OCR Level 1/2 GCSE (9–1) in Physics A (Gateway Science) (J249) Foundation Tier Paper 2/Higher Tier Paper 4

 and OCR Level 1/2 GCSE (9–1) in Combined Science A (Gateway Science) (J250) FT Paper 6/HT Paper 12 Physics

Syllabus-specification CONTENT INDEX (NEW for Y10 starting September 2016, first exams from 2018 onwards)

'Old' OCR Gateway GCSE sciences for Y11 finishing Y11 2016-2017

INDEX for all links

Everything below is based on the NEW 2016 official syllabus-specifications for Y10 2016 onwards

 The Google [SEARCH] box at the bottom of the page should also prove useful


Syllabus-specification CONTENT INDEX for OCR GCSE Gateway Science A

(HT only) means higher tier only (NOT FT), (GCSE physics only) means NOT for GCSE Combined Science physics

Revision summaries for OCR GCSE Physics A FT Paper 1/HT Paper 3

AND GCSE Combined Science FT Paper 5/HT Paper 11 (separate page)


Revision SUMMARY for Topic P1 Matter

Containing sections  P1.1 The particle model,   P1.2 Changes of state,   P1.3 Pressure (GCSE Physics only)

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P2: Forces

Containing sections P2.1 Motion,   P2.2 Newton’s Laws,   P2.3 Forces in action

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P3 Electricity

Containing sections P3.1 Static and charge,   P3.2 Simple circuits

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P4: Magnetism and magnetic fields: (GCSE Physics only)

Containing sections P4.1 Magnets and magnetic fields,  P4.2 Uses of magnetism

Revision SUMMARY for Topic 3 Electricity and Magnetism (GCSE Combined Science only)

This Combined Science Topic combines parts of Topic 3 and Topic 4 in the separate science GCSE Physics course.

Containing sections P3.1 Static and charge,    P3.2 Simple circuits,  P3.3 Magnets and magnetic fields


Revision summaries for OCR GCSE Physics A FT Paper 2/HT Paper 4

AND GCSE Combined Science FT Paper 6/HT Paper 12 (this page)

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P4 Waves and Radioactivity (GCSE Combined Science only)

This Combined Science topic includes sections from Topic P5 and Topic P6 from the GCSE Physics course.

Contains sections P4.1 Wave behaviour,  P4.2 The electromagnetic spectrum,  P4.3 Radioactivity

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P5: Waves in matter: (GCSE Physics only)

Containing sections P5.1 Wave behaviour,   P5.2 The electromagnetic spectrum,   P5.3 Wave interaction

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P6: Radioactive decay – waves and particles (GCSE Physics only)

Containing sections P6.1 Radioactive emissions,   P6.2 Uses and hazards

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P7: Energy (GCSE Physics) & Topic 5 Energy (GCSE Combined Science)

Containing sections P7.1/5.1 Work done,   P7.2/5.2 Power and efficiency

Revision SUMMARY for Topic P8: Global challenges (GCSE Physics only) & Topic 6 (GCSE Combined Science)

Sections P8.1/6.1 Physics on the move,   P8.2/6.2 Powering Earth,   P8.3 Beyond Earth (GCSE Physics only)


Revision summaries for OCR GCSE Physics A FT Paper 2/HT Paper 4

AND Combined Science FT Paper 6/HT Paper 12


Topic P4 Waves and Radioactivity (GCSE Combined Science only, NOT GCSE Physics)

All of this is also covered in the GCSE Physics Topics 5 and 6

P4.1 Wave behaviour

Waves are means of transferring energy and the two main types of wave are introduced in this section: mechanical and electromagnetic. This section considers both what these types of waves are and how they are used. The main terms used to describe waves are defined and exemplified in this topic. You should have prior knowledge of transverse and longitudinal waves through sound and light. You should be aware of how waves behave and how the speed of a wave may change as it passes through different media. You may already have knowledge of how sound is heard and the hearing ranges of different species. Common misconceptions - although you will often have heard of the terms ultrasound and sonar you may find it challenging to explain how images and traces are formed and to apply their understanding to calculations. Students often misinterpret displacement distance and displacement time graphical presentations of waves. Know and be able to apply the equation:

wave speed (m/s) = frequency (Hz) x wavelength (m)

P4.1a Be able to describe wave motion in terms of amplitude, wavelength, frequency and period.  Observing sound waves on an oscilloscope.

