AP Physics B

AP Physics 1
You are taking Advanced Placement Physics “1”. This is a college-level course offered
in High School. The class is designed to teach you Physics and prepare you to pass the
AP Physics 1 exam in May. We will do this with a college style program of lecture, lab,
and problem solving. You will be doing a substantial amount of work outside of the
classroom. Also, you may find the pace of this class to be much faster than many classes
you have taken so far. One of our special challenges is that we will cover one and onehalf semester of college material in less than two semesters due to the fact that the AP
test is at the beginning of May and our school year ends in June.
Textbook: Serway, Faughn & Vuille. College Physics (Seventh Edition) Thompson,
Brooks/Cole 2006
Recommended Supplemental Materials: Schaunm’s Outline – College Physics and How
to prepare for the AP Physics B Exam (Barrons’s Guide); Conceptual Physics- (Paul
Hewitt) An older edition is great.
You will also need a scientific calculator, a notebook, and a 4-color clicky pen.
Your grade will be based on 4 categories:
1. Tests (3 -5 per semester)
2. Homework (weekly)
3. Lab work (weekly)
4. Quizzes (randomly)
The weekly home work assignment will be either a set of approximately 25 problems
from the end of the chapter, a reading assignment, and some conceptual questions. This
will constitute the minimum amount of work that a student should do. If you are
struggling with the concepts more problems should be done. Solutions are available on
my website. The class will spend ample time reviewing homework. This is only useful if
student homework is completed.
Grades will be assigned based on the following scale
A = 90.0 – 100%
B = 80.0 – 89.9%
C = 70.0 – 79.9%
D = 60.0 – 69.9%
F = Less than 60.0%
For tests and quizzes at the level of the AP exam a special curve will be applied. This
curve mirrors the grading scale of the AP exam where letter grades correspond to scores
on the AP Exam. (A=5, B=4 etc.) Some of your peers have received the lowest grade in
their High School careers from this class – even with this scale!
Lab Work
The College Board requires that 20% of the class be devoted to lab activities. These are
activities that are “hands-on” for you. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Actually
touching and “playing with” Physics is the best way to reinforce the key concepts. An
average of once every two weeks we will bring out some equipment and try to answer
some kind of question or explore a Physics concept. You will have to frame a question,
construct some sort of apparatus, take data, analyze that data and come to some sort of
conclusion. Then you must communicate that result.
Here’s a list of some of the labs we will do:
1. Measuring the height of a building indirectly (many methods)
2. Measuring “g” (Galileo’s ramps)
3. Predicting Trajectories (projectile motion)
4. Hot Wheel Loops (circular motion and conservation of energy)
5. Determining spring constant (Hooke’s law)
6. Determining Density (many ways)
7. Determining Pendulum Period (Simple Harmonic Motion)
8. Determining the moment of inertia
9. Verify Ohm’s Law (circuits and measuring tools)
10. Measure the speed of sound (resonance in a closed pipe)
11. Determine the wavelength of a laser (interference)
In addition many demonstrations and classroom inquiries will take place. In fact, most
units will start with a “discrepant event” which is a demonstration of something that goes
against common sense, but can be explained readily after a study of the topic.
Overall, the labs, demos, homework, and open-ended activities will encourage students to
ask questions about how things work, formulate a working hypothesis, figure out a way
to test that hypothesis, perform experiments, analyze results, make predictions, evaluate
the reasonableness of an answer to a calculation, and develop good physical sense. This
works because Physics is about the “real World.” I have always felt that showing how the
rules of physics match up with common sense is most powerful because we can continue
using these rules when common sense eludes us. I’m glad you have chosen to take this
class and take on this challenge.
Every year I have students taking this class who are not ready for it. Perhaps they lack
the mathematical background, perhaps they aren’t ready to keep up with the workload or
perhaps they are just immature. If this is you GET OUT NOW! It is hard to transfer out
of the class later on.
Use of Internet:
Homework assignments will be posted weekly at the teacher website found at
www.losal.org/lahs .
Grades will be available on Aires and accessible by parents. Students are expected to use
this online service to periodically check current grades. No grades will be posted in
(562) 799-4780 ext. 82703