Physics courses for kids
Physics is a branch of physical science that involves the study of matter and explains its motion and behaviour through space and time. The principles of physics are relevant to understand the universe, down to the smallest subatomic particle, and encompass related concepts such as energy and force. There are various fields of physics but the five major branches include classical mechanics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, electronics and electromagnetism, the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
For children, the main reason to study physics is that they’re naturally curious to understand how the world works. I’m sure you are familiar with countless ‘why’ questions from your child! The field of physics and understanding properties, laws and principles of our surrounding world lends itself to exciting experiments for kids. Kids find it fun and interesting. Physics also helps children to organize the universe because it helps them see connections between seemingly disparate phenomenon. Physics arms children with powerful tools to express their creativity by helping them see the world in a new way and have the skills to change it. Physics is useful. Learning physics helps to develop quantitative and analytical skills needed for analyzing data and solving problems in the sciences, engineering and medicine, and other areas including economics, finance, law and public policy. Physics is also the basis for most modern technological advancements and therefore opens up the possibility for a child to study and have a career on the cutting edge of medical research or other scientific breakthroughs. Finally physics opens up a whole realm of career opportunities that are otherwise closed off. Physics graduates are often tasked with improving and developing products and manufacturing processes, and benefit from a large range of potential employers spanning multiple industries such as medicine, energy, transport, defense, space exploration and telecommunications.
Physics is also a subject of study that a student may elect usually for the final 3 years of high school. For example, in Hong Kong under the Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), physics is taught from Secondary 4-6. Under the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for non-UK based students or the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) for students in the UK, physics is a subject taught to students in grades 9-10/Year 10-11. Physics is similarly taught under the O Levels (which stands for Ordinary Level, for 14-16 year olds) and the A Levels (which stands for Advanced Level, for 16-18 year olds) which are subject based qualifications under the General Certificate of Education (GCE) in the UK. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program includes science courses including physics from the Middle Years Programme onwards (11-16 years), and this is usually taught in an interdisciplinary manner where concepts and skills from two or more science disciplines may be merged. Under the IB Diploma Programme (16-19 years), physics is one of the three natural sciences and is included in Group 4 subjects. It may be taught at a standard level (150 hours) as well as the higher level (240 hours).
The benefits of learning physics for children include
- enhancing cognitive development
- improving a child’s understand of the physical world and giving their environment a sense of order
- building active and critical reasoning, and logical thinking
- understanding technological developments
- improving academic performance in physics subject matter
- increasing engagement levels and confidence in physics as a speciality course
- positioning them well on college applications and widening the spectrum of job opportunities