P4.1b Be able to define wavelength and frequency

P4.1c Be able to describe and be able to apply the relationship between these and the wave velocity. Practical - investigation of reflection in a ripple tank

P4.1d Be able to apply formulae relating velocity, frequency and wavelength

P4.1e Be able to describe differences between transverse and longitudinal waves direction of travel and direction of vibration. Use of a slinky to model waves.

P4.1f Be able to describe how ripples on water surfaces are used to model transverse waves whilst sound waves in air are longitudinal waves, and how the speed of each may be measured. Investigation of refraction in a ripple tank.

P4.1f Be able to show how changes, in velocity, frequency and wavelength, in transmission of sound waves from one medium to another, are inter-related.

P4.1g Be able to describe evidence that in both cases it is the wave and not the water or air itself that travels


P4.2 The electromagnetic spectrum

Having looked at mechanical waves, waves in the electromagnetic spectrum are now considered. This section includes the application of electromagnetic waves with a specific focus on the behaviour of light as rays and waves and explores the application of other types of electromagnetic radiation for use in medical imaging. You may be familiar with uses of some types of radiation. Common misconceptions - you can have misconceptions such as gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves and radio waves being independent entities and not being able to relate it as a spectrum. You may struggle to link the features that waves have in common, alongside the differences and how these relate to their different properties.

P4.2a Know that electromagnetic waves are transverse and are transmitted through space where all have the same velocity

P4.2b Be able to explain that electromagnetic waves transfer energy from source to absorber - examples from a range of electromagnetic waves.

P4.2c Be able to apply the relationships between frequency and wavelength across the electromagnetic spectrum.  Investigation of electromagnetic waves on chocolate or processed cheese in a microwave to measure wavelength.

P4.2d Be able to describe the main groupings of the electromagnetic spectrum and that these groupings range from long to short wavelengths and from low to high frequencies including radio, microwave, infra-red, visible (red to violet), ultra-violet, X-rays and gamma-rays Research  properties, uses and dangers of the different electromagnetic wave groups.

P4.2e Know that our eyes can only detect a limited range of the electromagnetic spectrum

P4.2f Know that light is an electromagnetic wave

P4.2g Be able to give examples of some practical uses of electromagnetic waves in the radio, micro-wave, infra-red, visible, ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma-ray regions.  Demonstration of how microwaves can be used to light a bulb in a beaker of water. Discussion of how this shows that microwaves heat water in foods. Use a microwave emitter and absorber to demonstrate behaviour of waves. Use of a phone camera to look at the infra-red emitter on a remote control.

P4.2h Be able to describe how ultra-violet waves, X-rays and gamma rays can have hazardous effects, notably on human bodily tissues. Discuss images of x-rays to see how the images are formed; their advantages and disadvantages. Investigation of the balance of risks for staff and patients during radiotherapy.

P4.2i (HT only) Know that radio waves can be produced by, or can themselves induce, oscillations in electrical circuits

P4.2j (HT only) Be able to recall that different substances may absorb, transmit, refract, or reflect electromagnetic waves in ways that vary with wavelength

P4.2k (HT only) Be able to explain how some effects are related to differences in the velocity of electromagnetic waves in different substances


P4.3 Radioactivity

In this 'radioactivity' topic the idea of isotopes is introduced, leading into looking at the different types of emissions from atoms. You should have prior understanding of the atomic model, chemical symbols and formulae. Common misconceptions - you may tend to struggle with the concept that radioactivity is a random and unpredictable process and the idea of half-life is another area that can lead to confusion. You may find it difficult to understand that objects being irradiated does not lead to them becoming radioactive.

P4.3a Know that atomic nuclei are composed of both protons and neutrons, that the nucleus of each element has a characteristic positive charge.

P4.3b Know that atoms of the same elements can differ in nuclear mass by having different numbers of neutrons.

