The best topics for your physics internal assessment

It’s getting to the stage of the year when many students are starting to think of ideas for their IB Physics Internal Assessments, and choosing a topic can be daunting or feel like a lot of work. Choosing a topic is the trickiest part, but once you’ve done it, it will be much easier.

There are many options for IB Physics assessments, and it’s hard to choose the one that’s right for you. The key is to choose something specific that provides a measurable outcome that you can report on; choosing something relevant and calculable will help you execute the project.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best ideas for students to do their internal IB Physics assessments so you can choose the perfect topic for you.

The best topics for your physics internal assessment


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1. Investigate Archimedes' principle and find g

– Archimedes’ principle explores the idea that the buoyant force of an object in a liquid is equal to the weight of the liquid it replaces.

– Water can be used to show the weight of the liquid, as well as a force sensor to obtain a measurement of the buoyancy force.

– Try different objects of different volume.

– Record your results on an F-V graph.

2. Check how the terminal velocity of an object depends on the height from which it is dropped.

– Drop different objects from different heights and measure their terminal velocity; you can use a slow motion camera to do this.

– Plot the results on a graph and use the SUVAT equations to see if the relationship is what you predicted.

3. Testing the energy content of various materials of your choice

– Measure the energy of any material per unit mass.

– Choose materials that can burn safely.

– Use different sizes of each material to heat some water, measure the temperature of the water to find out the energy of the material.

4. Testing the heat capacity of a liquid of your choice

– Heat different amounts of the chosen liquid and take the temperature with a thermometer.

– Record the amount of heat input and the temperature as you go along.

– Plot the temperature against the heat input (should give a gradient of 1/mc).

5. Observation of the intensity of the light source as a function of distance.

– Use a light source that provides constant power, such as a light meter.
– Use a long surface such as a bench.
– Measure the light intensity at different distances.
– Plot / against r^-2, which should give the gradient P/4π.

6. Observe how the frequency of a pendulum varies as a function of the length of the rope.

– Record the regular frequency of a single pendulum, e.g. how many swings occur in the space of 10 seconds.
– Repeat the operation with a pendulum of different string length.
– Plot the frequency against the length of the rope and mark the relationship between the two.

7. Study the Law of Ideal Gases by simulating a gas.

– The objective is to simulate a gas in a container where the particles will be confined in that space.
– See if the Gas Law applies to these particles.
– Create a simulation with 2 variables of P, V and T – see what the effect of the third one is.
– Plot the results on graphs.

8. Find the coefficient of static friction between 2 materials.

– Plot F vs R (maximum friction force vs reaction force) on a graph by recording the maximum force to be applied and the weight of the material above it.
– The gradient will give you μ.

9. Test how sucrose concentration affects the viscosity of a solution.

– Prepare and determine the concentration of sucrose in a solution.
– Find a method to find the viscosity of such a solution.

10. Verification of Ohm's Law for various electrical components

– Plot V-I graphs for various resistors and thermistors by varying the voltage with a voltmeter in a circuit.
– Observe the change in current using an ammeter which should also be in the circuit.
– A linear curve will verify Ohm’s Law.

Getting a good grade in IB Physics is possible if you follow the steps correctly. The important thing when choosing a topic is to choose something specific that will give you a result you can work on.

The aim of the assessment is for students to use the knowledge they have gained throughout their studies, and this means that you can use topics that you have found particularly interesting throughout the year, as well as using the school’s resources to their advantage.

The most important thing is that you choose a topic that has been tried and tested and that you know you can get results from. This will allow you to do your research knowing exactly what you are looking for, and you will score highly as a result.