Physics 1A

Course Description

Physics is an organized, systematic body of knowledge that aims at understanding, describing, and predicting events in the natural world. Its scope includes, but is not limited to: particles that are so small that they can never be seen and must instead be modeled mathematically; the nature of matter and energy; the unity of space and time; the mechanics of motion; the paths that planets and stars travel as they move through the cosmos; and the fundamental forces which govern reality itself. Ultimately, physics forms that basis for all of the other hard sciences such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Chemistry is applied physics and biology is applied chemistry. By studying physics, you will gain a deeper understanding of both the world around you, and of the mysteries of existence that have fascinated the greatest minds throughout the centuries.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course you will be able to:

  • understand how the scientific method works, as well as its limitations.
  • analyze and describe the motion of objects.
  • understand and apply Newton’s laws of motion.
  • calculate and understand energy and its transformations.
  • understand the significance and applications of conservation of momentum.

Required Course Materials

  • Physics Journal – In the form of a small composition notebook, a spiral notebook, or loose-leaf paper kept in a binder.
  • Pencil or Pen – In order to do well in the course, you must take notes, sketch diagrams and graphs, and solve problems when instructed to do so.
  • Internet Access
  • Adobe Reader
  • scientific calculator

Note: This course does not require a textbook.

Course Organization

Each semester contains 4 units and one final exam that must be taken in person.

Each Unit contains:

  • 4–5 lessons. Each lesson includes some or all of the following components: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.
  • Self-assessments to help you check your own understanding of the material covered in each lesson. You must complete these assessments in order to advance in the course.
  • 3–4 graded assignments

Final Examination

The final examination is comprehensive; it covers the material from all 8 units. To pass the course, you must receive a grade of 70 percent or better. You can apply to take the Final Exam after 100 percent of your graded assignments have been submitted, and at least 70 percent have been graded and returned to you.

Format: multiple-choice questions
Time Allowed: 3 hours
Materials Allowed: #2 pencils, scientific calculator

Semester Topics

Topic 1: The scientific method
Topic 2: Mathematical and graphic analysis
Topic 3: 1D and 2D motion
Topic 4: Newtonian forces and gravitation
Topic 5: The energy of motion and the energy of position
Topic 6: The law of conservation of energy
Topic 7: Momentum and impulse
Topic 8: The law of conservation of momentum