Leaving Certificate Science syllabi are designed to incorporate the following components:
• Science for the enquiring mind, or pure science, to include the principles, procedures and concepts of the subject as well as its cultural and historical aspects.
• Science for action, or the applications of Science and its interface with technology.
• Science, which is concerned with issues – political, social and economic – of concern to citizens.
The aims of the Physics syllabus, are:
• to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life and technology.
• to develop an appreciation of physics as a human endeavour, thereby enriching the students’ experience of life.
• to provide a reasonably broad perspective of physics, thus developing an understanding of the physical environment and of how human beings interact with it.
• to provide a general education in physics for all students, whether or not they proceed to further studies in physics.
• to develop the ability to observe, to think logically, and to communicate effectively.
• to develop an understanding of the scientific method.
• to develop an appreciation of physics as a creative activity, using informed intuition and imagination to create an understanding of the beauty, simplicity and symmetry in nature.
The science, technology and society (STS) part of the course puts physics into context, reinforces theory with practical examples and applications from everyday life, and should help to broaden students’ understanding of physics. It should help to develop positive attitudes towards physics.
The content of the Physics course is drawn from the major areas in physics: mechanics, heat, waves (including light and sound), electricity, and modern physics. At Higher level option 1 is particle physics and option 2 is applied electricity.
The syllabus is taught in an active way that reflects the balance between pure physics and the applications of science and science for citizens. The use of teaching aids such as computers, interactive whiteboards, videos, websites, applets form an integral part of the teaching strategy in St. Andrew's College .
Practical work continues to be a priority and as a result students must follow a course of practical work These experiments must be carried out and an adequate record of such work retained for the period of the course. Throughout the syllabus, teacher demonstrations and additional student experiments are carried out. These are important, as they contribute to students’ understanding of physics. Where possible, physical phenomena are demonstrated in the laboratory It is not intended that the syllabus be taught as a set of independent topics, but that the links and overall patterns occurring throughout the syllabus should be emphasised.
There are links between physics and many subjects, including languages, music, and art. Philosophy is included, as it is an important area of knowledge that underpins the curriculum, although it is not a senior cycle subject.