1
AP Physics C Mechanics Syllabus
Maine East High School, Fall 2011, Dr.
David
Schultz
Overview
Students enrolled in AP Physics C have already completed a year

long, accelerated physics
course in their junior year. It is required that they also have
completed, or are concurrently
enrolled in a first semester calculus course. AP Physics C courses wi
ll meet five days a week,
for a 70

minute
period each day.
Each semester is 85
days. Mechanics
will be covered during
the first semester (completed befor
e the winter break)
and
electricity and magnetism exam will
be covered during the second semester.
A
pproximately two weeks will be allowed for review
immediately prior to the AP exams in May, and review sessions will also be held
outside of class
time
dur
ing the second semester. Students are required to take the AP Physics C
exam in
mechanics, and are strongly encouraged to take the exam in electricity and magnetism in May.
Textbook
University Physics, 12
th
Edition, Young and Freedman (Pearson, 2008)
Mat
erials Needed
Textbook
Three

ring binder with tab dividers and notebook paper
Scientific calculator
Pens and pencils
WebAssign a
ccount and access to internet outside of the class
Course Description
This
fast

paced
sem
ester

long course is designed to prepa
re students for the AP Physics C exam
in mechanics. Topics will be covered in the order presented in the Young and Freedman text,
beginning with kinematics. C
alculus
is introduced early and
is used throughout this course, with
emphasis on both differenti
al and integral methods.
Concepts and problem

solving techniques
will be introduced through a serie
s of lectures, interactive demonstrations,
question and answer
sessions, problem

solving sessions,
laboratory investigations, and homework assignments. The
course will adhere to a tight schedule and students will be expected to put in 30

60 minutes per
night in homework.
Major Units of Study
Kinematics
Newton’s Laws of Motion
Work, Energy and Power
Systems of Particles and Linear Momentum
Circular Motion
and Rotation
Oscillations and Gravitation
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Instructional Strategies
Lectures:
Formal presentation of concepts
will typically proceed through lecture.
Since
students have already completed a year

long, advanced course in physics, lectures will be
limited in number and duration to topics deemed to be sufficiently difficult or novel to
students. Wherever possible, the instructional strategy will be to p
resent students with
phenomena first, and follow this with explication of concepts, working from concrete to
abstract.
Interactive demonstrations:
The instructor will incorporate a variety of demonstrations
within the course. The purpose of such demonstr
ations ranges from introduction of a ne
w
concept (introductory) to detailed analysis of a phenomena using labware probes (advanced.)
Demonstrations will serve to support the conceptual understandings required for the
mechanics curriculum.
Question and Ans
wer
Sessions
:
Interaction and feedback make question and answer sessions
essential in this course. Class

wide question and answer sessions will be incorporated on a
daily basis, in a largely informal manner. These may center on student queries about lec
ture
topics, demonstrations, labs or physics problems.
Problem

Solving Sessions
:
Students will be allowed class time to work individually and
collaboratively on solving problems assigned in class or as homework. These sessions are
valuable insofar as t
hey allow students to exchange strategies for mastering problem

solving
techniques, and also allow students to interact with the instructor on a one

on

one basis.
Laboratory Investigations
:
As a laboratory

based course, students should expect to spend
abo
ut 20% of class time (1 day for every 5 days of instruction) doing laboratory work.
Labs
are designed to reinforce concepts from the mechanics curriculum.
Labs
are
designed to
maximize student inquiry, collaborative interactions, authentic applications a
nd open

ended
creative solutions whenever possible.
Students will often be required to generate their own
procedures, decide which information is relevant, and then decide how to organize and
analyze this information.
Students will be required to consider
and evaluate possible sources
of error in laboratory investigations. Clear communication of ideas and findings through
writing, tables, graphs and calculations will be demanded. Reports will typically document
purpose, method, data, analysis and conclus
ions.
Students will w
ork collaboratively in teams
of 2

