Ideas in physics are dynamic. As physicists explore concepts, theories evolve. Often this requires the detection, description and explanation of things that cannot be seen. In this unit students explore how physics explains phenomena, at various scales, which are not always visible to the unaided human eye. They examine some of the fundamental ideas and models used by physicists in an attempt to understand and explain the world. Students consider thermal concepts by investigating heat, probe common analogies used to explain electricity and consider the origins and formation of matter.

Students use thermodynamic principles to explain phenomena related to changes in thermal energy. They apply thermal laws when investigating energy transfers within and between systems, and assess the impact of human use of energy on the environment. Students examine the motion of electrons and explain how it can be manipulated and utilised. They explore current scientifically accepted theories that explain how matter and energy have changed since the origins of the Universe.

This unit is delivered in Year 11.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes, including the setting of practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: Outcome 1 On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply thermodynamic principles to analyse, interpret and explain changes in thermal energy in selected contexts, and describe the environmental impact of human activities with reference to thermal effects and climate science concepts. Outcome 2 On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate and apply a basic DC circuit model to simple battery-operated devices and household electrical systems, apply mathematical models to analyse circuits, and describe the safe and effective use of electricity by individuals and the community. Outcome 3 On completion of this unit the student should be able explain the origins of atoms, the nature of subatomic particles and how energy can be produced by atoms.Assessment will follow the requirements set out in the VCE Physics Study Guide: The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of outcomes specified for the unit. A variety of learning activities and assessment tasks will provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills in the outcomes. Assessment will be a part of the regular teaching and learning program and will be completed mainly in class and within a limited time-frame. All assessments at Units 1 and 2 are school-based. For this unit students are required to demonstrate achievement of three outcomes. As a set these outcomes encompass all areas of study in the unit. Practical work is a central component of learning and assessment. As a guide, between 3½ and 5 hours of class time should be devoted to student practical work and investigations for each of Areas of Study 1 and 2 and to investigations in Area of Study 3 involving the use of secondary data and/or modelling.

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