NCEA L1 Physics, Earth & Space Science

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr D. Tinker

Science is able to inform problem-solving and decision-making in many areas of life. Many of the major challenges and opportunities that confront our world need to be approached from a scientific perspective, taking into account social and ethical considerations.

Studying science enables you to:

  • develop an understanding of the world, built on current scientific theories
  • learn that science involves particular processes and ways of developing and organising knowledge and that these continue to evolve
  • use their current scientific knowledge and skills for problem-solving and developing further knowledge
  • use scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the communication, application, and implications of science as these relate to their own lives and cultures and to the sustainability of the environment.

This new level 1 consolidated subject weaves together learning from two Science strands within The New Zealand Curriculum: the physical world and planet Earth and beyond.

In both these strands, ākonga develop skills in observation and research, and discover how these principles have built dynamic and rigorous scientific knowledge bases throughout the world. Ākonga will develop ways of thinking and ways of working in physics, and Earth and space science, as they explore mātauranga Māori concepts of taiao, whakapapa, mauri, mōhiotanga, māramatanga, and kaitiakitanga. By understanding that the taiao is dynamic and interwoven, key relationships are explored through physics ideas of transfer of energy, application of forces, and aspects of astronomy and oceanography.

Physics is one of the disciplines of science that seeks to explain the behaviour of everyday objects such as cars, and everyday phenomena such as energy transfer. In physics, ākonga learn how to describe, explain, and predict physical phenomena. Ākonga develop an understanding of important models, laws, and theories of physics, including those relating to energy, forces, and motion. They use their knowledge in learning how diverse phenomena can be explained, identify a range of contemporary issues and challenges, and generate potential technological solutions.

The planet Earth and beyond strand explores the dynamic relationships that exist within the Earth system, as well as the interconnections between the Earth’s subsystems: the geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life). Within these subsystems, the cycles of water, carbon, rock, and other materials continuously shape, influence, and sustain the Earth and its inhabitants. Ākonga will learn that humans can affect this interdependence in both positive and negative ways.

Earth and space science (ESS) also explores the cyclical interactions between the Earth system and the Sun and Moon. Ākonga will gain an understanding of the numerous interactions that occur between the Earth’s subsystems and the solar system. Planet Earth is dynamically linked with the solar system and the wider universe, and ESS investigates the structure and composition of these systems. 

Course Overview

Term 1
In this term you willl learn about our place in the solar system. You will understand about earthquakes, volcanoes and plate tectonics and look at geological events that have impacted Aotearoa.

Term 2
Term 2 involves learning about heat and looking at the structure of the Earth, culminating in a project investigating a single geological event. You will then start learning about mechanics (which has an external exam).

Term 3
You will finish learning about energy and forces ready for the derived grade exams. The rest of the term, you will prepare for the Heat external examination.

Term 4
The first few weeks of term will involve revision for the external exams.

Learning Areas:

NCEA Level 1, Science - Pūtaiao


NCEA L2 Physics - Mātai Ahupūngao A, NCEA L2 Physics - Mātai Ahupūngao B, NCEA L2 Psychology A, NCEA L2 Psychology B, NCEA L2 Science - Pūtaiao

Note- studying and passing this course can also enable you to study biology and chemistry courses at year 11.

Career Pathways

Aeronautical Engineer, Aeroplane Pilot, Registered Nurse, Air Force Airman/Airwoman, Air Force Officer, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Anaesthetist, Software Developer, Pathologist, Chemist, Building Surveyor, Marine Biologist, Architect, Architectural Technician, Army Officer, Army Soldier, Medical Physicist, Audiologist/Audiometrist, Electronics Engineer, Science Technician, Meteorologist, Mining Engineer, Geologist