AP Physics 1 & 2
Rock Bridge Senior High School
Mr. Smith – Room 242
Course Description: Physics is a branch of science concerned with describing the interactions of energy, matter, space, and time; it is especially interested in what fundamental mechanisms underlie every phenomenon. This class will utilize the acquisition and analysis of experimental data to determine (and hopefully) verify basic mathematical relationships. This will allow the student to determine if a physical hypothesis, theory or law is indeed reliable. This course is intended as a preparation for the student to take the AP Physics 1 and 2 exams in the spring.
Pre-requisite Skills: Since mathematics is one of the fundamental resources used in Physics, students will be expected to be able to use algebra, geometry and trigonometry in their work. For AP Physics1, students must be concurrently enrolled in or have completed (preferred) Algebra 2 or a higher level math class. For AP Physics 2, the student is expected to be enrolled in Precalculus minimum and to have successfully completed AP Physics 1.
Textbook: The primary textbook for this course will be Openstax - College Physics for AP Courses. This textbook is available for FREE on-line and can be downloaded anytime at https://openstax.org/details/college-physics-ap-courses. The supporting textbook will be Schaum's Outline of College Physics 11th ed. by Eugene Hecht ISBN# 978-0-07-175487-3. Both of these texts are college level algebra and trigonometry-based books.
Materials required for the class: You must bring the following items must be brought every class period:
- Pencils and a good eraser: ALL work in my class will be done in pencil only. ABSOLUTELY no work will be accepted in pen and ANY ink on work submitted will be docked points. NO exceptions. I recommend a 0.5mm mechanical pencil with a good eraser. If you frequently lose your pencils, have your parents buy you a box and you can keep them in my room.
- Laptop Computer: You will receive a laptop at the start of the year. Bring it to class, charged and ready to go. We will be using Microsoft Excel extensively in class. Many assignments will be assigned and graded using Schoology. We will also have Logger Pro installed to do video analysis.
- A drawing kit: Ruler, Protractor, Compass, Eraser. See “Geometry Drawing Set” at Amazon. We'll be using this kit for drawings and graphs for labs and various assignments through the year. This will become invaluable to you when we start working with vectors. This will begin early in the first semester and continue throughout the year.
- Your Openstax e-book: Please download this book from the Openstax website and have it on the desktop of your computer.
- A TI-30 Scientific Calculator (≈$12) or a TI-83, TI-83+ or TI-84 graphing calculator: If you don't own one yet, I recommend you get one. Make sure you scratch your name on the back of it. CPS now has an app you can download onto your laptop that essentially is a working TI-84+ graphing calculator. We will use them every day for a multitude of activities. Don't throw the book away that comes with it. You'll need it.
Behavior Expectations: This class will have daily class notes along with frequent labs using VERY expensive equipment. I expect you to actively participate in class discussions, work on physics problems in class, ask appropriate questions when needed and behave in a civilized manner. Your assignments must be completed by the due date and you must communicate with me if your life outside of school is in chaos and might affect your abilities to perform. Inappropriate classroom behavior will not be tolerated and students may be asked to leave the classroom when it occurs. If you are asked to leave, do so without argument. Middle school behavior will not be tolerated. I reserve the right to issue you a set of squares for any misbehavior that I deem worthy. You will not be allowed back in class until they are completed.
Cell Phones: Manage your cell phone use please. Smartphones are proven dopamine feeds to the brain. Recognize the addiction and utilize your own self-discipline by turning it off. Don’t be rude when I ask you to put it away. If I see a student using one or attempting to use one at an inappropriate time, a set of squares will be assigned along with a referral if necessary. (Saturday detention) Cell phones are an addictive devise (just like opiates) and must be managed. Be aware that cell phones are forbidden during any quizzes and tests. If a student is caught with a cell phone during any assessments, a score of ZERO will be given and a referral will be written and squares will be assigned.
Food and Drink: Keep food at a minimum during class. Please finish your meals in the hallway BEFORE coming into class. Drinks will be allowed in class but they must be in a closed or sealed container. If you spill any drinks in class, you will be expected to clean it up quietly and immediately. If you abuse the food option in class, I reserve the right to issue you a set of squares and/or a referral depending on frequency and response. No garlicy, saucy, goopy, smelly foods will be allowed.