3, but will also be held individually accountable for the final reports.
Students are
expected to compile a portfolio of their lab work for each semester.
Homework
:
AP Physics is a college

level cour
se! Students will need to invest 45

60 minutes
of time each evening on preparation for class. This will include online and written problem
assignments, reading assignments, laboratory write

ups and general study time.
Problem

solving assignments are of p
articular importance in the homework regimen. Problems
found
at the end of the textbook chapter will be assigned on a nightly basis
. Students will submit
answers through Webassign and will be expected to achieve a minimum percentage of
correct responses
after a limited number of allowed attempts. From these problem sets,
students will also be asked to submit
one fully

worked out problem in writing.
These
problems should be submitted on loose leaf paper.
3
Assessment Strategies
Philosophy:
Assessment of Student Understanding: Since this course is fast

paced, it is
essential that students prepare themselves in a daily manner for lessons. Toward this end, the
instructor will assess students on a daily basis in either formative or summative m
anners.
Students will be assessed formatively on a daily basis in a variety of ways, including
o
Formative
:
Although homework assignments and quizzes will comprise 20% of the
classroom grade, the spirit of homework assessment is to provide formative feedba
ck.
Students will be given multiple opportunities to achieve full credit on problem
assignments, encouraging them to revisit problems that they find especially difficult.
On a weekly basis, s
tudents will be expected to successfully complete a minimum
per
centage of online problems.
The instructor will also collect and provide feedback
on students’ written problems on a weekly basis
.
Homework quizzes will
be
administered on a frequent basis to test student understanding and provide feedback
for improvement
.
o
Summative
:
Laboratory reports
(see previous section)
, u
nit tests and
the
final exam
are modeled on the AP exams and are very difficult.
Unit tests are given at the end of
each unit and are written to encourage students to see the ‘big picture.’
Unit t
ests will
be divided into multiple choice and free response sections. Free response p
roblems on
unit tests will involve combining material from previous units.
Weighting
of Class Work Grade
:
The class work portion of the grade will be weighted as
follows
:
Homework
and Quizzes
(
20
%), Labs (20%), Unit Tests
(
60
%)
Final Exam:
A final examination will be administered at the termination of each semester
and will be cumulative. The final exam will count for 20% of the semester grade.
Grading
:
Final grades fo
r the quarter and semester will be assigned according to the
following scale: A (90

100%), B (80

89.9%), C (70

79.9%), D (60

69.9%), F (<60%)
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Mechanics Labs
Students will do one lab for every 5 days of instruction, such that 20% of course time is spent
on
laboratory work.
The following laboratory investigations will support the mechanics curriculum:
Investigation of
one dimensional
kinematics:
Students will use motion sensors and
photogates to determine kinematical quantities of displacement, velocity
and acceleration for
one dimensional systems with constant and varying acceleration.
Projectile motion
:
Students will use marble

shooting projectile devices to test predictions of
range for
launches from the edge of a ‘cliff.’
Statics Lab

Struts
:
Stud
ents will calculate the tension and/or compression in a strut as a
function of the angle t
he wire makes with the vertical. They will also make and test
predictions about the maximum tilt angle that is possible for a ladder leaning against a wall.
Collisio
ns in two dimensions:
Students will use video analysis software to evaluate
momentum and energy conservation in collisions of pool balls on a table.
Interrupted pendulum
:
Students will test predictions for theoretical ‘stopping radius’ of an
interrupted
pendulum based on concepts of energy conservation and centripetal force.
Atwood machine
and Newton’s Second Law
:
Students will test predictions for the
acceleration of a system of objects coupled in an Atwood machine. This lab will also be
modified to inc
lude the case in which one object is constrained to move along a nearly
frictionless inclined plane.
Terminal velocity
:
Students will analyze video of the motion of falling coffee filters to
determine terminal velocity and the effects of air resistance.
B
allistic pendulum
:
Students will fire steel marbles into a pendulum ‘catch’ to test
predictions of maximum height derived from conservation of energy and momentum.
Stopping distance
and the work

kinetic energy theorem
:
Students will determine the
coeffici
ent of friction between an object and the surface upon which it slides to a stop
.
Conical pendulum and ‘reduced g’ pendulum:
Students test predictions of predicted periods
for both a simple conical pendulum and a reduced g pendulum in which the plane of
o
scillation is no longer vertical.
Angular kinemat
ics of box fan
:
Students will use a strobe light to determine the angular
displacement, instantaneous velocity and acceleration of a box fan.
Rotational dynamics of bicycle
wheel
:
Students will use a photo
gate sensor to measure a
variety of
dynamics quantities for
a weighted bicycle wheel driven by a falling mass.
Balanced torques
:
Students will
test the conditions for equilibrium necessary to balance a
meter stick by balancing multiple masses. Students w
ill also measure balance conditions
for
cases
in which
the
center of mass of an extended object is not located at the pivot.
Simple harmonic motion
:
Students will use force and motion sensors to measure oscillatory
quantities of a mass vibrating on a string. They will investigate conservation of energy by
dropping a mass connected to a relaxed vertical spring.
Virtual Labs:
Students will also invest
igate a variety of mechanics principles using PhET
online
simulations: moving man,
calculus grapher, projectile motion,
collision lab, gravit
y
and orbits (my solar system),
etc.
5
2011