P4.3c Be able to use the conventional representation for nuclei to relate the differences between isotopes including identities, charges and masses.

P4.3d Know that some nuclei are unstable and may emit alpha particles, beta particles, or neutrons, and electromagnetic radiation as gamma rays.  Use of a Geiger Muller tube and radioactive sources to investigate activity.

P4.3e Be able to relate these emissions to possible changes in the mass or the charge of the nucleus, or both.

P4.3f Be able to use names and symbols of common nuclei and particles to write balanced equations that represent radioactive decay

P4.3g Be able to balance equations representing the emission of alpha-, beta- or gamma-radiations in terms of the masses, and charges of the atoms involved.

P4.3h Know that in each atom its electrons are arranged at different distances from the nucleus, that such arrangements may change with absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation and that atoms can become ions by loss of outer electrons. Know that inner electrons can be 'excited' when they absorb energy from radiation and rise to a higher energy level. When this energy is lost by the electron it is emitted as radiation. When outer electrons are lost this is called ionisation.

P4.3i Know that changes in atoms and nuclei can also generate and absorb radiations over a wide frequency range. Understand that these types of radiation may be from any part of the electromagnetic spectrum which includes gamma rays  Demonstration of fluorescence with black light lamp and tonic water.

P4.3j Be able to explain the concept of half-life and how this is related to the random nature of radioactive decay.  Using dice to model random decay and half-life. Research how half-life can be used in radioactive dating.

P4.3k (HT only) Be able to calculate the net decline, expressed as a ratio, during radioactive emission after a given (integral) number of half-lives. Be able to understand and interpret half-life graphs.

P4.3l Know the differences in the penetration properties of alpha-particles, beta-particles and gamma-rays. Use of Guiger- Müller tube, sources and aluminium plates of varying thicknesses to investigate change in count rat

P4.3m Know the differences between contamination and irradiation effects and compare the hazards associated with these two. Use of spark chamber to demonstrate a different type of activity counter


Topic P5: Waves in matter (GCSE Physics only here)

Parts of this are also covered in GCSE Combined Science Topic 4 above.

P5.1 Wave behaviour (GCSE Physics only here)

Waves are means of transferring energy and the two main types of wave are introduced in this section: mechanical and electromagnetic. This section considers both what these types of waves are and how they are used. The main terms used to describe waves are defined and exemplified in this topic. You should have prior knowledge of transverse and longitudinal waves through sound and light. You should be aware of how waves behave and how the speed of a wave may change as it passes through different media. You may already have knowledge of how sound is heard and the hearing ranges of different species. Common misconceptions - although you will often have heard of the terms ultrasound and sonar you may find it challenging to explain how images and traces are formed and to apply their understanding to calculations. Students often misinterpret displacement distance and displacement time graphical presentations of waves.

Know and be able to apply the equation:

wave speed (m/s) = frequency (Hz) x wavelength (m)

P5.1a Be able to describe wave motion in terms of amplitude, wavelength, frequency and period.  Observing sound waves on an oscilloscope.

P5.1b Be able to define wavelength and frequency

P5.1c Be able to describe and be able to apply the relationship between these and the wave velocity. Practical - investigation of reflection in a ripple tank

P5.1d Be able to apply formulae relating velocity, frequency and wavelength

P5.1e Be able to describe differences between transverse and longitudinal waves direction of travel and direction of vibration. Use of a slinky to model waves.

P5.1f Be able to show how changes, in velocity, frequency and wavelength, in transmission of sound waves from one medium to another, are inter-related.

P5.1g Be able to describe the effects of reflection, transmission, and absorption of waves at material interface - examples such as ultrasound and sonar  Refraction of light through a glass block. Investigation of reflection with a plane mirror.  Demonstration of refraction of white light through a prism.

P5.1h (HT only) Be able to describe, with examples, processes which convert wave disturbances between sound waves and vibrations in solids - knowledge of a simple structure of the parts of the ear is expected. Use of a signal generator and loudspeaker. Demonstration of sound waves using a Rubens’ tube or an oscilloscope.

