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AP® Physics 1
2014 – 2015 Course Syllabus
Dr. Robert F. Szalapski
The Harley School – Physics
§ 1. Purpose
This Syllabus serves multiple purposes. First, it meets the requirements of the College Board audit for AP® Physics 1. Second, it is helpful for the instructor to prepare the course. Third, it is being provided to the students such that they may understand at the “meta” level the journey on which they are about to embark. The Outline (Section 8), which satisfies the Curricular Requirements of Section 3, is not just a random collection of science bits and pieces. The pieces fit together in a coherent whole in support of not only physics theories but also certain Big Ideas (Section 4) and Science Practices (Section 5) which may are transferable beyond this course. This syllabus supports meta cognition.
§ 2. Introduction
This course, AP® Physics 1, is compatible with the first semester of a collegelevel algebrabased physics course. Physics 1 and Physics 2 combined replace Physics B while adding additional material beyond Physics B. The requirements for this course are established by the College Board. With regard to mathematics this course requires algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and support for the mathematics is built into the instruction. While calculus appears in a very natural way in physics, calculus will not be utilized in this course. Actually, some concepts from precalculus and calculus will be utilized in a very clever way to provide students with additional tools but without the need for first completing those courses.
As opposed to being a survey course that rushes through a broad expanse of material at a superficial level, this course is designed for depth of understanding. To the greatest degree practical this course will be handson, interactive and studentcentered, and this is reflected in the choice of course materials as reflected in Section 7.
The difference between science versus religion and philosophy is that science is inherently testable through experimentation. This course reserves 25% of the allotted time for experimental inquiry. The laboratory activities discussed in Section 9 are a mixture of openinquiry and guidedinquiry activities; in particular the students will be provided with tools which they will need to apply in order to answer certain questions; the students will collaborate to develop their own procedures and to analyze, critique and refine those procedures.
§ 3. Curricular Requirements
 CR1

Students and teachers have access to collegelevel resources including collegelevel textbooks and reference materials in print or electronic format.
 CR2a

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of kinematics in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2b

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of dynamics in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2c

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of gravitation and circular motion in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2d

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of simple harmonic motion in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2e

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of linear momentum in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2f

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principle of energy in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2g

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of rotational motion in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2h

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of electrostatics in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2i

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of electric circuits in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR2j

The course design provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of the foundational principles of mechanical waves in the context of the big ideas that organize the curriculum framework.
 CR3

Students have opportunities to apply AP Physics 1 learning objectives connecting across enduring
understandings as described in the curriculum framework. These opportunities must occur in addition to those within laboratory investigations.  CR4

The course provides students with opportunities to apply their knowledge of physics principles to real world questions or scenarios (including societal issues or technological innovations) to help them become scientifically literate citizens.
 CR5

Students are provided with the opportunity to spend a minimum of 25 percent of instructional time engaging in handson laboratory work with an emphasis on inquirybased investigations.
 CR6a

The laboratory work used throughout the course includes investigations that support the foundational AP Physics 1 principles.
 CR6b

The laboratory work used throughout the course includes guidedinquiry laboratory investigations
allowing students to apply all seven science practices.  CR7

The course provides opportunities for students to develop their communication skills by recording evidence of their research of literature or scientific investigations through verbal, written, and graphic presentations.
 CR8

The course provides opportunities for students to develop written and oral scientific argumentation skills.
§ 4. Big Ideas
These seven “Big Ideas” are enumerated by the College Board and are copied here verbatim. The first six are emphasized in both Physics 1 (this course) and Physics 2, but the last one is more relevant to Physics 2.
 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 phenomena.  Big Idea 7:

The mathematics of probability can be used to describe the behavior of complex systems and to interpret the behavior of quantum mechanical systems. (Physics 2 only.)
§ 5. Science Practices
These seven “Science Practices” are enumerated by the College Board and are copied here verbatim.
 Science Practice 1:

The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
 Science Practice 2:

The student can use mathematics appropriately.
 Science Practice 3:

The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
 Science Practice 4:

The student can plan and implement data collection strategies in relation to a particular scientific question.
 Science Practice 5:

The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
 Science Practice 6:

The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.
 Science Practice 7:

