1: Mechanics


                                 AP Physics C-Mechanics


Mr. Kinnaird



 AP Physics C-Mechanics

All students enrolled are required to take the AP Physics C-Mechanics Exam. If the student does not take the AP Exam then we will go back into your transcript and change your class to Honors Physics. Prior completion of a physics class is recommended. Completion of or concurrent enrollment in a first-semester calculus course is recomended. This is an inquiry based science class that incorporates the use of many different labs to help establish important concepts. During the course of this class students will be asked to solve many different types of physics problems with the concepts they learn through the course. It is impossible for any teacher to go over and work every type of problem the student may encounter on the test, instead it is my expectation for the students to develop and use problem solving strategies that can be implemented to solve any problem assigned to them.


Physics: for Scientist and Engineers; Serway and Jewett; 6e


This class will consist of two semesters; however the AP Physics test will be around the 169 day mark of the year (depending on snow).  With this calendar, it is necessary to organize the course within a tight schedule that includes assignments during some holiday breaks.  I find it useful to lay out a calendar by which to measure progress through the material, in order to insure completion with time for sufficient review before the AP physics C-Mechanics Exam.  The calendar reflects the day-by-day unit assignments schedule outlined below.

Unit 1: Introduction

Unit 2: Kinematics

Lecture/Question-Answer Sessions

Other than lab experiments, class time is taken up with lecture and question-answer sessions.  A “lecture” consumes 20 to 30 minutes in which a concept presented and the reading is reviewed, stressing important definitions and limitations.  The remainder of the period usually involves showing relevant demonstrations (toys are frequently used), and then introducing an assigned problem or set of problems related to the demonstration. The students are then guided in a discussion (whole class or small group) to develop solutions to the problem(s). During all of these activities, I encourage discussion, questions, hypotheses, and proposals to flow among the students as many different “looks” at the application of a concept as possible, so an appreciation of the universality of physical concepts is developed.  Live demonstrations with simple equipment, often done by the students themselves for the rest of the class, are preferred.  Computer simulations and video demonstrations have their place when real equipment is not available.  Whenever possible, I use the analogies, conceptual discoveries, and problem-solving techniques that helped my understanding when I was a student.


Problem Assignments

At the beginning of each unit, I give students a list of “what you should know and be able to do” by the end of the unit, a day-to-day schedule with assignments, the experiments scheduled, and when a quiz on the material can be expected.  Providing this informs the students about the work required to master the objectives of the unit. As we begin each unit, it is assumed that you will read the chapter(s).  As you read each chapter, work out each Quick Quiz along the way with your reasoning.


The assigned problems are either from the textbook or from a supplementary problem handout.  Problems are chosen to give the students experience with a wide range of applications of the subject covered in the unit.  When the textbook does not have a problem covering a particular application, I use one from another text or write one. I also make extensive use of worksheets that are designed to help students develop coherent problem-solving techniques.  When working problems or in question-answer sessions, I always stress starting from a general principle and moving toward a specific application.  Instead of spending class time on working a problem all the way through to the answer, we work on building a general-to-specific routine in solving problems.  This is an important skill to develop for success in future course work in the long term and for success on the AP Exam in the short term, since most problems students encounter will not be specific type they have worked before.


There will be a series of Problems and Challenge Problems specifically assigned for each chapter.  These problems and challenges are the level of difficulty that you will encounter on the AP Exam in May.  It is essential that you learn to complete problems and challenges of this type to ensure your success next May.


Quizzes are given approximately every unit.  The quizzes are designed similar in construction to the AP Exam.  Each consists of 8 to 12 multiple-choice questions and a multipart free-response question. A teacher-constructed “anti-memorization” sheet is permitted on all quizzes.  While going through the course material, the stress is on developing concepts and problem-solving strategies, not on memorization.


The multiple-choice questions come from many sources, such as AP Released Exams, New York Regents Exam review books, and question I have written.  The free-response questions have the same format as those on the AP Exam, and most are modified AP Exam questions.  All are constructed to test current material and material previously covered.  For example, an energy free-response question might require a free-body diagram and have a part involving a trajectory.


The day after the quizzes are given, students score each other’s papers using a rubric similar to those used to score the free-response questions on the AP Exam.  Before the students begin scoring papers, each section of the solution is carefully explained. This requires them to go through the solution carefully, perhaps recognizing their own mistakes and perhaps learning a little from the mistakes of others.


The only cumulative examination given before the AP Exam review time is the first and second semester final.  It consists of the 35-question multiple choice section from an AP Physics C: Mechanics.  This exam is taken, scored, and reviewed during a three-hour final exam period. This Exam will only consist of the concepts we have gone over at that point.



Homework is assigned through a year long assignment sheet, which students are given at the beginning of the year.  Students will be given a chance to ask about homework problems at the beginning of each class.  Homework is accepted only when asked for.  This encourages students to stay current in their homework assignments.  Since they have had the chance to ask questions, the homework they hand in is expected to be correct. Extra assigned work will be taken up at random during this year as well and averaged into the homework grade.



The student will receive one grade for each semester.


AP Physics C: Mechanics







Final Exam



AP Exam Review

Formal review begins two weeks before the beginning of the AP Exam administration. Each student is given an exam booklet consisting of the multiple choice sections from two AP Physics C Released Exams and the free-response questions from the last five exams.  In the booklet is a listing of the multiple-choice questions sorted by subject (i.e., kinematics, Newton’s laws, etc.). During the early part of the review, several of these subject areas are assigned as homework.  The first part of each class period is used to answer questions on the previous day’s assignment. The rest of the period is divided up into 15 minute intervals, and one free-response question is assigned during each interval.  Students may work alone or in groups of no more than three.  Solution notebooks are available in the classroom for students to check their work. At the end of the first week of review, the mechanics multiple-choice questions from an AP Released Physics C Exam are given for credit.  After the end of the second week, the multiple-choice questions from the E&M exam are given

Labs from College Board
Labs from Vernier
Labs from Mr. Kinnaird

Matthew Kinnaird,
Sep 9, 2013, 10:27 AM
Matthew Kinnaird,
Sep 7, 2012, 8:03 AM
Matthew Kinnaird,
Sep 9, 2013, 10:36 AM