P5.1i (HT only) Be able to explain why such processes only work over a limited frequency range, and the relevance of this to human hearing - why hearing (audition) changes due to ageing

P5.1j Be able to describe how ripples on water surfaces are used to model transverse waves whilst sound waves in air are longitudinal waves, and how the speed of each may be measured.  Investigation of refraction in a ripple tank.

P5.1k Be able to describe evidence that in both cases it is the wave and not the water or air itself that travels


P5.2 The electromagnetic spectrum (GCSE Physics only here)

Parts of this are also covered in GCSE Combined Science Topic 4 above.

Having looked at mechanical waves, waves in the electromagnetic spectrum are now considered. This section includes the application of electromagnetic waves with a specific focus on the behaviour of light as rays and waves and explores the application of other types of electromagnetic radiation for use in medical imaging. You may be familiar with uses of some types of radiation. Common misconceptions - you can have misconceptions such as gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, microwaves and radio waves being independent entities and not being able to relate it as a spectrum. You may struggle to link the features that waves have in common, alongside the differences and how these relate to their different properties.

P5.2a Know that electromagnetic waves are transverse and are transmitted through space where all have the same velocity

P5.2b Be able to explain that electromagnetic waves transfer energy from source to absorber - examples from a range of electromagnetic waves.

P5.2c Be able to apply the relationships between frequency and wavelength across the electromagnetic spectrum.  Investigation of electromagnetic waves on chocolate or processed cheese in a microwave to measure wavelength.

P5.2d Be able to describe the main groupings of the electromagnetic spectrum and that these groupings range from long to short wavelengths and from low to high frequencies including radio, microwave, infra-red, visible (red to violet), ultra-violet, X-rays and gamma-rays Research  properties, uses and dangers of the different electromagnetic wave groups.

P5.2e Know that our eyes can only detect a limited range of the electromagnetic spectrum

P5.2f Know that light is an electromagnetic wave

P5.2g Be able to give examples of some practical uses of electromagnetic waves in the radio, micro-wave, infra-red, visible, ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma-ray regions.  Demonstration of how microwaves can be used to light a bulb in a beaker of water. Discussion of how this shows that microwaves heat water in foods. Use a microwave emitter and absorber to demonstrate behaviour of waves. Use of a phone camera to look at the infra-red emitter on a remote control.

P5.2h Be able to describe how ultra-violet waves, X-rays and gamma rays can have hazardous effects, notably on human bodily tissues. Discuss images of x-rays to see how the images are formed; their advantages and disadvantages. Investigation of the balance of risks for staff and patients during radiotherapy.

P5.2i Be able to explain, in qualitative terms, how the differences in velocity, absorption and reflection between different types of waves in solids and liquids can be used both for detection and for exploration of structures which are hidden from direct observation, notably in our bodies including the use of infra-red, X-rays, gamma rays and ultrasound as an alternative in medical imaging

P5.2j Know that radio waves can be produced by, or can themselves induce, oscillations in electrical circuits


P5.3 Wave interactions (GCSE Physics only, parts of this are in GCSE Combined Science Topic 4 above)

Having studied the electromagnetic spectrum learners now go on to look at the interactions of waves with materials, this will include absorption, refraction and reflection. You will also be expected to draw ray diagrams to illustrate the refraction of rays through lenses. You will already be familiar with the properties and behaviour of light. You are expected to have an understanding of behaviour such as reflection, refraction, absorption and scattering. You should know that colours are produced by light at different frequencies. Common misconceptions - when light passes through a coloured filter the filter will add colour to the light. You may also tend to believe that mixing of coloured light follows the same rules as the mixing of paints and that the primary colours for both are the same.

P5.3a (HT only) Know that different substances may absorb, transmit, refract, or reflect electromagnetic waves in ways that vary with wavelength

P5.3b (HT only) Be able to explain how some effects are related to differences in the velocity of electromagnetic waves in different substances

P5.3c Be able to use ray diagrams to illustrate reflection, refraction and the similarities and differences between convex and concave lenses (qualitative only) - how the behaviour of convex and concave lenses determine how they may be used, for example, to correct vision. Use of concave and convex lenses to investigate how they alter the path of light in different ways. Investigation using convex lenses to see how the image of a light bulb varies with the distance of the bulb from the lens.

