# IB Physics IA: 60 Examples and Guidance

Contents

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers a variety of assessments for students, including Internal Assessments (IAs), which are pieces of coursework marked by students’ teachers. The Physics IA is an assessment designed to test students' understanding of the material they have learned in their Physics course and their ability to conduct independent research.

## What is the IA?

The IA consists of a laboratory report that students must complete during their IB Physics course. It is an individual, self-directed project that allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the scientific method and their ability to design, conduct, and report on an experiment.

For assessments before May 2025, the report should be 6 to 12 pages in length, no longer than 2,500 words, and should include a research question, a methodology section, data analysis, and a conclusion. From May 2025, the report should be a maximum of 3,000 words.

## What should the IA be about?

Expert **IB Physics tutors **agree that when choosing a topic for their IA, students should keep in mind that the investigation should be related to the content of the IB Physics course. It should also be practical, feasible, and of sufficient complexity to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter.

Have a look at our comprehensive setIB Physics resourcesdeveloped by expert IB teachers and examiners!

- IB Physics 2024 Study Notes

- IB Physics 2025 Study Notes

- IB Physics 2024 Questions

- IB Physics 2025 Questions

## What are some example research questions?

Here are a few examples of potential research questions compiled by professional **IB Physics tutors **which could inspire your Physics IA:

`1 - How does the angle of incidence affect the angle of reflection in a mirror?`

Set up a mirror at a fixed distance from a light source and a protractor to measure angles. Vary the angle of incidence of the light beam and measure the angle of reflection. Repeat this process for different types of mirrors with varying surface properties. Analyze the data to determine the relationship between the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection for each type of mirror. This could be presented in a graph or table to demonstrate the effect of the angle of incidence on the angle of reflection.

`2 - Can the speed of sound in a gas be determined using a resonance tube?`

Set up a resonance tube with a speaker and a microphone at opposite ends. A gas sample would be introduced into the tube and the frequency of the sound produced by the speaker would be gradually increased until a resonance frequency is reached. The distance between the speaker and the microphone would be measured and the speed of sound in the gas can be calculated using the formula v = fλ, where v is the speed of sound, f is the frequency, and λ is the wavelength. This process would need to be repeated for different gases to compare their speeds of sound.

`3 - Investigating the effect of the length of a pendulum on its period of oscillation.`

Set up a pendulum with a variable length and measure its period of oscillation using a stopwatch. Repeat this process for different lengths of the pendulum, recording the period of oscillation each time. Plot the data on a graph and analyze the relationship between the length of the pendulum and its period of oscillation. This would determine the effect of the length of the pendulum on its period of oscillation

`4 - How does the distance of a lens from an object affect the size of the image produced?`

Set up an experiment in which a lens is placed at varying distances from an object of known size. The resulting image size would be measured and recorded for each distance. The data could then be plotted on a graph to show the relationship between distance and image size. This would allow for the determination of the optimal distance for obtaining a desired image size. Control variables such as the type of lens and lighting conditions would need to be kept constant throughout the experiment.

`5 - Can the refractive index of a liquid be determined using a prism and a spectrometer?`

Use a prism to refract a beam of light through the liquid being tested. The spectrometer would then measure the angle of refraction and the wavelength of the light. By comparing these values to a known standard, the refractive index of the liquid can be calculated. This process would need to be repeated for each liquid being tested.

`6 - Investigating the effect of the number of turns on the strength of an electromagnet.`

Set up an experiment in which an electromagnet is constructed with a varying number of turns in the coil. The strength of the magnet could be measured by its ability to attract a known weight or by using a gaussmeter to measure the magnetic field strength. The number of turns could be adjusted and the strength of the magnet measured each time to determine the effect of the number of turns on the strength of the electromagnet. Control variables such as the voltage and wire diameter would need to be kept constant.

