Prac Inv Forum – VicPhys News 4/T3/20

It is now back to remote teaching for the VCE.  It seems that the remote reboot in primary and lower secondary has benefited from the first experience.  However, VCE has the added complexity of SACs and Physics has the challenge of the Practical Investigation.  Vicphysics hopes to support teachers with ideas and solutions in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the one hour Discussion-based PD planned for this Wednesday, 5th August will still go ahead.  It will take the form of a discussion around some guiding questions, see details below.  It will be on Zoom and run from 6:00pm to 7:00pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

ANSTO is running an innovative event for students from Years 7 to 11, working in teams.  Registrations have been open for a week and have been extended to Thursday, 6th August!

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  A one hour online PD on Practical Investigations: Discussion Forum 6pm, Weds, 5th August
  2. More Online Teaching Resources from AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers):
  • The Spacetime Emporium
  • Voice Science: A Digi Kit for Grades 6 – 12

       3.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?
       4.Events for Students and General Public

  • ANSTO National Science Week Hackathon. Registrations close Thursday!
  • Behind the Scenes of Big Science, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Weds, 19th August
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020

       5.Events for Teachers

  • 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night. 6:00pm, Friday, 21st August

       6. Physics News from the Web

  • Cyanobacteria and nanomaterials give solar cell a boost
  • Thermogalvanic hydrogel cools down electronic devices
  • Physicists create quantum phase battery

1.  A one hour online Discussion Forum on Data in Practical Investigations:  6pm, Weds 5th AugustVicphysics invites you to participate in a one hour network meeting at 6:00pm, Wednesday, 5th August. This will be a forum for discussing aspects of recording, processing and analysing data in practical investigations, with the aim of producing resources that are useful to current teachers and/or students of VCE.

Please check here resources to be used as discussion starters, as well as for discussion questions.
To participate please email Vicphysics and the Zoom link will be forwarded to you the day before the event.Return to top2. More Online Teaching Resources from AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers):
a) The Spacetime Emporium: A collection of information and resources for anyone interested in Einstein’s Special and General Theories of Relativity. There are materials for a wide audience, from the general science reader to specialists in spacetime physics.  There are sections on Galilean relativity, Special relativity, General relativity, Reference frames, Spacetime fundamentals, Maths, History and Beyond relativity.  Each section has a list of several links to articles and websites, which can be filtered by Year level and type of resource.
b) Voice Science: A Digi Kit for Grades 6 – 12  This Digi Kit blends a cell phone oscilloscope app with a digital wave graphing activity to explore how human voice patterns can be visualized as waves. The digital tools transform students’ voice recordings into wave patterns.  The package has sections with Lesson plans, Models/simulations, Videos/animations, Real life connections, Digital tools and Activities. Return to top3. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There is two Government schools seeking a physics teacher: Parkdale Secondary College and Wantirna College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

4. Events for Students and General Public
a) ANSTO National Science Week Hackathon.  Registrations close Thursday, 6th August.
Hackathons are high-energy sprint-like events where participants work in a team, with the help of mentors, to design and build a solution to a problem.
The Australian Museum and ANSTO are excited to announce ANSTO’s National Science Week Hackathon for Australian secondary students in Years 7-11 as part of National Science Week 2020.
The theme is: “How can we use our oceans to innovate for a changing climate?”
The first 20 teams to submit a complete registration form will receive $100 to use towards their hack. Official registration for this online event opens on Mon 27 July and closes on Mon 3 August.
To register a team and more details, click here. It seems you can register a team without supplying names, but years level(s) are required, It appears names and parental permission slips can be supplied later.
Recommended team size is 3 – 7 students.
Timeline: 
Friday, 14th August: Problem challenges are released.  Teams review challenges, pitch ideas, choose a mentor *, finalise team roles, begin team work.  * Currently there is a list of 10 at the link above.
Sat and Sun, 15th and 16th August.  Teams work on their proposal.
Monday, 17th August.  Teams meet with mentors, revise and re-work their project.
Tuesday, 18th August. Teams create video presentations of their solutions and submit.
Prize pool: $1000 and medals for first and second places.

b) Behind the Scenes of Big Science, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Weds 19th August
This National Science Week ANSTO are giving the public a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes at the Australian Centre for Neutron Science, online and for free.  Students can see the different kinds of instruments the Centre hosts, and hear the results that they bring.  Five of their scientists will each walk the students through their world-class science machines, and after there will be a live Q&A where they can quiz them more.  This is a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of this big science factory.  

When: Wednesday 19 August, 7pm-8.30pm (AEST)
To register, click here. There is no cost.

c) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.Return to top 5. Events for Teachers
a) 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night, 6:00pm, Friday, 2st August
Physics in the Pub has gone virtual! An AIP Initiative.
Tiny magnets, cell goop and the future of the Universe
“We’ve digitized and uploaded our scientists and they’ll be streaming to you from the cloud, about the complex protein structures in our cells, how tiny magnets can cure cancer and, well, the philosophy of everything!
There’ll be songs, poems and quizzes, so have your device ready. Grab yourself a drink and join us online, with host Dr Phil Dooley of Phil Up On Science.”
Cost: Free, thanks to the AIP
For more information, click on Facebook here
To register, click here

6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) Cyanobacteria and nanomaterials give solar cell a boost

Strategically designed nanomaterials have been used to optimize the performance of a solar cell that incorporates photosynthesizing cyanobacteria.  What is especially impressive about the new technology is that it exploits a broad region of the solar spectrum while simultaneously boosting the photosynthetic activity of the cyanobacteria.  The device achieved enhanced efficiency by employing three separate active materials, each covering different regions of the solar spectrum. 

Zinc oxide nanorods are highly photoactive in the ultraviolet region, but the researchers extended this range to include visible light by coating the nanorods with another functional nanomaterial: gold nanoparticles. These exhibit localized surface plasmon resonance, a phenomenon capable of increasing the photoactivity of semiconductors through strong light absorption and scattering; and an enhanced local electromagnetic field at a specific frequency. Essentially, the gold nanoparticles act as tiny light-harvesting antenna.b) Thermogalvanic hydrogel cools down electronic devices
A new thermogalvanic hydrogel can simultaneously cool down electronic devices and convert the waste heat that they produce into electricity. The material, developed by a team of researchers at Wuhan University in China and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US, decreases the temperature of a mobile phone battery by 20 °C and retrieves 5 μW of electricity at fast discharging rates. This reduced working temperature ensures that the battery operates safely, while the amount of electricity harvested is enough to power the hydrogel’s cooling system.

c) Physicists create quantum phase battery
Researchers in Spain and Italy have constructed the first-ever quantum phase battery – a device that maintains a phase difference between two points in a superconducting circuit. The battery, which consists of an indium arsenide (InAs) nanowire in contact with aluminium (Al) superconducting leads, could be used in quantum computing circuits. It might also find applications in magnetometry and highly sensitive detectors based on superconductors.Return to top

Events for Students. VicPhys News 3/T3/20

There are more resources online as a follow up to the webinar Vicphysics ran during the school holidays.

