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Draft Specs and Practical Work

There are so many aspects to consider when looking at the new draft specs for LC Physics, and wondering how it will change our working lives, that it can help to narrow it down to one topic,

One thing that will definitely change is practical work. There are no mandatory experiments, for example, and there will be no section A focussing on those experiments - and that will have a huge affect on student's perception of that work, and how we might present it in class.

But at the same time, practical work won't disappear. Spread throughout the 4 contextual strands there are numerous references to students learning about topics using primary data - and the only real way to get primary data is to set up equipment in the lab and take your own measurements. So if we take any reference to primary data as practical work that has to be done, and compare it to the list of mandatory experiments from the current syllabus, we can quickly see that things will change...but maybe not change beyond recognition.

I've tried to lay it all out here in a table. Current experiments on the left and proposed experiments to the right, matching them up when they seem to me to (more or less) coincide.

As a very crude measurement, 12 of the 24 experiments that we do now will still be there in some guise, and there are six situations where we (or students) will have to devise new experiments.

That's all before we start worrying about project work of course.......

2002 syllabus

2025 Specifications

Mandatory experiments

With reference code to primary data



To measure velocity and acceleration

measure constant and varying linear motion  (p 15)

To verify force proportional to acceleration


To verify the principle of conservation of momentum

verify principle of momentum (p16)

To verify Boyle’s Law


To find g by freefall

verify models to measure g (p17)

Period and length of a pendulum


Principles of equilibrium



Verifying the laws of vectors ([p16)


verify Hooke's Law (p17)


investigate the conservation of energy (p17)



Waves, light, sound


Focal length of a mirror


Focal length of a lens

verify relationship between u, v and f (lens) p19/20

Verify Snell

verify models of refraction (p19)

Refractive index solid/liquid

Wavelength of monochromatic light

analyse 2 source interference (p21)

Frequency and length of a string

length and freq of a standing wave (string) (p20)

Frequency and tension of a string

analyse diffraction (p21)

Speed of sound in air



investigate pitch and loudness of sounds (p20)


analyse standing wave patterns (p20)


analyse diffraction (p21)





Heat + Temp


Calibration of a thermometer

analyse materials for use as thermometers (p18)

Shc solid/liquid

measure shc and slh (p18)

Slh of fusion

Slh of vaporisation







Resistance vs temp (metal)

resistance vs temperature for conductor (p24)

Resistance vs temp (s/c)


To verify Joule’s Law


Voltage vs Current graphs (x4)

V vs I (for Ohmic conductors) (p24)

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