All Things Chemical and Physical

Course Documents and Information

This is the course description including information about grading:

Physics 2010/2011



            Science is often broken down into four categories- biological, earth/space, chemical (although this is sometimes included in physical), and physical.  Physics is the study of the physical interactions that occur within our universe.  Its scope ranges from the astronomical- planetary and galactic- to the miniscule- subatomic and nuclear.  At first, the laws and relationships of physics seem to be common sense (with a strong dose of thoughtful investigation) but physicists such as Einstein (relativity/mass-energy), Schroedinger(quantum) , Heisenberg (uncertainty), Bohr (atomic), Faraday (electrostatics) and many others have discovered that the physical world is quite complex and, in some cases, quite unexpected. 

            Initially, we will concentration on Classical Mechanics, sometimes called Newtonian Mechanics after Isaac Newton.  It is important to realize that the relationships of classical mechanics are approximations of the “real” relationships.  It is equally important to bear in mind that these approximations are exceptionally valid unless the interactions being studied are at the atomic level (or smaller) or are occurring near the speed of light.

            Science courses involve modeling of systems and interactions.  Actual physical models may be used; thought experiments and models may be used and mathematical models may be used.  Thus, physics courses often involve a great deal of mathematics work.  In our investigations we will use algebraic, geometric and trigonometric principles regularly.  (Calculus is VERY useful in physics, and I will allude to it when appropriate.  However, this course is taught WITHOUT the need or use of calculus.)



            Physics is a fully-weighted course (although the handbook may not list it as such and you might have been told otherwise.)  This means that this course is very challenging and rigorous.  Most fully-weighted courses are AP courses.  Physics is the only exception.  However, it will be taught and graded as though it were an AP level course.  Consequently, it is assumed that homework will be done for the benefit of preparing for tests, quizzes and laboratory exercises.  The point allotment for homework is very small.  In fact a homework grade of -5 to +5 points will be assigned for each chapter, and the award will be based upon completion of work.  Homework will be evaluated every Friday, quiz day or test day.

            Make-up work is your responsibility.  You are responsible to copy notes that you have missed.  If you are absent the day of labs, tests, worksheets or take-home tests YOU must take the initiative to arrange make-up.  We will follow the handbook guidelines for make-up work.  (I’m sick of the stringing out of make-up work so I’m going to stick to these guidelines.)  After the deadline for making up and assignment passes a zero grade will be entered.  If you are missing class for a trip (vacation, field trip, sporting event) it is your responsibility to get the assignments PRIOR to leaving for this trip.  Since much of this course can be found in you can access that resource for much of the needed material. 

            NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS!  I’ll expect things submitted on time since this course is fully-weighted.  If absent, the assignment is due the day of return.  Since you are given a syllabus you know the date of the test and you are expected to take the test on that day.  If absent the day prior, take it anyway.



            Each chapter will be outlined on a syllabus.  You should follow the syllabus to be prepared for tests, quizzes and labs.  You should read the assignment the evening PRIOR to it being done in class.  You are expected to keep track of your syllabus, and use it consistently.



            Five basic categories of grades will be used: in-class tests, take-home tests, laboratory exercises, quizzes and homework.  An approximate grading breakdown might be:

                        In-class test                  35- 45 points                ~40%

                        Take-home test            25- 35 points                ~30%

                        Labs                             5- 10 points                  ~10%

                        Quizzes                        5-10 points each

                                                            ~2 per chapter              ~20%

                        HW                              -5 to +5 pts                  < 5%

Tests will include multiple-choice questions which refer to general concepts from the chapters study.  They may also require the application or identification of concepts and principles to make a prediction.  The tests also include problem-solving questions which will be graded with partial credit.  Each test will include two or three problems which require simple, straightforward application of concepts and relationships and one or two problems which demand a more involved solution. 

            Take-home tests are to be done outside of school on an INDIVIDUAL basis.  The textbook, homework and labs are all legitimate sources of help.  Also, the instructor will give general help as he deems appropriate.  (In other words, I’ll give some hints but will not solve problems from take-home tests.)

            Lab exercises will be graded upon participation and completion of the lab form.  Usually only one lab set up exists, so several days will be allotted for lab work with the balance of time being used to work in class on homework, worksheets or lab write ups. 

            Quizzes are given to monitor progress.  Generally the quizzes will ask simple questions regarding concepts, applications and relationship equations.  You may use your completed homework as a reference for the quiz.  A quiz will be 5 to 10 points, and several of these will be given during a chapter.  Usually quizzes will be given on Fridays.

            Some assessments will be given (available) online.  Sometimes you will be given time in class to complete these assessments but other times they will be completed at home.  MOST online assessments will allow for multiple attempts.


Labs & Lab Notebooks:

            All lab reports will be submitted to your online journal labeled as “Lab notebook” unless otherwise noted.  The best way to do this is to open the lab form from the chapter “Assignments”, add your information to this form, save this to your file, and copy the entire report pasting it into the journal.  We’ll look at this process for the first two (or three) labs. 

Generally the labs must be entered the day prior to the exam for that chapter.  No late submissions accepted.  (I’ll just not grade these.  Blackboard records the date of submission so records will be available to show if the report is late or not.)


What Do I Need?

            -You will want to have a spiral notebook for classroom notes. 

            -You will need a scientific calculator.

            -You will need a creative and logical problem-solving skills.  (Critical thinking)

            -You will need a sense of humor. (Don’t check with Mrs. Mykut for one; she lost

   hers long ago.)

            -You will need the light of blessing to shine on you.  (Not in this room- no windows)