ANSTO is running an innovative event for students from Years 7 to 11, working in teams.  Registrations open today and close next Monday, so hurry!

The second section of the next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be a PD on Practical Investigations.  It will take the form a discussion around some guiding questions.  It will be on Zoom and run from 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Wednesday, 5th August.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Vicphysics Webinar:  More resources are online and a one hour PD on Practical Investigations
  2.  Real Research Data with Student Worksheets from ANSTO
  3. A research review of the best fabrics for face masksAn example of good science, detailed data analysis and excellent pedagogy.
  4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?

       5.Events for Students and General Public

  • ANSTO National Science Week Hackathon. Registrations open 27th July
  • Behind the Scenes of Big Science, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Weds, 19th August
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020

       6.Events for Teachers

  • 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night. 6:00pm, Friday, 21st August

       7. Physics News from the Web

  • 3D ultrafast Doppler ultrasound quantifies coronary blood flow.
  • Earth’s atmosphere rings like a giant bell, say researchers
  • The fifth state of matter, a Bose-Einstein condensate, is made onboard the International Space Station

1.  Vicphysics Webinar: More resources and a one hour PD on Practical Investigations
Vicphysics held a webinar on the last Friday of the mid year holidays about planning for the second half of 2020.
The previous newsletter mentioned  that the videos of the sections were now online. 
Further material has been added, see below.  These resources are available here.
Presentations:

  • Reporting of data and Data Analysis in Practical Investigations (extra material)

Extra Support documents:

  • 2 Log book samples
  • Spreadsheet of sample data of a basketball bounce with analysis and annotations

PD on Practical Investigations
Vicphysics invites you to participate in a one hour network meeting at 6:00pm, Wednesday, 5th August. This will be a forum for discussing aspects of recording, processing and analysing data in practical investigations, with the aim of producing resources that are useful to current teachers and/or students of VCE.

Please check here resources to be used as discussion starters, as well as for discussion questions.
To participate please email Vicphysics and the Zoom link will be forwarded to you in the days before the event.Return to top

2. Real Research Data with Student Worksheets from ANSTO
ANSTO have developed some guided worksheets to help students analyse real data sets from ANSTO research. Students can graph data, make calculations, draw conclusions and answer discussion questions using provided background reading.
The worksheets and data sets examine different research topics, including:

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations from Antarctic ice cores over 800,000 years
  • Fine particle air pollution
  • Radionuclides in medicine
  • Investigating radiation in the air we breathe

The data sets and worksheets are available here.  Copies of the solutions are available on request from here

 Return to top3. A research review of the best fabrics for face masks: An example of good science, detailed data analysis and excellent pedagogy.
The presenter of this Youtube video was keen to design a face mask with the best fabrics, so she did a search of the scientific literature and found an article on testing fabrics for masks.  The video describes their testing process, explains and interprets the data in a way that will engage students and also produces a practical product in the end. Return to top4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There is one Government school seeking a physics teacher: Parkdale Secondary College

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

5. Events for Students and General Public
a) ANSTO National Science Week Hackathon.  Registrations open 27th July and close 3rd August.
Hackathons are high-energy sprint-like events where participants work in a team, with the help of mentors, to design and build a solution to a problem.
The Australian Museum and ANSTO are excited to announce ANSTO’s National Science Week Hackathon for Australian secondary students in Years 7-11 as part of National Science Week 2020.
The theme is: “How can we use our oceans to innovate for a changing climate?”
The first 20 teams to submit a complete registration form will receive $100 to use towards their hack. Official registration for this online event opens on Mon 27 July and closes on Mon 3 August.
To register a team and more details, click here. It seems you can register a team without supplying names, but years level(s) are required, It appears names and parental permission slips can be supplied later.
Recommended team size is 3 – 7 students.
Timeline: 
Friday, 14th August: Problem challenges are released.  Teams review challenges, pitch ideas, choose a mentor *, finalise team roles, begin team work.  * Currently there is a list of 10 at the link above.
Sat and Sun, 15th and 16th August.  Teams work on their proposal.
Monday, 17th August.  Teams meet with mentors, revise and re-work their project.
Tuesday, 18th August. Teams create video presentations of their solutions and submit.
Prize pool: $1000 and medals for first and second places.

b) Behind the Scenes of Big Science, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Weds 19th August
This National Science Week ANSTO are giving the public a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes at the Australian Centre for Neutron Science, online and for free.  Students can see the different kinds of instruments the Centre hosts, and hear the results that they bring.  Five of their scientists will each walk the students through their world-class science machines, and after there will be a live Q&A where they can quiz them more.  This is a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes of this big science factory.  

When: Wednesday 19 August, 7pm-8.30pm (AEST)
To register, click here. There is no cost.

c) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.Return to top 6. Events for Teachers
a) 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night, 6:00pm, Friday, 2st August
Physics in the Pub has gone virtual! An AIP Initiative.
Tiny magnets, cell goop and the future of the Universe
“We’ve digitized and uploaded our scientists and they’ll be streaming to you from the cloud, about the complex protein structures in our cells, how tiny magnets can cure cancer and, well, the philosophy of everything!
There’ll be songs, poems and quizzes, so have your device ready. Grab yourself a drink and join us online, with host Dr Phil Dooley of Phil Up On Science.”
Cost: Free, thanks to the AIP
For more information, click on Facebook here
To register, click here

7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) 3D ultrafast Doppler ultrasound quantifies coronary blood flow

In the peripheral arteries, non-invasive, non-ionizing Doppler ultrasound imaging is used instead of angiography. But for cardiac applications, Doppler imaging is difficult, because of the rapid motion of the myocardium and the insufficient definition of conventional ultrasound.
To overcome this challenge, researchers recently introduced a method called ultrafast Doppler coronary angiography (UDCA), which uses 2D ultrafast ultrasound to visualize coronary vessels as small as 100 µm in a beating heart. They have now extended their UDCA approach to three dimensions, enabling 3D imaging and quantification of coronary blood flow in a single heartbeat.

b) Earth’s atmosphere rings like a giant bell, say researchers

The Earth’s entire atmosphere vibrates like a giant bell, with various large-scale resonant waves travelling in both directions around the globe. That is the conclusion of scientists in Japan and the US, who have confirmed a nearly two-centuries-old hypothesis by Laplace of atmospheric resonance. Their research should help improve both weather forecasts and long-term climate forecasts.

c) The fifth state of matter , a Bose–Einstein condensate, is made onboard the International Space Station
A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC), known as the fifth state of matter, is a dilute gas of bosonic atoms whose temperature is so low that their wavelength becomes comparable to the distance between one atom and the next. In these circumstances the atoms all occupy the same quantum state and act in unison as a superfluid – so bringing otherwise microscopic wavelike properties into the macroscopic realm.

