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Achievement objective PW 8-1

Students will:

  • investigate physical phenomena (in the areas of mechanics, electricity, electromagnetism, heat, light and waves, and atomic and nuclear physics) and produce qualitative and quantitative explanations for a variety of complex situations; Analyse and evaluate data to deduce complex trends and relationships in physical phenomena.


  • Designs a controlled experiment to answer a testable question about complex physics phenomena.
  • Collects and processes data to verify/deduce a complex (non-linear) relationship with uncertainties.
  • Assesses the validity of a prediction made by extrapolating or interpolating from complex trends in experimental physics data.
  • Designs an investigation for involving complex physics relationships, justifies the method chosen, and determines the accuracy of the results.
  • Analyses secondary data to provide supporting evidence for a physics concept and estimates uncertainties based on the data collection method used.
  • Critiques a model in terms of its usefulness in explaining complex physical phenomena.
  • Explain and link physics concepts that apply to a complex situation or problem.
  • Represents, estimates, or calculates complex physical outcomes using conceptual models.
  • Given a complex situation, constructs a labelled diagram to illustrate the physics concepts involved.

Possible context elaborations

  • Waves and atomic spectra: evidence for the expansion of the universe.
  • The current and voltage phase relationships involved in electrical power distribution.
  • Medical imaging techniques.
  • The motion of a pendulum for both small and large angles of amplitude.
  • Safe building design in earthquake prone areas.
  • The 'conflicting' evidence that led to the theory of wave-particle duality.
  • The various models of the atom: how scientific explanations change and develop in the light of ongoing experimental research and theoretical development.
  • Induction cookers and gas cookers: compare and contrast.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards were in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the  NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resources pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external.

Learn more with NZQA subject resources for:

Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 for use in 2012; level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

  • 91521 Physics 3.1 Carry out a practical investigation to test a physics theory relating two variables in a non-linear relationship; Internal, 4 credits
  • 91522 Physics 3.2 Demonstrate understanding of the application of physics to a selected context; Internal, 3 credits
  • 91523 Physics 3.3 Demonstrate understanding of wave systems; External, 4 credits
  • 91524 Physics 3.4 Demonstrate understanding of mechanical systems; External, 6 credits
  • 91525 Physics 3.5 Demonstrate understanding of modern physics; Internal, 3 credits
  • 91526 Physics 3.6 Demonstrate understanding of electrical systems; External, 6 credits
  • 91527 Physics 3.7 Use physics knowledge to develop an informed response to a socio-scientific issue; Internal, 3 credits

Last updated September 15, 2020