Attendance and Make-ups: Participation in class discussion and daily homework practice are critical to an advanced course like AP Physics. If you know in advance that you will miss a class, you are responsible for notifying me via e-mail and making arrangements for the material that will be missed. I will be posting as much material on-line as possible this year in Schoology. If you are unexpectedly absent from school for one day, you will be responsible for acquiring the missed material and notifying me BEFORE the next class. Please reference the student handbook. If you miss a quiz or test for any reason, arrangements must be made with me for making up the missed assessment. Tests and quizzes will be made up during your AUT or after school prior to the start of the next class. Otherwise, you will make up the test or quiz during the first part of your return to class. Homework, tests and quizzes must be turned in or taken care of at the time we agree PRIOR to scheduled absences due to school activities. If you fail to notify me before the extracurricular absence, a full or partial loss of points for any and/or all assignments missed may be incurred at my discretion. Academics ALWAYS have first priority in my class.
Grading: Grading will be done using percentages. 45% for labs, homework and drawings. 45% for tests and quizzes. 10% for the semester final exam. Tests will typically be worth approximately 100 points. Quizzes may run anywhere from
5 to 50 points. Selected homework will typically count anywhere from 1 to 10 points. Projects and labs, when assigned, will vary in point value. The school grade table will be used and is in the student handbook.
Homework: Late homework will be accepted up to one week after the class due date if it is complete and will be penalized points at my discretion. (It’s called a consequence.) It is due at the beginning of the class period after it is assigned unless I indicate otherwise. It must be done in pencil only. It must be neat and legible. Your full name and date on each page. Any written portions must use complete sentences, correct spelling and proper grammar. At my discretion, it may or may not be collected for a grade. Any homework missed due to illness is to be coordinated with me immediately upon the student's return to school. (Please make an effort to e-mail me and let me know that day, if possible.) It is the student's responsibility to find out what was missed and any late turn-ins must be approved by me in advance. You must show ALL of your work and you must use correct units on all calculations and final answers. Peer checks will be required this year on all turned-in work, signed and dated by the peer reviewer. Your FULL name and the completion date are required on ALL work turned in.
Homework Format: Use 8.5” x 11” notebook paper. I would recommend College Ruled paper or 5 squares/inch Engineering graph paper. Your first and last name and the date it was worked at the top of every page. Use pencil only. Show ALL of your work. Sequentially number each problem. Write neatly and include proper units in your work and in your final answer. I highly recommend you use the FWAU method. Formula, Work, Answer, Units. Please box your final answers so I can find them.
Lab Write-ups and Work: We will be performing Physics Labs throughout the year. You are expected to create a detailed and organized lab write-up for each lab. Lab data will be put into Excel or written in your notebook or laptop. All of the labs will be hand-written in pencil unless you are told otherwise. Your full name and date MUST be on your lab write-up and on EACH tab of your Excel analysis. You are expected to use proper spelling, grammar, complete sentences and legible penmanship in your lab write-ups. Points may be deducted if these criteria are not met. Unless told otherwise, lab data analysis and graphs will be done using EXCEL only. Please DO NOT USE GOOGLE SHEETS! Your lab write-up, conclusions and final summation will be handwritten in pencil using 8.5” x 11” sheet of (College Ruled) notebook paper. One sheet maximum, front and back. Keep it short and sweet. (KISS)
Points will be awarded based on the following criteria for course labs:
- Abstract/Objective/Purpose - A brief description of how the lab being performed relates to the Physics curriculum or the real world. (1 to 2 sentences maximum.)
- Procedure/Materials List - A short description of the basic steps being performed in the lab with a list of materials being used. Number your procedure steps sequentially.
- Data - This is critical for any analysis to be performed. Any and all data must be organized in an Excel Spreadsheet. (Google sheets…don’t you dare.) It may take the form of accurately labeled charts, tables, diagrams, graphs and/or pictures. Any error estimates should be included and briefly discussed, if applicable. Label your tabs and include your name and date on the first sheet. Your spreadsheet file name will include your first two initials, last name, the date and a brief lab title. Example: MBSmith 8-4-16 Pendulum Lab.xls DO NOT submit an Excel spreadsheet with the default title “Book1.”
- Results - A brief statement of what occurred in the experiment. This needs to reflect the data you acquired from the experiment. If your data is good, say so. If it’s junk, then say that…after your analysis. Make sure you justify why you think it is what it is and what can be done to improve the experiment.
- Conclusion - Do the results of the experiment support the objective or purpose of the lab? Any conclusions must be supported by the data and the results. This is where you must discuss whether or not the objective was met. The amount of error should be discussed including the range and whether or not it was excessive.
- Safety - A brief statement of safety issues that were relevant to the lab, if applicable.