Physicists usually make BECs by confining a gas of bosonic atoms in a magnetic trap and firing laser beams at the particles to cool them down. The snag is having to release the condensate to study it. Once free, the atoms repel one another and quickly spread out if they are not cold enough – making the gas too tenuous to be detectable. But gravity also poses a major problem, its downward tug causing the atoms to collide with the bottom of the experimental apparatus within a fraction of a second.Return to top

Videos from webinar, L & M Resources. VicPhys News 2/T3/20

The video of the webinar Vicphysics ran during the school holidays is now on our website.  It is divided up into six sections.
The popular excursion venue, the Australian Synchrotron, that offers Unit 4 programs has moved to online support.  There is an extensive range of resources available and they will be running an information session on Tuesday, 28th July at 4pm.
There is also news of medical implants being powered by photovoltaics.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 23rd July by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday, 10th July Presentations, resources and videos are now online
  2.  Australian Synchrotron resources for Unit 4

       3.Events for Students and General Public

  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020

       4. Events for Teachers

  • 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night. 6:00pm, Friday, 21st August

       5. Physics News from the Web

  • External skin patch transfers power to medical implants
  • Finding a consistent constant
  • Fighting flat-Earth theory

The Parents association is putting up $15, 000 for the purchase of equipment

1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday 10th July. Presentations, Videos and Resources
Vicphysics held a webinar last Friday on planning for the second half of 2020. There were  50 participants on line.
The following resources are now available here.
Presentations and videos on:

  • Teaching the adjusted Areas of Study 1 and 2 in Unit 4
  • Prac Ideas for Unit 4 Waves and Light AoS
  • Prac Ideas for Motion in Unit 2
  • Managing Practical Investigations
  • Reporting of data and Data Analysis in Practical Investigations
  • Creating Assessment Tasks that are not Tests

Support documents:

  • Beginning Physics Teacher Resource Package for 2020 (35 pages)
  • List of Practical and Online Activities for Semester 2 in 2020
  • Youtube Demonstrations for Unit 4
  • Assessment Tasks on Vicphysics website
  • Student booklet for Unit 4 Practical Investigation in 2020
  • VCE Physics Practical Work Handbook
  • Unit 4 Teaching plan
  • Worksheet on interference of light, as well as
  • The many suggestions that came up in discussion.

Return to top

2. Australian Synchrotron: Resources for Unit 4
All school excursions at the Australian Synchrotron have been cancelled due to COVID 19 restrictions.  Although PrimeSCI! cannot offer an on-site visit at the present time, they have created a set of resources to provide students with an opportunity to gain an insight into the workings of the facility and the science behind it.  These resources are provided at no cost to schools in Term 3 2020.

Swinburne PrimeSCI!, with the support of ANSTO, have produced a recording of the experiments conducted during each lab session. The 15 minute video, along with the student and teacher handbooks and data sets, can be used as a unit test or a SAC.

A teacher information session with PrimeSCI!’s Education Officer will also be held at 4pm on Tuesday 28th July.  To book, click here.

The Year 12 VCE Physics resources on Interactions of Light and Matter Lab Session are as follows:

ANSTO also invites your class to take part in the Meet an Expert program, that allows students to speak with a Synchrotron Scientist on a range of topics via Video Conference.

 Return to top
3. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.Return to top 4. Events for Teachers
a) 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night, 6:00pm, Friday, 2st August
Physics in the Pub has gone virtual! An AIP Initiative.
Tiny magnets, cell goop and the future of the Universe
“We’ve digitized and uploaded our scientists and they’ll be streaming to you from the cloud, about the complex protein structures in our cells, how tiny magnets can cure cancer and, well, the philosophy of everything!
There’ll be songs, poems and quizzes, so have your device ready. Grab yourself a drink and join us online, with host Dr Phil Dooley of Phil Up On Science.”
Cost: Free, thanks to the AIP
For more information, click on Facebook here
To register, click here

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) External skin patch transfers power to medical implants

Biomedical electronic implants, such as cardiac pacemakers, deep brain stimulators or spinal cord stimulators, enhance quality-of-life by providing diagnostics and treatments within the human body. Most of these devices, however, are powered by batteries. And once these batteries run down, patients must undergo invasive surgery to replace them.

To address this obstacle, researchers at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) propose a new way to provide sustainable electrical power within the body without the risks of surgical complications – via a concept called active photonic power transfer. They have developed a power transfer system comprising a skin-attachable light-source patch and a photovoltaic array integrated into a flexible medical implant.
b) Finding a consistent constant
The Planck mission gave us the most precise value of the Hubble constant to date by measuring the cosmic microwave background. But studies made since using different methods provide different values. Keith Cooper investigates the discrepancies and asks what it might mean for cosmology.
c) Fighting flat-Earth theory
Physicists will find it shocking, but there are plenty of people around the world who genuinely believe the Earth is flat. Rachel Brazil explores why such views are increasingly taking hold and how the physics community should best respond.

Return to top

Webinar resources. VicPhys News 1/T3/20

Welcome back, the challenge of the adjusted Unit 4 begins.  Last Friday we held a webinar for beginning physics teachers and others focussing on Semester 2.  Over 50 teachers logged on. Along with three major presentations and several resources were prepared, many good suggestions came out of the discussions.  All these are now on our website.

If you are looking for some light relief, there is an online Physics Variety Night in August.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 23rd July by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday, 10th July Presentations and resources are now online
  2.  New Physics Resource
  • Ten ways Physics has enhanced the medical field.  A Perimeter Institute webpage.

       3.  Physics Contests for Students in 2020
       4.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?
       5.Events for Students and General Public

  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020

       6. Events for Teachers

  • 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night. 6:00pm, Friday, 21st August

       7. Physics News from the Web

  • Why insulated metals cool down faster than their bare counterparts
  • Beetle-inspired film reflects 95% of solar radiation
  • Table top device might snare gravitational waves using tiny diamonds

1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday 10th July. Presentation and Resources
Vicphysics held a webinar last Friday on planning for the second half of 2020. There were  50 participants on line.
The following resources are now available here.
Presentations on:

  • Teaching the adjusted Areas of Study 1 and 2 in Unit 4
  • Practical Activities for Unit 4 Waves and Light AoS
  • Data and Data Analysis in Practical Investigations
  • Creating Assessment Tasks that are not Tests

Support documents:

  • Beginning Physics Teacher Resource Package for 2020 (35 pages)
  • List of Practical and Online Activities for Semester 2 in 2020
  • Youtube Demonstrations for Unit 4
  • Assessment Tasks on Vicphysics website
  • Student booklet for Unit 4 Practical Investigation in 2020
  • VCE Physics Practical Work Handbook
  • Unit 4 Teaching plan
  • Worksheet on interference of light, as well as
  • The many suggestions that came up in discussion.

