Physical World, Year 9 and 10

Physical World Year 9: ENERGY AND WAVES

Year 9 

Revise your understanding by reading relevant stage 4 material

PW1: Energy transfer through different mediums can be explained using wave and particle models

How does heat energy move through substances?

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Image source.

What other types of energy can move along waves?

  1. Describe qualitatively, using the wave model, the features of waves including wavelength, frequency and speed
Longitudinal wave. note how the disturbance goes from side to side as the energy goes through. This wave type is associated with sound waves. image source 
Transverse wave motion, note the disturbance goes up and down as energy is transferred along with the wave from left to right. This wave type is associated with Electromagnetic waves. Image source

Another way to represent longitudinal waves and transverse waves is by using diagrams as shown below.

image source 

What is frequency, wavelength amplitude and speed of a wave? A quick lesson from BBC bytes with practice questions and answers.

Explain, using the particle model, the transmission of sound in different mediums

Scientists use models to represent matter. Image source 

Identify situations where waves transfer energy

Waves and energy transfer. A resource from the science learning hub.

Activities and videoes

  • What can you hear? A video by ASAP science about the types of frequencies humans can hear and how age affects our ability to hear. It is called “how old are your ears?”
  • How to make a wave machine using jelly babies. A stem activity for students.

How does society use electromagnetic waves in everyday life? 

Some video tutorials

  1. What is the electromagnetic spectrum?  Basic and advanced versions from NASA
  2. The electromagnetic spectrum video and questions from the Khan Academy.
  3. The electromagnetic spectrum a Ted ed lesson made with a video from NASA. Introduces the types of EM waves and their uses.
  4. Light waves, visible and invisible – Lucianne Walkowicz a Ted ed lesson
What is electromagnetic radiation?

1. Relate the properties of different types of radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum to their uses in everyday life, including communications technology.

2. Describe the occurrence and some applications of absorption, reflection and refraction in everyday situations


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Reflection using a lightbox from a youtube video



All  3 images above from the science learning hub


Colours that are not seen are absorbed. Image source


Year 9 

PW3: Scientific understanding of current electricity has resulted in technological developments designed to improve the efficiency in generation and use of electricity.

Science by doing resources from the CSIRO


glossary of key terms

What is voltage, current and resistance? 

  1. Describe voltage, current and resistance in terms of energy applied, carried and dissipated
  2. Describe qualitatively the relationship between voltage, resistance and current

 What are series and parallel circuits?  

Compare the characteristics and applications of series and parallel electrical circuits.

Image source

How do technological developments enable and improve electricity generation?

Outline recent examples where scientific or technological developments have involved specialist teams from different branches of science, engineering and technology, eg low-emissions electricity generation and reduction in atmospheric pollution.

Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for the following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge, and understanding in Stage 5.

  • explain the relationship between resistance, voltage and current, using Ohm’s Law
  • investigate the energy efficiency of appliances and relate this to a household energy account


Year 10 


PW2: The motion of objects can be described and predicted using the laws of physics.

General guides and activities for the topic 

  • A helpful guide to some of the language and concepts in motion. Unfortunately, it is not using metric units as it is American document however, the concepts are written in a straightforward way.
  • A simple glossary of terms from Quizlet relating to newtons laws and forces
  • A speed and acceleration term and graph flashcard glossary from Quizlet( note the application of equations are additional content).
  • speed and distance time questions relating to speed and acceleration
  • Shedding light on motion: an excellent  8 part series from Clickview covering speed, acceleration, relative motion, graphing motion graphing freefall and a clip on each on Newtons laws of motion. This video series contains extension concepts.

What is the relationship between distance, speed and time? 

Describe the relationship between distance, speed and time

Distance-time graphs by BBC Bitesize

The relationship between speed distance and time can be explained using a distance( y-axis) over time( x-axis)motion graph. Image source

Short video explainers

Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge, and understanding in Stage 5.

  • explain the difference between speed and velocity
  • describe the relationships between displacement, time, velocity and acceleration, using the equations of motion
  • relate quantitatively, force, mass, and acceleration, and apply to everyday situations
  • apply Newton’s laws of motion to space travel

What is the relationship between force mass and acceleration? 

Describe the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration

1. What is acceleration? Relate acceleration qualitatively to a change in speed and/or direction as a result of a net force(  basic definition and extension ideas)

A speed over time graph can be used to understand acceleration. Image source

2. Analyse everyday situations involving motion in terms of Newton’s laws

The relationship between force mass and acceleration is explained using newtons second law of motion. Image source 

Newtons second law experimental simulation to help you understand the relationship between force, mass and acceleration.

Physical world year 10: ENERGY CONSERVATION

Year 9/10

PW4: Energy conservation in a system can be explained by describing energy transfers and transformations.

Science by doing resources 

How is energy conserved in a system?

Apply the law of conservation of energy to account for the total energy involved in energy transfers and transformations

Gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy on a rollercoaster. Image source

Describe how, in energy transfers and transformations, a variety of processes can occur so that usable energy is reduced and the system is not 100% efficient.

Why are energy transfers never 100% efficient? 

Energy transfers are never 100% efficient. There is always some energy lost that is not useful to the function of the system or device. Most often it is in the form of heat.

Sankey diagrams summarise all the energy transfers taking place in a process. The thicker the line or arrow, the greater the amount of energy involved. The Sankey diagram for an electric lamp below shows that most of the electrical energy is transferred as heat rather than light. Image from

Discuss, using examples, how the values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research in the area of increasing efficiency of the use of electricity by individuals and society.

Some useful information

Discuss viewpoints and choices that need to be considered in making decisions about the use of non-renewable energy resources.

 Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students’ skills, knowledge, and understanding in Stage 5.

  • research how engineers and architects employ scientific concepts and principles in designing energy-efficient devices and buildings

Building IQ – improving the energy efficiency of buildings using technology from the CSIRO

  • compare energy changes in interactions in sport activities