Course Description:

Physics provides a hands-on experience with the basic principles of physics, as well as
rigorous practice using logical thinking skills. Students use sophisticated computer tools
to gather and analyze data about simple physical phenomena and use their results to
develop various physical laws and to make predictions about additional phenomena.
They then confirm or refute their predictions by experiment. Topics include mechanics,
thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and waves and sound.
Additional emphasis is placed on the development of computer and laboratory skills.

Course Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations;
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations;
  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications;
  • Formulate and revise explanations and models using logic and evidence (critical
  • Recognize and analyze explanations and models; and Communicate and support a scientific argument.


Scope and Sequence:

UNIT 1: Motion

  • Graph interpretations
  • Position vs. time
  • Velocity vs. time
  • Acceleration vs. time
  • Problem solving
  • Using graphs (average velocity, instantaneous velocity, acceleration, displacement, change in velocity)
  • Uniform acceleration including free fall (initial velocity, final velocity, time,displacement, acceleration, average velocity)
  • Projectiles
  • Independence of horizontal and vertical motion
  • Problem-solving involving horizontally launched projectiles


UNIT 2: Forces, momentum and motion

  • Newton’s laws applied to complex problems
  • Gravitational force and fields
  • Elastic forces
  • Friction force (static and kinetic)
  • Air resistance and drag
  • Forces in two dimensions
  • Adding vector forces
  • Motion down inclines
  • Centripetal forces and circular motion
  • Momentum, impulse and conservation of momentum


UNIT 3: Energy

  • Gravitational potential energy
  • Energy in springs
  • Nuclear energy
  • Work and power
  • Conservation of energy


UNIT 4: Thermodynamics

  • Heat
  • Temperature
  • Specific heat capacity
  • Heat and work
  • Basic laws of Thermodynamics


UNIT 5: Waves

  • Wave properties
  • Conservation of energy
  • Reflection
  • Refraction
  • Interference
  • Diffraction
  • Light phenomena
  • Ray diagrams (propagation of light)
  • Law of reflection (equal angles)
  • Snell’s law
  • Diffraction patterns
  • Wave – particle duality of light
  • Visible spectrum and color


UNIT 6: Electricity and magnetism

  • Charging objects (friction, contact and induction)
  • Coulomb’s law
  • Electric fields and electric potential energy
  • DC circuits
  • Ohm’s law
  • Series circuits
  • Parallel circuits
  • Mixed circuits
  • Applying conservation of charge and energy (junction and loop rules)
  • Magnetic fields and energy
  • Electromagnetic interactions