AHL units, lessons & tests

Additional Higher Level

The core contains pretty much the basic topics but maybe not enough if you want to study physics or a related subject at university, the additional HL content adds depth to waves, fields, electricity, magnetism, quantum and nuclear physics. The idea is that the HL course is not more difficult than the SL but contains more topics but this clearly isn't the case, all the AHL content is more advanced than the SL common core.

Measurements and uncertainties
Measurements in physics
Uncertainties and errors
Vectors and scalars
Work, energy and power
Momentum and impulse
Thermal physics
Thermal concepts
Modelling a gas
Travelling wavesSingle slit diffraction
Wave characteristicsInterference
Wave behaviourResolution
Standing wavesDoppler
Electricity and magnetism
Electric fieldsElectromagnetism
Heating effect of electric currentsPower generation and transmission
Electric cellsCapacitance
Magnetic effects of electric currents
Circular motion and gravitation
Circular motionDescribing fields
Newton’s law of gravitation

Fields at work

Atomic, nuclear and particle physics
Discrete energy and radioactivityInteraction of matter with radiation
Nuclear reactionsNuclear physics
The structure of matter
Energy production
Energy sources
Thermal energy transfer

If you teach HL and SL separately then it would make sense to run deal with the AHL topics as extensions of each core topic however if you teach a combined class you will need to come up with a way of organising the topics so that the SL students don't have to study things that they won't be examined on. In the previous syllabus some of the AHL material was part of the options for SL so could be taught together, this is no longer the case. Here are some possible timetable scenarios.

Combined class with 3 SL periods per week and 4 HL

This sort of schedule is quite common in a lot of schools but is very difficult to organise since the first 3 topics are common to HL and SL, which means that its not easy to let the SL students go for the first term and a bit. This is OK if the SL students aren't time tabled for anything in the HL only class since then they can simply attend all classes at the beginning.

Combined class where SL can be given free time when AHL material is covered

This could work but it means that SL students can't be time tabled to do anything else in the extra HL time. Simply teach as HL but allow SL students to have time off when covering HL material.

Combined first year separate second year

With this schedule it is possible to cover the first 6 core topics during the 1st year then return to the AHL topics with the HL class in the second year. This gives an easy second year for the SL students which isn't a bad thing. An alternative would be to cover mechanics, thermal, integrating the engineering option topics of rotational motion and thermodynamics then follow with circular motion, fields, oscillations and waves . This would leave the rest of the core and AHL to be done in the second year. I quite like this way and might even try it myself. The advantage is that you don't have to revisit topics with the HL class in the second year and the engineering option gives access to more possible investigation topics than any other option. The main disadvantage is that students don't get to choose the option (or is this an advantage?).

The basic outline would be as below

1st year (approx 80 hrs)
Measurements and uncertainties
Rotational mechanics (option)
Thermal physics
Thermodynamics (option)
Energy production
Circular motion and gravitation
Oscillations and Waves

2nd year (HL) (approx 100 hrs)
SHM and Waves AHL
Resonance (HL option)
Fields (AHL)
Electricity and magnetism (core + AHL)
Atomic, nuclear and particle physics (core + AHL)
Fluids (HL option)
Global energy transfer

2nd year (SL) (approx 30 hrs)
Electricity and magnetism
Atomic and nuclear
Global energy transfer

This looks a little uneven in terms of HL and SL but I think it could work. With this schedule the investigation could be early in the second term giving plenty of time for feedback.

Selected Pages


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