Monday, April 19, 2010

Sec1 physics

At the sec 1 & 2 levels, most schools cover General Science under the Science curriculum. A few schools however, including Lesley-Anne's school, teach Physics, Chemistry and Biology as specialised units right from the start.

Admittedly, I don't know if the two methods are vastly different. I'm assuming that under the General Science route, obviously physics, chemistry and biology would be covered too but whether it's less in-depth or span a smaller breadth of topics, I'm not sure.

In this post, I'm just going to share what Lesley-Anne has been learning in science thus far. Term 1 was Physics. The topics covered include measurements, states of matter and heat transfer. She also learnt how to use the bunsen burner which created much excitement apparently. I remember being fascinated by the bunsen burner too although I always hated lighting it, what with my fear of matches. Nowadays the kids just use lighters which are so much more convenient, although Lesley-Anne claims the lighter doesn't like her as it refuses to spark.

After each term, the kids have to sit for a science test. The following are a couple of sample questions I've taken from Lesley-Anne's physics test. They're on the topic of heat transfer.

a) Explain what is meant by sensitivity of a liquid-in-glass thermometer. [2]

b) Which thermometer (X, Y or Z) is the least sensitive? [1]

c) State and explain which thermometer (X, Y or Z) is the least responsive. [2]

d) State one advantage of using mercury instead of alcohol as a thermometric liquid. [1]

a) Describe how the molecules of glass conduct heat to the water. [2]

b) Name the main process by which heat moves through the water. [1]

c) On Fig. 16.1, mark using arrows the direction of the movement of the water. [1]

The answers are:

14a) Sensitivity is the change in length of the liquid for every 1 degree celcius change in temperature.

b) Z

c) Y is the least responsive because its thicker bulb wall prevents heat from being conducted to the liquid quickly so the temperature takes a longer time to obtain.

d) Mercury is more responsive than alcohol so one can obtain the temperature of an object more quickly.

16a) The heated glass molecules vibrate vigorously, affecting the neighbouring molecules and causing them to vibrate vigorously too. The transfer continues until heat reaches the water molecules.

b) Convection

c) as in diagram

Lesley-Anne scored 35/40 for the test. This term, she's learning chemistry and while she finds it tougher than physics, overall, she's enjoying her science lessons tremendously, more so than in primary school. The syllabus spans a wide range of topics as well as go into each one in-depth. There is one lab session every week which allows for hands-on activities and experiments to make the subject more interesting and relevant.

Looking at the test paper, I find that at the secondary school level, they test what has been taught. As long as you understand and have studied the concepts thoroughly, you should be able to do reasonably well. This is unlike primary school test papers which in my opinion, often try to trip the kids up with obtuse inferences, convoluted language or rigid insistence on "key words" in answer scripts.

I know we're only just entering Term 2 but it's so great to see Lesley-Anne enjoying her science lessons. And no more drills with past year papers or assessment books - for me, that gets the thumbs up!


breve1970 said...

Yay... thats really good news! Thanks for sharing Monica. I was getting so fed up with all the Science questions at P3 cos they were either too ambiguous or often tripping the kids... :(

monlim said...

Ann: I don't understand why they can't do the sec school way in pri school. Never mind, you just have to tahan a few more years!

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