`7 - How does the coefficient of kinetic friction between two surfaces vary with different types of materials?`

Conduct experiments using different materials and surfaces to measure the coefficient of kinetic friction. A standard weight could be placed on the surface and pulled by a string or other mechanism to create movement. The force required to move the weight could be measured and used to calculate the coefficient of kinetic friction. This process would need to be repeated for each material being tested to determine how the coefficient of kinetic friction varies with different types of materials.

`8 - Can the resistance of a wire be determined by measuring the potential difference across it?`

Set up a circuit with the wire in question, a power source, and a voltmeter to measure the potential difference across the wire. Vary the power source and measure the potential difference at each setting. Plot a graph of potential difference against current, and the resistance of the wire can be calculated as the gradient of the graph. This process would need to be repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and consistency.

`9 - Investigating the relationship between the current and voltage in a simple electrical circuit.`

Set up a simple electrical circuit with a power source, a resistor, and a voltmeter and ammeter to measure the voltage and current, respectively. Vary the voltage supplied to the circuit and measure the resulting current. Plot the data on a graph and analyze the relationship between voltage and current. This could involve calculating the resistance of the circuit, determining if the relationship is linear or nonlinear, and exploring any potential sources of error in the experiment.

`10 - How does the mass of an object affect the gravitational force acting on it?`

Conduct an experiment in which objects of different masses are placed on a scale and the gravitational force acting on each object is measured. The scale would need to be calibrated to ensure accurate measurements. The results would show that the gravitational force acting on an object increases as its mass increases, demonstrating the relationship between mass and gravitational force. This experiment could be repeated multiple times to ensure the results are consistent and reliable.

`11 - Can the period of oscillation of a spring-mass system be determined using its length and mass?`

Measure the length and mass of the spring-mass system. Displace the mass from its equilibrium position and release it, allowing it to oscillate. Record the time it takes for the mass to complete one full oscillation. Repeat this process multiple times and calculate the average period of oscillation. The period can then be used to determine the spring constant of the system using the equation T = 2π√(m/k), where T is the period, m is the mass, and k is the spring constant.

`12 - Investigating the relationship between the angle of projection and the range of a projectile.`

Conduct a series of experiments in which a projectile is launched at different angles and the distance it travels is measured. The angle of projection would be varied systematically, and the range of the projectile would be measured using a measuring tape or other appropriate tool. The results would be plotted on a graph, and the relationship between the angle of projection and the range of the projectile could be analyzed. This would allow for the determination of the optimal angle of projection for achieving the maximum range.

`13 - How does the density of a solid vary with different types of materials?`

Conduct a series of experiments in which the density of different materials is measured using a variety of methods, such as weighing, displacement, or buoyancy. The materials could include metals, plastics, and natural substances like wood or stone. The data collected could then be analyzed to identify any patterns or trends in the relationship between density and material type. This could lead to a better understanding of the physical properties of different materials and their potential applications in various industries.

`14 - Can the work done on an object by a constant force be determined using a simple pulley system?`

Set up a simple pulley system with a known mass attached to one end of the rope and the object being lifted attached to the other end. The force required to lift the object can be measured using a force sensor, and the distance the object is lifted can be measured using a ruler or tape measure. The work done on the object can then be calculated by multiplying the force by the distance. This process would need to be repeated for different masses to determine if the work done is proportional to the force applied.

`15 - Investigating the relationship between the mass and velocity of an object in a collision.`

Conduct a series of collisions between objects of varying masses and velocities, using a consistent method for measuring the velocity and mass of each object before and after the collision. The data collected can be used to calculate the momentum of each object before and after the collision, and to determine the conservation of momentum. The relationship between mass and velocity can be analyzed by comparing the changes in momentum for different combinations of mass and velocity. A graph of the data can be used to visually represent the relationship between mass and velocity in a collision.

`16 - Can the specific heat capacity of a metal be determined using a calorimeter?`

Use a calorimeter to measure the heat capacity of the metal. The metal would be heated to a known temperature and then placed in a container of water at a known temperature. The change in temperature of the water would be measured, and the heat capacity of the metal can be calculated based on the mass of the metal and the change in temperature of the water. This process would need to be repeated for each metal being tested.

