Activity teaching order (Options)

The options contain some interesting physics but not all students have the same interest, most schools offer only one option so a student passionate in astrophysics might be disappointed to hear they will have to do engineering. The activities on this website address this problem enabling students to work independently through the option of their choice. They can be used for the students who do not want to follow the "teachers choice" or go for it and use them for the whole class but be prepared to answer questions on all of the options, the activities contain some tricky bits requiring teacher guidance.

Here is a list of the activities for each option

Relativity

Activity: Galilean relativity

The position and time for an event can be measure by an observer in a frame of reference. This is a coordinate system (for measuring position) and clocks (for measuring time). Its is important to have...

Activity: The light clock

1. The laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames of reference.2. The speed of light in a vacuum is the same as measured by all inertial observers.To understand the significance of these postulates...

Activity: Lorentz transformations

We have been considering two frames of reference starting together then moving apart with relative velocity v. We define measurements made by observer A (frame S) to be x and t and those made by B frame...

Activity: Spacetime diagrams

I should first clearly acknowledge the work of Kristian Evensen who created Interactive Minowski which gave the inspiration for this worksheet and was a great help when making diagrams for my text book.

Activity: Momentum and KE (HL)

Understand that if Newton’s laws are to apply at high speeds momentum must be treated relativistically.Build an iterative model to show how KE changes close to the speed of light.Andres and Bruno are...

Activity: General relativity (HL)

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...

Engineering

Activity: Torque and equilibrium

Up to this point in the course we have only dealt with the motion of point masses. When considering larger bodies we have assumed that all forces act on the centre of mass.In this example Tension and...

Activity: Moment of Inertia

In the last activity we applied Newton's law to a small mass on a light rod, now we will add a second mass.Each mass is rotating about the pivot (left end), this means that there is a Torque acting on...

Activity: Angular acceleration

In this section we will consider the motion of a simple body made of a small heavy ball on the end of a very light rod pivoted at the other end.We can see that the torque (Fx) acting is clearly unbalanced...

Activity: Rotational KE

Consider a particle rotating on the end of a massless rod.If a body is made of a large number of small particles thenConsider a small displacement Δs (so small that the motion can be considered linear).

Activity: Angular momentum

The angular momentum of a point mass, m moving in a circle of radius r at speed v is give byAngular momentum = mvr = mr2ωFor a rigid body with moment of inertia, I spinning with angular velocity ω

Activity: Intro to thermodynamics

In this section we are going to look at the laws that model the energy flow in a thermodynamic system. The system considered will be a fixed mass of gas trapped in a cylinder by a piston but the laws...

Activity: Cyclic processes

A cyclic process is a series of transformations that take the gas back to its original state. These form a closed loop on a PV diagram like the one below.You can build your own simulation in GeoGebra...

Activity: The second law

According to the first law of thermodynamics, if you put 10 J of heat into a gas then you should be able to get 10 J of work out but this isn't the case. To understand why we can consider a simple experiment...

Activity: Static fluids (HL)

Understand and investigate how pressure varies with depth in a liquid.Understand the origin of the buoyant force.Apply Pascal's principle to simple hydraulic systems.Understand how pressure can be measured...

Activity: Fluid dynamics (HL)

In this section we will deal with the simplified case of steady flow in ideal fluids. When water flows through a pipe there is friction between the water and pipe. This slows down the water in contact...

Activity: Damped harmonic motion (HL)

In simple harmonic motion energy is continuously converted from kinetic to potential and back to kinetic, no energy is lost so the motion would continue for ever. If there is a force that opposes the...

Activity: Resonance (HL)

An oscillating system is said to be forced when driven by an external, varying force, An example of this is a hanging spring that can either be allowed to vibrate on its own at its natural frequency (free...

Imaging

Lenses

If you make an object transparent and shine a laser on it the light will reflect and refract according to physical laws.Point objectsA point object reflects light in all directions but we are only interested...

The microscope

A microscope uses two convex lenses to produce a magnified image of a close object. The first lens (the objective) forms a real image in front of the second lens (the eyepiece) which is used like a magnifying...

Magnification, the eye and aberrations

What's inside an eyeball? Here are the main partsLight is focused on the retina by the cornea and lens. The focal length of the cornea is fixed, unless you have laser surgery, but the lens has a variable...

Spherical mirrors and multiple components

We are going to use Paul falstad's ripple tank to model the way waves interact with curved mirrors. The mirrors in this simulation are actually parabolic but it's close enough. Click here for a ready...

The telescope

This is a simple telescope consisting of 2 convex lenses used to give a magnified view of a distant object. The telescope is said to be in normal adjustment when the final image is at infinity.

Optical fibres

Digital devices communicate with each other with a series of 1's and 0's. This can be achieved by converting the information into an electrical signal comprising of a high potential and a low potential.

X-rays (HL)

X rays are high energy EM radiation produced by firing electrons at a metal target in a vacuum.In this section we will refer to photons. These are packets of energy, you will learn more about this in...

Ultrasound (HL)

The animation below shows what happens when a quartz crystal gets squashedThe green atoms are - oxygen ions and the red are + silicon.The next animation shows what happens if an electric field is applied...

NMR imaging (HL)

When a proton is placed in a strong magnetic field it can have two possible energy states. It is as if they are small magnets that can either be aligned with the field or against it. In the image below...

Astrophysics

Activity: Measuring distance

Assuming there is a cloudless night, during this week take some time to have a look at the night sky. Use an app on your phone or computer to identify the stars and planets. Google sky map is one possible...

Activity: Light from stars

Almost everything known about stars has been discovered from the information obtained from the electro magnetic radiation they give out and most of that information is collected on EarthWith the naked...

Activity: Longer distances and mass

This is not on the syllabus but will help you to understand information from stellar databasesFrom the intensity of the Hydrogen absorption lines in a stars spectrum it is possible to determine the temperature...

Activity: Stellar evolution

Here is a video giving a quick overview of the life cycle of a star. This will put the physics that follows into context.

Stellar processes (HL)

Understand and apply the Jeans criterionDescribe nuclear synthesis after the main sequence for different sized stars.Apply the mass luminosity relationship to compare star lifetimes.Describe...

Activity: Expanding universe

Cosmology is the study of the Universe which up to now (in this course) has been modeled by Newton's universal law of gravitation but this had some problems for scientists 100 years ago.100 years ago...

Activity: Dark matter and dark energy (HL)

The Pinwheel galaxy (European Space Agency & NASA)When you did your investigation you might have found that your results didn't agree with your theory. This can be frustrating in the context of internal...

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