Drouin Secondary College - Course Selection

12 VCE Physics (12SPH1)

The Course

Unit 3 This unit of study consists of one prescribed area of study: How do fields explain motion and electricity. In this unit students explore the importance of energy in explaining and describing the physical world. They examine the production of electricity and its delivery to homes. Students consider the field model as a construct that has enabled an understanding of why objects move when they are not apparently in contact with other objects. Applications of concepts related to fields include the transmission of electricity over large distances and the design and operation of particle accelerators. They explore the interactions, effects and applications of gravitational, electric and magnetic fields. Students use Newton’s laws to investigate motion in one and two dimensions, and are introduced to Einstein’s theories to explain the motion of very fast objects. They consider how developing technologies can challenge existing explanations of the physical world, requiring a review of conceptual models and theories. Students design and undertake investigations involving at least two continuous independent variables.

Unit 4 This unit of study consists of one prescribed area of study: How can two contradictory models explain both light and matter. In this unit, students explore the use of wave and particle theories to model the properties of light and matter. They examine how the concept of the wave is used to explain the nature of light and explore its limitations in describing light behaviour. Students further investigate light by using a particle model to explain its behaviour. A wave model is also used to explain the behaviour of matter which enables students to consider the relationship between light and matter. Students learn to think beyond the concepts experienced in everyday life to study the physical world from a new perspective. Students design and undertake investigations involving at least two continuous independent variables.


Unit 3 Topics

Area of study 1: How do things move without contact?

Area of study 2: How are fields used to move electrical energy?

Area of study 3: How fast can things go?

Unit 4 Topics

Area of study 1 How can waves explain the behaviour of light? 

Area of study 2 How are light and matter similar?

Area of study 3 Practical Investigation

Learning and Assessment Activities

Unit 3

Outcome 1: Analyse gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, and use these to explain the operation of motors and particle accelerators and the orbits of satellites. 40 Marks

Outcome 2: Analyse and evaluate an electricity generation and distribution system. 30 Marks

Unit 4

Outcome 1: Apply wave concepts to analyse, interpret and explain the behaviour of light. (30 Marks)

Outcome 2: Provide evidence for the nature of light and matter, and analyse the data from experiments that support this evidence. (30 Marks)

Outcome 3: Design and undertake a practical investigation related to waves, fields or motion, and present methodologies,
findings and conclusions in a scientific poster. (35 Marks)

These units lead to

TAFE courses for electronics, electrical trades, surveying and computing. University studies in the Physical Sciences, Engineering, Astronomy, Surveying and Medical imaging and many more. Check with your careers counsellor as this is a pre requisite or preferred subject for many courses. May also attract ATAR score boost for some courses at individual institutions.

Special considerations

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Students entering Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2 may be required to undertake additional reading as prescribed by their teacher.

Costs involved


Edrolo textbook subscription: includes On-line access as well.

Materials required

Text Books as per the booklist, 2 x 128 page workbooks, USB and a netbook.

For further information see...

Talk with Mr Russell, or Mr Bohni

Study design link

VCE Physics Study Design 2016