`17 - Investigating the effect of the length of a wire on its resistance.`

Set up a circuit with a power source, a wire of varying lengths, and a resistor. Measure the voltage across the resistor and the current flowing through the circuit for each wire length. Use Ohm's law to calculate the resistance of the wire at each length. Plot a graph of wire length against resistance and analyze the relationship between the two variables. This would determine the effect of the length of the wire on its resistance.

`18 - Can the power output of a solar panel be determined at different light intensities?`

Set up a solar panel in a controlled environment and measure its power output using a multimeter at different light intensities. The light intensity can be varied by adjusting the distance between the light source and the solar panel. The power output can be plotted against the light intensity to determine the relationship between the two variables. This experiment would need to be repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and consistency of results.

`19 - Investigating the relationship between the angle of attack and the lift generated by a wing.`

Conduct wind tunnel experiments with a model wing at different angles of attack. The lift generated by the wing can be measured using a force sensor, and the angle of attack can be adjusted using a mechanism. The data collected can be plotted on a graph to show the relationship between the angle of attack and the lift generated. This experiment could also be repeated with different wing shapes to investigate the impact of wing design on lift generation.

`20 - How does the acceleration due to gravity vary with different lengths of a simple pendulum?`

Conduct a series of experiments using pendulums of different lengths. The pendulum could be set in motion and timed for a set number of swings, with the time recorded for each swing. The length of the pendulum and the time for each swing could then be used to calculate the acceleration due to gravity for each pendulum length. The results could be plotted on a graph to show the relationship between pendulum length and acceleration due to gravity. This experiment would need to be repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and consistency of results.

`21 - Can the Young's modulus of a metal wire be determined using a simple tensile testing apparatus?`

A metal wire of known length and diameter would be attached to a tensile testing apparatus. The wire would be slowly pulled until it breaks, and the force required to break the wire would be recorded. The Young's modulus of the wire can then be calculated using the formula E = (F/A)/(ΔL/L), where E is the Young's modulus, F is the force applied, A is the cross-sectional area of the wire, ΔL is the change in length of the wire, and L is the original length of the wire. This process would need to be repeated for multiple wires of the same material to ensure the accuracy of the results.

`22 - Investigating the effect of the number of turns on the frequency of an LC circuit.`

Construct an LC circuit with a variable capacitor and a fixed inductor. Record the frequency of the circuit for a range of capacitor settings, and plot the results on a graph. Repeat the experiment with different values of inductance, and compare the results to determine the effect of the number of turns on the frequency of the circuit. The experiment could be repeated with different types of inductors to investigate the effect of their properties on the frequency of the circuit.

`23 - How does the height of a ramp affect the speed of a rolling ball?`

Set up a ramp with varying heights and release a rolling ball from the top of each ramp. Use a stopwatch to measure the time it takes for the ball to reach the bottom of the ramp. Repeat the experiment multiple times for each height and calculate the average speed for each height. Plot the data on a graph to determine the relationship between ramp height and ball speed. Control variables such as the mass and size of the ball, the surface of the ramp, and the angle of the ramp should be kept constant throughout the experiment.

`24 - Can the efficiency of a motor be determined using a dynamometer?`

Conduct a series of tests on the motor using a dynamometer to measure its power output and efficiency. The motor would be run at different speeds and loads, and the power output and efficiency would be recorded for each test. The data collected would be used to determine the motor's efficiency and to compare it to other motors of similar size and power. This information could be used to optimize the motor's performance or to select a more efficient motor for a particular application.

`25 - Investigating the effect of the diameter of a tube on the rate of flow of a fluid.`

Set up a series of tubes with varying diameters and measure the rate of flow of a fluid through each tube. The fluid could be water or another liquid with a known viscosity. The flow rate could be measured by timing how long it takes for a certain volume of fluid to pass through each tube. The results could then be analyzed to determine if there is a correlation between tube diameter and flow rate. Control variables such as temperature and pressure would need to be kept constant throughout the experiment.

