CPD taster - Maths for A level physics

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This is a CPD taster created to give teachers a better understanding of what to expect when joining one of our secondary mathematics in science courses. Below you will find a video and a task for you to do in your own time. Once you have done the activity, book on Maths for A level physics (NY294).


How confident are you when teaching the mathematical content at A level physics such as the manipulation of equations, the effects of differentiation and integration or the use and manipulation of logarithms and exponentials?

As a result of the increased mathematical demand in the science specifications, many physics teachers now wish to improve their own understanding of the mathematics required in order for their students to be successful in physics. The Maths for A level physics course provides strategies for meeting this demand. The course explores teaching methods and activities that can be used to support A level physics students.

In this video, Michael Anderson, Mathematics Subject Specialist at STEM Learning, explains more about what you’ll learn on the course. You will find a short task below that will help you to start thinking about how you can develop more ways of supporting students with their mathematics.

Task

The range of experiences of mathematics will vary among your A level physics students. They will have had a range of experiences of mathematics at GCSE, some will have opted to take A level mathematics, further maths or Core Maths, while some students may not be studying mathematics alongside physics. This task begins the process of thinking about how each of these types of students will respons to a question.

Take a look at the following question. How many different approaches can you think of in order to find an answer? Which way do you prefer?

Question

The graph shows how the force required to move an object varies as the distance it has travelled changes. Find the work done when moving the object between 3 meters and 10 meters. 

A graph of a decreasing curved line of force against distance

Example responses

Now consider the following student responses. All students have used a different method. Think about the answers to the following questions:

  1. What can you infer about their mathematical ability from the method they used?
  2. Which method would you expect your students to use?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?

Next steps

In the summary video, Michael explains what you can expect from attending the Maths for A level physics course.

Book your place on Maths for A level physics (NY294).

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