• *M Physics Honors

    The fundamentals of Newtonian Physics are stressed in this exploration of basic Physics.  Motion, Newton’s Laws, forces, and energy transformations are topics covered that prepare the student for future courses in college.  Lab work is designed to strengthen and support the concepts.  The practical applications of mathematics help students understand the relationship between Mathematics and Science.

    Class Preparation

    It is expected that each student be prepared for class each day with completed assignments, a calculator, a pencil (no pen!), a logically organized notebook, and a covered textbook.

    Grading System

    Grades will be derived via a percentage system.  30% of each student’s grade will be based on “daily assignments” such as classwork, homework, and notebooks.  An additional 30% will be based on “minor assignments” such as labs, projects and activities.  The final 40% of the grade will be based on quizzes and tests or “major assignments.”  No late work will be accepted.  Typical point values per assignment are as follows:

    • Daily Assignments 5 - 25 points
    • Minor Assignments 10 - 50 points
    • Major Assignments 25 - 100 points

    Lab Reports

    The Physics lab report format consists of four parts:

    I. Objectives

    II. Data

    III. Analysis

    IV. Conclusions


    Many in-class projects and “competitions” will hopefully keep class activities lively and fun! In addition to content-based Physics labs, Physics Olympics competition events may include:  paper tower, penny barge, slowest glider, vertical kites, egg drop, and others!!!

    The End-of-Semester Project will be completed at home and will have multiple due dates.  This project may be the Mousetrap Vehicle, the Catapult, or something equally challenging.

    Extra Instruction

    Extra instruction is available before school, during Unit Lunch, SERA, and after school upon request.

    Course Syllabus

    Unit 1 :  Math In Science

                    The metric system / international system of units

    •              Definitions of prefixes

    •              “Swing the decimal”

    Significant figures

    •              Tools read according to graduations, “one estimate” rule

    •              Rules for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division of measurements

                    Scientific notation

    •              Sig figs rules for recording measurements

    •              Correct use of calculator

    Dimensional analysis

    •              Conversion factors

    •              “Fencepost” method of unit conversion

                    Accuracy and precision

    •              Definitions

    •              Applications to measurements, dart gun activity

    Linear, quadratic, and inverse relationships

    •              Graphing skills, independent and dependent variables, scale, line of best fit, slope

    •              Recognition of curves and corresponding equations

    Unit 2:  Vectors

                    Vector vs. scalar quantities

    •              Distance vs. displacement, speed vs. velocity

    Position, displacement, and velocity vectors

    •              Positive and negative directions

    •              Baseball game example

                    Vector addition

    •              “Tip-to-tail” and “resultant goes from start-to-finish” rules

    •              Identify the hypotenuse, opposite, and adjacent sides

                    Pythagorean theorem and trigonometric functions

    •              Equations and mnemonic devices for recall, “Oscar”

    •              Calculator skills

    Vector decomposition

    •              Resolving the resultant into its components

    Unit 3:  Kinematics


    •              Frame, time interval, particle model


    •              Equations

    •              Problem-solving steps

    •              Position-time graphs, slope


    •              List of givens

    •              Equations

    •              Velocity-time graphs, slope and area under the curve

                    Free fall

    •              Vi=0 for dropped objects

    •              Acceleration due to gravity, a=g=-9.8m/s2

    •              Terminal velocity

    Word wall activities and presentations.

    Unit 4:   Dynamics

                    Forces and motion

    •              Free-body diagrams

    •              Types, Ff, Fsp, FN, FT, Fthrust, Fg

    •              Equilibrium

    •              Newton’s laws, inertia, seatbelts

    •              Mass vs. weight, weightlessness


    •              Contact vs. long-range, force of gravity, drag

    •              Static and kinetic friction forces

    •              Simple harmonic motion/pendulum equation, period, amplitude, mechanical resonance

                    Motion in two dimensions

    •              Equilibrant, net force

    •              Inclined planes

                                    Projectile motion

    •              Setting conditions

    •              Projectile, trajectory, parabola, zenith, range, fight time, vx, vy

                    Circular motion

    •              Centripetal acceleration, centripetal force

    Unit 5:  Momentum


    •              “Quantity of motion”

    •              Equations and units

    Impulse – Momentum Theorem

    •              Dale Earnhardt crash vs. other NASCAR crashes

                    Law of Conservation of Momentum

    •              Closed, isolated system

    Unit 6:  Energy

                    Energy and work

    •              Definitions and relationship

    •              Calculation of power

    •              Simple and compound machines

    Potential energy

    •              Gravitational potential energy

    •              Elastic potential energy

                    Kinetic energy

    •              Moving objects

    Law of Conservation of Energy

    •              Solve problems, analyze collisions

    End-of-semester project.


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