`26 - How does the temperature of a liquid affect its viscosity?`

Conduct a series of experiments in which the temperature of a liquid is gradually increased while its viscosity is measured. The viscosity could be measured using a viscometer or by timing how long it takes for a ball bearing to fall through the liquid. The results could be plotted on a graph to show the relationship between temperature and viscosity. Control variables such as the type of liquid and the rate of temperature increase would need to be kept constant throughout the experiments.

`27 - Can the distance between two charges affect the electrostatic force between them?`

Conduct a series of experiments in which the distance between two charges is varied while keeping the magnitude of the charges constant. The electrostatic force between the charges can be measured using a Coulomb balance or other appropriate equipment. The results can be plotted on a graph to show the relationship between distance and electrostatic force. This can help determine if there is a correlation between the two variables and if so, what kind of relationship exists (e.g. inverse square law).

`28 - Investigating the relationship between the radius of a wheel and the torque required to turn it.`

Design a series of experiments in which the radius of the wheel is varied while measuring the torque required to turn it. A suitable apparatus, such as a dynamometer, would need to be used to measure the torque. The experiments would need to be repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and to account for any variability in the results. The data collected could then be analyzed to determine the relationship between the radius of the wheel and the torque required to turn it, such as by plotting the data on a graph and calculating the slope of the line of best fit.

`29 - Can the speed of light be determined using a Michelson interferometer?`

Set up a Michelson interferometer with a laser as the light source. The laser beam is split into two paths, with one path reflecting off a stationary mirror and the other reflecting off a movable mirror. The two beams are then recombined and interference patterns are observed. By measuring the distance the movable mirror travels and the resulting changes in the interference patterns, the speed of light can be calculated. This process would need to be repeated multiple times to ensure accuracy and to account for any sources of error.

`30 - How does the distance between a light source and a photodiode affect the amount of current generated?`

Conduct a series of experiments with the photodiode placed at different distances from the light source. Measure the amount of current generated by the photodiode at each distance and record the results. Plot the data on a graph to visualize the relationship between distance and current. Analyze the data to determine if there is a correlation between distance and current and draw conclusions about how the distance affects the amount of current generated.

`31 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the strength and stiffness of structures.`

Design and build structures using different materials, such as wood, metal, and plastic. The strength and stiffness of each structure could be tested by applying a force or load to it and measuring how much it deforms or breaks. The results could be compared to determine which material provides the greatest strength and stiffness for a given application. Control variables such as the size and shape of the structures, as well as the type and amount of force applied, would need to be standardized to ensure accurate and consistent results.

`32 - How does the angle of incidence affect the angle of refraction in a prism?`

Set up a prism and a light source. Vary the angle of incidence of the light beam and measure the angle of refraction using a protractor. Repeat this process for different angles of incidence and record the corresponding angles of refraction. Plot the data on a graph and analyze the relationship between the angle of incidence and the angle of refraction. This would help determine the impact of the angle of incidence on the angle of refraction in a prism.

`33 - Investigating the effects of different types of lenses on the focal length and magnification of an optical system.`

Construct an optical system using a light source, lenses of different types, and a screen to capture the image produced by the system. The focal length and magnification of each lens can be measured by adjusting the distance between the lens and the screen and recording the resulting image size and distance. The data collected can then be used to compare the effects of different types of lenses on the focal length and magnification of the optical system.

`34 - How does the wavelength of light affect the diffraction pattern in a double-slit experiment?`

Set up a double-slit experiment with a monochromatic light source and a screen to observe the diffraction pattern. Vary the wavelength of the light source and observe the changes in the diffraction pattern. Record the distance between the slits, the distance between the slits and the screen, and the position of the bright and dark fringes. Analyze the data to determine the relationship between the wavelength of light and the diffraction pattern. A graph could be plotted to visualize the results.

