• Honors Physics Curriculum

    Curriculum Overview:


               The Honors Physics course is an intensive survey of the basic laws of Physics.  The class is taught as closely to a college environment as possible.  Emphasis is placed on student responsibility and on the higher order thinking skills.  Critical thinking and problem solving will be paramount.  The Newtonian universe will take center stage, but we will also take a hard look at other phenomena such as Light, Electricity, and Magnetism should time permit. Each student will be responsible for maintaining a comprehensive notebook of class notes and assignments which will be checked randomly during each quarter.  The notebook must be of bound form, either 3 ring or spiral type.


    Course Text:


    College Physics – 5th Ed., Jerry D Wilson, Anthony J. Buffa, Prentice Hall, 2003.

    ISBN 0-13-067644-6




                90% = A,  80% = B,  70% = C, 60% = D, 59 and Under F


    Course Work:


                Total Grade out of 100%:

                Tests = approx. 33.33%

                Homework, worksheets, in-class assignments, etc. = approx. 33.33%

                Laboratory assignments = approx. 33.33%


    Topics Covered:


    I.                   Measurement Review

    a.       S.I. System

    b.      Dimensional Analysis

    c.       Significant Figures

    II.                Kinematics

    a.       Linear Distance

    b.      Linear Speed

    c.       Linear Velocity

    d.      Linear Acceleration

    III.             Motion in two Dimensions

    a.       Vector Combination

    b.      Projectile Motion

    c.       Unified Equations of Motion

    IV.             Force and Motion

    a.       Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

    b.      Newton’s Laws of Motion

    c.       Friction

    V.                Work and Energy

    a.       Translational Work

    b.      Work-Energy Theorem

    c.       Potential Energy

    d.      Conservation of Energy

    VI.             Linear Momentum and Collisions

    a.       Linear Momentum

    b.      Impulse

    c.       Conservation of Linear Momentum

    d.      Elastic and Inelastic Collisions

    e.       Center of Mass

    f.       Impulse-Momentum Theorem

    VII.          Circular Motion and Gravitation

    a.       Angular measurement

    b.      Angular velocity

    c.       Uniform circular motion

    d.      Centripetal acceleration

    e.       Angular acceleration

    f.       Newton’s law of Gravitation

    g.      Kepler’s laws

    VIII.       Rotational Motion and Equilibrium

    a.       Rigid Bodies

    b.      Torque

    c.       Rotational Work

    d.      Angular Momentum

    IX.             Solids and Fluids

    a.       Archimedes Principle

    b.      Pascal’s Principle

    c.       Bernoulli’s Equation

    d.      Poiseuille’s law

    X.                Vibrations and Waves

    a.       SHM

    b.      Wave Motion

    c.       Wave properties

    d.      Resonance and Standing waves

    XI.             Sound

    a.       Sound waves

    b.      Sound Intensity

    c.       The Doppler Effect

    d.      Sound Phenomena

    XII.          Light and Optics

    a.       Light basics

    1.      Color interaction

    2.      Dualistic nature

    b.      Ray Optics

    1.      Mirrors

    2.      Lenses


    Laboratory Exercises:



                Laboratory Exercises will be used to clarify concepts.  Each laboratory exercise will require a Laboratory Report in the following format: Objective, Procedures, Data, Calculations, Results, Evaluation.  Each laboratory will involve the set-up of equipment, and subsequent manipulation of that equipment to gather data.  Uncertainty and significant digits will be factored into the calculations.  Students will be responsible for identifying and explaining potential areas for error, including human error and mechanical failures.  The culminating laboratory exercise will be the Egg Launch/Catch project, in which each student will design either a catch system or a containment vessel that will keep an egg dropped from a second story window from breaking. Containment vessels will be built on even numbered years, and catch systems on odd numbered years.  These laboratory devices must be accompanied by a complete scientific paper explaining their project and their results.







    1.                  Significant digits, uncertainty, and measurements

    2.                  Displacement, Velocity, and Acceleration

    3.                  Angular projectiles

    4.                  Friction between solid masses

    5.                  Ballistic Pendulums

    6.                  Impulse-Momentum Theorem and Friction

    7.                  Centripetal acceleration

    8.                  Balancing a rigid body using sum of torques

    9.                  Buoyancy of solids in liquids

    10.              Ripple tank

    11.              Exploring sounds and open pipe resonators

    12.              Mirror and Lens Image Formation

    13.              Egg  Launch/Catch





Last Modified on August 25, 2011