The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.
§ 6. Learning Objectives
The Big Ideas of Section 4 and the Science Practices of Section 5 are the very highlevel view of the curriculum. At the other end of the spectrum, at the daytoday working level, the Learning Objectives make it clear what the student must know and be able to do. Figure 1
is taken from “AP PHYSICS 1: ALGEBRABASED AND AP PHYSICS 2: ALGEBRABASED, Course and Exam Description
Including the Curriculum Framework, Effective Fall 2014”. While the Big Ideas and the Science Practices combined may be condensed to a single page, the section with the map to Learning Objectives requires 100 pages. It will be summarized only in the Course Outline of Section 8. However, the instructor will be using the full Curriculum Framework when designing lesson plans. Furthermore, it will be made available to the students as it can be utilized as a checklist when reviewing for exams and quizzes.
§ 7. Course Materials
Curricular Requirements  1 
The primary course materials are described below. Additional materials will be provided by the instructor on a weekly basis. Each student must have a threering binder with dividers to retain handouts, quizzes, etc.
§ 7.1. Textbook
We will by using a collegelevel textbook, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Perfection Learning (formerly Kinetic Books). Our version will strictly be the webbased version which has a number of advantages including:

Animations and simulation are embedded.

“Whiteboard sessions” with audio are included.

The online version is searchable.

Highlighting and margin notes may be added.
The interactive nature of the online textbook provides for a more active studentcentered experience.
According to the Perfection Learning website, a PDF version of the printed textbook is available with the student license; this may be useful if, at some point, Internet access is unavailable.
§ 7.2. Calculator
A scientific or graphing calculator is required. The usual TI84 and TINspire calculators are very suitable. Otherwise consult the College Board website at https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse/. The Physics 1 page is still a bit sparse, but the older Physics B page contains a link to Calculator and Table Policies. Presumably there will be minimal change to the policy, but we will need to check back closer to the Physics 1 AP Exam date of 6 May 2015.
§ 7.3. Web Sites
We will be using interactive simulations from the PhET site developed by the University of Colorado – Boulder. In particular we will use

https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/physics

https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/math
The easiest way to find the site is by using Google with the phrase “phet physics” or “phet math”. These simulations may be utilized solely as illustrations or also as idealized “experiments” for guided inquiry.
Become familiar with the College Board website at https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/apcourse/apphysics1 and other useful pages. Utilize the resources offered by the College Board.
§ 8. Course Outline
This is the meat of the syllabus. The course units and subunits are broken down with reference to Curricular Requirements, Big Ideas and Science Practices. Learning Objectives may be found in a document provided separately.
§ 8.1. Unit 1: Kinematics
Curricular Requirements  2a 
Big Ideas  3 

Mathematical Preliminaries

OneDimensional Kinematics

Scalars, Vectors and Fields

TwoDimensional Kinematics
§ 8.2. Unit 2: Dynamics
Curricular Requirements  2b 
Big Ideas  1, 2, 3, 4 

Forces

Newton’s First Law

Newton’s Second Law

Newton’s Third Law

Applications

Friction

Systems
§ 8.3. Unit 3: Circular Motion & Gravitation
Curricular Requirements  2c 
Big Ideas  1, 2, 3, 4 

Uniform circular motion

Dynamics of uniform circular motion

Universal Law of Gravitation
§ 8.4. Unit 4: Energy
Curricular Requirements  2f 
Big Ideas  3, 4, 5 

Work

Power

Kinetic energy

Potential energy: gravitational and elastic

Conservation of energy
§ 8.5. Unit 5: Momentum
Curricular Requirements  2e 
Big Ideas  3, 4, 5 

Impulse

Momentum

Conservation of momentum

Elastic and inelastic collisions

inelastic collisions
§ 8.6. Unit 6. Simple Harmonic Motion
Curricular Requirements  2d 
Big Ideas  3, 5 

Linear restoring forces and simple harmonic motion

Simple harmonic motion graphs

Simple pendulum

Massspring systems

spring
§ 8.7. Unit 7. Rotational Motion
Curricular Requirements  2g 
Big Ideas  3, 4, 5 

Torque

Center of mass

Rotational kinematics

Rotational dynamics, rotational inertia & moment of inertia

Rotational energy

Angular momentum

Conservation of angular momentum
§ 8.8. Unit 8. Mechanical Waves
Curricular Requirements  2j 
Big Ideas  6 

Traveling waves

Wave characteristics

Sound

Superposition

Standing waves on a string

Standing sound waves
§ 8.9. Unit 9. Electrostatics
Curricular Requirements  2h 
Big Ideas  1, 3, 5 

Electric charge and conservation of charge

Electric force: Coulomb’s Law
§ 8.10. Unit 10. DC Circuits
Curricular Requirements  2i 
Big Ideas  1, 5 

