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Physical Science
What is Physical Science?

Physical Sciences consist of Chemistry and Physics. 
Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure and properties of substances and of the transformations that they undergo, while Physics is a study of how energy and matter relate to each other.
A significant part of the work is rather abstract, especially in Chemistry.  Physics, especially, relies heavily on Mathematics.  In both Physics and Chemistry linguistic skills are of extreme importance to understand and explain complex concepts. 

Curriculum outline

Some topics that will be dealt with in Physics include mechanics, waves and electricity and magnetism.
Topics in Chemistry include chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, stoichiometry, organic chemistry, acids and bases, electrochemistry, rates of reaction and equilibrium.

Skills taught

Mechanical insight and the ability to apply knowledge and skills to new problems are essential in order to deal with the requirements in Physics.  Translation of knowledge, like representing data on tables and graphs, and interpreting graphs are important skills taught that can be applied in many other fields.
Chemistry relies a great deal on the ability to understand theories and models, which are abstract by nature.
Skills learned and knowledge gained in Physical Science will enable girls to deal a lot better with our highly technological world, whether they follow a career in Sciences, or not.


Both Physics and Chemistry have practical components that form an integral part of the subject.  In Grade 12, practical investigations contribute between 40% and 50% to the portfolio mark.  Compulsory practical investigations are one on physics and the other on chemistry.  Each of these will contribute 20% to the portfolio mark.  The alternate assessment, which could also be a practical investigation, counts another 10%.
In Grade 10, in Physics we investigate things such as the relationships between displacement and time and velocity and time for objects moving at constant velocity of constant acceleration.  In chemistry we investigate the relationship between concentration of solutions and their conductivity.
In Grade 11, the relationships between acceleration and mass and acceleration and net force are investigated.  Electromagnetic induction and the effect between speed of motion, strength of magnetic field and number of turns on a solenoid and the emf induced are investigated.  In all the grades various investigations regarding electricity are done.

UP with Science

The girls are encouraged to apply for the UP with Science programme in Grade 10.  It is a programme offered by the University of Pretoria, where the learners are exposed to a variety of different fields of science over a three year period (Grade 10 to Grade 12). We are allowed to apply for two girls, but usually only one is selected.   These learners have to attend one Saturday session per month and one week during the government school’s winter holidays.  Learners who participated in the programme and opt to study in any field of science (excluding medicine and engineering) at TUKS pay no tuition fees for their undergraduate studies.

Assessment and Projects

In the case of most of the practical investigations, girls have to write practical reports, based on the scientific method, that are assessed.
Short research assignments or translation tasks are also often assessed.
At least two standardised tests are written every term.  Two examinations, Chemistry and Physics, are written during each of the July and December examination sessions.

Career Paths and Opportunities

Although a pure B Sc degree with Physics and Chemistry can be studied (to be used for research etc), the true value of taking Physical Sciences at school is that it is needed for very many career-specific courses. It is compulsory for all engineering and for medicine.  It is needed for technical and vocational training, like electricians etc.


Although Physical Sciences is an important subject, not only in the sense that many fields of tertiary study require it, but also in terms of the thinking skills that they will develop, girls need to be aware of the fact that an aptitude for the subject is not enough.  They need to be aware of the fact that in order to develop whatever potential they have will require exceptionally hard work.

Performance: solo and group

The Subject Music Department at St Mary’s DSG aspires to instil confidence and commitment in what is undoubtedly a challenging but most rewarding course.
Education in music is most sovereign, because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grace (when) one is rightly trained - Plato

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