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AP Physics C (Mechanics)
Course Syllabus
Text
College Physics, 7ed.; Serway/Faughn; Thompson, Brooks/Cole Publishing; 0-534-99723-6.
Course Description
The AP Physics C is a national calculus-based course in physics. This course is equivalent to the pre-engineering introductory physics course for the university students and is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics C Mechanics Exam given in May. The emphasis is on understanding of the concepts and skills and using the concepts and formulae to solve problems. Laboratory work is an integral part of this course. Students coming out of the courses should have a strong conceptual understanding of physics and well-developed skills in performing and analyzing laboratory experiments. They should also be able to apply their understanding to approach and solve problems that are essentially new to them.
Schedule
This course meets 54 minutes, five times a week. Although labs do not happen every week, they comprise at least 20 percent of the course time. Much of the learning is student centered, using guided inquiry to lead students to appropriate conclusions. Students often work in collaborative groups with students discussing ideas and forming solutions together. The last several weeks are spent reviewing problematic areas and solution strategies before the AP exam. Throughout the year, after-school and lunch time tutoring is available; this also includes the UCLA AP Readiness Program.
Course Evaluation
Students grade will be based approximately on the following:
engagement and exploration 15%
Science and engineering practices 15%
Disciplinary Core Assessments 70%
Grades are calculated on a weighted point system. Grades are posted both online and in the classroom.
Topics
All topics are introduced using trigonometry and algebra, then as mastery of basic ideas is attained the topic is expanded to include differential and integral calculus. Calculus based topics are taught throughout the course where appropriate.
Introduction
Units and measurement
Unit conversion (dimensional analysis)
Graphing
Basic calculus review
Scalars and vectors
Kinematics
Motion in one direction
Motion in two directions
Projectile motion
Uniform circular motion
Dynamics: Newtons Laws of Motion
Force
Newtons three laws
Force diagrams (free body diagrams)
Weight and normal force
Gravity
Newtons law of universal gravitation
Satellites and weightlessness
Keplers Laws
Escape velocity
Gravitational potential energy
Work and Energy
Work done by a constant force
Work done by a varying force
Work and kinetic energy
Conservation of energy
Conservative and nonconservative forces
Potential energy
Kinetic energy
Law of conservation of energy
Power
Linear momentum and collisions
Conservation of momentum
Impulse
Elastic and inelastic collisions
Center of mass
Rotational Kinematics
Constant angular speed
Constant angular acceleration
Relation between linear and angular quantities
Rotational dynamics
Moment of inertia
Torque
Conservation of angular momentum
Rotational kinetic energy
Rotation and Translation
Oscillations
Simple harmonic motions
Springs
Simple pendulum
Physical pendulum
Laboratory
Students will work in small groups varying from 2-4 students depending on the complexity of the lab, equipment and space required. Many labs are designed to introduce new topics or verify covered topics. Some labs are designed with little to no guidance, allowing students to design a lab to answer a particular question. The experience gained by manipulating equipment, recording and organizing data, and drawing conclusions is a vital part of this physics course. Students are to keep a portfolio of all laboratory investigations and reports.
Egg and golf ball drop. Introduce the kinematics of freefall and the role of air resistance.
Indirect measurement I. Using averages to measure the very small, like the thickness of a sheet of paper.
Indirect measurement II. Measuring the height of a building using three different techniques.
Density lab. Finding the density of regular and irregular objects.
Projectile lab. Determine landing point on the floor of a projectile.
Motion with uniform acceleration lab. Measure and graph position vs. time of a ball on a ramp and determine velocity and acceleration graphs using calculus.
Verify g lab. Metal ball drop to verify g.
Coefficient of friction lab. Determine the coefficient of static and kinetic friction.
Ballistic pendulum lab. A ball is launched into a ballistic pendulum and velocity is determined through conservation of energy and momentum.
Spring lab (Hookes Law). Determine the spring constant for three different springs.
Pendulum lab. Determine which variables affect the period of a simple pendulum.
Oscillation lab I. Determine the period of oscillation for a simple pendulum.
Oscillation lab II. Determine the period of oscillation for a spring and mass oscillator.
Oscillation lab III. Determine the period of a physical pendulum swing through a small angle.
Rollercoaster lab. Build a model rollercoaster and measure key values (such as PE, KE, impulse, centripetal force).
Rocket launch lab. Build a water bottle rocket and determine launch speed and height attained.
Bridge lab. Build a popsicle stick bridge and determine key forces involved.
Centripetal force lab. Determine the relationship between force and velocity and radius.
Variable inertia lab. Determine the moment of inertia for a disc with variable mass distribution. Compare two different configurations.
Atwoods machine lab. Determine the acceleration of a falling mass on a pulley system.
Collision with a spring lab. Determine the stored energy in the spring and relationship between potential and kinetic energy (air track).
Center of mass lab. Determine the center of mass for a four particle system using masses hanging from a meter stick balance.
Each lab will require:
The formation of an hypothesis or hypotheses, based on in-class discussion of the presented problem or focus of each experiment
Design of (an) experiment(s), also based on in-class discussion, to test the hypothesis or hypotheses
Collection of data and observations
Calculations using the collected data
Conclusions about how well the hypothesis or hypotheses held up based on the experiment
Class discussion of variance and error analysis
Written report
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