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Physics IA Topics

Physics IA topics are a key assessment component of the International Baccalaureate program. Doing well on this project can significantly contribute to achieving overall grades at the end of the program. It is a great opportunity for students to take ownership over their education and to demonstrate that they have acquired a deep understanding of the subject matter.

For many of us, this will be the first time we tackle such a project, so it is important that we understand what comes with it. This guide will provide an overview of the basics of physics IA topics and some helpful tips for all those IB students out there who are about to take on their first physics IA project.

First off, we need to understand the different types of topics that may be involved in a physics IA project. Depending on which course you are studying, topics may fall under Astrophysics, Mechanics, Materials or Thermodynamics. While each of these categories covers a range of scientific concepts, it’s important to select one that you are comfortable and confident in being able to explore deeply.

When choosing a topic, it is important to keep in mind the purpose of an IA project and the criteria that examiners use when assessing them. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, you should consider what kind of research methods and sources you should use to effectively answer the question you choose. Academic journals, experiments and other sources of information should all be considered as part of your research process.

Finally, once you’ve picked your topic, it’s time to get started on writing, producing and presenting your IA. Writing your IA requires good structure and organization, as well as a clear point of view and evidence to back up your argument. For productions and presentations, creativity, innovation and storytelling are all key elements that will help you to build an impressive conclusion to your project.

In conclusion, physics IA topics can be a complex and comprehensive undertaking. With the right planning, research and execution however, students can put together a successful IA project that can significantly contribute to their overall grades. Be sure to keep this guide handy for handy tips and advice throughout your project!

Physics IA Topics
  1. Investigating the relationship between the angle of incidence and angle of reflection in a plane mirror.
  2. Measuring the coefficient of kinetic friction between different surfaces using a simple pendulum.
  3. Investigating the relationship between mass and acceleration in a pulley system.
  4. Examining the effect of temperature on the resistance of a wire.
  5. Measuring the acceleration due to gravity using a simple pendulum and a stopwatch.
  6. Investigating the relationship between the length of a pendulum and its period of oscillation.
  7. Examining the effect of light intensity on the output voltage of a solar panel.
  8. Investigating the relationship between the distance and speed of a moving object using a ticker tape timer.
  9. Measuring the elastic modulus of different materials using a spring.
  10. Investigating the relationship between the length and frequency of a vibrating string.
  11. Examining the effect of temperature on the speed of sound in air.
  12. Investigating the relationship between the mass of a bob and the period of a simple pendulum.
  13. Measuring the refractive index of different liquids using a laser and a prism.
  14. Investigating the relationship between the temperature and pressure of a gas using a Boyle’s Law apparatus.
  15. Examining the effect of different masses on the terminal velocity of a falling object.
  16. Investigating the relationship between the angle of incidence and angle of refraction in different materials using a ray box and a protractor.
  17. Measuring the half-life of a radioactive substance using a Geiger counter.
  18. Investigating the relationship between the frequency and wavelength of sound waves in a tube.
  19. Examining the effect of different voltages on the current and power output of a circuit.
  20. Investigating the relationship between the length of a wire and its resistance.

Types of IA Topics

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics Internal Assessment (IA) offers students the chance to explore various topics relating to physics. These topics can range from mechanics, materials, thermodynamics and astrophysics.

You might be wondering what these topics mean. Astrophysics deals with the study of celestial objects, galaxies and stars. Mechanics looks at the behavior of physical objects under the action of external forces. Materials explores the properties of different materials and their applications. Finally thermodynamics delves into the study of temperature and energy.

By selecting a topic from one of the areas mentioned above, you will have the opportunity to study the subject in greater depth. You may wish to investigate the properties of an object or its behavior when placed in different conditions. The topic should be open-ended enough so that you can generate possible research questions and hypotheses.

When selecting an IA topic related to physics, you might want to consider the following:

  • It should be relevant to the IB curriculum
  • It should relate to real-world problems or concepts
  • It should be interesting and challenging
  • It should not be too broad or too narrow
  • It should be manageable in the time available

Before you decide on your IA topic, it is important that you consult your teacher or supervisor for advice. They can help you to refine your topic and provide useful feedback.

By researching and writing an IA paper on one of the physics topics outlined above, you will gain valuable knowledge and insights from the experience.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing an appropriate topic for a Physics IA can be one of the most challenging and important steps in creating a successful project. There are several considerations to make when deciding which topic to go with, and it’s important to take your time and research thoroughly. Consider the following tips to help you select the best possible topic.

  • Interest: When selecting a topic, it’s important to choose something that interests you and that you feel passionate about. This will make it easier to work on the project, and it can even help you ensure a higher score from examiners.
  • Practicality: Make sure your chosen topic is practical and achievable within the allotted time you have for the project. Take into account any restrictions you may have, such as access to equipment or resources.
  • Depth: Aim to choose a topic that allows you to explore the subject in great detail and provide comprehensive information. This will show examiners that you’re knowledgeable and have done your research.

Considering these tips can help ensure that you select a suitable topic for your Physics IA. Taking your time to do the proper research and making sure your project is focused, practical and extensive can help ensure an impressive score from examiners.

Exploring research methods

When carrying out an independent assessment on a Physics IA topic, there are some key research methods that you should consider. The most common methods are using academic journals and conducting experiments, but there are also alternative sources of information that can be useful.

Using Academic Journals

Academic journals can be a great source of information for researching an IA topic. They usually provide up-to-date and in-depth research on topics related to the field of physics, which can be extremely helpful for informing your project. You should consult a variety of different journals in order to ensure you get a comprehensive understanding of your topic.

