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Advice for teachers -

Scientific inquiry focus

The opportunity for students to work scientifically and respond to questions is an important feature of the VCE Physics Study Design. Questions reflect the inquiry nature of studying science and can be framed to provide contexts for developing conceptual understanding. The VCE Physics Study Design is structured under a set of unit questions and area of study questions. These questions are open-ended to enable students to engage in critical and creative thinking about the physics concepts identified in the key knowledge and to encourage students to ask their own questions about what they are learning. In responding to these questions, students demonstrate their own conceptual links and the relevance of different concepts to practical applications.

Students studying Units 1 to 4 in VCE Physics will undertake a range of investigations involving five main types of scientific inquiry based on the levels of student autonomy:

Type of inquiryProblem or QuestionProcedureSolution
Confirm​​ation/verification Teacher TeacherTeacher
Structured Teacher TeacherStudent
Guided Teacher StudentStudent
Coupled (linked to an eariler inquiry)Initial: Teacher
Coupled: Student

Students may undertake scientific inquiry individually or as part of a group or class to complete an activity, but findings, analysis and conclusions should be reported individually. If optional assessment tasks are used to cater for different student interests, teachers must ensure that they are comparable in scope and demand.

Teachers are advised to utilise the flexibility provided by the structure of the study design in the choice of contexts, both local and global, and applications for enabling students to develop skills and understanding. Opportunities range from the entire class studying a particular context or application chosen by the teacher or agreed to by the class, through to students nominating their own choice of issues, scenarios, research or case studies.