Standard Grade Physics contains the following units;
- Using Electricity
- Health Physics
- Energy Matters
- Space Physics
The sections below contain links to revision summary notes, PowerPoint slides and extra questions to test your readiness for the exams on each of the areas listed above. If you need help to view a PowerPoint file, click here to look for the PowerPoint viewer on Microsoft’s site.
Alternatively, why not download the free OpenOffice.org office suite? It opens PowerPoint, Excel & Word files. You can also create your own files and save them so that you can open them in school with Microsoft programs, clever or what?
You will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader if you don’t have it on your home computer already.
Check this blog post to find out how you can get free physics revision software for home use only.
In the summary notes for each section you will find some boxes where the background is grey instead of white. These grey sections contain material that applies to the Credit paper only. If you are working towards a General level award you can skip the grey sections.
Some of the pdf files have been created by converting PowerPoint files. In places where the original slide is animated, you will need to read several pages in a row to see the full slide contents.
You will be given a copy of the SQA Physics Data Booklet for the exam. It’s a good idea to know what it looks like before you arrive at the exam room. You can download a copy here as a pdf file.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment for me on this page. I will do my best to answer you quickly. Please read the note at the bottom of this page if you have problems opening the files. Leave a comment on this page if you still can’t get the files to open and I’ll see if I can help you.
Here is a set of whole course summary notes from James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh.
Remember that there are only really two triangles you need to know for this unit;
Make sure that you put everything into the correct unit before using these equations, e.g. change kHz into Hz. You will also need to know the speed of light in air (300,000,000m/s) and the speed of sound in air (340m/s).
Use this information to calculate the distance between the lightning flash and the video camera used to record this video clip.
These files might help.
whole unit notes
telcommunication revision slides
Telecommunications learning statements and extra questions
how TV works
Here is an example of coils being used to steer a spot around a screen.
Can you spot the difference between this scanning pattern and the pattern used in a TV set?
Total internal reflection
Curved reflectors are often used to produce a strong beam of energy in one direction. The shiny backgrounds behind the bulb of a car headlamp, torch or halogen spotlight are examples of curved reflectors.
We use curved reflectors to communicate with satellites in orbit around the Earth. Signals are sent from a large curved reflector on the surface to a curved receiver on the satellite. The satellite can relay the signal to another ground station or pass it to another satellite before it is sent back to another ground station.
This video shows a simulation of a satellite in geostationary orbit.
A geostationary satellite is not actually stationary. By rotating at the same rate as the Earth, the satellite always appears to sit in the same point in our sky. This is quite handy, since it would be a nuisance if we had to move dish aerials to follow the location of a satellite broadcasting our TV signals.
The video below is designed to show you what the view from a geostationary satellite might look like. Since the satellite and Earth rotate at the same rate, one full rotation every 24 hours, the satellite is always over the same point on the Earth’s surface.
Here is a diagram of the most important language for the electricity topic. You can view a larger version by clicking on the image below.
This unit contains more equations but remember that the booklet you are given during the exam will have these, so don’t panic if you forget one of them.
This article gives an introduction to ac electricity.
electrical appliances – power rating and safety features
electrical safety – this is really meant for Standard Grade Science but I include it here because the descriptions of each safety measure are really good.
Watch this BBC Bitesize video about the ways that fuses and RCDs help protect us from electrocution.
Here is a short video about resistors.
Notice how the presenter converts the current from mA to A before doing the calculation in his example.
There are useful set of series and parallel resistor activities here. Use the next button or follow links in the left sidebar to progress through the topic.
electricity summary notes
electricity summary slides
electricity learning statements and extra questions
who wants to be a millionaire – electricity quiz – don’t click through too quickly or you might show the correct answers before you have had a chance to think about the question.
This video shows you how to build a simple electric motor and gives a brief explanation on how it works.
I’ve posted a bit more about electric motors here.
Here are some key terms you will need in your Health Physics vocabulary. Click on the image for a larger version.
Infrared is useful for taking thermograms (pdf) to learn about where heat is lost or where something is getting too hot.
A BBC article about how the police are using thermal images to find people who grow “illegal plants” in their homes.
Here is a brilliant video of an ultrasound scan of a pregnancy at 18 weeks (that’s almost 1/2 way through). Keep watching and you’ll see the baby’s face, hands, feet, ribs and….. well, just watch it and see!
Ultrasound isn’t just for human babies, vets use it too.
This excerpt from Bang Goes the Theory shows the damage that radiation can do to cells. It also shows how radiation can be used to treat tumours inside the body – this is called radiotherapy.
radiotherapy revision (ppt file)
BBC video about Alexander Litvinenko – former Russian spy who was poisoned with alpha radiation
Here is a video that explains how a Geiger-Müller tube works.
Use the diagram below to make sure you know the terms you will need for the electronics unit. Click on the picture for a larger version.
Here is a video about LEDs
Some of the key vocabulary for this unit is shown in the diagram below. Click on the picture to view a larger version.
Newton’s 1st law causes a headache for a lorry driver in this video
Friction: here are 3 clips about friction from the BBC programme Bang goes the Theory
and look what happens when cold weather removes the friction that helps you to control your car!
Here is some of the vocabulary you will need in this unit. Click on the image below for a larger version.
how solar panels are made (youtube)
wave power trials near Orkney (youtube)
hydroelectric power – how it works (youtube)
how nuclear power works (youtube)
nuclear reactor simulator – free download for windows pcs
simple electricity generator (java applet simulation)
electricity transmission – National Grid card sort activity
transformer law (powerpoint)
heat and temperature are not the same thing – a site to help you understand the difference between heat and temperature
space physics pupil pack (contains list of learning outcomes for the unit and additional homework questions)
colour temperature line spectra summary of the information we can get from the light received from any star (surface temperature of the star, what the start is made of, etc.)
orbits and gravity (animation showing planets in our solar system with some gravity information)
At Credit level, you should be able to draw a ray diagram to show how a convex lens produces an image. These video show you how to do that.
Rockets rely on Newton’s 3rd law of motion. Read my blog post about Newton III.
Here is a Sixty Symbols video about orbits and Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space.
You are expected to know that the friction encountered by the orbiter as it re-enters the atmosphere has the effect of transforming the vehicle’s kinetic energy into heat energy. The orbiter slows down as its kinetic energy is lost.
This article includes a photo taken from the International Space Station that shows just how high the temperature of the orbiter can get. This high temperature during re-entry is the reason those special black tiles are needed on its underside.
This short video shows a night-time re-entry over Texas, with the orbiter on its way to land at the Kennedy Space Centre.
I wrote a blog post about re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.