Electric resistance

Ohm’s Law

DC circuits

Series and parallel connections

Kirchhoff’s Laws
§ 9. Labs
Students will spend 25% of class time on laboratory activities. (Curricular Requirement 5) Only a very small portion of the laboratory time will be highly structured such that complete instructions are provided; this portion of the lab will focus on how to utilize a particular piece of equipment or how to make a particular measurement which will then be utilized in the other type of laboratory activities. The bulk of the laboratory activities will be Guided Inquiry (GI) with some portion being Open Inquiry (OI).
Students are required to record pertinent lab details and all data in a laboratory notebook. The laboratory notebook is maintained as the true reference for all data. Most labs will require a laboratory report (Curricular Requirement 7) which explains how the laboratory procedure was determined and why the student chose to collect the data that was recorded. The analysis of the data must be fully explained, and conclusions must be supported by sound scientific arguments which refer to established scientific principles. Each report will include a discussion about how the results could be improved through a revision of the laboratory procedures.
The format for laboratory reports will be Word documents with proper headers, footers, titles and sectioning. Tables and figures from excel or other soures will be digitally embedded and include captioning with cross references. All equations will be input using the equation editor. Successful communication requires a high degree of integration between the text, equations, tables and figures which are different representations of the material, and students will be graded based upon their ability to communicate effectively with these tools. (Curricular Requirement 7)
A first revision of each laboratory report will be printed. Students will exchange reports and provide peer review with reviewers selected at random. (Curricular Requirement 8) The review will be graded.
Final lab reports will be submitted electronically, and students must archive all laboratory reports. Instructor and peer comments along with requests for revisions will be electronically added to each draft and returned as such. Peer reviewers will be graded based upon the quality of their feedback, and writers will be graded upon their response to the feedback. (Curricular Requirement 8)
§ 9.1. Unit 1: Kinematics
§ 9.1.1. Lab: OneDimensional Motion
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 
Students will configure carts on tracks with inclines and declines, initially in motion and at rest and with different masses. LoggerPro® software will be utilized to collect data. Students will make graphs, extract parameters and match configuration to graph to form of kinematic equations.
§ 9.1.2. Lab: Freefall
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 
Students will compare the time for objects of different masses to fall. Different datacollection strategies will be attempted. Students will extract a value for with a method they devise.
§ 9.1.3. Lab: Galileo’s Ramp & Hit the Target
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry, Open Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Students will use Galileo’s Ramp to explore the use of height above the floor as a measurement of time to determine initial horizontal velocity. Students will then determine the configuration required to hit a target. Students are scored based upon number of attempts required with a strong emphasis on prediction and verification with error analysis.
§ 9.1.4. Lab: Collision Course
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Students will characterize the motion of two fan cars. Give the starting positions for both and the initial direction of one students must align the second to create a collision. Students will present arguments prior to testing predictions.
§ 9.2. Unit 2: Dynamics
§ 9.2.1. Lab: Force Laws
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Using whatever equipment is available in the lab students will explore the force laws including a Hooke’s Law spring, dipoledipole interactions of magnets, and PhET simulations will be utilized to generate ideal gravitational attraction data.
§ 9.2.2. Lab: Newton’s Second Law
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Students will collect data on the motion of a trackcar to extract the dependence of acceleration on total mass and net force.
§ 9.2.3. Lab: Coefficent of Static Friction
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry, Open Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Given wood extract the coefficient of static friction for wood on wood.
§ 9.3. Unit 3: Circular Motion & Gravitation
§ 9.3.1. Lab: Place the peg
Perform this lab after conservation of energy.
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Given a simple pendulum of a mass on a string with an initially perpendicular to the vertical, predict the position of a post such that the mass will just perform a loop around the post without losing tension. Explain the prediction and then test it.
§ 9.4. Unit 4: Energy
§ 9.4.1. Lab: Gravitational Equipotentials & Galileo’s Ramp
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
For five different lengths of the ramp support and five different placement positions, measure the landing position of the projectile. Explain the pattern obtained. Collect additional data to support the conclusion.
§ 9.5. Unit 5: Momentum
§ 9.5.1. Lab: Elastic Collisions in OneDimension
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Use Galileo’s Ramp to give an incoming mass a wellmeasured velocity. Measure the velocity of target mass by time to ground. Explain in terms of conservation of energy and momentum predictions.
§ 9.5.2. Lab: Elastic Collisions in TwoDimensions
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Students will modify the previous lab to explore the conservation of momentum in a plane.
§ 9.5.3. Lab: Inelastic Collisions & Kinetic Friction
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry, Open Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
A sand bag on a string forms a simple pendulum which strikes a wooden block resting on a wooden surface. Extract the coefficient of kinetic friction.
§ 9.6. Unit 6. Simple Harmonic Motion
§ 9.6.1. Lab: Mass on a Spring
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Graph the motion of a mass on a spring for position, velocity and acceleration. Explore dependence on mass and spring constant.
§ 9.6.2. Lab: Simple Pendulum
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Explore the dependence on mass and length. Extract period from data.
§ 9.7. Unit 7. Rotational Motion
§ 9.7.1. Lab: Moment of Inertia
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Given a fourinch length of galvanized pipe, measure the moment of inertia by studentdesigned method.
§ 9.7.2. Lab: Rotational Kinematics
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Predict the velocity of a hockey puck and/or a steel ball bearing at the bottom of a ramp, and hit the target with projectile motion.
§ 9.8. Unit 8. Mechanical Waves
§ 9.8.1. Lab: Slinky Waves
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Explore wave types, wave properties, interference and reflection.
§ 9.8.2. Lab: Standing Waves
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Determine the conditions for standing waves on a string.
§ 9.9. Unit 9. Electrostatics
Handson exploration of electrostatics will be conducted via simulations.
§ 9.10. Unit 10. DC Circuits
§ 9.10.1. Lab: VI Curves
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Find the behavior of Ohmic and nonOhmic devices and extract the power law for the device.
§ 9.10.2. Lab: Series and Parallel DC Circuits
Inquiry Type  Guided Inquiry 
Curricular Requirements  6a, 6b 
Lab Practices  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
Determine Kirchoff’s Laws from observations. Find the rules for resistances combined in series and in parallel.
§ 10. Additional Activities
(Curricular Requirements 3 and 4) Students will choose and engage in two activites which apply the principles of the course to problems beyond what is covered in the laboratory portion and with applications beyond the classroom. A written report will be followed by a presentation to the class, and students will provide peer review to each other’s projects. (Curricular Requirement 8) Peers will be graded based upon the quality of their feedback, and presenters will be graded based upon their response to critique.
We will discuss possible choices as we go through the year. Possibilities include:
§ The search for exoplanets
Students may apply real data to the search for exoplanets.
 Learning Objective 3.C.1.2:

