SL units, lessons & tests

Core or Base?

A core is the centre of something but I'm not sure that the syllabus core is really the centre, I would call it the base since it's the basics that everything else is built upon. The old syllabus was presented in a ready to go teaching order I don't think the new one is. Some of the "themed groupings" of topics don't make so much sense to me which is why I changed the order in my book, for example I would rather teach cells before the heating effect of electric current. Anyway here is the order of topics in the subject guide.

Measurements and uncertainties
Measurements in physicsThis is really just an introduction to physics and something about quantities, measurement and uncertainties. Most students will know all of this but I always like to start at the beginning especially with students who have never studied physics in English (most of mine). To give it some context, the uncertainties part is done as part of the practical programme.
Uncertainties and errors
Vectors and scalars
MotionAfter the introduction the logical next step is mechanics, how can students learn about charges particles and the kinetic model of a gas before they can model the motion of a simple rubber ball. Through basic mechanics we can logically introduce concepts such as momentum, force and energy that will be use throughout the course.
Work, energy and power
Momentum and impulse
Thermal physics
Thermal conceptsIt might make more sense to take SHM and waves before thermal physics but which ever way round it should come after mechanics so that concepts such as heat end internal energy have some meaning.
Modelling a gas
OscillationsSHM is an extension of mechanics using the already defined quantities of force and acceleration but in a more difficult context. The study of waves also requires students to understand motion (e.g. velocity) and also see how a wave has different behavior to a particle.
Travelling waves
Wave characteristics
Wave behaviour
Standing waves
Electricity and magnetism
Electric fieldsThe microscopic model of conduction is the motion of particles again and solving circuit problems needs some understanding of energy. It makes sense to do electric fields before circuits. Good that electric potential is now back in the syllabus.
Heating effect of electric currents
Electric cells
Magnetic effects of electric currents
Circular motion and gravitation
Circular motionI'd put this a bit earlier especially for HL where the circular model for SHM is worth using.
Newton’s law of gravitation
Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
Discrete energy and radioactivityIn this topic we draw on knowledge gained in mechanics (energy and forces), waves (EM spectra) , electrical fields (electron gun) there are very few new concepts in this topic just applying old ones to something very small. In particle physics we have to introduce some new tricks to explain what interactions are possible.
Nuclear reactions
The structure of matter
Energy production
Energy sourcesAgain nothing new here just application of pretty much everything, a good revision topic to do at the end.
Thermal energy transfer

Selected Pages


Unit Planner: Energy production 24 October 2021

Start date:Diploma assessmentxPaper 1xPaper 2Paper 3InvestigationText book referenceHamper SL 271- 301Transfer GoalsList...


Flashcard glossary 15 February 2021

Topics: GlossaryLevels: SL/HLNumber of flashcards: 10Topics: GlossaryLevels: SL/HLNumber of flashcards: 314

Solutions: Radiant energy 21 November 2021

1. Given the following data show that average temperature of the moon’s surface is about -4°C. (Note this is the average...

Measurements and uncertainties 24 October 2021

This topic is the first in the Subject Guide, and there are some aspects that will need to be tackled before your students...

Mind-flash The complete core 23 April 2021

Well, almost. Circular motion, gravitation and HL waves still to be done.Depending on your internet speed, these presentations...

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