Return to top

2. New Physics Resource

  • Ten ways Physics has enhanced the Medical Field.  A Perimeter Institute webpage.  This Outreach article includes 10 poster quality images with explanatory text and striking images.  The images are not available as posters, but you can copy each image as a jpeg file. The topics include PET, MRI, LINAC, ventilators, lasers, ECG, Ultrasound, Adaptive optics, X-rays and enzyme interactions.

 Return to top3. Physics Contests for Students in 2020
a) Physics Photo Contest
Entrants must submit their photos by email attachment. The photo must accompanied by a statement of 250 words or less describing the physics in the photo.  Entries are limited to 10 per school each year. The photos can involve everyday situations that may demonstrate a variety of physics concepts or a set-up to show a particular physics concept or related set of concepts.

Prize pool: up to $1000.  Closing Date: The Friday of the first week of term 4.  For details click hereb) Physics Video Contest
Entrants must submit their video either as an email attachment or on a DVD. Videos must be in MP4 or Quicktime format, or a format suitable for video streaming. The video should relate to some aspect of the VCE Physics Curriculum. It may not be longer than three minutes in length. 
Students could use the videos by the keynote speaker at the 2012 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Dr Derek Muller, as a guide to how to structure a video. His videos can be found at his website

The submission must contain a statement of 250 words or less explaining the physics in the video. Entries are limited to 10 per school each year. Closing Date: Friday of the first week of Term 4. 
Prize pool: Up to $1000.  For details click here.c) Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation
The Poster Competition is designed to award quality student work and to provide exemplars of quality investigations. There is a maximum of ten prizes, with a list of criteria on this webpage.  Entries need to be submitted as a one page pdf.  The posters should be sent as an email attachment by the teacher to Vicphysicsby the second Friday of Term 4.  Successful entries with judges’ comments are also on the webpage.Return to top4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?
The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There is one Government school seeking a physics teacher: Roxburgh College

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

5. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.Return to top 6. Events for Teachers
a) 2020 Physics in the Cloud: A Physics Free-For-All Variety Night, 6:00pm, Friday, 2st August
Physics in the Pub has gone virtual! An AIP Initiative.
Tiny magnets, cell goop and the future of the Universe
“We’ve digitized and uploaded our scientists and they’ll be streaming to you from the cloud, about the complex protein structures in our cells, how tiny magnets can cure cancer and, well, the philosophy of everything!
There’ll be songs, poems and quizzes, so have your device ready. Grab yourself a drink and join us online, with host Dr Phil Dooley of Phil Up On Science.”
Cost: Free, thanks to the AIP
For more information, click on Facebook here
To register, click here

7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a)  Why insulated metals cool down faster than their bare counterparts.
A model devised by scientists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands sheds new light on the behaviour of metals cooled by liquid nitrogen – and specifically the somewhat counter-intuitive classical observation that insulated metals cool down faster than their bare counterparts.

A significant barrier to rapid cool-down in cryogenic systems is the evolution of a vapour film between the liquid-nitrogen coolant and the stainless-steel tubing that connects the cryogen bath to the cryogen storage tank. This phenomenon – known as the Leidenfrost effect – results in a low heat transfer rate and inefficient usage of precious coolant.

Now, Vanapalli and Jagga say they have come up with a workaround that addresses this problem while simultaneously optimizing the associated workflow.
b) Beetle-inspired film reflects 95% of solar radiation
A new flexible material for passive cooling that was inspired by a volcano dwelling beetle has been developed by scientists in China, the US and Sweden. The film reflects around 95% of solar irradiance, and can reduce the surface temperature of objects by around 5 °C. It could be used to cool everything from buildings to electronics, the researchers say. The surface enhances scattering and total internal reflection.

c)  Table top device might snare gravitational waves using tiny diamonds.
Rather than the kilometre-length observatories of today, future gravitational-wave detectors could be just a few metres long. That is the goal of physicists in the UK and the Netherlands, who have put forward a design for a matter-wave interferometer that would rely on the superposition of tiny objects such as diamond crystals rather than laser beams. They say that the device would be sensitive to low- and mid-frequency gravitational waves.
The latest work proposes a far smaller type of observatory based on interfering beams of matter rather than light. The particles in question would have a mass of about 10-17 kg, corresponding to a de Broglie wavelength of 10-17 m. This is about 100 billion times smaller than the wavelength of laser light used in existing observatories and could be exploited in an interferometer measuring as little as 1 m in length.

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Exam date, Webinar, NASA Resource – VicPhys News 6/T2/20

VCAA has announced the dates of the VCE exams.  Physics is on Tues, 24th Nov.  Their website also has the adjusted formula sheet and Exam Specifications.
Registration are coming in for Vicphysics’ webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  The event is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July from 9:30am to 12:30pm..

NASA has produced a data set from the sun’s Corona Mass Ejections. Students use the data to produce position and velocity time graphs. It will be a useful resource for Unit 2.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 23rd July by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  VCE Physics Exam is on Tuesday, 24th November from 9:00am until 11:45am
  2.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday, 10th July
  3. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  • NASA Kinematics Digi Kit: Data from Sun’s Corona Mass Ejections for Vel vs T graphs

4.  Survey of Teachers on their awareness of Brain Research and its impact on Education and Learning
5.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?
6. Events for Students and General Public

  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020

6. Physics News from the Web

  •   Colliding galaxies created the solar system, say astronomers
  •   The feelings you get when you discover something in physics
  •   More evidence found for a ‘fifth force’ in radioactive decay measurements

1.  VCE Physics Exam is on Tuesday, 24th November from 9:00am until 11:45am
The Adjusted Exam Specifications for 2020 and the Adjusted Formula Sheet are available here.
Examination materials for Physics are:

  • one scientific calculator
  • one folded A3 sheet or two A4 sheets that are bound together by tape, and single- or double-sided. Notes may be typed or handwritten, and from any source (including commercially available notes)

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2.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday 10th July
Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  It is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
The program will cover:

  • Teaching the adjusted Unit 4 and Unit 2 Areas of Study
  • Practical Activities and the Practical Investigation in Units 2 and 4
  • Possible assessment tasks and
  • Managing the Unit 2 Detailed Studies.

The program will be provided by Jane Coyle, Dr Barbara McKinnon and other members of the Vicphysics Committee.
To register, to raise any specific questions you would like addressed and for more details, you will need to go to our website.  If you wish to attend in person you can indicate that when you register, however space is limited.  The venue is Monash Tech School at the Clayton Campus of Monash University.