The student is able to use Newton’s law of gravitation to calculate the
gravitational force between two objects and use that force in contexts
involving orbital motion (for circular orbital motion only in Physics 1).  Learning Objective 5.E.1.1:

The student is able to make qualitative predictions about the angular
momentum of a system for a situation in which there is no net external
torque.
§ Particle detection
Inspired by our field trip to work with experiemental data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) students may explore the applications of enrgy and momentum conservation to particle even identification.
 Learning Objective 4.C.1.1:

The student is able to calculate the total energy of a system and justify
the mathematical routines used in the calculation of component types
of energy within the system whose sum is the total energy.  Learning Objective 5.D.1.5:

The student is able to classify a given collision situation as elastic or
inelastic, justify the selection of conservation of linear momentum and
restoration of kinetic energy as the appropriate principles for analyzing
an elastic collision, solve for missing variables, and calculate their
values.  Learning Objective 5.D.2.5:

The student is able to classify a given collision situation as elastic or
inelastic, justify the selection of conservation of linear momentum as
the appropriate solution method for an inelastic collision, recognize that
there is a common final velocity for the colliding objects in the totally
inelastic case, solve for missing variables, and calculate their values.  Learning Objective 5.E.1.1:

The student is able to make qualitative predictions about the angular
momentum of a system for a situation in which there is no net external
torque.  Learning Objective 5.E.1.2:

The student is able to make calculations of quantities related to the
angular momentum of a system when the net external torque on the
system is zero.
§ Energy and society
Additionally our school is blessed with some pretty unique facilities which provide a range of opportunities. Students may engage in studies of energy conservation with an emphasis on sustainability and environmental impact.
 Learning Objective 4.C.1.1:

The student is able to calculate the total energy of a system and justify
the mathematical routines used in the calculation of component types
of energy within the system whose sum is the total energy.  Learning Objective 4.C.1.2:

The student is able to predict changes in the total energy of a system due
to changes in position and speed of objects or frictional interactions
within the system.
§ Student proposal
Students may be approved for research choices which meet the Learning Objectives of Physics 1.
§ 11. Classroom Participation
Students are expected to attend and to participate fully during class activities. A significant portion of the class will be utilized for the modeling and the practice of constructing , critiquing, refuting and revising oral arguments.
(Curricular Requirement 8) This will be applied to problem solving with an emphasis on the qualitativequantitative approach emphaizing higherlevel reasoning over computational recipies. In some circumstances persistent challenges in the the lab reports will be resolved as a collaborative effort through oral debate. As mentioned in the previous section, oral arguments will also be in play during student presentations.