Course Outline


Introductory Physics:

Course Description:

This is an introductory algebra-based physics course. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of motion, forces, energy, momentum, waves, light, electricity, magnetism, and concepts of modern physics.

Course Objectives:

This course is a one-semester, algebra-based physics course for non-science majors. It introduces basic concepts, theory, and applications of classical mechanics (matter and motion, kinematics and dynamics, waves), thermal physics, electricity, magnetism, light, and modern physics. This course:

1. Introduces basic physics concepts in mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and optics

2. Provides students with the fundamental understanding of the principles and laws of classical physics 3. Teaches problem solving techniques

4. Helps to develop analytical thinking

5. Teaches how to apply the physical principles and knowledge to other disciplines

6. Demonstrates how observation, experiment, and theory work together to continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge of the physical Universe.

The emphasis is on improved critical thinking skills, and on developing an ability to approach and solve physics problems.

Course Outline:

1. Physical quantities, units, measurements.

2. Describing motion: displacement, velocity, acceleration, motion with constant acceleration, freely falling objects.

3. Explaining motion: Newton’s first law, vectors, vector addition, force, Newton’s second law, mass and weight, free-body diagrams, friction, Newton’s third law, applications of Newton’s laws.

4. Motions in space: circular motion, acceleration in circular motion, projectile motion, rotational motion.

5. Gravity: the law of universal gravitation, gravity near Earth’s surface, motion of satellites and planets, tides, the field concept.

6. Momentum: linear momentum, changing momentum, conservation of momentum, collisions.

7. Energy: work, kinetic energy, changing kinetic energy, conservative forces, gravitational potential energy, conservation of energy, power.

8. Rotation: rotational motion, torque, rotational inertia, center of mass, free-body diagrams, rotational kinetic energy, angular momentum, changing angular momentum, conservation of angular momentum. 9. Classical relativity: frame of reference, motions in different frames, relative velocity, accelerating frames and inertial forces.

10. Structure of matter: chemical evidence of atoms, masses and sizes of atoms, the ideal gas, pressure, temperature, the ideal gas law.

11. States of matter: atoms, density, solids, liquids, gases, pressure in a fluid, buoyant forces and Archimedes’ law, Bernoulli’s equation.

12. Thermal energy: heat, mechanical work, internal energy, the first law of thermodynamics, changes of state, energy transfers, thermal expansion.

13. Available energy: heat engines, ideal and real engines, entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

14. Vibrations and waves: simple harmonic motion, pendulum, resonance, mechanical waves, one-dimensional waves, superposition, periodic waves, standing waves, wave interference.

15. Sound and music: sound waves, speed of sound, hearing sound, sound instruments, beats, Doppler effect.

16. Light: reflection, flat mirrors, curved mirrors, mirror images, speed of light, color.

17. Refraction of light: index of refraction, the law of refraction, total internal refraction, dispersion, rainbows, lenses, lens images, eye, cameras, optical instruments.

18. A model of light: reflection and refraction, interference and diffraction, thin films, polarization.

19. Electricity: electric charge, conservation of charge, conductors and insulators, induction, electric force, electric field, electric field lines, electric potential.

20. Electric current: batteries, current, resistance, voltage, electric power.

21. Electromagnetism: magnets, currents and magnetism, magnetism of Earth, charged particles in magnetic field, currents in magnetic field, motors, generators, transformers, electromagnetic waves, radio, and TV.

22. Modern physics: atoms, nuclei, radioactivity, relativity, quantum, nuclear energy, elementary particles.

College Physics I:

Course Description:

Ask most people what they know about physics, and you will probably get an answer like, “it’s hard with lots of math.” That answer, although it has some truth to it, misses the big picture. Physics is the science that uses observation and reasoning to explain why things happen in the real world and how to predict what will happen next.

In this class we will be studying “mechanics”, which explains how and why things move. Mechanics explains why a quarterback who throws a tight spiral has better accuracy than a QB who cannot. It explains why the top rung of a ladder has a warning sticker not to sit or stand there. Mechanics is how your insurance company knows that you were going at least 90 mph when your car hit that tree, even though nobody was there to see it but you and you swear you were only doing 45.

In this course, we will be emphasizing how use reason and similarities to make tough problems simpler before we even do any math. Even though you are not expected to memorize a load of equations, using your brain will be required.

Course Outline:

  1.  Force and Motion

· Unit 1: Representing Motion 

· Unit 2: Motions in One Dimension

· Unit 3: Motion in Two Dimensions

· Unit 4: Forces and Newton’s Laws

· Unit 5: Applying Newton’s Laws

· Unit 6: Circular Motion, Orbits, and Gravity

· Unit 7: Rotational Motion

· Unit 8: Equilibrium and Elasticity

  1. Conservation Laws

  • Unit 9: Momentum

  • Unit 10: Energy & Work

  • Unit 11: Using Energy


College Physics II:

Course Description:

Physics II is the second semester of a calculus-based physics sequence. Physics II introduces electrical and magnetic phenomena in nature, including the concepts of electrical charges, electric and magnetic fields, the application of Gauss' Law, electric potential, conductors and insulators, currents, basic circuits, and induction.

Course Outline:

  • Introduction

  • Electric charge and forces

  • Electric Field and Flux

  • Gauss’ Law

  • Electric Potential

  • Capacitance

  • Current, Resistance, RMF

  • DC Circuits

  • Magnetic fields and forces

  • Sources of magnetic field

  • Induction

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