P5.3d Be able to construct two-dimensional ray diagrams to illustrate reflection and refraction (qualitative - equations not needed)

P5.3e Be able to explain how colour is related to differential absorption, transmission and reflection - include specular and scattering, Practical - use of coloured filters and light sources to investigate how filters work.


Topic P6: Radioactive decay – waves and particles (GCSE Physics only here)

P6.1 Radioactive emissions (GCSE Physics only here)

In this 'radioactivity' topic the idea of isotopes is introduced, leading into looking at the different types of emissions from atoms. You should have prior understanding of the atomic model, chemical symbols and formulae. Common misconceptions - you may tend to struggle with the concept that radioactivity is a random and unpredictable process and the idea of half-life is another area that can lead to confusion. You may find it difficult to understand that objects being irradiated does not lead to them becoming radioactive.

P6.1a Know that atomic nuclei are composed of both protons and neutrons, that the nucleus of each element has a characteristic positive charge.

P6.1b Know that atoms of the same elements can differ in nuclear mass by having different numbers of neutrons.

P6.1c Be able to use the conventional representation for nuclei to relate the differences between isotopes including identities, charges and masses.

P6.1d Know that some nuclei are unstable and may emit alpha particles, beta particles, or neutrons, and electromagnetic radiation as gamma rays.  Use of a Geiger Muller tube and radioactive sources to investigate activity.

P6.1e Be able to relate these emissions to possible changes in the mass or the charge of the nucleus, or both.

P6.1f Be able to use names and symbols of common nuclei and particles to write balanced equations that represent radioactive decay

P6.1g Be able to balance equations representing the emission of alpha-, beta- or gamma-radiations in terms of the masses, and charges of the atoms involved.

P6.1h Know that in each atom its electrons are arranged at different distances from the nucleus, that such arrangements may change with absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation and that atoms can become ions by loss of outer electrons. Know that inner electrons can be 'excited' when they absorb energy from radiation and rise to a higher energy level. When this energy is lost by the electron it is emitted as radiation. When outer electrons are lost this is called ionisation.

P6.1i Know that changes in atoms and nuclei can also generate and absorb radiations over a wide frequency range. Understand that these types of radiation may be from any part of the electromagnetic spectrum which includes gamma rays  Demonstration of fluorescence with black light lamp and tonic water.

P6.1j Be able to explain the concept of half-life and how this is related to the random nature of radioactive decay.  Using dice to model random decay and half-life. Research how half-life can be used in radioactive dating.

P6.1k (HT only) Be able to calculate the net decline, expressed as a ratio, during radioactive emission after a given (integral) number of half-lives. Be able to understand and interpret half-life graphs.

P6.1l Know the differences in the penetration properties of alpha-particles, beta-particles and gamma-rays. Use of Guiger- Müller tube, sources and aluminium plates of varying thicknesses to investigate change in count rate.


P6.2 Uses and hazards (GCSE Physics only here)

This topic looks at the hazards and applications of radioactive decay. The processes of fission and fusion as a source of energy are also considered. You should have prior understanding of the term radioactivity from the previous sub topic and may be familiar with some uses. Common misconceptions - students tend to think that radioactivity will always cause physical mutations when humans or animals come into contact with it. They tend to only think of the negative impacts of radiation and not the positive uses.

P6.2a Know the differences between contamination and irradiation effects and compare the hazards associated with these two. Use of spark chamber to demonstrate a different type of activity counter.

P6.2b Be able to explain why the hazards associated with radioactive material differ according to the half-life involved. Be able to illustrate an everyday use of radioactive sources in smoke detectors and discuss why they might be suitable.

P6.2c Be able to describe the different uses of nuclear radiations for exploration of internal organs, and for control or destruction of unwanted tissue.  Research the medical Be able to uses of radioactive tracers and radiotherapy.

