Excursions to UNSW Physics
Bring your year 11 or 12 Physics class to UNSW to do experiments in our first year teaching labs, 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 or the syllabus (see below).
Labs are generally facilitated by current PhD students, providing an excellent opportunity for your students to connect with real researchers (approximately one PhD student for every 12 school students).
Please note that we have a limited number of available dates. A timetable can be found below.
A booking form can be found at:
For general enquires, or if you would like someone to call you to talk about excursions, please contact Jessica Budden at Jessica.email@example.com or leave a message at (02) 9385 4553
How long is the visit?
The 'standard package' goes for 3 hours, including a 2 hour practical in our 1st year lab. However, many schools choose to perform two experiments and stay for the whole day.
How much does it cost?
We need to cover costs, so there would be some charge. We charge $15 per student for a 3-hour excursion (minimum $180.) This would include a two hour lab exercise and a talk and/or lab tour by our researchers. If you want to do more than one practical task, you will be charged an extra $15 per student for each extra task.
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 (eg, Y11 and Y12) doing a different experiment, each in their own lab. 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 practical task, most with pre-lab information and questions for 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 one of each.
- We can provide up to 72 sets of data logging equipment and 36 sets of equipment for each prac. Eg, we have 36 Photoelectric effect devices and 36 spectrometers.
- 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 labs.
What dates are available?
We are available for school excursions during the following times:
June 4 - July 6
October 29 – December 14
Any day up to February 17th
May 2nd - June 2nd
August 13th - September 15th
November 19th onwards (except November 25th)
Do you do video conferences?
You can arrange Skype sessions with our postgrad students to mentor your groups as they do their depth study projects. We charge $60/postgrad/hour, so you can decide how you would like that time shared amongst your students.
What experiments can I choose from?
Links to HSC 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:
Uses data loggers and an inclined plane to analyse collisions of a dynamics cart with a barrier.
PH11-9/Momentum, Energy and Simple Systems:
Uses 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|
Uses 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 and absorption Spectra, 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 Planck's constant and the work function of the cathode.
PH12-14/Light: Quantum Model
Finding 'g' with a pendulum. This is the same method as you might have done at school, with the addition of specifically designed retort stand clamps and a protractor for easy adjustment of the length.