DP2 students working hard on Internal Assessments Physics
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DP2 students working hard on Internal Assessments Physics

Bubble wrap, parachutes, rubber bands and needles… These are some of the topics on which DP2 (grade 12) Physics students are currently doing their Internal Assessments.

By Mikko Peltonen, Physics and Mathematics

An Internal Assessment is an important part of any Diploma Progamme subject, since it makes up 20% of the final grade. In physics, the project is an investigation, often a practical one. Here’s how the students themselves describe what their projects are about.

Calista is investigating the diameter of needles using double-slit diffraction and comparing it to the value given on the box where the needles come from. ‘I wanted to do this, because we have a lot of sewing needles in my house, since we usually repair our own clothes’, Calista says. ‘I was curious to see if the needles were the same size as what the box says.’

Chris is looking at the effect of different insulation materials on the amount of heat loss. He’s using a hot water container wrapped in different materials. Chris thinks that it’ll be a lot of fun using bubble plastic for this experiment!

Robert is investigating how temperature affects the elasticity of a rubber band. ‘I started playing with a rubber band in class, and felt the heat generated by the rubber band’, he explains. ‘Then I wanted to know how heat affects the rubber band. My biggest challenge at the moment is to solve the loss of temperature when the rubber band is removed from the warm water bath.’


Anneleen is trying to find out how surface area affects drag force, because she is really interested in parachutes. Anneleen: ‘I want to know how the surface area of parachutes affects air resistance. My biggest challenge is knowing when the parachute reaches terminal velocity’.

Lucas is investigating the effect of shapes of cones on the drag of a rocket. ‘I am really interested in rocket science and I want to study aerospace engineering after I finish school’, he says. Lucas’ biggest challenge at the moment is to figure out the best way to create a proper working wind tunnel.

Hands-on experiment

Daniel is investigating the relationship between current, temperature and resistance in a non-ohmic resistor. He really wanted to do a hands-on experiment. Daniel: ‘I find this an interesting part of the physics syllabus, so I decided it would be nice to explore it in more depth’.

Pepijn is exploring the assumptions that are made in order to have a simple harmonic pendulum by investigating the effect that would happen if those assumptions were to be ignored.

Salinity of water

Michelle is investigating the relationship between the refractive index of water and the temperature of the water. Michelle: ‘I chose this topic as I know the salinity of water influences the refractive index and water, yet less is known about the effects of temperature on the refractive index of water’.

The school deadline for the Internal Assessment is just before the February break. I look forward to seeing my student’s findings!