P6.2d Know that some nuclei are unstable and may split, and relate such effects to radiation which might emerge, to transfer of energy to other particles and to the possibility of chain reactions - know the term nuclear fission

P6.2e Be able to describe the process of nuclear fusion - know that mass may be converted into the energy of radiation


Topic P7: Energy (GCSE Physics) & Topic P5 Energy (GCSE Combined Science)

P7.1/P5.1 Work done

This topic looks at how energy can be stored and transferred. You may have prior knowledge of energy listed as nine types but you need to be able to approach systems in terms of energy transfers and stores as well as energy being transferred in processes such as changing motion, burning fuels and in electrical circuits. You should be aware of the idea of conservation of energy and that it has a quantity that can be calculated.

P5.1/P7.1a Be able to describe for situations where there are energy transfers in a system, that there is no net change to the total energy of a closed system (qualitative only) - know the law of conservation of energy

P5.1/P7.1b Be able to describe all the changes involved in the way energy is stored when a system changes for common situations eg an object projected upwards or up a slope, a moving object hitting an obstacle, an object being accelerated by a constant force, a vehicle slowing down, bringing water to a boil in an electric kettle. Practicals - exploring energy stores and transfers in different object in a circus based activity. Objects could include a wind up toy, a weight on a spring, a weight being lifted or dropped, water being heated, electrical appliances.

P5.1/P7.1c Be able to describe the changes in energy involved when a system is changed by heating (in terms of temperature change and specific heat capacity), by work done by forces, and by work done when a current flows.

P5.1/P7.1d Be able to make calculations of the energy changes associated with changes in a system, knowing or selecting the relevant equations for mechanical, electrical, and thermal processes; thereby express in quantitative form and on a common scale the overall redistribution of energy in the system. You need to consider work done by forces, current flow and through heating and the use of kWh to measure energy use in electrical appliances in the home  Practical - use of a joulemeter to measure the energy used by different electrical appliances.

P5.1/P7.1e Be able to calculate the amounts of energy associated with a moving body, a stretched spring and an object raised above ground level. Practical - use of light gates and trolleys to investigate kinetic energy. Use of a joulemeter and electrical motor to lift a weight to investigate potential energy. Investigation of energy changes and efficiency of bouncy balls.


P7.2/P5.2 Power and efficiency

This topic considers the idea of conservation and dissipation of energy in systems and how this leads to the efficiency. Ways of reducing unwanted energy transfers and thereby increasing efficiency will be explored. You should be aware of the transfer of energies into useful and waste energies and have an understanding of power and how domestic appliances can be compared. You will have knowledge of insulators and how energy transfer is influenced by temperature and have an awareness of ways to reduce heat loss in the home. Common misconceptions that energy can be “used up” or that energy is truly lost in many energy transformations. Students also tend to have the belief that energy can be completely changed from one form to another with no energy dissipated.

Know and be able to apply the equation: efficiency = useful output energy transfer (J) / input energy transfer (J)

P5.2/P7.2a Be able to describe, with examples, the process by which energy is dissipated, so that it is stored in less useful ways.

P5.2/P7.2b Be able to describe how, in different domestic devices, energy is transferred from batteries or the a.c. from the mains - consider how energy may be wasted in the transfer to and within motors and heating devices.

P5.2/P7.2c Be able to describe, with examples, the relationship between the power ratings for domestic electrical appliances and how this is linked to the changes in stored energy when they are in use  Practical - use of a joulemeters to investigate the power output of different electrical appliances.

P5.2/P7.2d Be able to calculate energy efficiency for any energy transfer.

P5.2/P7.2e (HT only) Be able to describe ways to increase efficiency.

P5.2/P7.2f Be able to explain ways of reducing unwanted energy transfer through eg lubrication, thermal insulation  Research, design and building of energy efficient model houses. Examination of thermograms of houses.

P5.2/P7.2g Be able to describe how the rate of cooling of a building is affected by the thickness and thermal conductivity of its walls (qualitative only).  Investigation of rate of cooling with insulated and non-insulated copper cans.


Topic P8: Global challenges (GCSE Physics) and Topic P6 Global challenges (GCSE Combined Science)

This topic seeks to integrate your knowledge and understanding of physical systems and processes, with the aim of applying it to global challenges. Applications of physics can be used to help humans improve their own lives and strive to create a sustainable world for future generations, and these challenges are considered in this topic. In this topic you draw together the concepts covered in earlier topics, allowing a much wider treatment of the subject of physics.


