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Measurements and uncertainties14 December 2018

This topic is the first in the Subject Guide, and there are some aspects that will need to be tackled before your students can commence other physical concepts. For students who have not studied physics... more

Problems: Projectile motion15 September 2018

1. A ball is thrown at 50ms-1 at an angle of 30°towards a raised area as shown in the picture. Calculate the range (final horizontal displacement) of the ball.2. An arrow is shot at a target as shown... more

1 Measurement and uncertainties19 October 2020

Physics is all about deriving relationships between quantities so that we are able to make predictions. To derive relationships, we need to be able to measure the size of the quantities.A large ball of... more

2.1 Distance, displacement, speed and velocity5 October 2020

If you look up distance in a dictionary you will find it has many different meanings. It's the same for displacement. In physics, words mean one thing and one thing only; the meaning is specified clearly... more

Googling IA ideas for IB physics14 September 2020

When asked to come up with ideas for their investigation students often start with a simple search. I'd prefer they searched "the physics of the trombone" or "magnetic braking" but all to often their... more

Required practical: The falling ball in Algodoofree6 September 2020

In this practical the acceleration due to gravity will be calculated by using a simulation made in Algodoo, first you will need to download Algodoo and instal it on your computer.Algodoo download more

Worked Solutions17 June 2010

The IB mark scheme gives the letters of the correct answers but not the complete solution. The examiners report gives some more details and statistics but again no worked solution. Here I have written... more

Introduction to IB Physics18 November 2019

The IB has a mission statement in which we have highlighted the distinctive components of this curriculum.The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people... more

Optional Practical: suvat (GeoGebra)free15 September 2018

In this exercise the mathematical modelling programme GeoGebra will be used to show how the motion of a particle is related to the equations of motion and vice versa. First you will need to download and... more

Some ready made IA ideas10 March 2021

During the life of this website (10 years) I have developed a whole load on interesting practicals, some I use regularly others have fallen by the wayside. Some of the less used examples... more

Algodoofree29 October 2020

Algodoo is a physics based 2D sandbox freeware from Algoryx Simulation AB. If you can draw in "paint" you can make simulations in Algodoo. If you remember "interactive physics" then it's like that but... more

2.3 Work, energy and power20 October 2020

Physics is all about understanding the way the matter in the universe behaves. We do this by constructing models that can be used to make predictions. Before constructing models we defined the quantities... more

2.2 Forces20 October 2020

So far we have been dealing with movement. We can describe motion in terms of displacement, velocity and acceleration and solve problems using the 'suvat' equations provided acceleration is constant. more

Problems: Single slit Diffraction15 September 2018

1. Laser light of wavelength 600nm passes through a narrow slit. The diffraction pattern is projected onto a screen where the width of the principal maximum is 10cm. The screen is now moved 10cm closer... more

2.1 Acceleration and motion equations5 October 2020

Acceleration is defined as the rate of change of velocity:If the velocity of a body changes then it has acceleration, regardless of whether it is slowing down or speeding up. This differs from everyday... more

Logistics30 March 2014

This depends very much on when other deadlines are in your school but it can’t be too early as not enough of the course will have been covered and students with English as an additional language would... more

P1 May 2009 TZ1free7 November 2010


2.2 Newton's laws and 2.4 Momentum20 October 2020

Apart from the subject of law itself, physics is probably the subject with the most laws. Laws are used to make strong predictions and solve problems. It is always good to quote a law when answering a... more

2.1 Graphs of motion1 February 2021

A graph is a visual representation of the relationship between two quantities.If the graph is a straight line, the relationship is linear and the equation relating the quantities is of the form \(y = Ax + B\)... more

IB Core16 September 2018

The IB course can be represented by a circle. The circle is divided into six sections, each representing one of the six diploma subjects. These six sections enclose the core of extended essay, theory... more

Not a checklistfree13 October 2014

One of the advantages of the old system of internal assessment was that it was quite easy to produce a checklist for each criteria. This was also one of the aspects that the assessment team didn't like,... more

1 Mediciones e incertidumbres19 September 2021

La física se encarga de derivar relaciones entre cantidades para que seamos capaces de hacer predicciones. Para derivar esas relaciones tenemos que poder hacer mediciones del tamaño de las cantidades. more

Optional Practical: Range of a rubber band28 November 2018

In this practical a rubber band will be projected across the table with different launch velocities at a fixed angle of 45°. To vary the launch velocity the rubber band will be stretched to different... more

Balloons22 December 2010

This is a good one to do after you have covered mechanics, waves, fields and thermal physics. There are a lot of possible research questiions although sometimes the variables are difficult to control... more

Being a Supervisorfree27 February 2010

As a supervisor you will be responsible for the progress of all the students allocated to you. This job can be fairly easy or very demanding , it dependis entirely on the student. I once supervised 12... more

Guía de estudiofree19 October 2021

Esta sección de esta página web es una guía de estudio en español traducido por Teresa Irigoyen Lopez. Como guía aproximada (¡hasta ahora!), la información en gris es de introducción, la que está... more