- A peer check. - You are required to have one of your peers go through and check your work. Be open to critiques and repair your work when you feel it is applicable. I would recommend a re-check by your peer BEFORE you turn it in. Your peer must sign and date upon completion of the peer check at the top of the front page of the write-up. No peer check?= points off. Major flaws not found by your peer, points off for both of you. Peer checks may be done by any current AP Physics students or anyone that has completed either of my AP Physics courses. (You may have to buy them a lunch.)
Progress Reports: I will make every effort to keep grades updated on a weekly basis. Grades are now available on-line 24/7 to both students and parents via home access. You are expected to review this information with your parent /guardian as updates are made and must notify me IMMEDIATELY if any discrepancies are found. Be aware that I do the majority of my grading during weekends and that grading of tests and quizzes have priority over homework. I usually input grades and make calls home on Sunday nights. Yes, I will notify your parents if you make an A on a test or quiz.
Extra-Credit: Count on none. If I ever offer it, consider it a rare gift. I already have plenty of grading to do.
Tutoring: There is a certain amount of material that must be covered over the duration of the year. If you feel that you need extra help, I would suggest scheduling a tutoring session with me after school. I want to encourage students to work closely with their peers and to enlist any outside resources they may have at their disposal. This would include the internet, other textbooks, study guides, etc. The intent here is to make you a SELF-LEARNER and prepare you for college, where help may not always be readily accessible.
Pass/Fail Policy: I will not authorize any Pass/Fail grades for this course. This decision will be made by the department head and must be authorized by the end of the first week of school. Any Pass/Fail authorized by the administration will require that a grade of C be maintained in the class in order to pass. A student may choose to audit the course at their discretion for no credit or grade. Reference the Student Handbook for the school policy.
Semester Grade: The semester grade will be calculated after a CUMULATIVE Final Exam. The formula for calculating the semester grade is (0.45) * (Labs, Homework, Drawings, Misc.) + (0.45) * (Tests, Quizzes) + (0.1)* Final Exam = Semester grade.
Communication: I am always available and willing to listen to comments and concerns from you and/or parents. I will provide a syllabus to show what material will be covered in the class. My e-mail address is MSmith@cpsk12.org and if you have any questions on the course, please feel free to e-mail (preferred) or call me.
Please be aware that the primary goal of this class is to make sure that each student masters the material to the point where you can comfortably take an AP Physics 1 exam in the Spring. Your success on the AP Test is my first priority.
Communication Chain of Command: It is critical that any of your concerns be addressed through me first. The intent is to solve as many problems at the lowest level possible. If I am unable to solve a problem directly, you may contact Mrs. Wessel, the Science Department Chair. If the problem still cannot be resolved, please contact the Assistant Principal assigned to the Science Department, Dr. Darlene Grant. (x33402)
Lab and Classroom Safety: Classroom and Lab Safety is our first priority. You must have a questioning attitude about safety issues at ALL times in this class. If you see ANYTHING that may even remotely resemble being unsafe, please let me know IMMEDIATELY to have it addressed. I do NOT want anyone getting hurt in this class in any way. Every student will be required to read a Flinn Safety Agreement and keep a copy of it in their Class Notebook.
Extracurricular Activities vs AP Physics: Since many AP students are heavily immersed in extracurricular activities along with one or more science and/or math courses, time management becomes a critical issue. Depending on the activity, many students have learned to manage their time appropriately and succeed in their courses. Others have found time management to be one of the most difficult aspects of a challenging class. Students must learn to recognize their capabilities and decide how to prioritize appropriately. This is a key component to surviving the more challenging degree plans at major Universities. Please be aware that you may stumble once or twice as this year progresses. Learn from it and reorganize your priorities as needed. I will teach you physics and prepare you for further studies in science but be aware of outside hazards. Please remember, once again, academics are always first priority. Extracurriculars are optional.
Senioritis: Be aware that the Senioritis “virus” infestation infects Seniors starting the week before Spring Break. The AP1 and AP2 tests are NOT easy exams. As we approach the first week of May when AP Exams begin, the Senioritis virus may cause you to become lackadaisical and apathetic. Be aware of the effect the “virus” has on your attitude towards learning. Even if you have received your college acceptance letter and committed to the University of your choice, do not go full mental vegetable and slide on your study habits and priorities. The AP Physics tests are challenging and your success on these exams is VERY important to me (and you…and your parents.) Save your mental burnout for Summer Break. Remember, after this, you have at least four more years of school coming at you and College Professors do not take prisoners. Please stay focused through to graduation and please make an effort to maintain a positive attitude and effort through the end of the year.