Excursions to UNSW Physics
UPDATE for 2021: We are now able to take bookings for this year’s Excursions! Due to COVID restrictions student numbers and sessions will be reduced and other transmission and Hot Spot precautions implemented. These precautions are designed to keep us all safe and will be included in the information pacts sent to prospective visitors.
Bring your Year 11 or 12 Physics classes to UNSW Sydney to conduct experiments in our First Year Physics teaching laboratories, hear talks by our researchers about their work and see some of our working laboratories. We have an extensive list of experiments that can be chosen to tie in with depth studies specifically or general course work.
The experiments are generally facilitated by current university physics students and staff (our lab demonstrators), providing an excellent opportunity for your students to connect with real researchers (a ratio of approximately one demonstrator for every 12 school students).
Please note that we have a limited number of available dates since our labs are used for teaching our first year physics courses during the university term. A timetable can be found below.
To request a booking, please complete the booking form
For general enquires, or if you would like someone to call you to talk about excursions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (02) 9065 8089.
How long is the visit?
The 'standard package' goes for 3 hours. This includes:
- two hours conducting a first-hand investigation in our First Year Laboratory
- a building tour and/or talk from a researcher
However, many schools choose to perform two experiments and stay for the whole day.
How much does it cost?
We charge a small fee to cover the costs of offering this program.
|$20/student excluding GST (minimum $240 excluding GST)|
|$40/student excluding GST (minimum $400 excluding GST)|
How many students can I bring?
Our two labs can accommodate a total of 140 students at once. There is no minimum number (but there is a minimum cost).
What is the group size? How many sets of equipment do you have?
We have 36 sets of equipment for most experiments. The suggested group size is 2, but this can be tailored to suit the needs of the class. For instance, you may wish to have students working individually if the experiment is being run as an assessment task.
Can we do more than one experiment?
Absolutely. You could do 2 in a big day, or have two groups of students (for example, Year 11 and Year 12) each doing different experiments in separate labs. Keep in mind that most experiments take approximately 2 hours (some can be made to be shorter).
What resources do you provide?
We provide comprehensive worksheets for each experiment. Most come with pre-lab information and questions that we suggest your students to complete before they arrive.
What assistance do you provide during the task?
We provide a high ratio of experienced lab 'demonstrators' to assist your students during the lab. Their job is to help your students achieve the best learning experience possible.
Can't I just do these experiments myself in my own lab?
In some cases you might be able to do something similar, but we see our service as being of use because:
- Much of our equipment is not found in schools, or if it is, there might only be a limited number.
- We can provide up to 72 sets of data loggers and sensors, and 36 sets of specialised equipment for each activity.
- We prepare the material and worksheets, provide demonstrators and run the experiments for you.
- We add the experience of coming to a working university physics school, connecting with real physics researchers and seeing real physics laboratories.
What dates are available?
We are available for school excursions during the following times:
April 24th - May 30th
August 7th - September 12th
November 20th - December 17th
What experiments can I choose from? How do they relate to the curriculum?
Below is a list of the experiments that are available for as part of your excursion for high school students. They are all experiments that we conduct in first year physics, adjusted for the Stage 6 Physics syllabus.
Each experiment is mapped to content from the Stage 6 Physics syllabus, and they also each address the Working Scientifically outcomes.
Links to Stage 6 Physics syllabus content
Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies
Investigating bodies in rotational and translational equilibrium. Uses specialised equipment allowing the balancing of up to 5 forces in different directions at once.
- algebraic addition
|Static Friction on an Inclined Plane|
Measuring the co-efficient of static friction using an inclined plane.
PH11-9/Forces, Acceleration and Energy:
Use data loggers and an inclined plane to analyse collisions of a dynamics cart with a barrier.
PH11-9/Momentum, Energy and Simple Systems:
Use an angular data logging device to measure the rotational motion of a different objects. Introduces the concept of rotational velocity and rotational inertia and how they relate to torque.
|Specific and Latent Heat|
Uses specialised calorimeters and data logging equipment to measure the specific heat and latent heat of fusion of water.
|Linear Oscillatory Motion|
Use data logging equipment to measure the movement of a weight on a spring.
|Standing waves on a string|
Uses an oscillator to generate standing waves in a string. Length, string tension and driving frequency can be adjusted. Mass of string is calculated.
- the role of the medium in the propagation of mechanical waves
- driving frequency
|Electrostatic Field Plotting|
Uses probes and electroconductive paper to map the electric fields around different shapes of electrode.
- simple point charges
, where U is potential energy and q is the charge
PH12-13/Charged Particles, Conductors and Electric and Magnetic Fields:
- electric field between parallel charged plates
A constant current source is used to charge various unknown capacitors. Datalogging equipment is used to measure voltage with respect to time.
- processes by which objects become electrically charged (ACSPH002)
|Fields and The 'Slinky' Coil|
A slinky is used as a variable density solenoid while a magnetic field probe is used to investigate the field in the coil. A value for the permeability of free space is determined.
use magnetic field lines to model qualitatively the direction and strength of magnetic fields produced by magnets, current-carrying wires and solenoids and relate these fields to their effect on magnetic materials that are placed within them (ACSPH083)
Use microwave generation and detection equipment to investigate various phenomena associated with electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves operate at a larger physical scale than visible light so students can better develop a 'feel' for what is happening.
PH12-14/Light: Wave Model
|Spectrometer and diffraction Gratings|
Use a spectrometer to measure the spectral lines of Sodium and Mercury laps. Using , the spacing of the diffraction grating is calcuated.
PH12-14/Light: Wave Model
PH12-15/Origins of the Elements
|Emission Spectra and Thin Film interference|
Uses a digital spectrometer (connected to a computer) to measure the emission spectra of various light sources (including LEDs). Uses thin film interference to measure the radius of a lens and angle of a thin air wedge.
PH12-15/Origins of the Elements
|The Photoelectric effect|
Use a photoelectric effect apparatus to investigate the photoelectric effect. Calculate a value for Planck's constant and the work function of the cathode.
PH12-14/Light: Quantum Model
Gravitational field strength, g using a pendulum and/or Atwood's machine.
Use datalogging equipment to either:
to determine a local value for gravitational field strength, g.
– investigate the factors that affect the gravitational field strength
– predict the gravitational field strength at any point in a gravitational field, including at the surface of a planet (ACSPH094, ACSPH095, ACSPH097)