Fall 2009
Dr. Brown
AP® Physics C – Mechanics: Syllabus
The AP® Physics C is a national calculus-based course in physics. This course is equivalent to
the introductory physics courses for university students that are looking towards a career in
engineering or the sciences. The emphasis is on the understanding of the physics concepts and
formulae to solve problems mathematically. Laboratory work is an integral part of this course.
The prerequisite for the course is a prior completion or concurrent enrollment in calculus and
satisfactory completion of Physics1.
Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, 6th Ed., Wiley and Sons
Topics For the Class:
Chapters from Text
Topics (notes)
Ch 1: Measurement,
Webassign intro
Ch 2: Motion Along a
Straight Line
Discuss measurement; WebAssign setup;
Introductory assignment
Kinematics equations with constant and
time-dependent acceleration
LAB #1
Vectors, vector algebra, components of
vectors, coordinate systems
LAB #2
Projectile Motion and Circular Motion
LAB #3
Newton’s Three Laws, Static Equilibrium,
Dynamics of a single particle, Systems of
two or more bodies
Ch 3: Vectors
Ch 4: Motion in Two
and Three Dimensions
Ch 5: Force and
Motion I
Ch 6: Force and
Motion II
Ch 7: Kinetic Energy
and Work
Ch 8: Potential Energy
and Conservation of
Ch. 9: Systems of
Ch. 10: Collisions
Ch.11: Rotation
Frictional forces, coefficient of friction,
uniform circular motion, air resistance
LAB #4
Work and work-energy theorem, power
Conservative forces and potential energy,
conservation of energy.
LAB #5
Center of Mass
Impulse and momentum, conservation of
linear momentum, collisions
LAB #6
Rotational kinematics and dynamics
LAB #7
Time Period/
Total Days
1 day/
1 day
4 days/
5 days
3 days/
7 days
5 days/
12 days
5 days/
17 days
5 days/
22 days
5 days/
27 days
5 days/
32 days
3 days/
36 days
4 days/
40 days
5 days/
45 days
Ch. 12: Rolling,
Torque and Angular
Ch. 13: Equilibrium
and Elasticity
Ch. 14: Gravitation
Ch. 16: Oscillations
Angular momentum (point particles and
extended bodies, including rotational
inertia) and its conservation, torque
LAB #8
Applications of Newton’s 1st Law and
rotational statics
Newton’s law of gravity, circular and
general orbits of planets and satellites,
Kepler’s Laws
LAB #9
Simple harmonic motion (dynamics and
energy relationships), mass on a spring,
Pendulum and other oscillations
LAB #10
5 days/
50 days
4 days/
54 days
4 days/
58 days
4 days/
62 days
A hands-on, end-of-semester project will be assigned to apply many of the concepts from the
Weekly Class Schedule
The general set-up for each chapter will be approximately the same and usually last 1 week.
Students are expected to have read each chapter by the first day of discussion for that chapter.
The general breakdown for the week is as follows:
Day 1: The teacher will review the concepts and ideas for the chapter doing example problems
and demonstrations.
Day 2: The teacher will finish discussion of concepts and ideas. The students in the class will
do problems in small groups and will answer Questions at the end of the chapter.
Day 3/4: Students are guided in discussions to come up with solutions to problems from the
book. Time to work on/ discuss in groups the homework questions. Guided help provided by
the teacher in solving homework problems. Students lead white-boarding presentations to the
class of answers to “Questions” and solutions to homework problems.
Day 5: Hands-on lab for the chapter, with lab write-up to be completed.
A test or quiz will generally be given at the conclusion of each unit.
Grading Policy
Students will receive a mid-term grade (1st marking period), a second marking period grade, and
a final exam grade which is worth 20% of the course grade. Marking period grades will be based
on the following criteria:
Tests/ quizzes
Tests/ Quizzes
Tests will be given at the end of units 2, 4, and 6. A quiz may be given at the end of units 1, 3,
and 5. The tests and quizzes will be similar to the homework in content, but may apply these
ideas in different ways. This being the case, you should understand how to apply the concepts to
many different types of problems. Take note that all content that has been covered could appear
on a test or quiz. This is how the AP Exam works – it uses an application of all your
understanding on one question. This is what makes the AP Exam so difficult – a very good
understanding of many topics applied to one question. Quizzes will consist of multiple choice
questions and tests will have MC as well as math-based open ended questions very similar to the
AP Exam.
This class is about understanding physics and how to answer physics questions. In order to
become proficient in answering questions you need to understand the concepts and how to apply
the concepts mathematically. In order to do this you need practice. You will have a significant
amount of homework. This practice is the key to your success to the whole course. We will be
using webassign.net to hand in your weekly/chapter assignments. This will (hopefully) help
ensure your commitment to this course. You will have to submit your answers to all the
homework questions online (generally by 11:59 PM on the date they are due). You will
generally have four attempts to answer the question before you can not attempt to answer any
further. This should give you a reasonable chance to get it correct even if you do not get it
correct at first. WebAssign provides different numbers for each question to every student, so
that your question will be worded in the same way- except for the numbers. Because of this,
every student will have a different answer to each question. You will also need to write a formal
copy of each of the chapter homework sets. This formal copy will be graded as part of the
chapter homework assignment and will be due on the class day following the due date for the
WebAssign. This formal copy for the solutions is extremely important for you to complete and
have so you can re-inforce your problem solving and review the material for the exams.
Each of the labs will require a written report (must be legibly written or type-written) which
 Purpose: Presentation of the purpose of the lab and a formulation of an hypothesis which
is based on the presented problem as discussed in class.
 Method: Design or methodology of an experiment based on in-class discussion.
 Data: Collection of data and observations.
 Calculations: Calculations using the collected data.
 Conclusion: Conclusions about how well the hypothesis held up based on the experiment
and error analysis of the data.
You will keep your lab reports in a portfolio which will be graded periodically.

AP® Physics C – Mechanics: Syllabus