AP Physics 1

AP Physics 1 is a national algebra-based course in physics. The curriculum for the course is  designed by the College Board. This course is equivalent to a single-semester introductory physics course for university students. We will meet for 90 minutes each day for the 1st Semester. The emphasis of the course is on understanding the concepts and skills of physics, and using concepts and formulae to solve problems related to the application of these ideas. Lab work is an integral portion of the course. There are several Big Ideas that run through the course and students will explore:
Big Idea 1: Objects and systems have properties such as mass and charge. Systems may have internal structure
Big Idea 2: Fields existing in space can be used to explain interactions.
Big Idea 3: The interactions of an object with another object can be described by forces.
Big Idea 4: Interactions between systems can result in changes in those systems.
Big Idea 5: Changes that occur as a result interactions are constrained by conservation laws. 
Big Idea 6: Waves can transfer energy and momentum from one location to another without the permanent transfer of mass and serve as a mathematical model of for the description of if other phenomena. 

AP Physics 1 is an inquiry course. Each topic within the course will consist of an introduction of the topic through a class demonstration or problem introduction. Students will make observations and discerning patterns in behavior of the physical systems. A student lab will then be used to allow the student to physically deal with the concepts and problems of mechanistic experimental practices by designing experiments to develop and test mathematical models describing the phenomena. 

Students will be required to address problems associated with each of the major topics. These will be solved using both small-group and individual work sessions. Real-Life problems will be used to allow the students to apply the concepts and their problem solving skills to use in a realistic setting.

Grading: Grades are based on primarily on tests and labs used to assess student’s mastery of the material and to 
provide students with realistic preparation of the AP exam environment. There will be three Tests per 9-weeks which will  be structured as an AP exam (90 minutes – multiple choice/free response).  Tests: 50%, Labs: 30%, Quizzes, Problem Sets: 10%

Labs: There will be a minimum of 14 full lab reports required to be completed to receive credit for the course. These should be retained by the student as they may be required to receive credit for the course at the University level.  Each Lab will require the use of formal scientific reasoning and documentation and must include the following:
  • An abstract of the lab performed, results and conclusions
  • A formal hypothesis, or lab question formulated on the class demonstration or problem presented.
  • A description of the experimental design, including a description of the lab procedure performed
  • A collection of all data and observations made
  • Calculations and manipulations for data collected
  • Discussions of the quality, variance and error analysis of the data
  • Conclusions drawn from the data as relating to the validity or disapproval of the hypothesis
This is an AP level course and so it is expected that students come to class prepared to learn.  This includes having proper materials such paper, writing utensils and laptops fully charged.  Class time will be heavily weighted toward lab work requiring that students complete homework, readings, practice problems and lab write-ups at home. There will be daily homework and students are expected to have completed the homework.  The general expectation is that students will have to commit at least one hour of homework every day for the course. 

Assignments and class materials are posted on-line using the OCS Moodle system, most assignments and primary assessments will be on the Moodle.  Students are expected to check their school e-mail daily.  Much of the communication about the course will be via e-mail.  I will communicate only via the student’s official OCS e-mail. Students are expected to follow OCS policy concerning usage of the laptop for learning activities during class. 

Student Expectations:   There are four ways to ensure success in this class:  effort, organization, honesty, and daily work. 

  • Students are expected to work.  This is new material for you and you must put in the effort to learn it.
  • Keep all materials that are handed out to you in a notebook organized by topic. 
  • Do all work yourself.  You gain nothing by copying someone elses work.
  • Do work daily. You will have daily homework.  It may be reviewing notes, reading, reviewing material to prepare for the next day or other assignments.  
It is crucial that students take responsibility for work to prepare for classes. There will be weekly quizzes on Monday, so the weekend is the time for setting aside some time review what was covered that week.

Useful Links:

Physics tutorials from University of Guelph

PHet Simulations Site at the University of Colorado - phet.colorado.edu

Khan Academy - lots of cool video tutorials on many subjects - khanacademy.org

C12.org - Online Textbook- Physics