`35 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the elasticity and deformation of solids.`

Conduct experiments using different materials, such as rubber, plastic, and metal, to determine their elasticity and deformation properties. This could involve applying a force to each material and measuring the resulting deformation, or measuring the stress and strain of each material under different conditions. The data collected could be used to create graphs or charts comparing the properties of each material, allowing for analysis and conclusions to be drawn about their relative strengths and weaknesses.

`36 - How does the mass of an object affect its period of oscillation in a pendulum?`

Conduct a series of experiments in which the mass of the pendulum is varied while keeping other variables such as length and angle of release constant. The period of oscillation can be measured by timing the number of swings the pendulum makes in a set amount of time. The data collected can then be analyzed to determine the relationship between mass and period of oscillation. A graph can be plotted to visually represent the data and show any trends or patterns.

`37 - Investigating the effects of different types of forces on the motion and acceleration of objects.`

Conduct experiments using different types of forces such as gravity, friction, and air resistance on objects of different masses and shapes. Measure the acceleration and motion of the objects using tools such as motion sensors and stopwatches. Record the data and analyze the results to determine the effects of each force on the objects. This could involve creating graphs or tables to compare the data and draw conclusions about the relationships between the different variables.

`38 - How does the length of a string affect the frequency and wavelength of standing waves?`

Conduct a series of experiments in which a string of varying lengths is attached to a fixed point and set into vibration. The frequency and wavelength of the standing waves can be measured using a frequency meter and a ruler, respectively. The length of the string can then be adjusted and the measurements repeated. Plotting the data on a graph would allow for the relationship between string length and frequency/wavelength to be analyzed.

`39 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the thermal conductivity and heat transfer of substances.`

Conduct experiments using different materials, such as metals, plastics, and ceramics, as well as different thicknesses and shapes of the materials. A heat source would be applied to one side of the material, and the temperature on the other side would be measured using a thermometer. The rate of heat transfer through the material can then be calculated based on the temperature difference and the properties of the material. Comparing the rates of heat transfer for the different materials would determine their thermal conductivity and their effectiveness at transferring heat.

`40 - How does the angle of incidence affect the polarization of light in a polarizing filter?`

Set up a polarizing filter and a light source. Vary the angle of incidence of the light on the polarizing filter and measure the intensity of the light that passes through the filter using a light meter. Plot the intensity of the light against the angle of incidence and observe the changes in polarization. Repeat the experiment with different types of polarizing filters to compare their effects on the polarization of light.

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`41 - Investigating the effects of different types of fluids on the buoyant force and Archimedes' principle.`

Set up a container of water and measure the weight of an object that is fully submerged in the water. Record the weight as the buoyant force. Repeat this process with different types of fluids, such as oil or syrup, and compare the buoyant forces. To apply Archimedes' principle, measure the weight of the object in air and then in the fluid. The difference between the two weights is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. By comparing the weight of the fluid displaced by objects of different sizes and shapes, the principle can be demonstrated.

`42 - How does the angle of incidence affect the reflection and transmission of light in a thin film interference experiment?`

Conduct a thin film interference experiment using a light source, a thin film sample, and a detector. Vary the angle of incidence of the light and measure the intensity of the reflected and transmitted light at each angle. Plot the results and analyze the interference pattern to determine the effect of the angle of incidence on the reflection and transmission of light in the thin film. This could be repeated with different types of thin films to compare their interference patterns.

`43 - Investigating the effects of different types of springs on the elastic potential energy and work done in a system.`

Set up a system consisting of a spring, a mass, and a ruler to measure the displacement of the mass when the spring is compressed or stretched. The spring constant of each type of spring would need to be determined by measuring the force required to compress or stretch it a certain distance. The elastic potential energy stored in the spring can be calculated using the formula 1/2*k*x^2, where k is the spring constant and x is the displacement of the mass. The work done in the system can be calculated using the formula W = F*d, where F is the force applied to the mass and d is the distance it moves. Comparing the results for each type of spring would determine the effect of the spring's properties on the elastic potential energy and work done.