3.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
In many countries schools are still in lock down. Physics Associations around the world are publicising curriculum materials to assist teachers   A new resource from NASA is described below.   Items from previous newsletters are on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  • NASA Digi Kit for High School Physics:   This Digi Kit blends physics and space science as students analyse authentic data from the NASA SOHO space observatory to measure the speed of a coronal mass ejection (CME).  Learners will take on the role of scientists by examining image sets of two different CMEs.  The task is to plot graphs of position vs time and velocity vs time, then determine how long it would take for each CME to reach the Earth.  The package has lessons with assessment, interactives and videos and animations.

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4. Survey of Teachers on their awareness of Brain Research and its impact o Education and Learning.
A Monash University PhD student is conducting research on the prevalence of ‘myths’ about neuroscience among teachers.
Participants will be required to complete an anonymous online quiz/survey that is expected to take less than 12 minutes.  She says: ‘It is not lost on me that most teachers are very busy in the current environment having to rapidly adapt and change the way they teach. Your expertise and input will be extremely valuable in making recommendations to include neuroscience-based instructional strategies for future use. I would therefore greatly appreciate your participation in this study’.
To read the explanatory statement and begin the survey, click here.
5Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a job?
The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There are two Government schools seeking a physics teacher: Roxburgh College and Manor Lakes P-12 College

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

6. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) Colliding galaxies created the solar system, say astronomers
The solar system may have been formed in a long-ago collision between the Milky Way and its orbiting companion the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. That is the conclusion of astrophysicists in Spain, who have analysed data from the Gaia space observatory. This cosmic “fender bender” – which occurred as Sagittarius’ orbit plunged it through the plane of our galaxy – helped to concentrate cosmic dust in and usher in a period of heightened star formation.
b) The feelings you get when you discover something in physics
How do you react when something unexpected happen in physics. Robert Crease, a philosopher of science, explores the gamut of responses.
c)  More evidence found for a ‘fifth force’ in radioactive decay measurements.
Anomalies in the radioactive decay of beryllium-8 and helium-4 point to the existence of a new force of nature. That is the conclusion of a group of theorists in the US, who have scrutinized data from experiments carried out by nuclear physicists in Hungary over the past five years. Results from the two different isotopes agree on both the mass and interaction strength of the hypothetical boson that would carry the long-sought fifth force, the team found.
The Standard Model of particle physics tells us that matter particles interact with one another via four forces: electromagnetic; strong; weak; and gravity. But theorists have long hypothesized the existence of other forces, including “dark photons” that might mediate interactions between particles of dark and ordinary matter.

Vicphysics Webinar – VicPhys News 5/T2/20

Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  It is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July.

Physics teacher groups around the world are still sharing resources, many of which will be on value beyond online learning.

You are also invited to participate in a survey on teacher well being and career decisions.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 10th June by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday, 10th July
  2. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  •  Optics4Kids
  • The Physics Front
  •  Science Journal – the Google App
  • Adobe Scanner app for students to convert photos to pdf (free)

3. Recent Achievements of two AIP Women in Physics speakers from previous years

  •  Dr Katie Mack (2017)
  •  Professor Tanya Monro (2007)

4. Teacher Survey on Teacher well-being and Career decisions

5. Events for Students and General Public

  •  UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

6. Physics News from the Web

  •  Artificial eye has the potential to outperform human vision
  • Nano-optomechanical resonator detects low-frequency bacteria vibrations
  •  Kondo effect induces giant negative thermal expansion

 

1.  Vicphysics Webinar: Friday 10th July
Vicphysics will hold a webinar on planning for the second half of 2020.  It is primarily designed for teachers taking either Unit 2 or Unit 4 for the first time, but given the curriculum changes it may be of interest to others.  It will be on Friday, 10th July and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
The program will cover:

  • Teaching the adjusted Unit 4 and Unit 2 Areas of Study
  • Practical Activities and the Practical Investigation in Units 2 and 4
  • Possible assessment tasks and
  • Managing the Unit 2 Detailed Studies.

The program will be provided by Jane Coyle, Dr Barbara McKinnon and other members of the Vicphysics Committee.
To register, to raise any specific questions you would like addressed and for more details, you will need to go to our website.  If you wish to attend in person you can indicate that when you register, however space is limited.  The venue is Monash Tech School at the Clayton Campus of Monash University.

2.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
These resources plus all those listed in previous newsletters are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  •  Optics4Kids is a website of the American Optical Society which has a diverse range of resources for students of all ages.. It features simple experiments for students to do at home, an extensive video library and useful history and careers sections.  The optical illusions page is extensive with an impressive refraction effect at the bottom of the list.
  • The Physics Front is the teaching resources page for the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).  There much classroom material on all physics topics and pitched at differnet levels.  There are also links to PhET simulations, Interactive Video Vignettes and Physlets.  The ‘For New Teachers’ section is also very thorough.
  •  Science Journal – The Google App.  This app enables students to record observations, etc.  There is a Teachers’ section, but it is largely promotional.
  •  Adobe Scanner app to convert photos to pdf (free).  The AAPT newsletter about online teaching resources also included this item.

The Online Learning webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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3.  Recent Achievements of two AIP Women in Physics speakers from previous years
  • Dr Katie Mack (2017).  Dr Mack spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts and at the Science Day in Bendigo. In 2018 she moved back to the US and is  Ass’t Professor at North Carolina University.  As announced in an earlier newsletter, Dr Mack gave an online lecture at the Perimeter Institute on 6th May, titled ‘The End of the Universe’. It is now available here.  Dr Mack  has also written a major article on this topic in New Scientist, which can be accessed here.
  •  Professor Tanya Monro (2007).  In 2007 Prof Monro was Director of the Centre of Expertise in Photonics at Adelaide University, undertaking ground breaking research in the use of optical fibres for sensing with applications in medicine, defence and optical data processing. Last year she was appointed Chief Defence Scientist at Defence Science and Technology (formerly DSTO).  Last week she gave a talk at the National Press Club on DST in which she describes their work in the areas of i) Space for global communication, position navigation and  geospatial intelligence, ii) Information warfare capabilities, iii) Quantum technologies, iv) Weapon technologies, v) Data analytics and vi) Remote Undersea Surveillance.  The program will be of interest to those thinking of a career in defence or technology in general.
4. Teacher Survey on Teacher well-being and Career decisions
The Melbourne Graduate School of Education is conducting a study looking at teacher well being and careers decisions with the aims of reducing teacher burnout and turnover.

If you are a teacher or ex-teacher, they would value your insights into what influenced your career decisions. It is an anonymous 15-20 minute online survey. The aggregated findings will be presented to the Department of Education and Training at the end of the year as part of the ‘Strengthening Teachers’ Initiative.

