Outline & Evaluation

Physics 12 Course Outline


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Here is what the Ministry of Education, says about this course: “Physics is relevant to a wide range of human concerns and achievements. Technological change that stems from an understanding of physics is often accompanied by extensive social change, to which each of us must adapt. Moreover, the concepts of physics have a profound effect on the way we think about our universe, our societies, and ourselves. Physics is also essential to academic studies and career training in the fields of science, technology, and medicine.” I tend to agree. Plus, it’s like weight lifting for your brain, and because nerds shall inherit the Earth, you need to study physics!

The senior secondary physics courses aim to bolster and develop, as part of general education, a scientific way of thinking about nature and a basic knowledge of scientific ideas. Physics 12 seeks to:

  • introduce to students the nature, scope, skills, methods, and relevance of physics
  • maintain the intellectual integrity of the discipline of physics
  • provide a rigorous follow-up physics course suitable for students who have a particular interest in physics or who plan to continue in science or engineering.

Physics 12 will focus on three interdependent aspects of the discipline: content, methods of inquiry, and context.


The content of physics includes the facts, laws, concepts, principles, theories, and language of physics. Each of these can be seen as the outcome of a particular kind of activity or method of inquiry. An understanding of the content therefore involves an understanding of the nature of the methods of inquiry that characterize physics as a discipline.

Methods of Inquiry

The methods of inquiry include observing, measuring, and analyzing natural phenomena, using models, testing hypotheses with apparatus or by “thought” experiments, and formulating relationships mathematically.

Learning research and teachers’ experiences suggest the importance of providing opportunities for students to have direct physical experiences with physics materials. These experiences will be available in the laboratory and in the field, where concepts can be studied in context.


Inquiry in physics and the resulting content do not exist in isolation but occur in a social context. Investigations in physics are motivated and influenced by current social needs, priorities, and beliefs. The content generated by these investigations in turn influences society (for example, by technological applications).

Topics Covered:

 The Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Grade 12 are listed under each of the following organizers: We will cover all these topics in this order. Notice the letters are not in order? The Ministry of Education gives those letters to us, and we do things a little differently around here! This is our order:

  • Introduction to Vectors and Scalars
  • H:  Equilibrium
  • A:  Vector Kinematics in Two Dimensions (Vectors and Relative Velocity)
  • B:  Vector Kinematics in Two Dimensions (Motion with Constant Acceleration)
  • C:  Dynamics (Forces)
  • D:  Vector Dynamics (Two-Dimensional Dynamics)
  • F:   Momentum (One-Dimensional Momentum)
  • G:  Momentum (Two-Dimensional Momentum)
  • E:  Work, Energy, and Power
  • I:    Circular Motion
  • J:   Gravitation
  • K:  Electrostatics (Electric Force and Electric Field)
  • L:   Electrostatics (Electric Potential Energy and Electric Potential)
  • M:  Electric Circuits (Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Laws)
  • N:  Electric Circuits (Power and Energy)
  • O:  Electromagnetism (Magnetic Forces)
  • P:  Electromagnetism (Magnetic Induction)

Assessment and Evaluation 

Evaluation is based on:

  • tests ( about 8 unit tests plus a final exam)
  • problem assignments.
  • labs
  • quizzes
  • final exam

 The ongoing School Mark will be based on:

  • 80% tests
  • 20% lab work, problem assignments, quizzes, etc.

The Final Mark (shown on the final report card) will be based on:

  • 80% School Mark
  • 20% Final Exam Mark

Students will be informed of their cumulative class mark throughout the year.  The mark they will be shown in the second term will not be a second term only mark, but will be their current overall class mark for the entire year.

The course mark will be worth 80% of the final school grade, with the remaining 20% earned on a comprehensive, final exam written at the end of the year.

Problem Solving is an important skill that will be further developed in Physics 12.  Clear criteria for organizing solutions to problems will be provided, and it is expected that you will reference these criteria when submitting work for evaluation (labs, assignments, quizzes, and tests).

Lab Reports: Lab reports will sometimes require a formal write-up, and at other times labs will be an informal activity; but in either case, labs are an important and essential component of your learning in this course. Some labs will be done on the computer and handed in via Google Classroom.

Quizzes will be used mainly as a formative assessment. They will carry little or no weight in the overall grade, but are an invaluable opportunity for learning. They will guide your learning by revealing what you understand now, and what you will need to study in more detail.

Regular Homework from worksheets, such as past provincial exam problems, is expected to be done for the next class, as it is essential that you practice the applications of newly learned concepts as soon as possible.  There will be an opportunity each class to ask questions about the homework.

Problem Assignments may be given prior to the unit tests.  These can be considered pre-tests, but will be evaluated.  Like quizzes, they will carry little overall weight, but are yet another opportunity for formative assessment.

Tests will be based upon the course learning outcomes.  There will be about three major unit tests each term, and if you do a good job of assignments, quizzes and labs, you can expect to do well on tests.

Replacement Tests:  There will be an opportunity for students to write replacement tests. If you choose to do a retest, that mark will be used, not the original mark (this means you could actually lose marks if you don’t prepare for the retest). Retest opportunities will only be offered to those students who have not missed any prior tests. If you are not there on test day, you will write the retest only.

Additional help:  I will be available during Focus Blocks and after school by appointment. I will be in room 234. I am not usually here before school – that’s riding time!

Equipment:  A scientific calculator is essential for this course, and should be brought to every class.  (Graphing calculators are unnecessary but ok). A 30cm long clear plastic ruler is very useful for this course. Also paper, pencils, erasers etc. should be brought to each class.

Text Book: We will be using materials from various sources such as web pages, open source texts, and teacher generated problem sets for enrichment and practice. No text book will be issued.

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Oak Bay High Department of Geeks