Information for Students and Parents/Guardians
GENERAL PHYSICS, 2010-2011 - Ms. Barnard, Mr. Dominic
Course Materials are at
To start with: For this course you will need to bring to class EVERY DAY:
1. Either a 3-ring binder (~ 1 1/2 inch wide) plus lined paper for your binder OR a Folder for
physics worksheets and notebook.
2. 2 or more dry-erase markers -- black, blue, green, or purple NO red or orange
3. a small metric ruler; the ones with holes work well because they fit on your binder's rings
4. a calculator -- should have ability to do trig functions ($20 should get you a good enough
5. pens and pencils
A textbook will be issued to you. You only need to bring it to class when told. Replacement cost:
Physics is not just another class..... (it’s an adventure). Although the popular image of physics is
cloaked in the mystique of nerd-like scientists, white lab coats, and unbelievable equations, physics
is not at all like that, but is something all people deal with every day. Knowing something about
physics will give you a different view of life which is sure to make your stay on this planet a richer
In this class, you and your classmates will be actively involved in designing, carrying out, and
analyzing experiments to explore basic physics principles. You will learn how to use computers to
help graphically analyze your data, how to communicate the relationships you find, and how what
you learned can be applied to situations around you.
In seeking this understanding, you are only the latest in a thousand generations of thinking men and
women. Like them we will struggle for understanding, using our powers of observation, our
thinking abilities, and a firm commitment to the truth. That’s physics.
How easy will this class be? Let’s be honest about this. Physics is not for wimps. Physics is something
that requires ongoing effort. Not everything you try will result in success on your first try. Get used
to that. You don’t have to be a super-brain to succeed in physics, but you are expected to
1. Come to class every day having done your homework with sincere effort. You can expect to spend
about 20-40 minutes outside of class each day doing homework/reviewing what happened in class.
2. Always honor, respect, and support the other human beings in our class. Communication with other
people should always be positive and encouraging. We don’t tolerate put-downs.
3. Be an active participant in your group (groups are reassembled by me several times throughout the
4. Always bring your learning materials -- the things listed at the beginning of this handout.
5. Turn off your cell phone during class (unless you are asked to use it as a stopwatch).
6. Respect your class by arriving on time every day.
Parents: Please arrange appointments, college visits and family plans at times other than during class. I
expect students to not use their cell phone in my class. Do not send your child text messages during
How does this class work?
Homework (25% of your grade)
Homework assignments are posted on the board every day (usually due the next day). At the
beginning of the period, I will stamp your homework if you have made a reasonable effort. It is
normal to struggle a bit in completing the assignment. It is in the discussion of the homework the
following day that you and your classmates really learn the material. To receive credit for attempting
the assignment you must at least write down the starting facts and what you are supposed to find -‘don’t know’ is not acceptable. Unstamped work will receive reduced or no credit. I collect
homework near the end of each unit after we have discussed it and you have made corrections to it.
Labwork (20% of your grade)
Lab experiments are an integral part of physics and are fun too! Almost everything you learn this
year in physics is based on the results of your experiments, in which you are expected to work
cooperatively as a productive member of your group. You are expected to record your work
according to the Lab Guidelines (at the physics website). Labs grades are based on lab tests, on which
you may refer to your lab reports.
Lab Practicals are done with your lab group to test your ability to apply physics in a lab situation.
Quizzes (15% of your grade)
Quizzes will be unannounced, frequent, and will show if you have been mentally engaged in the day's
work. Try to be always ready for a quiz -- you can make this happen by asking questions whenever
something puzzles you. Although you may not make up a missed quiz, I will drop the lowest quiz
score for each quarter.
Tests (40% of your grade)
Tests are given at the end of major units. If you miss a test due to an excused absence, be ready to
make up the test the day you return (for a one-day absence) or after a period of days equaling your
excused absence.
Group work (Your grade on lab work and homework will reflect your effectiveness as a group member)
Labs and homework presentations are done in groups of 3-4 people. Members of your group will
make frequent, brief oral presentations before the whole class to discuss ideas and answer questions
from classmates. The emphasis is on your reasoning rather than on the answer itself.
NOTE: Weights of the above categories are subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.
Grades will be based on the following scale:
Extra Help:
If you are having difficulty with anything in this course, it is important that you let us know as soon
as possible. We are almost always available before school and after school to offer help.
Parents: Please take the time to carefully read this guide. If you have any questions or concerns about
this handout or about your child’s performance, please feel free to email me (see website) or call me at
204-3202 after 3:40 PM. Please sign below to acknowledge that you understand what I expect.
(parent or guardian)