They hope to gain a strong representative sample of current and ex-teachers from all subject areas, experience levels and early-learning, primary or secondary levels. The link below can be shared with friends and colleagues who you think may have insights to share. All responses are greatly appreciated.

The Plain Language Statement and survey are accessible here or here.  Further information can be obtained by contacting Hugh Gundlach

5. Events for Students and General Public
a) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

b) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) Artificial eye has the potential to outperform the human vision
An artificial device that closely mimics the structure and function of the human eye has been unveiled by Leilei Gu and colleagues at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The team based its design around a hemispherical arrangement of light-sensitive nanowires, which imitate photoreceptor cells in the human retina. Their device has the potential to produce images at higher resolutions than the human eye and could lead to significant new advances in robotics.

b) Nano-optomechanical resonator detects low-frequency bacteria vibrations
Researchers in Spain and France have measured the vibrations of individual bacteria by coupling them to a nanomechanical device with a similar resonance frequency. This new optomechanical spectrometry technique could offer an alternative to current methods of detecting and classifying bacteria and other biological particles.

Proteins, viruses and bacteria all vibrate at frequencies in the terahertz and gigahertz range. Their vibrations carry valuable information about their structure and mechanical properties, but efforts to study these using optical inelastic scattering techniques are extremely challenging because the bioparticles change shape and deform as they vibrate.

c) Kondo effect induces giant negative thermal expansion
Most metals expand when heated and contract when cooled. A few metals, however, do the opposite, exhibiting what’s known as negative thermal expansion (NTE). A team of researchers led by Ignace Jarrige and Daniel Mazzone of Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US has now found that in one such metal, yttrium-doped samarium sulphide (SmS), NTE is linked to a quantum many-body phenomenon called the Kondo effect. The work could make it possible to develop alloys in which positive and negative expansion cancel each other out, producing a composite material with a net-zero thermal expansion – a highly desirable trait for applications in aerospace and other areas of hi-tech manufacturing.

 

UPDAT: VCE Physics: VCAA Webinar

Webinar
VCAA will be held a one hour webinars in each of the VCE Study Designs.  They are part of VCAA’s Professional Learning program to support VCE Unit 3 and 4 teachers in implementing and delivering the adjusted Study Designs for 2020 and to answer questions related to the adjusted study design content and school-based assessment.
The Physics webinar was on Tuesday, 12th May from 4:15pm to 5:15pm.
You needed to register .  The video will be available afterwards, but only to those who have registered.

2020 VCE Physics Examinations
The VCAA examinations unit are working on examinations for 2020. Further advice will be provided on the VCAA website and through a Notice to Schools when it becomes available.
Note: The NH exam has been postponed.  These students will now sit the same exam as other physics students at the end of the year.

12 month extension of Accreditation Period
To support teachers to focus on the continuity of learning in their schools, the board of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the CEO of the Victorian Regulations and Qualifications Authority have approved a 12 month extension to the accreditation periods for all accredited VCE study designs.
All accredited VCE study designs will be taught again unchanged in 2021. The adjusted Study Designs for 2020 are not applicable in 2021.
For Physics, the study design’s accreditation period currently expires on 31 December 2021. This accreditation period has now been extended by 12 months and the study design will now expire on 31 December 2022.
This study was under review in 2020. This review process will continue into 2021 and the newly accredited study design will be delivered by schools in 2023 (rather than 2022).

More resources for Online Teaching and Learning
i) Living Physics Portal is an online resource of curriculum material for introductory physics course for life sciences.  It hopes to make physics classes more relevant for life science students.  The website is very well structured, there is a section for each area of physics, e.g. Mechanics, in each section several headings ( e.g. Newton’s 3rd Law) and for each heading a few sub-headings (e.g. Action/Reaction) and finally some resources which are described in detail and can be downloaded.  You need to register and there is an expectation that at some stage in the future you will contribute some material.
ii) Smart Phones on the Rise. An article on apps that allow experiments to be done at home.  The article mentions Phyphox which was on the last edition of this newsletter.  It had a 30% increase in downloads in the second half of March. This article also describes Physics Toolbox, which has had a similar increase.
iii) From Perimeter Institute a free poster featuring physicists’ reflections on past teachers who had an impact.

Our webpage for Online Learning is regularly updated, so please check it from time to time.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May online, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Adjusted Study Design is now available. Vicphys News 3/T2/20

The Adjusted Study Design for 2020 is now available.  Vicphysics has prepared a summary of the changes and compiled a list of past paper questions that students can skip when revising for the 2020 end of year exam.

There is likely to be a VCAA presentation on the changes within the week and Vicphysics is planning to hold a Q&A session for teachers with Maria James, the Science Curriculum Manager, possibly in the following week. More details in the next newsletter.

There are also some more resources to help with online teaching and learning.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  Adjusted Study Design is now available
  2. More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
  • FARLabs: Freely Accessible Remote Laboratories
  •  A Procedure for conducting Assessment Tasks Online

3. Events for Students and General Public

  •  The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) – A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am 7th May, On-Line
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

4. Physics News from the Web

  •  For Concussion, the Eyes are the Window to the Brain
  • The Diamond Quantum Revolution
  •  COVID-19 symptoms detected from a safe distance using infrared light and microwaves

1.  Adjusted Study Design is now available.
VCAA has released the Study Design that is to apply for the remainder of 2020.  Some dot points in Areas of Study 1 and 2 in Unit 4 have been deleted and the Practical Investigation has been substantially modified.  Teachers should check out the document either on the VCAA website or on our Vicphysics website, where there are additional resources.

Vicphysics has produced a summary of the changes to the study design that will apply in 2020.  We have also compiled a spreadsheet of the past paper questions from the November exam papers and the NH exam papers for the years 2017 – 2019 that students can skip when using these papers for revision. Core sections of exam papers prior to 2017 can be used unchanged.  The summary and the spreadsheet are on our ‘online learning’ webpage.

Vicphysics is also preparing a teaching schedule for Unit 4, based on exams starting in early December and a delayed start to teaching Unit 4 to give more time to consolidate Unit 3 and also hold mid year exams.

Vicphysics is organising a Q&A session for teachers with Maria James.  It will be held in a week or so. Details will be in the next newsletter.

2.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
These resources plus all those listed in previous newsletters are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

  •  FARLabs: Freely Accessible Remote Laboratories:  FARLabs presents a technological solution to the challenge of providing engaging, cost-effective, practical experiments to secondary schools across the country. The remote-access laboratory allows secondary educators and students to operate science equipment (such as radioactive sources and detectors) hosted at La Trobe University, through their web browser.  Each experiment contains downloadable student and teacher notes, worksheets, quizzes, videos and examples of the impact that science has on society. Besides providing informative and engaging content, the materials provide pathways for students to understand the process of scientific research.