P6.1/P8.1 Physics on the move (GCSE Combined Science/GCSE Physics)

You will use your knowledge of forces and motion to develop their ideas about how objects are affected by external factors. You will develop a better understanding of these external factors to be able to understand how the design of objects such as cars may be modified to operate more safely. You should be familiar with how forces affect motion of objects, but you will also need to have a good understanding of momentum from a previous sub-topic. You may already have some knowledge of how vehicles are adapted to increase safety. Common misconceptions - don't confuse the factors that affect thinking distance and braking distance, thinking that alcohol, drugs and tiredness will affect braking distance rather than thinking distance. It needs to be made clear the distinction between these two terms and that the combination of these gives us the stopping distance.

P6.1/P8.1a Know typical speeds encountered in everyday experience for wind and sound, and for walking, running, cycling and other transportation systems.

P6.1/P8.1b Be able to estimate the magnitudes of everyday accelerations.

P6.1/P8.1c Be able to make calculations using ratios and proportional reasoning to convert units and to compute rates including conversion from non-SI to SI units

P6.1/P8.1d Be able to explain methods of measuring human reaction times and know typical results. Investigation of reaction time using ruler drop experiments.

P6.1/P8.1e Be able to explain the factors which affect the distance required for road transport vehicles to come to rest in emergencies and the implications for safety - consider factors that affect thinking and braking distance and overall stopping distance

P8.1f (GCSE Physics only) Be able to estimate how the distances required for road vehicles to stop in an emergency, varies over a range of typical speeds.  Research stopping distances using the Highway Code.

P6.1f/P8.1g Be able to explain the dangers caused by large decelerations.  Research and building of casing on trolleys for eggs to investigate crumple zones and safety features in cars.

P8.1h (GCSE Physics HT only) Be able to estimate the forces involved in typical situations on a public road. 

P8.1i (GCSE Physics only) Be able to estimate, for everyday road transport, the speed, accelerations and forces involved in large accelerations


P6.2/P8.2 Powering Earth (GCSE Combined Science/GCSE Physics)

Appreciate that we are reliant on electricity for everyday life and this topic explores the production of electricity. Consideration will be given to the use of non-renewable and renewable sources and the problems that are faced in the efficient transportation of electricity to homes and businesses. Safe use of electricity in the home is also covered in this topic and you will revisit topics such as power and efficiency. You should already be familiar with renewable and non-renewable energy sources and have a basic understanding of how power stations work and the cost of electricity in the home, and have some idea of electrical safety features in the home. Common misconceptions - confusing the idea of energy with terms including the word power such as solar power. Appreciate that higher voltages are applied across power lines and not along them. Another common misconception is that batteries and wall sockets have current inside them ready to escape.

Be able to apply the equation:

potential difference across primary coil (V) x current in primary coil (A) =

potential difference across secondary coil (V) x current in secondary coil (A)

P6.2/P8.2a Be able to describe the main energy sources available for use on Earth, compare the ways in which they are used and distinguish between renewable and non-renewable sources - fossil fuels, nuclear fuel, bio-fuel, wind, hydro-electricity, tides and the Sun.  Research of different energy sources. Demonstration of a steam engine and discussion of the transfer of energy taking place.

P6.2/P8.2b Be able to explain patterns and trends in the use of energy resources - the changing use of different resources over time.  Research and present information to convince people to invest in energy saving measures. Research how the use of electricity has changed in the last 150 years.

P6.2/P8.2c Know that, in the national grid, electrical power is transferred at high voltages from power stations, and then transferred at lower voltages in each locality for domestic use.

P6.2/P8.2d Know that step-up and step-down transformers are used to change the potential difference as power is transferred from power stations. Demonstration of a model power line to demonstrate the energy losses at lower voltage and higher current.

P6.2/P8.2e Be able to explain how the national grid is an efficient way to transfer energy.

