This unit (NEF1102) of study aims to provide a basic understanding of numbers and measurements, motion, vectors, Newton's laws, energy, power and wave behaviour. The unit begins with a general introduction to measurements and their uncertainties. The equations for one-dimensional motion are then developed and extended to two-dimensional motion. The concept of a force is introduced leading to Newton's laws including frictional forces. Energy and momentum are then introduced leading to the laws of conservation of energy and momentum. The study of motion extends to oscillatory motion and waves. Students work in groups where they can apply their knowledge of the basic principles to the solution of physics and basic engineering problems. The unit is run in PBL mode using the VU blended learning model. Principles underlying each of the main topics areas are presented via pre-class instructional videos that include on-line questions to determine students' understanding. This is followed by a face-to-face session where topics that students have found difficult are addressed by the instructor. The students are then presented with a group-based problem to solve based on the topic of the day. The students access library and laboratory facilities, as well as access to the instructor for further guidance if necessary in order to solve the problem. The students then present their solution to the problem to the class and instructor which is assessed.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Understand limits of measurements, apply uncertainty principles to develop measurement confidence. Apply a structured approach to solving problems in: (i) the use of kinematics to calculate motion; and (ii) the use Newton's laws to calculate forces and acceleration;  
  2. Apply the rules of conservation of energy and momentum to engineering-related problems;  
  3. Apply the principles of SHM and waves to engineering-related problems; and  
  4. Effectively collaborate in teams/groups where students demonstrate responsibility for their own contributions and accountability in achieving the group's outcomes.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Portfolio PBL Group Work 40%
Presentation Individual Oral Presentation 20%
Test Individual Online Test 40%

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