NumberNameCredit valueInternal or ExternalLiteracy Numeracy UE Reading/WritingWhenReassessment opportunityType of assessment
91172Demonstrate an understanding of atomic and nuclear physics3InternalLiteracyTerm 1NoTest
91171Demonstrate understanding of mechanics6ExternalLiteracy and numeracyTerms 1 & 2NoExam
91169Demonstrate understanding of physics relevant to a selected context3InternalLiteracyTerm 2NoEssay
91173Demonstrate understanding of electricity and electromagnetism6ExternalLiteracy and numeracyTerm 3NoExam