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Specific heat capacity of water

The aim of this investigation is to measure the specific heat capacity of water, building on GCSE work.  The focus can be on sources of error and you can also look at finding the SHC of other liquids, or seeing if altering the mass affects the results.

Spectrum of a gas

The aim of this investigation is to measure the wavelengths in a spectrum of gas e.g. sodium or cadmium. It is expected that the students will calculate the wavelengths of a number of lines in the first order spectrum.

Speed of sound: resonance tube

A different investigation to calculate the speed of sound in air using an air column in a tube.  Very easy to set up and take measurements, which is ideal for a class practical.

Stress investigation: polarised light

This investigation looks at seeing the stress concentrations in a variety of objects using polarised light.  It would work well when looking at material properties and uses basic equipment.

Surface tension: capillary rise

The aim of this investigation is observing the capillary rise of water in capillary tubes and extending this to determine the surface tension of water.  This will test students measuring skills and get them to discuss errors in measurements too.

Temperature coefficient of resistance

Using a sample of iron wire you measure the temperature coefficient of resistance. By plotting a graph of temperature against resistance you will then be able to determine the temperature coefficient. This can be using a Wheatstone Bridge, or a digital ohm meter if preferred.


This experiment allows you to investigate the boiling point of brine and the melting point of lead using a potentiometer arrangement. An alternative approach using digital voltmeters is also included at the bottom of the sheet.

Viscosity: Stoke's law

This investigation can be linked to density which is taught at GCSE and show how this is built on.  The aim is to determine the coefficient of viscosity of a viscous liquid such as glycerol, but this could be expanded to different liquids.

Wheatstone bridge

The aim of this investigation is to find the value of a number of resistors using a Wheatstone bridge.  Although this is an historical piece of equipment that has been superseded by modern methods it provides an excellent way to understand potential difference in circuits.

Young's modulus of copper wire

This is an widely used investigation where you determine the Young's modulus of a piece of copper wire. This can be expanded to test other wires or materials and helps students with their measurement techniques.

Frequency of the mains

This simple investigation can be linked to standing waves and builds on work done at GCSE.  In it students look at sending a current through a wire, suspended in a magnet which causes it to oscillate.  From this they can work out the frequency of the mains supply.  They can alter wire length and tension to see if...

Fresnel Bi-prism

In this A-level investigation students can calculate the wavelength of sodium light using a Fresnel Bi-prism. A micrometre eyepiece is required for this but most of the equipment is readily available, and the worksheet provides simple guidance on how to measure this.

This resource has been provided by Keith...

Fusing currents in wires

This investigation can be used at GCSE or A-level and is looking at how different factors affect when a piece of wire will break when a current is passed through it. Students can alter the length of wire, the type of wire, the thickness of wire and see how this affects the value of current at which the wire breaks...

Finding g-linear air track

This investigation uses a linear air track that is tilted to a slope to calculate the acceleration of an object due to gravity.  SUVAT can be used to calculate this value, and datalogging, especially using light gates can be used. Students can also use a protractor to measure angles which can be varied.


Finding g – helical spring

By using a helical spring and varying the mass on the end of it, students can time the period of oscillation to calculate the acceleration due to gravity.  This can be done by plotting the extension (e) by the time period squared (T2).  This would be good to use computer software to assist with this....


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