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P1 Pacing Guide - 7 pd.

Note: I only taught AP Physics 1 for one year on a 7 period schedule. This pacing guide was written before that one year. I did not revise it afterwards, because our school switched to block scheduling. It is provided as an example, even though it has not been adjusted for the accuracy provided by hindsight.

Pacing Guide Process
    • Decide what a unit is for you.

      • How long is your typical unit? (mine are 2-3 weeks)

      • How many chapters in each unit? How many tests? (This may vary from unit to unit)

    • Count up the real instructional days you have, minus testing, etc. Count up the instructional minutes (mostly for reality check)

    • Estimate the actual days in each unit. Forces, Rotation, Oscillation are places you can get a little bogged down, consider making your estimates longer for those subjects.

    • Look at your calendar - place estimated test dates on the calendar. Share the dates with your students. Do your best to stick to the calendar.

Preliminary Plan for AP Physics 1 at FHS - heavily influenced by the modeling curriculum.
June 2014 (Based on 50 minute periods 5 days a week).

Units work something like this:
Day 1, Demo to introduce a topic, students design a lab to investigate the demo and carry it out
Day 2, Data analysis and lab presentations (multiple representations) - model building discussion based on lab presentations
Days 3-7, Use model in context (problem-solving), quizzes, additional elaboration activities
Days 8-9, Practicum/Lab Challenge/Claim Investigation
Day 10, Test

Unit 1 - Methods for Science

[10 days or less] (may drop this and go straight into CV)

Days 1-3 Paradigm Lab
-Paradigms used in the past:
Circle Lab (students measure and plot various quantities i.e. circumference vs. radius)
Pendulum Lab (student-designed investigation of a period of a simple pendulum)

The idea here is to introduce/practice experimental methods, graphical analysis (remember the Science Practices), and the way the class will run. 

Days 4-7
-how does this class run?
-graphing data
-linearizing graphical data
-uncertainty and measurement
-experimental design
-writing and interpreting equations
-multiple representations
-writing lab reports

Day 8 - Test

Unit 2 - Constant Velocity

[5 days or less]

-Paradigm: The Blinky Buggy Lab
-Practicum: Meeting Point

-position, displacement, velocity, speed
-average and instantaneous
-multiple representations of motion

Unit 3 - Constant Acceleration

[8 days or less]

-Paradigm: Cart down a ramp (usually with videoanalysis)

-multiple representations of motion

Unit 4 - Interactions I

(vectors, systems, statics w/o Torque, balanced force problems)

[8 days or less]

-Paradigm: object moving with balanced forces (Hoverpuck; Dry Ice Block; Cart with two opposing fans; or Bowling ball)

-What is a force? 
-Representing forces with vectors, 

Unit 5 - Interactions II (dynamics)

[10 days or less]

-Paradigm: Half-Atwood's Machine (cart on table, pulley, hanging mass)

Unit 6 - 2-d Motion

[8 days or less]

-Paradigm: Tossed Ball (analyze the motion of the ball using video analysis)

Unit 7 - Energy

[10 days or less]

-Paradigm(s): cart launched by a compressed spring (elastic potential energy); cart pushed up and then rolling down a ramp (gravitational potential energy; work; kinetic energy)

Unit 8 - UCM and Gravitation

[10 days or less]

-Paradigms: circular motion apparatus; (alternative: pendulum swinging from a force sensor)

Unit 9 - Momentum and Impulse

[8 days or less]

-Paradigms: cart collides with a force sensor; cart collisions

Unit 10 - Rotation

[12 days or less]

-Paradigms: falling mass accelerates a rotating extended object, plate drops onto an already spinning plate, hoop and disk roll down a ramp (kinetic energy)

Unit 11 - Waves and Oscillation

[10 days or less]

-Paradigms: mass on a spring; pulses and standing waves in snakey and slinky springs

Unit 12 - Sound

[8 days or less]

-Paradigms: vibrating "singing" rod; resonance in open and closed tubes

Unit 13 - Charge and Electric Force

(limited AP 1 objectives so likely no test for this - could perhaps be combined with Unit 14)

[5 days or less]

-Paradigms: electric force b/w two Xmas ornaments

Unit 14 - DC Circuits

[10 days or less]

-Paradigms: batteries and bulbs or resistors circuits

This is 122 days including Unit 1. May be a little optimistic, but this year I did complete several units in 8 days in Physics B. Students did at least as well on unit tests as they did in previous years.

83 school days in first semester - probably cannot finish rotation by end of semester unless we eliminate Unit 1 (which Morton wants to do). Seems a little iffy finishing rotation in first semester even if we do cut Unit 1. Four of those days are semester final exam days, so 79 actual class days in first semester.

79 days in second semester (unintentional symmetry!) before AP Exam-2015 AP Physics 1 exam is on Wednesday, May 6 (physics 2 exam is the following day).

I believe the result of the College Board timing study was a prediction that most teachers could cover AP Physics 1 objectives in 140 days of instruction. Hypothetically, I will have 158 days of instruction before the AP Exam. Lop off a few here and there due to Pep Rallies, etc., and let's say 150 days.

Ten days to review? Can it be true?


Marc Reif
Fayetteville, Arkansas


Remove Unit 1 in order to gain time. Work rotation into Mechanics a little at a time. Trade approximately 20 days of Unit1 and Unit 10 for integrated linear/rotational unit.

-15 days 1-d and 2-d linear kinematics, 5 days rotational kinematics
-20 days forces (incl. circular motion and gravitation), 5 days of torque
-12 days energy incl. rotational kinetic energy
-8 days momentum and impulse, 5 days angular momentum and impulse
That's 70 days, more or less, so the whole first semester.

Waves, circuits, electric charge and force, review in the second semester.

Marc Reif,
Jun 23, 2014, 6:06 AM
Marc Reif,
Jun 23, 2014, 6:06 AM
Marc Reif,
Jun 23, 2014, 6:07 AM