    Teachers can normally book time for their students to do an experiment as part of normal class time. However, with students currently learning from home, there is more flexibility, but access time still needs to be booked.  There are experiments on Radioactivity, and Photoelectric Effect, and Interference and Diffraction.  There are also a link on our Vicphysics website .

    FARLabs is online, and it is free.  Teachers need to register before they can book a time.

  • A Procedure for Conducting Assessment Tasks Online
    Our Online Learning webpage has a one page document describing the method used by Albert Park College to conduct assessment tasks online. The method is consistent with VCAA Guidelines in authentication.

The Online Learning webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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3. Events for Students and General Public
a) A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am, 7th May Online
The Perimeter Institute is holding a live webcast in the evening, Toronto time.  With local students currently working from home, they should be able to arrange their work schedule to catch the webcast at 9:00am in the morning.
Not only is Katie a theoretical cosmologist, science communicator, and self-described “connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes,” she is also a former AIP Women in Physics lecturer.  Katie spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts we held in 2018.
She will chat about her favourite subject: the end of the universe. In her upcoming talk, she will give viewers a sneak peek at her soon-to-be-released book ‘The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) ‘

b) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

c) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) For Concussion, the Eyes are the Window to the Brain

The way the eye moves in the moments after a head impact serves as a reliable proxy for the acceleration experienced by the brain, reports a research team in the US. The researchers observed the effect in a physical head phantom and a human volunteer, and say that the measurement could one day be made using “smart” contact lenses. Routine eye-motion measurements in athletes could allow sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) to be detected at the side-line.
b) The Diamond Quantum Revolution
Diamond is more than just a pretty gem – it has many attractive properties that stretch far beyond its aesthetic appeal.  This article explains how this special form of carbon now has many practical quantum applications too.  It nicely complements the keynote address at this year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference.

c) COVID-19 symptoms detected from a safe distance using infrared light and microwaves
A system that checks from a safe distance whether someone is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 has been developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation in Stuttgart, Germany. The team’s “access checker” combines infrared and microwave.

One part of the access checker scans a person’s body temperature by measuring infrared radiation emitted by their skin. This is done to detect fever, which is a symptom of COVID-19.  The device also checks for increased heart and breathing rates associated with the disease. This is done using a micro-Doppler radar system that bounces microwaves off the subject to detect body motions associated with breathing and blood flow.

Copyright © 2020 Vicphysics Teachers’ Network Inc., All rights reserved.

US & UK resources; Events for students. VicPhys News 2/T2/20

There are now more resources to support students and teachers at the challenging time – an extensive set from the American Association of Physics Teachers and another from the UK group ‘STEM Learning’.

There are also three events for students.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 13th May by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed (AAPT)
  2.  Home Learning Resources and Home Teaching Resources (STEM Learning)
  3.  PhyPhox: Physical Phone Experiments
  4. Events for Students and General Public
  •  The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) – A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am 7th May, On-Line
  • UNSW Bragg Science Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries by 27th August, 2020
  • Big Science Competition – Revamped for online

5. Physics News from the Web (Articles from The Physics Teacher)

  •  Is Modern Cosmology in crisis?
  • USB powered experiments
  • Free Fall Demonstrations in the High School laboratory
  • Extending the role of analogies in the teaching of physics
  • From Helicopter to Lighthouse: My teaching aligns with my parenting
  • Momentum as a maintaining agency: A different approach to teaching Force.

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
The last few newsletters had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Ideas keep coming in. They are all now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

Resources added to the webpage since the last newsletter are:

  •  The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) is making freely available a collection of specialised articles that focus on remote learning. These articles highlight the use of smartphones for lab experiments (11 articles from TPT) as well as other activities (6 from TPT, 16 from AJP) that can be adapted for use by students at home. The articles have been made free to read, download and share for a limited time.

This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

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2Home Learning Resources and Home Teaching Resources
The authoritative UK website ‘STEM Learning’ has compiled two sets of materials, one on Home Learning to support families and one on Home Teaching to support teachers.
The Home Learning webpage has sections on i) curriculum resources from Prep to Senior years, with about 8 Senior Physics activities, ii) Guidance for families and iii) Educational family activities.
The Home Teaching webpage has sections on i) Curriculum resources on 17 physics topics, with each topic having several activities, ii) ‘Activities for in-school delivery’ has articles assessing the research on the approaches schools adopt to support students’ learning while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

3.PhyPhox – Physical Phone Experiments
A few years ago this newsletter had an item about PhyPhox.  Paul Fielding has reminded us that it will be a useful tool, while students are learning from home.
PhyPhox is a website dedicated to experiments that can be done with a mobile phone, with many being free. The app can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.  PhyPhox is an initiative of Aachen University in Germany, the website has an English version.  There are monthly newsletters going back to 2016 as well as a Forum that has many contributions on experiments, etc4. Events for Students and General Public
a) A Conversation with Katie Mack, 9:00am, 7th May Online
The Perimeter Institute is holding a live webcast in the evening, Toronto time.  With local students currently working from home, they should be able to arrange their work schedule to catch the webcast at 9:00am in the morning.
Not only is Katie a theoretical cosmologist, science communicator, and self-described “connoisseur of cosmic catastrophes,” she is also a former AIP Women in Physics lecturer.  Katie spoke on Dark Matter at the two Girls in Physics Breakfasts we held in 2018.
She will chat about her favourite subject: the end of the universe. In her upcoming talk, she will give viewers a sneak peek at her soon-to-be-released book ‘The End of Everything (Astronomically speaking) ‘

b) UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing for Years 7 – 10. Entries close 27th August.
The 2020 Theme is ‘The Big Ideas saving the Planet’.
Students write up to 800 words to describe some scientific research that has delivered a solution that the student believes could change the future for the planet.
This website has entry details, as well as FAQs, Teacher’s resources and Writing tips.

c) Big Science Competition – Revamped for online.
The Big Science Competition now has flexible options: i) student access from school or home, ii) extended competition window from 20th May to 5th June.
The Competition is for students in Years 7 to 10.  It is a ’50 minute multiple choice competition testing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, not just factual recall’.  The cost to participate online is $7.00 and $8.00 for a pen and paper test. Parents cannot register their children, it needs to be through the school.