`44 - How does the voltage affect the current and resistance in a circuit with a fixed resistance?`

Set up a circuit with a fixed resistance and a variable voltage source. Measure the current flowing through the circuit at different voltage levels. Plot the data on a graph to observe the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance. Use Ohm's law to calculate the resistance of the circuit at each voltage level. Analyze the data to determine how changes in voltage affect the current and resistance in the circuit.

`45 - Investigating the effects of different types of magnets on the magnetic field and induction of a system.`

Set up a system with a magnet and a coil of wire to measure the magnetic field and induction. Test the system with different types of magnets, such as neodymium, ferrite, and alnico, and record the measurements for each. Analyze the data to determine the effect of the different magnets on the magnetic field and induction of the system. Control variables such as the distance between the magnet and coil, the orientation of the magnet, and the current in the coil should be kept constant throughout the experiment.

`46 - How does the radius of curvature affect the focal length and magnification of a concave mirror?`

Conduct an experiment in which concave mirrors with different radii of curvature are used to focus light from a distant object onto a screen. The distance between the mirror and the screen would need to be measured, along with the distance between the object and the mirror. The size and orientation of the image produced by each mirror would also need to be recorded. By analyzing the data, the relationship between the radius of curvature, focal length, and magnification of the mirror can be determined.

`47 - Investigating the effects of different types of gases on the speed of sound and acoustic properties of a medium.`

Set up a series of experiments in which different gases are introduced into a medium, such as air or water, and the speed of sound and acoustic properties are measured using specialized equipment. The experiments would need to be conducted under controlled conditions, such as temperature and pressure, to ensure accurate results. The data collected would then be analyzed to determine the impact of each gas on the speed of sound and acoustic properties of the medium. This could involve comparing the data to established models or conducting statistical analysis to identify significant differences.

`48 - How does the angle of incidence affect the diffraction of light in a grating experiment?`

Conduct a grating experiment with a fixed wavelength of light and varying angles of incidence. Measure the diffraction pattern produced by the grating at each angle of incidence using a detector such as a screen or photodiode. The intensity and position of the diffraction peaks can then be analyzed to determine the effect of the angle of incidence on the diffraction of light. This experiment could be repeated with different wavelengths of light to investigate the relationship between wavelength and diffraction.

`49 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the electrical conductivity and resistivity of substances.`

Conduct a series of experiments in which different materials are tested for their electrical conductivity and resistivity. A circuit could be set up with the material in question as the conductor, and the resistance and current could be measured using a multimeter. The conductivity and resistivity of the material could then be calculated using Ohm's law. The results could be compared to determine which materials have the highest and lowest conductivity and resistivity.

`50 - How does the length of a wire affect the resistance and current in a circuit with a fixed voltage?`

Set up a circuit with a fixed voltage source, a variable length of wire, and a resistor. Measure the current flowing through the circuit using an ammeter and the voltage across the resistor using a voltmeter. Record these values for different lengths of wire and plot a graph of resistance versus wire length. The slope of the graph would give the resistance per unit length of wire, and the current could be calculated using Ohm's law. This would allow the relationship between wire length, resistance, and current to be determined.

`51 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the refractive index and critical angle of substances.`

Conduct experiments using different materials, such as glass, plastic, and water, to measure their refractive index and critical angle. This could be done by shining a light at different angles through the material and measuring the angle at which the light is refracted or reflected. The results can be compared to determine the impact of the material on the refractive index and critical angle of substances. Additional experiments could be conducted using different types of materials or substances to further explore the relationship between refractive index and critical angle.

`52 - How does the length of a resistor affect the current and voltage in a circuit with a fixed resistance?`

Set up a circuit with a fixed resistance and a variable resistor (potentiometer) in series with a power source and a voltmeter and ammeter to measure voltage and current, respectively. Record the voltage and current readings for different lengths of the resistor, and plot the data on a graph. The relationship between the length of the resistor and the current and voltage can be analyzed to determine the effect of resistor length on the circuit.

