Leaving Cert Physics: Section A Questions and Solutions

Section A of the Leaving Cert Physics exam contains 30% of the overall marks so it’s worth studying it in detail.

I have put together a booklet which contains every Section A question which has appeared on an exam paper at higher and ordinary level together with all the solutions.

The booklet can be accessed from the revision page of

Hope it’s useful.


Erupting volcanoes – resources for teaching

The CESI forum has been wonderful this week, providing a series of links for up to the minute news on the Eyjafjallajokull volcano which erupted this earlier in the week.

I hope they don’t mind if I borrow their links.

NASA Photo

Helicopter footage of the erupting volcano

Beautiful Photos of the eruption

Watch flights over Europe – live!
This site seems to be down at the moment – I’m not surprised.

Visit here, select [24] frames, and press [Play] … you can see the color radar starting yesterday and then the actual effects of the eruption.

Two videos from Sky News
1: Background to the eruption
2: Pilot tells his story of flying into an ash cloud

And finally a wonderful blog post (with a National Geographic video embedded) from a fantastic school blog – thank you to msleydonsclassblog – and thanks to the Teachnet gang for pointing to it in their most recent post.

But most of all thanks to the good folk at CESI who continue to demonstrate the power of collaborative learning. Chances are, most of you reading this are signed up anyway, but if not why not do so now? Just go to their homepage and down at the bottom you will see the option to subscribe – you won’t regret it (but if you do you can always unsubscribe at any stage).

And never forget children: Nature – it always bites you in the ass.

Nice resources for atomic bonding

A rather unorthodox approach to revising atomic bonding:

It dovetails nicely with one of the many free resources from absorblearning – in this case an animation of an oxygen atom bonding (covalently) with two hydrogen atoms to form a water molecule.

There are over 100 other free resources like this from the same site (you can see more on the right-hand side of the pages).
It would be ideal if one could link directly to the resourse but instead you have to click on the icon on the top left to arrive at the required distination. Just as well it’s worth the trip.
The plan is put links to most of these in the relevant junior chemistry page of

Templates from chutedesign and googledocs

So your whole lesson plan revolves around your students drawing graphs, but just at the last minute you realise you haven’t any graphpaper left.

Never fear – chutedesign to the rescue!

You can even choose the blank paper option:

Blank Paper – for those who cant open that damned printer to get a blank page out!

Now hasn’t that just made your day


And while you’re at it, check out the new Google Docs Templates: grading sheets, attendance sheets, class schedules and lots more. ‘Sure to be at least something there which you could use over the coming year.

Some cool science resources

Just got back from wonderful New Zealand yesterday and came across some of these impressive deals.

Digital calipers from aldi for €10, available from Sunday 13th (checkout blowtorch available also for €10). Why would anyone use the old-fashioned vernier calipers when you these cut out all the confusion. Ideal for ‘measuring the resistivity of wire’ experiment.


Dynamo torches from lidl for €10, available from Monday 14th. Use them at Junior Cert as an examle of energy conversions, and at Leaving Cert for demonstrating Electromagnetic Induction. I haven’t bought one yet but hopefully they can be taken apart to see the internal workings.

VHS to DVD converter for €168 from Maplin (Maplin doesn’t have an Irish website for some reason, but they do issue newsletters with their special deals). If, like me, you have a bank of VHS cassettes with numerous programs on each cassette, then is the ideal way to start afresh. This time around I use one DVD per program, and use an elecrtronic labeller (which I also got from lidl) to label each DVD. Our science department got one of these a couple of years ago but I reckon it was probably twice the price.
Maplin also currently have Infrared Thermometers for €33 and multimeters for €8 (I would check that ‘crocodile leads’ fit into these sockets before buying).

I was thrilled to see that Maplin have started stocking educational products from mutr. So many so-called ‘Science Toys’ that you see in toyshops look fantastic but are actually crap. Mutr (middlesex university teaching ressources) on the other hand are the business; I’m not even sure they do it for profit, certainly many of their products are unique and very reasonably priced.
Get your Christmas shopping done early this year