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Activity: General relativity26 April 2020

Introduce the principle of equivalence.Understand the connection between the equivalence principle and the bending of light.Explain how the Pound-Rebka experiment gives evidence for General relativity.Describe... more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction to the sitefree14 August 2019

We hope that you will find the Getting started section useful if you are new to the IB, physics teaching or these resources. Returning subscribers are also advised to check out this area to make sure... more

Reflection (2018)25 April 2017

As a supervisor of a physics EE you are going to have to meet the student quite often to help with practical work, the analysis of data and generally keep them on track. These meetings are not reflection... 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

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

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

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

Problems: Component combinations15 September 2018

2. If each of the resistors in the circuit below has resistance R show that the total resistance between A and B is 5R/112. By using the fact that around any closed loop the sum of the EMFs = the sum... more

Extended essay - self review questions18 July 2015

Biology teachers know more about essay writing than physics teachers so I copied this quiz from the biology site developed by David Faure. Looks like excellent guidance.Once students have completed an... more

6.2 (+10.1-10.2) Gravitation29 November 2020

Apples don't move unless pushed. When someone makes an apple move without touching it we call it magic.On the other hand, when an apple falls to the ground without anyone touching it we call it gravity.... 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

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

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

12.1 Quantum physics29 November 2020

We know that low pressure gases only emit light of specific wavelengths that form a line spectrum. This leads us to believe that electrons only exist in certain discrete energy levels. We say electron... more

7.3 Particle physics10 November 2020

Let's consider the interaction between two electrons as they approach one another. Electron A sees electron B coming closer. As this happens the electric force experienced by A gets bigger as the electric... 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

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

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

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

P1 May 2009 TZ1free7 November 2010


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

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

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

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

2.1 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 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

How To guides21 December 2018

This site was first launched over 10 years ago. In that time:We always make sure that this site keeps up with the changes to the bigger picture so that you can concentrate on teaching your classes. 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

Optional Practical: Parallel plate capacitors (PhET)15 September 2018

In this exercise the relationship between the capacitance and different physical properties of a parallel plate capacitor will be investigated using the PhET capacitor lab. Work in pairs and take it in... 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

Hanging beam22 December 2010

This one is a bit contrived but it worked well with many possible research questions, its basically a model of a child's swing or trapeze consisting of two strings and a wooden rod. The 30cm rods were... 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

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

5.1 Current and 5.2 Resistance24 October 2020

Benjamin Franklin made an unfortunate choice when he decided on which charge to call positive and which negative. It's strange to think now that the electron could have been positive... but Franklin didn't... 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: 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

ICTfree12 May 2010

Three years ago I was asked by the subject area manager for physics to make a website specifically to help IB physics teachers in the use of ICT. I had never made a proper website before but said I'd... more

10 tips for supervisors8 April 2010

I think I have learnt the secret of how to write a successful extended essay in physics however I don't know the secret of how to get my students to do the same. There have been many times when I have... more

Research Question27 February 2010

Once the topic has been decided upon it must be refined into a research question. This must not only be focussed but it should be possible to get complete the research and write the essay in 40 hours.... more

TOK physics: Green boxesfree9 April 2021

Knowledge questionsAre some types of knowledge more useful than others?How can we know that current knowledge is an improvement upon past knowledge?What counts as a good justification for a claim? more

4.2-4.5 Sound and light6 January 2021

Someone with no knowledge of physics would probably answer that there aren't any similarities. You see light with your eyes and you hear sound with your ears. Sound is produced by vibrating objects but... more