`53 - Investigating the effects of different types of forces on the torque and rotational motion of objects.`

Conduct experiments using different types of forces such as friction, gravity, and tension on objects with different shapes and masses. Measure the torque and rotational motion of the objects using appropriate equipment such as a torque sensor and a rotary motion sensor. Analyze the data to determine the effects of each type of force on the torque and rotational motion of the objects. This could involve plotting graphs of the data and calculating relevant mathematical relationships such as the moment of inertia and angular acceleration.

`54 - How does the radius of curvature affect the focal length and magnification of a convex lens?`

Conduct a series of experiments using convex lenses with different radii of curvature. The focal length and magnification of each lens could be measured using a light source and a screen or ruler to determine the distance between the lens and the image. The data collected could then be analyzed to determine the relationship between the radius of curvature, focal length, and magnification of the lens. A graph could be created to visualize this relationship and draw conclusions about the impact of the radius of curvature on the lens's properties.

`55 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the thermal expansion and contraction of substances.`

Set up an experiment in which different materials are exposed to varying temperatures and their expansion and contraction is measured using a ruler or other measuring device. The materials could include metals, plastics, and ceramics. The temperature range and rate of change would need to be controlled, as well as the initial dimensions of the materials. The results could be graphed to compare the expansion and contraction of the different materials over the temperature range tested.

`56 - How does the angle of incidence affect the diffraction of sound in a single-slit experiment?`

Set up a single-slit experiment with a sound source and a detector on the other side of the slit. Vary the angle of incidence of the sound waves and measure the intensity of the diffraction pattern at different angles. Plot the results on a graph and analyze how the angle of incidence affects the diffraction of sound. This could involve calculating the wavelength of the sound waves and the size of the slit to determine the theoretical diffraction pattern, and comparing it to the experimental results.

`57 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the magnetic susceptibility and hysteresis of substances.`

Conduct experiments using different materials, such as iron, copper, and aluminum, and measure their magnetic susceptibility and hysteresis using a magnetometer. The materials could be tested in various forms, such as solid blocks or powders, to determine if their physical state affects their magnetic properties. The results could be compared to determine which materials have the highest and lowest magnetic susceptibility and hysteresis, and if there is a correlation between the two properties.

`58 - How does the length of a tube affect the resonance frequency and wavelength of a standing wave?`

Set up a series of tubes of varying lengths and fill them with a fluid, such as water or air. Use a tuning fork or other sound source to create a standing wave in each tube and measure the resonance frequency and wavelength of the wave in each tube. Plot the data and analyze the relationship between tube length and resonance frequency and wavelength. This would help determine how the length of a tube affects the properties of a standing wave.

`59 - Investigating the effects of different types of materials on the capacitance and charge of a system.`

Set up a circuit with a capacitor and a resistor, and measure the capacitance and charge of the system using a multimeter. Then, replace the capacitor with different types of materials, such as metal plates or dielectric materials, and repeat the measurements. Comparing the capacitance and charge of the system with different materials would determine the effect of the materials on the electrical properties of the circuit.

`60 - How does the angle of incidence affect the interference pattern in a Michelson interferometer experiment?`

Conduct a Michelson interferometer experiment with a fixed wavelength of light and varying angles of incidence. Record the interference pattern produced by the experiment at each angle of incidence. Analyze the interference patterns to determine how the angle of incidence affects the pattern. This could involve measuring the distance between the interference fringes or calculating the wavelength of the light based on the fringe spacing. The results could be graphed to show the relationship between angle of incidence and interference pattern.

Remember to come up with your own original IA topic and check it with your teacher. It should be practical to conduct and relevant to the syllabus. This is a great opportunity to develop your personal interests, while advancing your knowledge of the Physics curriculum.

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## What should the IA contain?

The IA must be an experimental investigation that is related to the IB Physics syllabus. The investigation must be conducted by the student, with minimal assistance from the teacher. The investigation must be based on a research question or hypothesis that is testable and relevant to the physics syllabus. The IA should be written in clear and concise language and follow a logical structure.