P8.2f (GCSE Physics only) Be able to link the potential differences and numbers of turns of a transformer to the power transfer involved; relate this to the advantages of power transmission at high voltages

P6.2f/P8.2g Know that the domestic supply in the UK is a.c. at 50Hz. and about 230 volts (often says 240 V on appliances).

P6.2g/P8.2h Be able to explain the difference between direct and alternating voltage  Use of a data logger to compare a.c. and d.c. output traces.

P6.2h/P8.2i Know the differences in function between the live, neutral and earth mains wires, and the potential differences between these wires. Practical - wiring of a plug.

P6.2i/P8.2j Be able to explain that a live wire may be dangerous even when a switch in a mains circuit is open, and be able to explain the dangers of providing any connection between the live wire and earth - the protection offered by insulation of devices.


P8.3 Beyond Earth (GCSE Physics only)

In this astrophysics topic learners you look in more detail at how we can investigate the characteristics of planets. You will investigate bodies that are close to our own planet and consider factors that affect natural and artificial satellites. The topic then moves onto considering bodies within the universe, and apply your knowledge of fusion processes to understand the life cycle of a star and waves to consider black body radiation. The Big Bang theory will be studied and the evidence that supports it as a scientific theory. You should already be familiar with the bodies within our own solar system and the behaviour of satellites. You may have a basic understanding of the Big Bang theory and that distances to other celestial bodies is large. Common misconceptions - the Sun is not a star! The sun is a star and due to its proximity to us we have learnt most of our knowledge about stars from it.

P8.3a Be able to explain the red-shift of light from galaxies which are receding (qualitative only), that the change with distance of each galaxy’s speed is evidence of an expanding universe. You should understand the changes in frequency and wavelength this expansion causes.  Use of a Doppler ball to model red shift. Use of a balloon to illustrate why galaxies are moving away from us and that expansion is from the centre of the universe.

P8.3b Be able to explain how red shift and other evidence can be linked to the Big-Bang model including the CMBR.

P8.3c Know that our Sun was formed from dust and gas drawn together by gravity and be able to explain how this caused fusion reactions, leading to equilibrium between gravitational collapse and expansion due to the fusion energy - including the life cycle of a star.  Research the life cycle of a star.

P8.3d Be able to explain that all bodies emit radiation, and that the intensity and wavelength distribution of any emission depends on their temperatures - have an understanding that hot objects can emit a continuous range of electromagnetic radiation at different energy values and therefore frequencies and wavelengths.  Practical demonstration - comparison of temperature changes inside sealed transparent containers with different gases inside. Research evidence of global warming from the last 200 years.

P8.3e Know the main features of our solar system, including the similarities and distinctions between the planets, their moons, and artificial satellites the 8 planets and knowledge of minor planets, geostationary and polar orbits for artificial satellites. and how these may be similar to or differ from natural satellites Building a model of the solar system to demonstrate scale - the 8 planets and knowledge of minor planets, geostationary and polar orbits for artificial satellites and how these may be similar to or differ from natural satellites. Building a model of the solar system to demonstrate scale. Research the evidence for the presence of the Moon as a result of a collision between the Earth and another planet. Research the uses of geostationary and polar satellites.

P8.3f (HT only) Be able to explain for the circular orbits, how the force of gravity can lead to changing velocity of a planet but unchanged speed (qualitative only)

P8.3g(HT only) Be able to explain how, for a stable orbit, the radius must change if this speed changes (qualitative only).

P8.3h(HT only) Be able to explain how the temperature of a body is related to the balance between incoming radiation absorbed and radiation emitted; illustrate this balance using everyday examples and the example of the factors which determine the temperature of the Earth. You need to understand that Earth's atmosphere affects the electromagnetic radiation from the Sun that passes through it.

P8.3i (HT only) Be able to explain, in qualitative terms, how the differences in velocity, absorption and reflection between different types of waves in solids and liquids can be used both for detection and for exploration of structures which are hidden from direct observation, notably in the earth’s core and in deep water. You need to know about P and S waves passing through the Earth's layers and use of SONAR. Examination of seismographic traces of recent earthquakes. Research the design of buildings that are in countries that experience earthquakes regularly and how the design is linked to P and S wave characteristics.


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