Albany Senior High School/Coursebook/3PHY

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Information icon.svg 3PHY
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

The word Physics comes from the greek word fusis meaning natural things. Physics studies natural phenomenon in the areas of mechanics, electricity, waves and nuclear physics.

Physicists are inquisitive, so you will investigate the answers to questions about events that occur in the world around you. These topics will range from parts of the atom to observations of distant galaxies, yet all the topics can be related to phenomenon that you can observe every day.

What will I learn?

You will develop Scientific thinking

As a scientists you will develop ways of thinking that help you to study the world around you and use the information you collect to make informed decisions. This is called science for citizenship and scientific literacy.

As you develop scientific thinking you will learn about the Nature of Science, which tells us about what science is and how scientists work - you learn to think and behave like scientists. Physicists have a particular focus on using basic laws to explain situations you observe, both qualitatively (explaining in words) and quantitatively (using formula and numerical values).

You will carry out investigations, such as fair testing, identifying and classifying, modelling and pattern seeking.

You will also carry out research, to find out about applications of science, how things work, issues and challenges that involve science.

Your scientific thinking will be developed and applied through the study of the main topic areas as shown in the table below:
Screenshot from 2017-11-29 10 36 45.png

What sorts of things will I do?

As well as the investigations, research, arguments and explanation outlined above the following activities will be an important part of your science work.

Collect evidence of learning

Your teacher will share information with you via google classroom and be responsible for using google apps (such as google docs) to collect evidence of your learning, which will be used as a basis for your assessments. Your teacher will give you ongoing feedback on your evidence of learning to support you to gain quality credits.

Online tools

We will use a range of online content and application to support student learning such as google apps and VERSO. It is highly recommended that students have their own internet and capable device in to use in class and at home.

These standards are required as part of the course

All internal standards require students to work on these in class and in their own time.

The work students submit for these assessments is to be their own work and students will be asked to sign authenticity statements to confirm this.

There are no re-assessment opportunities for standards.

2017 3PHY assessment table.PNG

University Entrance

Physics is a UE approved subject. This means that if a student gain 14 or more credits in the standards above then physics may be counted as one of their 3 UE approved subjects. It is also possible to combine credits from physics with other science credits to gain a science as one of the 3UE approved subjects. However, this may exclude some credits from being counted towards separate biology, chemistry and/or physics UE. Students must speak with the SSL of Science if they intend to take this option for their UE subjects.

More information about UE is avaialable here:

Course Endorsement

A merit or excellence course endorsement for Physics may be obtained by completing 14 credits in the above standards at merit or above for merit course endorsement, or 14 credits at excellence for excellence course endorsement. The 14 credits must include at least 3 external credits, and must be completed in the same school year. More information about NCEA course endorsements is available here:

Vocational Pathways

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.

Follow this link to see the profiles for this course.

Assessment Calendar

Link to the ASHS Assessment Calendars

Frequently asked questions:

What do I need to be able to study L3 Physics?

  • It is highly recommended that students have passed, with achieved or above, all standards in the level 2 physics course
  • A good understanding of the following areas of maths - measurement, calculation of area, pythagoras, trigonometry and algebra
  • If you do not have the above you need to see the head of science in the year prior to commencing study.

Can I study Scholarship Physics?

Scholarship is an external examination for top secondary students. Scholarship examines course material related to level 3 standards derived from up to level 8 of the New Zealand Curriculum, but related content knowledge from NCEA levels 1 and 2, will be assumed. Therefore scholarship students must study material contained in 3 other standards at level 3, therefore it is highly recommended that students wanting to do scholarship link the learning for these standards to a suitable impact project. The skills and understanding required to meet Scholarship criteria are considerably more advanced than NCEA level 3. Scholarship requires students to demonstrate high-level critical thinking.

What about homework and workbooks?

We will use a write on workbook that covers the level 3 physics content. Details of the cost of these will be emailed to you in term 1 and the supply of these books is organised through the school.

We also extensively use google classroom, google apps and VERSO in the Science department, and therefore please ensure students bring an appropriate device to access these applications as recommended by our Bring Your Own Device information 

What stationery, do I need?

The usual basic stationary and:

  • we highly recommend bringing your own internet and capable device in order to use google apps in class and at home, and to use Education Perfect.
  • to supplement your record of learning on google apps please purchase a 2B8 hardcover lecture book
  • pencils and a ruler for diagrams and graphing
  • a scientific calculator  Casio FX9750GA Plus or FX9750GAII (or similar)
  • scissors and glue will be useful