AP Physics

AP Physics 1, 2015-2016
Teacher: Brett Caswell
Room: B209
Phone: 512-594-1274
Email: [email protected]
Class Website: www.physicsteachersguidetothegalaxy.weebly.com
Main text: College Physics, 3rd edition – Knight, Jones, and Field
Supplemental texts: Provided as needed.
Course Overview
AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based course in general physics that meets for 90 minutes every other day for
the entire school year. General physics topics presented during the course closely follow those outlined by
the College Board and also mirrors an introductory level university physics course.
AP Physics 1 is organized around six big ideas that bring together the fundamental science principles and
theories of general physics. These big ideas are intended to encourage students to think about physics
concepts as interconnected pieces of a puzzle. The solution to the puzzle is how the real world around
them actually works. The students will participate in inquiry-based explorations of these topics to gain a
more conceptual understanding of these physics concepts. Students will spend less of their time in
traditional formula-based learning and more of their effort will be directed to developing critical thinking
and reasoning skills.
Big Ideas for AP Physics 1
 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 other objects 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 of 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 for the description of other
Grading for the course is broken down as follows:
Major grades
Minor grades
Major grades consist of exams, projects, and major labs. Minor grades consist of quizzes and minor labs.
Homework will be assigned but not picked up for grading. Homework should be viewed as practice in
preparation for exams and quizzes.
Quizzes will consist of questions (modified when necessary) from past AP Physics exams. Quiz questions
will be reflective of the questions on current assignments. Students should expect roughly one quiz per
week with the exception of weeks where an exam occurs. Short quizzes will be worth one minor grade,
long quizzes will be worth two.
Each exam will consist of a multiple choice and free response section, and each section will count as a
separate exam grade. The main purpose of this is to emulate the 50/50 weighting schema between
multiple choice and free response sections on the AP exam.
Exam Corrections
Exams may be corrected within two class days of receiving graded exam. Exam corrections are worth 50%
of missed exam points regardless of initial score. An exam score of less than 40% should result in
corrections and the student may retest.
Missed Exams
If you miss an exam due to an absence, you have 3 weekdays to make it up. If you have not made up the
exam by then, you will be required to take the exam during the first available class period.
Laboratory Investigations
The AP Physics 1 course devotes over 25% of the time to laboratory investigations. Students will use
guided–inquiry (GI) or open–inquiry (OI) in the design of their laboratory investigations. Some labs focus
on investigating a physical phenomenon without having expectations of its outcomes. In other
experiments, the student has an expectation of its outcome based on concepts constructed from prior
experiences. In application experiments, the students use acquired physics principles to address practical
problems. Students also investigate topic-related questions that are formulated through student
designed/selected procedures.
Course Planner
Number of Days
Representing Motion
Motion in One Dimension
Vectors and Motion in Two Dimension
Forces and Newton’s Laws of Motion
Applying Newton’s Laws
Circular Motion, Orbits, and Gravity
Rotational Motion
Equilibrium and Elasticity
Energy and Work
Traveling Sound and Waves
Superposition and Standing Waves
Electric Fields and Forces
Current and Resistance