**Title page:** This should include the title of the investigation, the student's name, and the date of submission.

**Research question or hypothesis:** This should be a clear and focused statement that describes the goal of the investigation.

**Background information:** This should provide relevant context and theoretical background for the investigation. It should include a discussion of the relevant physics concepts and any previous research that is related to the investigation.

**Methodology:** This should describe the procedures used to conduct the investigation, including the materials and equipment used, the experimental design, and any safety precautions taken.

**Data collection and processing:** This should include a detailed account of the data collected during the investigation, including raw data and processed data. The data should be presented in clear and organized tables and/or graphs.

**Analysis and evaluation:** This should include a thorough analysis of the data, including the identification of patterns and trends. The student should also draw conclusions based on the data and evaluate the results in relation to the research question or hypothesis.

**Conclusion and evaluation:** This should include a summary of the main findings of the investigation and an evaluation of the experiment's limitations and uncertainties. The student should also suggest ways in which the investigation could be improved or extended.

**References:** This should include a list of any sources cited in the report, including any primary and secondary sources used in the background information section.

**Appendices:** This should include any additional information or data that is not included in the main report but is relevant to the investigation.

## How can I do well in the IA?

To prepare for the IA, students should ensure that they understand the material covered in their Physics course and should practice writing lab reports. They should also seek feedback from their teachers and from expert **IB tutors **on their writing skills and their understanding of the research process. They should also utilise the best **IB Physics resources **available.

Before starting the IA, students should also familiarize themselves with the assessment criteria and the guidelines provided by the IB. This will allow them to show their full potential and achieve the highest mark possible. It's important for students to be familiar with the assessment criteria for the Physics internal assessment. Students should make sure that their report is well-written and properly formatted, and that it includes all the required sections.

The assessment criteria for the IB Physics Internal Assessment (IA) include the following:

**Personal engagement**: This criterion focuses on the student's level of personal engagement with the exploration. Students should demonstrate independent thinking and creativity, and show that the research question or topic is linked to something of personal significance or interest. They should also show initiative in implementing the investigation. (2 marks)

**Exploration**: This criterion assesses the student's ability to identify a relevant and fully-focused research question, and to explore it with appropriate background information and methodology. Students should also consider the safety, ethical, or environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology. (6 marks)

**Analysis**: This criterion assesses the student's ability to analyze data and draw conclusions. Students should demonstrate that they have used appropriate techniques to process and present data, and that they have identified patterns and trends in the data. The report should include both quantitative and qualitative data that supports a detailed and valid conclusion, following appropriate data processing. (6 marks)

**Evaluation**: This criterion assesses the student's understanding of the limitations and uncertainties of their investigation. Students should critically evaluate their methodology and results, and suggest ways in which the investigation could be improved or extended. (6 marks)

**Communication**: This criterion focuses on the student's ability to present the investigation clearly, with an effective structure, concise writing, and appropriate use of subject-specific terminology. (4 marks)

## How is the IA graded?

The IA is worth 20% of the final grade for the IB Physics course, whether you are studying at Higher or at Standard Level. This applies for assessments both before and after May 2025. It is graded by the student’s teacher, who is trained and certified by the International Baccalaureate organization. The report is then sent to a moderator, who will check that the report adheres to the IB guidelines and that the grade awarded is appropriate.

Source: IB Physics Subject Brief, pre-May 2025

## Conclusion

In summary, the IA in the IB is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of the Physics curriculum, as well as their ability to conduct independent research. It consists of a laboratory report and a reflective statement, and is worth 20% of the final grade for the course. To prepare for the assessment, students should ensure that they understand the material covered in their IB Physics course, practice writing lab reports, and seek feedback from their teachers.

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#### Written by: Charles Whitehouse

LinkedInCharles scored 45/45 on the International Baccalaureate and has six years' experience tutoring IB and IGCSE students and advising them with their university applications. He studied a double integrated Masters at Magdalen College Oxford and has worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant.