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Physics at Thomson


Courses of Study 


Grade 11 Physics, University Preparation  (SPH3U1)

Prerequisite Course: Grade 10 Science, Academic with 70% or higher is strongly recommended.  Also strongly recommended is Grade 10 Mathematics, Academic  (MPM2D) with 70% or higher.

  This course develops students’ understanding of the basic concepts of physics. Students will explore kinematics, with an emphasis on linear motion; different kinds of forces; energy transformations; the properties of mechanical waves and sound; and electricity and magnetism. They will enhance their scientific investigation skills as they test laws of physics. In addition, they will analyse the interrelationships between physics and technology, and consider the impact of technological applications of physics on society and the environment.

 

Please click on Full Screen for best visualization of the videos:

SPH3U RollercoasterWonderland 0.21

 Grade 11 Physics students from Thomson showcase their projects at the WonderCoaster Contest at Canada's Wonderland.

  

SPH3U Trebuchets 2013 0.28

 Grade 11 Physics students at Thomson showcasing their trebuchets.

 

Grade 12 Physics, College Preparation  (SPH4C1)

Prerequisite Course:  Grade 10 Science, Academic OR Applied with 70% or higher strongly recommended.  Also strongly recommended is Grade 10 Mathematics, Academic  (MPM2D) with 70% or higher.

  This course develops students’ understanding of the basic concepts of physics. Students will explore these concepts with respect to motion; mechanical, electrical, electromagnetic, energy transformation, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems; and the operation of commonly used tools and machines. They will develop their scientific investigation skills as they test laws of physics and solve both assigned problems and those emerging from their investigations. Students will also consider the impact of technological applications of physics on society and the environment.

SPH CanadasWonderland 2013 0.9
Grade 12 Physics students from Thomson enjoying the end of their day investigating forces and motion at Canada's Wonderland.

 

Grade 12 Physics, University Preparation  (SPH4U1)

Prerequisite Course:  Grade 11 Physics, University Preparation with 70% or higher strongly recommendedAlso strongly recommended is a Senior Mathematics Course, University Preparation with 70% or higher.

  This course enables students to deepen their understanding of physics concepts and theories. Students will continue their exploration of energy transformations and the forces that affect motion, and will investigate electrical, gravitational, and magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. Students will also explore the wave nature of light, quantum mechanics, and special relativity. They will further develop their scientific investigation skills, learning, for example, how to analyse, qualitatively and quantitatively, data related to a variety of physics concepts and principles. Students will also consider the impact of technological applications of physics on society and the environment.

 


Comparison of Final Marks

  

Grade 10 Science, Academic and Grade 11 Physics, Univ.-Prep.

  Analyses of trends of final marks accumulated from 2003 to 2011 (Table 1) led us to suggest that students who completed Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D) with an 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH3U).

  Students achieving below a 70% in SNC2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 Physics, College-Preparation (SPH4C).

Table 1. Correlation of marks of students at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, TDSB who completed Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D) and Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH3U) in their subsequent academic year.  Data from 438 students was obtained from 2003 to 2011.

  As shown in Table 1, a total of 30 out of 85 (35%) students who earned a mark between 70% and 79% in SNC2D maintained their average or higher after completing SPH3U.

  A total of 15 out of 95 (16%) students who earned a mark between 60% and 69% in SNC2D earned a mark of 70% or higher after completing SNC2D.  This is important to know as it is an indicator of how successful a student would likely be enrolled in Grade 12 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH4U).  A minimum mark of 70% is required for acceptance to most Physics programs at universities.

 

 

Grade 10 Math, Academic and Grade 11 Physics, Univ.-Prep.

  In addition, analyses of trends of final marks accumulated from 2003 to 2011 (Table 2) led us to suggest that students who completed Grade 10 Math, Academic (MPM2D) with an 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH3U).

  Students achieving below a 70% in MPM2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 Physics, College-Preparation (SPH4C).

Table 2. Correlation of marks of students at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, TDSB who completed Grade 9 Math, Academic (MPM2D) and Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH3U) in their subsequent academic year.  Data from 438 students was obtained from 2003 to 2011.

  As shown in Table 2, a total of 37 out of 72 (51%) students who earned a mark between 70% and 79% in MPM2D maintained their average or higher after completing SPH3U.

  In comparison, a much lower percercentage (32%, 24 out of 74) of students who earned a mark between 60% and 69% in MPM2D earned a mark of 70% or higher after completing MPM2D.  This is important to know as it is an indicator of how successful a student would likely be enrolled in Grade 12 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH4U).  A minimum mark of 70% is required for acceptance to most Physics programs at universities.

 

 

Grade 11 Physics Univ.-Prep. and Grade 12 Physics Univ.-Prep.

  Furthermore, analyses of trends of final marks accumulated from 2003 to 2011 (Table 3) led us to suggest that students who completed Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH3U) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 12 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH4U).

  Students achieving below a 70% in SPH3U are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 Physics, College-Preparation (SPH4C).

Table 3. Correlation of marks of students at David & Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute, TDSB who completed Grade 11 Physics, University-Preparation(SPH3U) and Grade 12 Physics, University-Preparation (SPH4U) in their subsequent academic year.  Data from 269 students was obtained from 2003 to 2011.

  As shown in Table 3, a total of 35 students out of 59 (59%) students who earned a mark between 70% and 79% in SNC1D earned a mark of 70% or higher after completing SPH4U.

  In comparison, a lower percentage of students (43% from a total of only 20 out of 47) who earned a mark between 60% and 69% in SPH3U maintained a 70% average or higher after completing SPH4U.  This is important to know because the mark of 70%, mostly likely higher, is the prerequisite for admission to the Physics programs in most universities.

 


Pathways of Science at Thomson 

Prerequisites for Enrollment in Future Science Courses

 

Grade 9 Students

  Students completing Grade 9 Science, Applied (SNC1P) with an 85% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D).

  • Students achieving below an 85% in SNC1P are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 10 Science, Applied (SNC2P).


Grade 10 Students

  Students completing Grade 10 Science, Applied (SNC2P) may NOT enroll in a Grade 11/12 U-level course (i.e. SBI3U, SCH3U, SPH3U).
  • However, Grade 11 Environmental Science - Workplace pathway (SVN3E) is strongly recommended for students NOT pursuing post-secondary sciences but need a third science for graduation. 

  Students completing Grade 10 Science, Academic (SNC2D) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 University-level Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving below a 70% in SNC2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 11 and/or 12 C-level or M-level courses.

Pathway chart

 Students completing Grade 10 Math, Academic (MPM2D) with a 70% or above have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving below a 70% in MPM2D are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 C Chemistry and/or Physics courses.

 

Grade 11 Students

  Students completing Grade 11 University-level Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U) have demonstrated sufficient understanding, skills, and work habits to maintain their successful results in Grade 11 University-level Biology (SBI3U), Chemistry (SCH3U), and/or Physics (SPH3U).

  • Students achieving below a 70% in SBI3U, SCH3U, and/or SPH3U are therefore strongly recommended to enroll in Grade 12 C-level or M-level courses.

  At the present time, Grade 11 Science, Workplace (SNC3E) is NOT available.  However, Grade 11 Environmental Science - Workplace pathway (SVN3E) is strongly recommended for students interested in enrolling in a general senior science course for their third science credit. 

 

Grade 12 Students

  At the present time, both Grade 12 Earth and Space Science (SES4M) and Grade 12 Science, Workplace (SNC4E) are NOT available.

 


 What is Physics and its Areas of Study?

 

  Physics is the study of matter, energy, and how both interact with each other.  Examples of matter can be as small as the particles making up an atom to as large as a star.  Examples of energy include light, heat, electrical, sound, motion, gravitational, among others.

  There are many specialties within Physics.  Some of these to learn at DMT include the following:

  • Astronomy (study of space)
  • Optics (study of physical properties of light)
  • Kinematics (study of motion involving a change in position of an object over time)
  • Acoustics (study of waves and sound)
  • Electromagnetism (study of relationships between electricity and magnetic fields)
  • Gravity (study of gravity force acting on matter from a distance)
  • Quantum Mechanics (study of measurements of quanta in which matter is energy)
  • Relativity (study of systems moving close to the speed of light
What is physics

 

Benefits of Studying Physics

  Have you ever wondered why you don't stick to ice when you skate on it?  Why don't you fall out of a rollercoaster that's upside-down?  Why are rainbows curved and have many colours?  Why is the sky blue and coloured at dawn or dusk?  How can energy be transported from the Sun to my computer?  Why can we sometimes see the Moon during the day?

  Physics is the most basic of all Sciences.  With physics, you can really learn how things work in every detail.  The study of physics can involve the smallest particles of the atom to the largest star in the universe.  Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us.  The deepest level of understanding of how everything works can help to understand other sciences: Chemistry, as an application of physics, is the study of the interaction of matter and energy in chemical systems.  Biology is the application of chemical properties in living systems.

  Because physics deals with the deepest level of understanding in science, it challenges our imaginations with concepts like quantum mechanics and relativity.  Physics leads to great discoveries and new technologies that change our lives.  Applied physics have solved many problems:  Hybrid cars for cleaning the environment, lasers for improving industries, X-rays and digital imaging devices for exploring space, GPS for locating objects precisely, medical imaging technologies like CAT and MRI scans for saving lives; plus mobile and wireless computers that has revolutionized our world.

 

What Can Study Physics Teach Me for Success in Life?

  Physics is a subject that requires you to use your whole brain, both right and left sides, and develop skills in language, art, and mathematics.  As a result, student develop higher-order thinking skills that involve many layers, steps, and subject areas to solving any type problem:

  In problem-solving, physics carefully read and comprehend short paragraphs.  Student then translate words into geometric images or pictures, then apply some math like algebra to arrive at a solution.  In addition to practicing solving problems, physics students develop language and math skills and this can definitely be useful in preparing for entry examinations (such as the MCAT, Medical College Admission Test) at universities.

  In the Arts, the understanding of physics is definitely helpful.  The study of sound is key for musicians and makers of musical instruments.  The study of light is important for artists, painters, photographers, and stage crew.  Many famous scientists combined both physics and art in their lives:  Albert Einstein played the violin and Leonardo da Vinci, as an artist, developed a wave theory of light.

  Physics can also teach you symbolic skills.  Communication in physics involves interpretation of symbols, formulas, and equations. Understanding their meaning can be complicated.  With practice in examining a physics equation numerically and symbolically, you can improve as a visual learner and interpreter.

  Concepts in physics are connected with other areas of science.  Students learn to integrate their research in physics to math and statistics, chemistry, biology, geology, computer, education and/or business, among others. You can receive a comprehensive education on many subjects and how they relate to each other. (Perhaps you may even realize, only after studying physics, that your interests in learning is embedded in another subject!)

  To succeed in physics, one ought to be curious, look forward to challenges, and motivated to solving problems successfully.  Physics, the fundamental of sciences, requires you to use the fundamental principles of scientific investigation - the "separation of variables" and the "scientific method".  Experiments must be planned using logical reasoning to solve problems.  To answer the question of an experiment, a student thinks of a justified reason for the kind of observations to make, how to make them, and why.  Without careful planning, valued time, energy, and resources can be wasted.  You can develop this important skill of planning carefully.

  By studying physics, students learn to become resourceful.  They learn new technical terminology and practice research for the right kinds of information. Physicists continually read about new things.  Studying physics involves technical knowledge of equipment and procedures.  Most technology today involves physics:  Electricity, magnetism, forces, pressure, heat, light, energy, sound, and optics, among others.  Many of the sensors used in experiments (like microscopes, pumps, and thermometres) use the basic principles of physics.  Physics can be a very hands-on subject and collecting data using precise measurements builds up students' mechanical skills and instills patience during experiments.  Many types of measuring probes are used as data is entered into a computer.  You can learn and improve your computing skills, including computer modelling, in determining how your data can best be displayed for presentation and analysis.

  Observations and analysis of data are important parts of any experiment.  Communication skills are practiced whenever student decides how their data is best presented visually for analysis.  Students practice discussing, orally and in writing, the meaning of any patterns identified in the data.  By practicing conveying technical information to an audience less familiar with physics, students learn to become better teachers.  In analyzing data, students pay close attention to details in the data, find errors in their scientific method, and make self-corrections through the practice of deduction and logical reasoning.  Beyond high school, you can extend these skills of perseverance and learning to consider alternative viewpoints.

  Students are given opportunities to investigate work independently, fostering self-discipline.  Opportunities for collaborating with peers in completing research, peer evaluating, and solve problems builds team-work and leadership skills.

  Physics can teach you to appreciate cultures, history, and politics.  Using energy has always been an important issue for people from primitive cultures to the 21st Century and global warming.  Primitive hunters learned to store energy in their bows and arrows for survival.  From the 1800s to present day, people learned to collect energy from different sources like coal, oil, ground heat, the Sun, wind, water, and nuclear sources.  Since then, many inventions from coal and steam engines to nuclear reactors have been used to make our lives easier. 

 

Keys for Students' Success in Learning Physics

  To be successful in a physics course, you ought to enjoy preparing yourself for challenges.  You ought to enjoy learning but more so really enjoy understanding how everything works.

  It is absolutely essential that you be comfortable with math and applying it to solve problems, because there is a lot of it! (It is strongly recommended that you enroll in as many math courses - Algebra, geometry, calculus - as possible so that you are equipped to solve many more physics challenges.)

  It is also important that you enjoy the challenges of thinking to solve problems.  Skills not only in math, but organizing data, looking for patterns, and logic reasoning will be practiced.

  Familiarity with the computer is very helpful.  You will learn to use different sensor probes for collecting data.  After transferring data to a computer, you will need to use a program for organizing and presenting your data collected in a meaningful way for analyses.

  Like anything that is worth being proud of, physics is also a lot of work.  Even the most brilliant physicists had to study regularly.  Paying attention in class and taking notes, reviewing the notes while reading and adding notes if the book explained a concept better or different than the teacher in class.  Look at examples and complete practice questions, even if they are not going to be taken up in class.  All of these habits, even if you did not need to apply them before, are essential now in physics.

  Because physics is the most basic science from which all other sciences are rooted, you will find the physics questions so interesting that you are motivated to solve more.  You may find yourself working alone, but you will also be given opportunities to work alongside fellow eager students and teachers.

 

  The Science Department is always looking for new ways to make our courses both challenging and interesting. Our courses offer students the opportunity to learn through practical experiments, problem solving, and use of computers. Homework is seen as an essential part of students learning.

  The time to get serious about your marks and thinking about your future is now.  Your academic success in Grades 11 and 12 are going to be more important than ever!  Many Canadian universities are considering Grade 11 marks for early admissions. Our goal as DMT teachers is to help you plan your goals for successes both in your courses this year and afterwards, plus work towards achieve them successfully.

  To ensure that you can be successful, it is just as important to enroll in the Physics course best suited to meet your interests and goals for your future.

 

What To Do If You Are Failing Physics

  Express your concern to your teacher.  Ask your teacher for specific suggestions on what you can do to pass.  Many of the assessments (some quizzes or assignments) in the course are considered "assessments for" (diagnostic and formative) and "assessment as" (formative).  The purpose of these assessments is to act as a "self-check" to see that you are learning newly-taught material.  You are expected to make mistakes as it is evidence that you can learn.  These assessments do not count toward your final mark.  Ask you teacher again if the quizzes and/or assignments that you failed are such assessments.

  Your teacher respects an honest effort, even if you started late.  Continue to come to class and on-time because it makes a big difference.  Continue to take notes from your teacher and write down notes from the board because what s/he says and writes are important.  Continue to seek notes from a classmate and see if your note-taking skills can improve: Perhaps your classmate wrote down notes that you felt were not important or you notes can be made neater.  Continue to start your homework and try to complete it.  Continue to complete as many problem-solving questions as you can because you will become more comfortable with the concepts to try others.

 

  What To Do If You Feel Like Withdrawing From Physics

  Give yourself credit if you have been doing your very best.  If you have tried everything but can not produce the results that you want, give yourself a break.  Be assured that nobody has ever been perfect and every successful person in history has failed at something.  It is a part of life; However, how you handle this can affect your academic future.  Please discuss this feeling with your teacher.  S/he can offer some advice or suggestions that you did not think of before.

  Consider your options carefully.  Do not regret your actions or words later.

  If you have not put forth the effort to study, complete your homework and/or hand in assignments, for whatever reason, it is worth considering the option to withdraw.  If you are going to withdraw, be sure to do so before the Full Disclosure Date one week after Midterms.  Your failing mark will not be recorded on your Ontario Student Transcript.

  If you withdraw from the course after the Full Disclosure Date, your failing mark will be recorded on your Ontario Student Transcript.  This poor mark will lower your academic average, harming your chances of meeting admission targets for university or college.

  After withdrawing from the course, you can discuss remaining in the class as an auditor.  When auditing a course, the student attends lessons but is not awarded the course credit.  However, it is worth considering because information learned may "stick with you" and you can be more prepared if you choose to repeat the course in the future.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 December 2013 19:24