2012 Advanced Placement Physics Units
Course Introduction
(
1
day)
Kinemat
ics in One Dimension
(
13
days)
o
Uniform linear motion
and free fall
o
Interpreting graphs of position, velocity and acceleration versus time
o
Non

uniform linear motion
o
Applying the calculus of kinematics
Time derivatives: velocity and acceleration
Time
integrals: displacement and change in velocity
Kinematics in Two Dimensions
(
9
days)
o
Vector mathematics basics
o
Motion with constant velocity in two dimensions
o
Motion with acceleration in one dimension (projectile motion)
Newton’s Laws
of Motion
(
12
days)
o
R
eview of Newton’s three laws
o
Free body diagrams
o
Systems of coupled objects
o
Nature and effects of friction
, esp terminal velocity
o
Noninertial frames of reference
and apparent weight
o
Centripetal force
o
Torque
, center of mass
and
the
second condition for equil
ibrium
Wor
k,
Energy
and Power
(
10
days)
o
Work as path integral for force and displacement
–
the dot product
o
Work

Kinetic Energy Theorem
o
Derivation of gravitational potential energy
o
Conservative and nonconservative forces
o
Energy diagrams
o
Force as the derivat
ive of potential energy with respect to displacement
o
Power as the time

derivative of work
Systems of Particles and the C
onservation of
Linear
Momentum
(
9
days)
o
Impulse

momentum theorem
o
Applications of c
alculus
Force as the time

derivative of momentum
Impulse as the time

integral of force
o
Elastic and inelastic collisions
o
Application of momentum conservation
in one

and two

dimensional systems
Circular Motion and Rotation
(14 days)
o
Uniform versus non

uniform circular motion
o
Kinematical quantities, displa
cement, velocity and acceleration
o
Rotational inertia and parallel axis theorem
o
Angular momentum and its conservation
o
Law of Universal Gravitation
including orbits and satellite m
otion
Oscillations and Gravitation
(
10
days)
o
Kinematics
of simple harmonic mot
ion, esp trigonometric formulae
o
Dynamics of simple harmonic motion
: Hooke’s Law
o
The Pendulum
: simple and physical
o
The
Mass

spring system
o
Damped and driven harmonic motion
6
Contact and Availability Information for Dr. Schultz
E

mail:
dschultz@maine207.org
Website:
http://east.maine207.org/dschultz.aspx
Phone:
847

825

4484, Voice Mailbox 1362
Location:
Office (007) and classroom (006)
Availability:
Periods 3 and 7, after school and by appointment
Grade Posting
Students and parents can access grades through District 207’s online grade portal. I typically
post grades on a daily basis.
Schedule and Handouts
I post a unit calendar on my website,
http://east.maine207.org/dschultz.aspx
containing a
des
cription of what we cover in class, nightly assignments and work collected. Most documents
and handouts are available on the student shared drive,
shared/science/schultz/AP Physics
When You Are Absent
First, access schedule and handouts (above).
Second, it is your responsibility to contact me and
schedule make

up work so that this is completed within three days of your return. Do not take
class time from others to do this; see me outside of class!
Late Work
Assigned work is due at the beginni
ng of the period. Make

up work will not be accepted for
unauthorized absences. For an
authorized
absence, you have a grace period of a couple of days
to make up the work, and the assignment will be left blank in the grade portal. After this period,
I wi
ll change the assignment status to ‘/M’ (missing, zero credit) in the portal. I try to accept late
work for reduced credit as often as possible, because I want you to have an incentive to complete
all assignments (gradebook code ‘/L.’)
Safety
Safe behavio
r and practices in the classroom and laboratory are mandatory. These are detailed in
the safety contract. You must understand and follow these rules, or you will not be allowed to
participate in the activity and lose credit for the assignment.
Academic H
onesty
Students are expected to complete all tests and assignments honestly and will not collaborate in
dishonest actions. Students will not give or accept answers or assignments unless directed to by
the teacher. Students caught cheating or plagiarizing
will be subject to the disciplinary actions
stated in the Student Handbook, page 37.
Classroom Expectations
–
All s
tudents are expected to be:
READY:

All school tardy and absence policies are in effect

Bring required materials
RESPECTF
UL:

Show respect for people and their property

Communicate at appropriate times
RESPONSIBLE:

Work on the task assigned

Practice proper laboratory safety procedures
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