5.   Physics from the Web
Some items selected from The Physics Teacher.  The journal is free due to the COVID-19 crisis. To register click here.  Note this offer is currently available until the end of April.
Vol 58, Issue 4, April 2020

  • Is Modern Cosmology in crisis?
  • USB powered experiments

Vol 58, Issue 1, January 2020

  • ‘Free Fall Demonstrations’ in the High School Laboratory
  • Extending the role of Analogies in the Teaching of Physics
  • From Helicopter to Lighthouse: My teaching aligns with my parenting

Vol 57, Issue 6, September 2019

  • Momentum as a maintaining agency: A different approach to teaching Force

More Resources for Online & Zoom Forum. Vicphys News 1/T2/20

Welcome back for Term 2.  This promises to be a challenging, but hopefully rewarding term as we try out new ways of working.  To help, Vicphysics is setting up a Zoom Forum next week for you to share your experiences and successes.

The last two newsletters had information and resources on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students when schools are closed.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers and commercial groups are removing paywalls, at least temporarily.  This newsletter has additional resources that have come to our attention as well as some of our own.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed
  2. Zoom Forum for VCE Physics
  3. Full Access to The Physics Teacher Journal until 30th April
  4.  Tutor sought
  5. Physics News from the Web
  •   Silicon-based light emitter has been created
  •   Nanoscale structures give some butterflies ‘ultra-black’ wings
  •   Gamma rays and gravitational lensing provide hints of dark matter

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning when Schools are closed 
The last two newsletters had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Educational associations and commercial groups around the world continue to support teachers.
All these ideas are now on a separate web page and there is a direct link to the page from our home page.

Resources added to the webpage since the last newsletter are:

  • Strategies on Practical Activities at home (Vicphysics).  An Extract:
    •  Experiments that can be done at home with household equipment and measuring instruments, e.g. mass: kitchen and bathroom scales, time: watches, mobile phones, length: tape measure, ruler, temperature: room and meat thermometers.  Simple motion experiments can be analysed with Tracker. Mobile phone apps are increasingly versatile.
    •  Record yourself on video doing the experiment with students extracting data from instruments displayed in the video or from measurements that you read out as they are being taken.  The students then complete their report on the experiment.
    •  Use dummy data (individualised) or from student reports from previous years for the students to analyse.
    •  Experimental planning: Students describe their experimental design, what data they would collect the measuring instruments they would use and provide a sample analysis of the data.
    •  Computer simulations
  •  List of Practical Activities by Area of Study with suggested adaptations or alternatives for use at Home (Vicphysics)
  • Perimeter Institute (PI): Adapting PI resources for Online Classrooms. PI has an extensive range of activities from primary to upper secondary, including a dozen on physics.  The webpage provides for each activity details on how it can be adapted for the online classroom.
  • Open Stax.  Open Stax is a US non-profit educational initiative.  They publish high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free online and low cost in print.  They have also developed low-cost, research-based courseware.
    They have courses in College Physics, High School Physics and AP Physics as well as Astronomy and University Physics.  The first three courses have similar content to each other, which seems comparable to VCE Physics.
    Each course offers access to a text in various forms, online, as an app or as a pdf.  There are also Instructor resources and Student resources, which sometimes include short videos, assignments and guides. The Astronomy course in its Student resources section has a list of videos with their URLs, grouped by content areas.  The list is 25 pages long.
  • Adventures of Bungee Bear.  A Tracker based activity as an example of what students can do at home.  Prepared by Dr Barbara McKinnon, Kew High School.

This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.

Return to top

2. Zoom ‘Forum’ for VCE Physics
Vicphysics will host a forum on Zoom on Wednesday, 22nd April from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. If you wish to share your experiences of recent times along with what you have learned, please join the forum.
RSVPVicphysics Please include a topic you would like to discuss during the meeting if you have one.
Note: All participants must select ‘video’ for the meeting.
During the Meeting: 

  • Please use ‘mute’ when you are not talking to eliminate background noise.
  • At the bottom of your screen please click on the ‘Participants’ button to open the menu which has a ‘raise your hand’ option
  • Use the ‘raise hand’ function if you would like to ask a question or make a comment and the facilitator will call on you.

On the morning of the meeting, we will send out the instructions on how to access the ZOOM meeting to anyone who has RSVP’d. We hope this is an opprtunity for a fruitful exchange.

3. Free full text access to The Physics Teacher until 30th April
To assist teachers and researchers during the COVID-19 crisis, The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is offering free full-text access to all its publications including The Physics Teacher until 30th April.  To gain access you need to create an account, then visit your profile page to activate your free access.  Once in select the menu at top left and look through the list of publications for The Physics Teacher, then select it.
The Physics Teacher is a monthly journal with editions going back to 1963.  Each edition has several articles on physics phenomena and teaching strategies as well as teaching figures by Paul Hewitt, a batch of Fermi questions, Pracs with mobile phones and IT in general as well as useful websites.
The March 2020 has articles on i) Human Respiration as a Heat Engine, ii) Rainbows: a graphical approach and  iii) Systematic errors in video analysis.
There is an article on ‘Teaching classical mechanics with a smart phone’ in Vol 51, 376 (2013) by Joel Chevrier.
4.  Tutor sought
A parent is seeking a tutor for the child doing Year 12 Physics.  They live in the Wantirna area.  If you are interested, please contact Vicphysics to be put in touch with them.

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) Silicon-based Light emitter has been created
A light-emitting silicon-based material with a direct band gap has been created in the lab, 50 years after its electronic properties were first predicted. With further work, light-emitting silicon-based devices could be used to create low-cost components for optical communications, computing, solar energy and spectroscopy.

Silicon is the wonder material of electronics. It is cheap and plentiful and can be fabricated into ever smaller transistors that can be packed onto chips at increasing densities. But silicon has a fatal flaw when it comes to being used as a light source or a solar cell. The semiconductor has an “indirect” electronic band gap, which means that electronic transitions between the material’s valence and conduction bands involve vibrations in the crystal lattice. As a result, it is very unlikely that an excited electron in the conduction band of silicon will decay to the valence band by emitting light. Conversely, the absorption of light by silicon does not tend to excite valence electrons into the conduction band – a requirement of a solar cell.
In contrast, electronic transitions in direct band gap semiconductors such as Gallium Arsenide do not involve lattice vibrations, so these materials emit copious amounts of light when electrons are excited – and are very good at converting light into electricity.

b) Nanoscale structures give some butterflies ‘ultra-black’ wings
Many male butterflies have exceptionally black wings with optical properties that have long-puzzled scientists. Now researchers in the US found that the wings of at least 10 species have nanoscale structures that increase light absorption and scattering that create the “ultra-black” appearance. These structures may have evolved to enhance the contrast of colour patches used in courtship displays, according to the researchers. Understanding why the wings are so dark could lead to the development of ultra-black synthetic materials.

c) Gamma rays and gravitational lensing provide hints of dark matter
A comparison of data from gravitational lensing and gamma-ray observations has revealed that regions of the sky with greater concentrations of matter emit more gamma rays. The researchers who carried out the work conclude that much of the correlation is likely due to the action of supermassive black holes, but they say that some of the emission may be due to dark matter.