Foundation of Physics

For: Year 11 Physics Students

Foundation of Physics is a whole day, experiential program which is linked to the SACE Stage 1 Physics Curriculum. The program includes hands-on data collection and data analysis, and utilises specialist equipment.

Students will undertake the DST Group Radar Technology program and a Scientific Inquiry. 


The DST Group Radar Technology program links with the ‘Waves’ section of the SACE Stage 1 Physics curriculum; links to the ‘Energy and Momentum’ section of the SACE Stage 1 Physics curriculum are also included.

Developed in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, this program demonstrates applications of radar technology.  Students use an audio radar as a learning tool to investigate the radar concepts of reflection and Doppler shift.

Students work through two procedures during the session. The first procedure uses reflection to determine the distance of an object and the speed of sound in air, while the second uses Doppler shift to determine the speed of an object.

The Scientific Inquiry links with the ‘Science Inquiry Skills’ and ‘Science as a Human Endeavour’ strands of the SACE Stage 1 Physics curriculum.

In this session, students make a local measurement of the acceleration due to gravity. Students will have access to a range of equipment and apparatus, including light gates, pendulums, balls, and a range of digital software and apps, and will develop and conduct a procedure with their set of apparatus. Results will be presented and different approaches will be discussed, with the strengths and limitations of each identified.

What will Students do?


  • Learn about the development of radar in the Australian defence industry.
  • Use a pulse emitting audio radar signal to collect data which, when graphically analysed, enables the determination of the speed of sound through air.
  • Use continuous wave radar to measure the Doppler shift of a sound wave that reflects from a swinging pendulum, and determine the speed of the pendulum using graphical and mathematical analysis.
  • Analyse the results through calculation of percentage error and discussion of random and systematic errors
  • Design and conduct an investigation on gravity using an inquiry process


  • As this program is a practical activity, students and accompanying adults will be required to wear closed in shoes and appropriate dress.
  • High frequencies, and therefore high pitched sounds, are produced and used in this workshop. We recommend students that may be affected by these sounds, such as those with sensitive hearing or a condition in which they may be sensitive to sounds, such as sensory processing disorder, bring ear muffs or other sound-reducing protection.
  • Teachers will receive confirmation of booking and pre-visit information.

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Thank you for your interest in the UniSA Connect Programs, this program is fully booked for 2019.


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