Conducting Experiments

Experiments are one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of the physics behind an IA topic. Experiments can help you to make predictions and draw conclusions about the behaviour of different objects or materials in certain circumstances. When conducting such experiments, it’s important to take accurate measurements and record them in a systematic way.

Alternative Sources of Information

Apart from academic journals and experimental research, there are also other sources of information that can help you to research an IA topic. For example, you can consult textbooks for additional scientific knowledge and consult experts in the field for further advice.

These are just some of the research methods that you should consider when researching a Physics IA topic. With the right approach and resources, you will be able to conduct efficient and effective research that will support your project.

Scoring Guidelines

When it comes to completing a Physics IA project, it’s important to understand how examiners assess the work and what criteria they use. This will ensure that your IA project meets with the necessary requirements and can achieve the best possible score.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) examiners use four assessment criteria when scoring an IA project:

  • Criterion A: Planning and Design (Max 4 Points)
  • Criterion B: Data Collection and Processing (Max 4 Points)
  • Criterion C: Analysis and Evaluation (Max 6 Points)
  • Criterion D: Communication (Max 6 Points)

These criteria provide a framework for students to create their IAs. Understanding each criterion is essential as it allows students to focus on the key areas needed for success. Below is an overview of each criterion in more detail:

Criterion A (Planning and Design) evaluates the planning and design process of the IA. This criterion considers the extent to which the student’s research question was appropriate, and the methods used were appropriate and justified.

Criterion B (Data Collection and Processing) looks at how accurate, relevant and reliable the data collected was, and how effectively it was tabulated and analyzed.

Criterion C (Analysis and Evaluation) reflects on the student’s understanding of the investigation and the extent to which they can analyse the data and draw evidence-based conclusions.

Finally, Criterion D (Communication) assesses the presentation of the student’s IA. This includes clarity and organization, accuracy of formatting and referencing, as well as the use of scientific language.

By familiarizing yourself with these criteria, you can be sure that your IA project scores highly. Take the time to think about how your IA will meet each criteria and make sure you have followed the correct format, gathered accurate data and communicated your conclusions clearly.

When writing an IA project on a physics topic, it is important to make sure that your work is well-written and engaging. Writing an effective IA is not just about gathering information; it also involves presenting the material in a way that is clear, concise, and interesting. Below, we have provided some handy tips to help you structure your IA and make sure it is as good as can be. Firstly, create an outline of your IA before writing – this will help you keep track of all the topics you want your IA to cover, while ensuring it is structured logically. Think carefully about how you group the information into relevant sections, making sure to use an appropriate introduction and conclusion. This will help to maintain the reader’s interest in the topic. In order to make your IA more engaging, try using helpful visual aids such as diagrams or graphs. Additionally, use subheadings to break up your text and draw attention to particular topics. Additionally, try to avoid repeating yourself and keep sentences succinct and to the point. When adding quotations, references and bibliography, make sure to follow the formatting guidelines given by your school. Furthermore, double-check the accuracy of all your facts and figures. Finally, proofread your final draft for any typos, grammar errors and logical inconsistencies. By following these tips, you should be able to write a great IA project that has everything an examiner is looking for. As long as your IA is well-structured and engaging, you should get a high score. Good luck!

Productions & Presentations:

While an Internal Assessment (IA) on a physics topic primarily focuses on written content, it may also contain other components such as production and presentation elements. These have their own importance and purpose within the IA, which is worth noting for any student preparing for the assessment.

The purpose of including production and presentation elements in an IA is to emphasize the understanding and knowledge that has been gained from researching the chosen topic. By creating a visual or audio representation of some aspect of the topic, it gives the student the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the chosen concept in a more tangible way.

Depending on what you choose to create, there are various ways to create productions and presentations for your IA. For example, if you are considering a more visual-based production, you could use tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe Creative Suite to create images, charts and other graphic representations. Alternatively, you may decide to incorporate audio into your presentation, using tools like Apple’s GarageBand to create sound clips or pieces of music related to the topic.

Finally, when putting together your production and presentation, it is important to remember to keep it concise and well-organized. Make sure to include only the relevant information and be sure to follow the prescribed scoring guidelines since this will have an effect on your overall assessment score.


This guide has provided an overview of the process of selecting and researching a topic for a physics IA project. We have explored the different topics possible, as well as tips on how to choose, research and write up your project. We also discussed the importance of incorporating a production and presentation element into your project, and how to best prepare for that.

These steps can help to ease the process of writing a physics IA project, but it is important to remember that there are still many other resources at your disposal. Professional tutoring services, online courses and tutorials, discussion forums, lectures and more can all be beneficial in helping you to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen topic.

Finally, don’t forget to ask your teachers and peers for advice and feedback on your work throughout the entire process. Remember, practice makes perfect. With enough dedication, you should be able to create a successful physics IA project.

Emily Chen

Emily Chen

Emily Chen is a highly experienced education professional who has dedicated her career to helping students all over the world achieve their academic goals. With over seven years of experience in the education niche, Emily specializes in helping students navigate the IB Diploma program. Through her blog, Emily writes articles and provides valuable resources for IB students, covering a range of topics including study tips, exam strategies, college admissions, and career advice. Her passion for education and her desire to help students succeed has led her to become a trusted resource for IB students around the world. As a former IB Diploma Program Coordinator and teacher, Emily's knowledge and expertise are invaluable to those seeking guidance in the IB community.

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