2.1 Projectiles20 October 2020

When a ball is thrown vertically it travels upwards while slowing down, then stops momentarily and then comes back down. If we take 'up' to be positive, the acceleration of the ball is negative both on... more

2.1 Distancia, desplazamiento, rapidez y velocidad19 September 2021

Si buscas la palabra 'distancia' en un diccionario encontrarás que tiene muchos significados distintos. Lo mismo ocurre con 'desplazamiento'. En física, las palabras tienen un único significado, y... more

4.2-4.4 Travelling waves24 December 2020

Gas in a container is not a room full of perfectly elastic spheres, but we can apply the knowledge we have of the motion of balls to derive equations that can be used to make predictions regarding the... more

Problems: Polarisation15 September 2018

1. A parallel beam of unpolarised light is transmitted through the polarisers shown below.The light has a power of 2mW and the diameter of the beam is 4mm.Calculate the Intensity of the beam more

Problems: Refraction15 September 2018

1. A ray of light is incident on a prism of refractive index 1.5 at the angle shown belowCalculate the angle of deviation, D of the emerging ray.2. To identical water waves with frequency of 0.1 Hz travel... more

A bad example16 January 2016

The subject guide says that the investigation should have "appropriate complexity & depth" but what does that mean. Here is an example that doesn't. I should point out that this was not done by one of... more

5.1 Electric fields19 October 2020

Electricity has become so interweaved with our lives that it is difficult to imagine life without it! But human life existed before household electricity.On the other hand, consider the electric force.... more

Problems: Gravitational Potential15 September 2018

1. The moon is about 1/4 the diameter of the Earth and 1/81 of its mass. The distance between the moon and Earth is approximately 60 x radius of the earth. Sketch a graph of the variation of gravitational... more

Problems: Resistance15 September 2018

1. At 0°C a steel cable is 1km long and 1cm diameter when it is heated it expands and its resistivity increases. Calculate the change in resistance of the cable as it is heated from 0 - 20°C more

Optional Practical: Angle of slopefree15 September 2018

In this practical the acceleration of a cart down a slope will be measured for different slope angles. By plotting a graph of the results a value for the acceleration due to gravity will be determined. more

Practical: Verification of Boyles lawfree15 September 2018

In this practical the pressure of a sample of gas trapped in a syringe will be measured with a pressure sensor.Boyles law states that for a fixed mass of gas at constant temperature the pressure will... more

Worked Solutions17 June 2010

The IB markshemes are essential for understanding how the marks are awarded but are not complete solutions, for that reason I decided to make my own with some comments in red. Due to copyright reasons... more

3.2 Modelling a gas24 December 2020

In some ways the gaseous state is the most complex. All the particles are moving about in random motion unlike the particles of a solid that have fixed position. However, in terms of energy, gases are... more

11.1-11.2 Electromagnetic induction21 November 2020

Over the last 10 years, worldwide sales of electric cars have increased from 20 thousand to 5 million. Norway is in the lead with 50% of all electric car sales. This makes the topic of electromagnetic... more

Problems: Resolution15 September 2018

1. A telescope can just resolve two stars a distance 3.46 x 1011m apart at a distance of 10 lyr. How close will two stars be at a distance of 15lyr when just resolved by the same telescope? more

Problems: The Guitar15 September 2018

1. The E string of an electric guitar has a diameter of 0.203mm and is made of steel. The velocity of the wave in a string is given by the formula v=√T/µ where T = Tension and µ = Mass per unit length. more

Problems: Gravitational fields15 September 2018

1. The diagram below represents two spheres of equal density placed a distance 18R apart. If the field strength at point P is zero show that r = 2R more

Optional Practical: Iterative SHM (Excel)free15 September 2018

When a body executes SHM its acceleration is proportional to its displacement from a fixed point and always directed towards that point, this obviously means that the acceleration is not constant however... more

Practical: Rectifier circuitfree15 September 2018

In this practical the input and output of a half wave and full wave rectifier will be investigated with a datalogger.Depending on the equipment available you can either build the circuit by clipping components... more

Choosing a Topic12 February 2011

Choosing and extended essay topic is probably one of the most difficult things a student will ever be asked to do. At university they will undoubtedly be asked to write essays of similar length and much... more

10 tips for students27 February 2010

Well I proved it; it is possible to get an A in a physics extended essay: I know that I am a physics teacher and I've written a couple of books but I haven't written an essay since I was at university.... more

3.1 Particle nature of matter24 December 2020

In mechanics we accounted for the loss of energy when a block is pulled along a rough surface by assuming that the block is made of particles called atoms. Once this assumption was made it was easy to... more

9.2-9.4 Diffraction and interference of light14 December 2020

So far we have dealt with diffraction and interference on a qualitative level; by now you should understand the basics and make some predictions of increases or decreases but not calculate values. You'll... more

10 IA ideas using a ruler16 September 2020

1. Twanging (1)Clamp the ruler to the edge of a table and twang it (pull it down and release it).What is the relationship between the frequency and length?Assuming the ruler behaves like an oscillating... more